Where Search and Social Media Collide: Real-Time Search and Twitter

real time panel

We’re here at the last session of the day and we’ve got another exciting search-and-beyond OMS session. This time the beyond is social.


Rand Fishkin, CEO,  SEOmoz.org, @randfish

Harry Gold, CEO, Overdrive Interactive, @HarryJGold

Aaron Kahlow, Chairman & Founder, Online Marketing Summit, @AaronKahlow

Mike Mothner, Founder & CEO, Wpromote Inc., @mothner

Rand is first. What are the search engines up to? You’ve probably all seen and observed personalization by default results. A non-logged-in user will be delivered search results that are disambiguated by previous searches. There are also social search results that come from your “Friends” if you’re logged in. If you’re connected to users that are connected to your brand, you can influence what they see. And of course Microsoft and Google have deals with Twitter, Facebook and MySpace where data is going from social platforms into the engines.

Engines are recognizing the need for social data to improve their algorithms. Links are disappearing from the link graph and they’re starting in the social graph. This social data is flowing to the engines and you can see them right in the search results. The engines are just going to get smarter.

A social influence graph is on the way. For example, check out Clout to analyze and measure your influence and your followers.

  • Get your fans/customers to share your brand on social services
  • Produce content that appeals to social savvy audiences
  • Bias users towards your results through suggestive searches and links
  • Employ content that nudges new users to engage socially

5 Nudges to Add Social Followers

  1. Social norms: tell someone that someone like them is doing something, they’ll be likely to do it to.
  2. Choice architecture for sharing: when you’re pushing content out, include your preferred choices for sharing right there
  3. Limit social/sharing options: there’s a sweet spot in having just a few choices and getting just the right ones
  4. Give content that rewards users: if the user is getting something out of it, they’re likely to do it or use it
  5. Compliment and interact with sharers: recognition will be very powerful in gaining loyal customers

Harry is next. He’s going to focus on real-time search and how it can be leveraged by businesses. Real-time search for Google is a technology that lets them monitor documents and process real-time changes. They include updates from feeds news, blog posts. They show up as Latest Results, and if you go to Google Trends you can click on a hot topic.

Real-Time Search isn’t just social, Twitter, Facebook, etc. It also includes press releases and news organizations, and docstoc.com (slideshow PDFs). So how does Google decide what’s popular enough to end up in the real-time results of Web search results? What makes that little box pop?

If you go to Google Trends you can see Hot Topics. If you click on one of those results you’ll see a scrolling box. But more useful is Hot Searches in Google Trends. This is a good indicator of what you can talk about to engage in popular conversations. This is where search and social really come together.

Hot Searches are broken down by how hot they are, when the peak of interest was and what related searches are.

Leveraging Real-Time Search

  • Hard to rely on real-time search – its not the lowest hanging fruit
    • Most orgs do not have the power to create hot topics that are related to their industries
    • How many people really use it?
    • Your first stop for SEO are still the most popular search tiers that represent what you sell
  • The lessons of real time are very valuable
    • Lesson #1: Google likes fresh content
    • Lesson #2: Join popular convos
  • Key to leveraging real time is looking at trends and catching the upward wave. You can plan ahead. Many predictable hot topics and hot searches, like March Madness, Emmys, Oscars, elections, movie premiers, Super Bowl, etc.
  • Plan ahead to monitor hot topics and be opportunistic
  • Apply same rules as regular SEO
  • Produce fresh content, post it, tweet it, press releases, etc.

Visit OverdriveInteractive.com to find out about a soon-to-be-public social media tracking tool.

Mike is our last presenter. He offers integrated search services — search that’s not just search engines. So how does it work? In the beginning (a whole four months ago!) real-time results were everywhere and served for every query, then the filters and sophistication came in to play. Currently you’re going to see it on hot trending topics, current events and news. It’s not just Twitter, but also news, new pages, blog posts, other social networks.

A search for “SESNY” doesn’t display the real-time search box, but he thinks they may have pulled back on the reins too much because real-time results would be appropriate for this query and this moment.

How are results chosen? Think like SEO.


  • Number of followers/retweets = authority
  • Hotness of topic/clustering of tweets
  • Semantics = don’t look like spam

If you are a larger brand, you may be able to drive real-time results by flooding the space when it’s to your benefit. Real-time search is a new factor to consider when it comes to rep management. Your interactions or lack of them in the Twitter-sphere now have a much larger reach.

Virginia Nussey is the director of content marketing at MobileMonkey. Prior to joining this startup in 2018, Virginia was the operations and content manager at Bruce Clay Inc., having joined the company in 2008 as a writer and blogger.

See Virginia's author page for links to connect on social media.

Comments (3)
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3 Replies to “Where Search and Social Media Collide: Real-Time Search and Twitter”

Google’s Real-Time Search, combined with updated Tweets are massive in terms of marketing. Being able to find out what’s hot and what’s not is crucial when launching a campaign, or just simple brainstorming for the next big thing. I’m just curious on just how this would affect how people make predictions about certain events, such as elections.

real time search will be great for the masses once Google and the other big players figure it out. Until then, I guess we are used to a free Wikipedia result for every search!

I totally agree with this: Give content that rewards users: if the user is getting something out of it, they’re likely to do it or use it. Users/readers would want something if they can benefit from it or if they can gain something form it. It’s not the Me that’s important but the You or Them.


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