Real Time Relevance – The New SEO


Google's Real Time Search is the "oh, Shiny!" topic we need to talk about.

I don’t claim to be an SEO expert…. But I DO know something about marketing. This post is about the future, the possibilities, and what people who are using any form of online marketing need to be thinking about NOW to get ready for what is coming. And it’s coming much faster than you might think.

Buzz is beginning about Google’s search integration deals with Facebook and Twitter… here are a couple of other people’s posts with more of the details, if you wanna know the specifics:

Info from Mashable

More, especially about Facebook

What does it mean for marketing? It means “integrated marketing” can’t just be about cross-platform and multi-channel. It now has to be about timing and velocity, too. If enough people on Twitter and Facebook are talking about your company’s product release, blog post or other shiny new thing, will you achieve the golden Google award of auto-real time search? What drives Google to choose which search terms/items get an auto real-time feed? I (obviously) don’t know the algorithm. But I bet it’s got everything to do with velocity and relevance. If Mashable tweets a post, and lots of people retweet it, is that out of the ordinary? Or a “blip” in the search world? Not really. If I tweet a post, and two hundred people retweet it, is THAT out of the ordinary? uh.. yes. Quite. It makes a blip on the search radar. It means something that WASN’T relevant a short time ago (my blog) is now relevant to (proportionally) many more people. Maybe I get my own Google live feed for a bit while people are tweeting, facebooking and commenting on the post. And then it goes away… rather like the auto live-feed for “Tiger Woods Mistress.” Was there… then not. May be again when another “revelation” breaks from someone else.

The point? “Buzz” has another dimension now. Real time matters because it gives the whole world (well, the whole Google-ized world, anyway) a snapshot of what’s important to EVERYONE, right now. Think of it as Twitter trending topics, writ large. Companies need to be ready…

Imagine a major hail storm hits the midwest in the United States. Guess what would suddenly start being very relevant?

“Roofing damage”

“Hail damage”

“local roofing in [city]”

These searches would all gain immediate, non-characteristic, traffic. They would form a blip, and the real time, relevant web will respond with live updates. If you’re a local roofing company, will your tweets/FB page/web site/blog be ready to take advantage of the traffic potential?

What do you see as the dangers? Benefits? Strategies needed? Future? So much to discuss here… looking forward to your thoughts!

UPDATE >> the number of results on Google for “Mandy Vavrinak” has jumped by about 1,500 since I last searched, about a week ago. THAT is what adding results from Facebook and Twitter means…


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16 Responses to “Real Time Relevance – The New SEO”

  1. James Ball December 13, 2009 at 11:21 pm #

    Some great points here Mandy. I posted earlier this week myself about real-time as it relates to social media, etc., and all of this has my mind reeling. I still say this is the beginning of a whole new era for all of us who play an important role in the marketing of others. I am more excited by all of this, rather than frightened, but to go head-long without careful thought toward the impact to us all would be reckless. I appreciate your input here.

    • Mandy Vavrinak December 13, 2009 at 11:35 pm #

      I just finished your post, and perused some of the great links you shared in it. I think your point about this being a whole new era is very true. In your post, you say companies can no longer afford to wait. I think real time search may be the thing that tips the needle for some companies who’ve struggled with seeing bottom line value in social media. They already (in many cases) spend hard $$ on better SERP results. If better use of social media can generate better SERP, now it’s a viable business activity?

  2. Carol Flammer December 13, 2009 at 11:54 pm #

    Real time search will certainly continue to be key. Great points tonight on #blogchat and a great post pointing out the new reality and relevance of all the recent changes.

    We need to reschedule our call!


    • Mandy Vavrinak December 14, 2009 at 12:23 am #

      Yes! We do… definitely want to connect with you. Thanks for stopping by/commenting here… always enjoy our convos on Twitter.

      I think this topic will also push PR to new places as real time starts to replace “collect and reflect” as the measurement metric for PR.

  3. David Spark December 13, 2009 at 11:57 pm #


    I think you’ll be interested in my analyst report I just wrote about real-time search.

    It goes into some great detail about all the opportunities there are.

    • Mandy Vavrinak December 14, 2009 at 12:21 am #

      thanks for sharing, David… yes… I am interested in what you shared. Will be digesting that over the next day or so. 🙂

  4. Sally December 14, 2009 at 2:06 am #

    You don’t have to be a Search Marketing Expert to know what you’re talking about. It’s taking what you know and applying it affectively to get the results you want and are looking for.

    • Mandy Vavrinak December 14, 2009 at 10:01 am #

      I agree… I think the “fields” of SEO and marketing and PR are on a crash course as the relevant web grows.

  5. Maria Reyes-McDavis December 14, 2009 at 6:50 pm #

    This is a great post. Relevancy, connections, and social influence are all becoming an integrated part of SEO (or as I call it SMO – social media optimization). Companies have to now take seriously the impact they will feel (good or bad) in not monitoring this vital part of the web. 🙂 Great chat last night!

    • Mandy Vavrinak December 15, 2009 at 9:00 am #

      I’ve been thinking about relevance and the web for awhile… seems to me to be the future of web and ultimately the reason for existence for connection platforms. What the people I “know” – even if that knowing is strictly digital – recommend to me carries more weight than what Google tells me about. I know my own “search for info” habits have changed radically over the past two years… less Google and more connection-based. More relevant 🙂
      I hope real-time search increases relevance, but I think it may end up muddying both pure search and digital relevance. People may be confused about how and where to find the most relevant (and trustworthy) info. Exciting times we live in!

  6. Matthew Egan December 17, 2009 at 2:14 pm #

    I just worry that all this noise about the “immediacy” or “relevance” in searches will fall short from effecting small and medium sized businesses. How many tweets do you really think that small roofing company is going to get about a product like roofing? Does anyone out there get all excited about shingles? Seriously?

    It creates more SEO power for the powerful, the connected, the large sites that already had the most links, but for the client of the average SEO this change, in my opinion, won’t be as impactful as many of these blogs are saying.

    Real world use vs. assumed value. I doubt even a popular restaurant could trend enough tweets to show up on Google. If you’re not a major event attracting hundreds or thousands of visitors/viewers/attendees you’re going to be overlooked by this new integration.

    How many tweets does it take to get to the gooey center of this new update to Google? How much of the internet does this change actually effect? I’m guessing a lot fewer than everyone is making it seem.

    • Mandy Vavrinak December 17, 2009 at 3:44 pm #


      I think your point about real world versus assumed value is a good one. It’s too soon to tell how real time search integration will play out for large or small businesses, but I’m certain it’s going to grow. I see this as a beginning… It may take a lot to “trigger” real time search right now, but I expect that trigger point to drop, and drop… Until real time, geo-targeted search is the norm.
      And then… When a hailstorm hits the midwest and thousands of people start searching for a roofing company specializing in impact-resistant shingles (trust me, I live in Oklahoma), the savvy small roofing company will be positioned to take best advantage of the customers real-time search can deliver.
      No one gets that excited about shingles… Until they have a leaking roof. 🙂

  7. baltimore web design June 2, 2010 at 9:35 pm #

    how many sites have you visited where you get back to the home page of the site by clicking a big “home” link? Quite a few, I bet. All these sites are missing out on some easy, free keyword optimization. They’re optimizing their home page for “home” when they should be optimizing it for their main keyword. You could change the “home” text to read “seo firm home”, “cake recipes home”, thereby giving yourself a boost for “seo firm” or “cake recipes”.


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