All Articles Marketing Marketing Strategy Reality setting in: What Google's real-time search means to businesses

Reality setting in: What Google’s real-time search means to businesses

3 min read

Marketing Strategy

Online marketers have long preached the importance of search engine optimization. Make sure you’re mindful of keywords when writing Web site or blog content. Make sure your title tags explain your site or post effectively. Tag your entries appropriately and work with your colleagues and partners to ensure you are creating a community of links.

Sure, these are all still relevant tips to help generate organic traffic. But what happened just yesterday adds a very thick layer to the SEO equation.

Twitter made us see what could be possible with real-time search. Bing made it mainstream when they integrated Twitter into their results. But now, the standard, the behemoth of search and all things information — Google — has made real-time a critical piece of its trusted results. Reality is setting in — and things have changed in a big way.

When I started exploring Google real-time search, the first thing I searched for was “SmartBrief.” I was startled, excited and frightened all at once. Our primary product(s) — industry newsletters and our company home page — fall below the real-time results! So what does a user see first when hunting for SmartBrief? A tweet from someone commenting about an article they found via SmartBrief, a tweet @smartbrief sent out with the #aviation hashtag. This is a serious shock to the system.

While many of us in the social media community might “get it,” I can’t help but think of folks like my mom. She might just want to know how to sign up for our ASCD SmartBrief newsletter for teachers and school principals. Next thing you know, she’s linking to a marketer in Ohio’s Twitter account who liked a blog post on what Foursquare might mean for businesses. She’s lost — and we’ve lost our chance to convert her to a subscriber.

All of a sudden, your “social brand” is front and center and has the potential to drive top-line results for those who are actually searching for your product. Still comfortable with that intern running your Twitter account?

The reality is that what might come up first (or second, or third) is happening right now. And what’s happening right now is not always going to be on target — or even positive, for that matter — because chances are, it will not come from you. More than ever, the activities and voices of others will determine your fate. The customer/end user has grabbed even more control, and we have to be ready to react, engage and help them tell the story that’s going to be on the front page of Google.

How do you see this shift affecting your business? Are you optimistic or more concerned about these changes?

Image credit, ssuni via iStock