Real time search, SEO and PPC just got complicated!

Marco Bertozzi 13.12.09
Well lets start with what Google says about its new search results, here is a video summing up the possibilities:

The summary of that provides these services:

• Ability to filter real-time results to only show updates from particular sources, such as Twitter, Friendfeed and others on new “Latest results” page;

• Latest results and new search options optimized for iPhone and Android devices “when you need them on the go, be it a quick glance at changing information like ski conditions or opening night chatter about a new movie — right when you’re in line to buy tickets”;

• “Hot topics” on Google Trends will now show most common topics being published to web in real-time.

SO what does that mean for advertisers and individuals?

There are two ways of looking at Real Time search. One is from the individual’s perspective and the other from an agency/advertiser’s.

An individual really just had the power put into their hands, an unbelievable position of prominence on the world’s most viewed ad placement. If you are unhappy you can make your point immediately. If you are raging at the latest piece of news, if a mouse just ran across your hotel room, whatever happens to you, you tweet or FB and its up and visible to all. It’s unbelievable, really.

Those tweeters and bloggers are now in a position to generate massive traffic for their sites or profiles, this will be the best thing ever for egomaniacs. It will of course also be amazingly useful. You are in a traffic jam and need to know what the hold up is, how is the weather in Balham right now, its all there, it will be so useful day-to-day. Of course its all there at the moment if you search on Twitter but I think this move will bring that knowledge to a far wider audience.

Part 2 however is much harder. If you are an advertiser and happily investing in PPC campaigns when suddenly your ad is now alongside someone who is destroying your brand or service, then you are going to have to come up with an active strategy. Areas such as Hotels, restaurants etc may have a nightmare if people do Tweet negatively about them while they are trying to buy ads encouraging them to book.

As an advertiser this will mean you have to consider a few actions;

1. Redouble your efforts to make sure your brand advertising is clear, eye-catching and able to draw people away before they start to soak up all the real-time results below which may not all be positive.

2. Advertisers will now be fighting over the top slots more fiercely so be prepared to invest further into the PPC budgets. You will not want your text ad half way down the page while some FF or Twitter updates are above you giving you what for!

3. If the reports are correct that only 26% of the top 500 superbrands seriously invest in Twitter then perhaps this move will spark them into action as they will need to have their own content in the real-time results as well as those of the users / customers / consumers. Thats probably a good thing as it will make more advertisers deal with social media, something that so many are still behind on.

Search systems which may only optimise a few times a day are also going to appear slow in comparision to these kind of results, at the moment as people monitor their search ROI it may be optimised infrequently, this will need to be accelerated. Bad real-time feeds may be ruining your PPC and you should know about it and react. It will make search a lot more labour intensive as if it needed to be anymore complicated.

So what do I think overall. Great for the individual, very useful, very informative. For the advertiser, well its going to need a lot more work and thought both in SEO, PPC and social strategies.

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