Google Realtime Search Gets a New Home with New Tools

Google Realtime Search - UpdatesLast week at a Lancup a local Tweetup in Lancaster we were discussing search and a number of people commented that they noticed real-time search was not showing up in their regular search results. Well guess what, that’s because Google has given real-time search a new home. The page is www.google.com/realtime. Or go to the “Updates” link on the left side of normal search results.

There are also some cool new tools included in the new location. There is geographic filtering so you can find updates near you or if you are visiting Lancaster PA, you could search for what is happening right now in Lancaster. A conversation view has also been added, so you can follow discussions as the happen in real-time. Normally you need to click through a bunch of links to figure out what is being discussed and this can often be disjointed. With the “full conversation” function the tweets are organized from the newest to the oldest, giving a better real-time overview.

Google has also added real-time functions to Google Alerts. You can set up an alert to send you an email as soon as your topic shows up on Twitter and other microblogging services. You can also set it to email you once per day or week.

There is also a graph across the top of the results that shows you an idea of how hot a topic is. Check out the image below.
Google Realtime Search Frequency Graph

The new Realtime Search and updates via Google Alerts are now available in 40 languages around the world and the geographical filtering as well as the conversation views are available in English, Japanese, Russian and Spanish.

Google also posted a demo video for how to use the new features.

Social Search: Google Turns Search into a Social Experience

social circle, social search, circl of trustIt’s no secret that the worlds of social media and search are becoming more and more entwined. Today companies are building up there social networking presence to create place where they can communicate with others in the industry as well as clients and potentials. While this in itself is a huge change in mentality for communication, it is also very important in search. uinversal search choicesThe various social platforms where people are having relevant conversations about your product also creates a way for people to find you via search. Google is already including the various types of information in what they call Universal Search. This combines all types of media into search results including text, audio, video as well many other areas. You can see a list on the left side of the search results page. Google has taken it a step further though to include people in your “Social Circle.” They call it Social Search.

So, the big question is how do they do that?

Well as we know Google is the king of search so they put their spiders and search abilities to good use.

Here’s a quick list of where they find your social circle:

  • People in your Gmail (or Google Talk) chat list
  • People in your Friends, Family, and Coworkers groups in your Google contacts
  • People you’re publicly connected to through social sites, such as Twitter and FriendFeed, that appear on your Google profile or in your public Google Buzz stream.
  • People you’re following in Google Reader and Google Buzz
  • People who are connections of those in your immediate, public social circle. This means that if you have a friend on Twitter, and he follows five people, those additional five people may also be included in your social circle.

Of course you have to be logged into your Google account for it to work. When you do a normal Google search below the normal 10 results you will see something similar to the image below.

google social search results

Now if you want to see who Google has decided is in your social circle they have created a page that shows a list of your connections and how you are connected to them. Social Circle and Content. You might be surprised at who is on the list.

Google believes their new social search feature will help people find more relevant results when search and results that you trust because they are in your social circle.

The Benefits of Universal Search

Universal Search

Universal search has actually been around for some time. All the way back in 2006 when I did some work for Google, we were testing it before it went live in the spring of 2007. Even though it has been over 3 years since it went live, many companies, SEO firms and marketing agencies are still not taking advantage of it.

Search results used to be a very simple and rather boring list of links with the standard being 10 results per page. With Universal search Google, as well as other search engines, added different types of media including images, video, blogs, books and news. The example below shows a simple example for “cats”.

Universal Search Results for Cats

The idea is to give users more complete results. So, what does this do for you and how can you take advantage of it?

Expand Brand Recognition

One of the biggest benefits of using universal search optimization is multiple rankings. By presenting your material in various types of media you greatly expand your chances showing up multiple times in the search engine results. This will help your brand recognition and visibility. Using images and video on your site, and tagging them correctly, is one way to take advantage of this. Hosting your video on YouTube also gives you another avenue get listed. So does hosting your images on a site like Flickr. Get it? Each image, video has the potential to be listed.

Use Social Media

With the popularity of social networking sites there are even more ways to get into search results. Universal search now also includes the sites I like to call the big three: LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook. By setting up company profiles on these sites gives you even more ways to be found. Not only can you be found in individual search engines such as Facebook search, but now with multiple listings you could potentially fill the first page of results for your targeted keywords.

Drive It Home

If that’s not reason enough to optimize for universal search, there’s more! (use cheesy game show voice here). By showing up in the rankings multiple times you increase the chances of people clicking through to your content, but what do they do once they get there? You need to add links that lead back to your company site. This will give you more organically grown inbound links which will improve your ranking, provided that the site with the link doesn’t use “no-follow links“. Even if they do use no-follow links you are still increasing your chances of receiving secondary traffic to your site. Plus for the social media example, if you are writing engaging content people will share it with their friends which can also increase inbound links and traffic.

Below is an example of how to structure a campaign around a company site using search and social media.

Universal Search - Social Media Flowchart

Bottom line, when implemented correctly optimizing for universal search increases your chances of being found online, your brand recognition, your relevant inbound links, traffic to your site and the chance to reach a broader audience.