Google Realtime: Is It Worth Your Time? If So, We Have A Few Tips…
In light of Google’s recent confirmation that they’re now counting Twitter and Facebook links as ranking factors in their search algorithm, it’s important for online marketers to consider what this means for their social media optimization. In his response to questions raised by blogger Danny Sullivan’s blog post, Google’s Matt Cutts highlights a few specific factors that Google’s looking to as social relevancy signals. Most notably, he references the quality of a user’s followers and the authority of Twitter users who retweet and @mention your content.
Google Realtime: Experimentation to Integration
Google’s working to make the real time web more prominent. While Google Realtime (click here to learn more about this feature) was at one point confined to its own homepage, we’re now seeing it integrated into SERPs under the header “Realtime results” and listed as a Property on the left-hand column of Google’s Web search, alongside the search engine’s other primary features like Images, Video and News. Reinforcing Realtime’s user visibility, Google has begun redirecting users who click on “Realtime results” to a list of results filtered by the Realtime setting.
Not all keyword searches render Realtime results, though. Google’s stated that they’re only lightly testing the social aspect of their search algorithm at this point, and mostly with Google Realtime to start. While there’s more fluidity between Google’s Web search and Realtime than before, it’s still better for brands to appear in the “Realtime results” on page 1 of Google’s Web search than on page 1 of Google Realtime, but it’s important for marketers to optimize their social media for both.
Are Realtime Results Worth Optimizing For?
While realtime results are only showing up for a small percentage of searches, many signs point to this growing as a feature for Google. So far, Google’s moved Realtime results from its own separate homepage, to their main Properties and now to their Web Search. This is evidence that Google sees value in realtime results as an indicator of search relevancy. While this feature might not be widespread at present, that doesn’t mean marketers should only focus on it once it gets ramped up. Google is continually indexing results and gathering data, and with their access to the Twitter firehose, they have access to data dating back over time. What your company has done on social networks in the past and right now will matter even more in the future.
5 Tips for Leveraging Google Real time
Google’s still testing user experience and interaction with realtime results, but as the value from Realtime becomes more pronounced, we could see this become a key component to Google search. If Realtime evolves in this way, your level of involvement and engagement on your social networks will become increasingly important, as Realtime pulls from the latest updates across social networks, like Twitter, Facebook, blogs, Buzz. We’ve listed five tips on how to rank for Google Realtime results for queries specifically mentioning your brand and relevant keywords, which influencers matter when it comes to syndicating your content and what social channels are worth optimizing for. Bing’s also looking to social signals as indicators of search relevancy, but the focus of this post is specific to Google’s Realtime.
- Create a social media presence.
- Encourage users to share your content across all social networks.
- Leverage trends by tweeting about hot topics.
- Focus on Twitter, rather than Facebook.
- Try to get authoritative influencers to share your content.
- Create a social media presence. With Google starting to integrate more realtime results into SERPs, this is even further evidence that brands need to be on social networks to be found online today. While it’s not exactly certain which types of keywords Google considers relevant to Realtime results, it appears some brand name searches show a company’s Twitter mentions and RTs directly from the SERP under “Realtime results.” By establishing a social media presence, your brand can own more of page 1 on Google.
- Encourage users to share your content across all social networks. Google’s looking at social signals from what other people are saying about your brand, not just what you’re saying about yourself. Leverage your Twitter followers and Facebook fans as syndicators of your content, by encouraging retweets and conversation on your social networks.
- Leverage trends by tweeting about hot topics. Try to ride the trend wave by tweeting about trending topics. With lots of users searching for these terms for a brief period of time, this is a good method for helping your brand gain visibility. Google’s Realtime results stream is listed in terms of recency, so it’s important to tweet about a trend several times before it dies off, rather than just once.
- Focus on Twitter, rather than Facebook. While Google says their Realtime stream pulls from Twitter, Facebook, Buzz and other social networks, it’s evident that the majority of their realtime results come from Twitter. In optimizing your social media to drive more traffic via Realtime Search, concentrate your efforts on Twitter.
- Try to get authoritative influencers to share your content. Google’s openly stated that the authority of Twitter users who retweet and @mention your content matters to them as a social signal. Make sure that you’re attracting quality followers and not just spammers and having your content shared by actual influencers.
What’s Next for Realtime Search?
Judging from Google’s decision to incorporate social signals into their ranking algorithm, it seems likely we’ll start to see an increasing number of realtime results within SERPs. Just as Google’s begun streamlining News and Video results within page 1 results for certain searches, this too appears to be their intention for Realtime.
As we pointed out above, Google Realtime mostly renders results from Twitter, rather than Facebook. With Bing gaining exclusive access to Facebook’s social data and now incorporating it into search results, what could this mean for Google’s competitiveness in the realtime search space?