07 May 2010

0 Google Universal Search & Real Time Search – What Are They?

Recently I’ve spoken to a few clients who have had questions about Google’s Universal Search and Real Time Search. With all the new features and applications that Google has recently rolled out it can easily get confusing as to what each feature does, and, more importantly, how it will affect your internet marketing strategies.

Universal Search
Google’s new Universal Search incorporates listings from its news, local, images, videos, book and blog search engine results into it standard organic website search listings. Now when you do a search on Google you may see results from more than one of these areas along with the regular website listings. Think of this as Google’s way of cutting back on the clicks necessary to find what the searcher may be looking for.

Below is an example search I did for Cosmetic Surgery. Instead of only seeing listings for websites, Google has incorporated news results, local businesses, blog posts and book results along with the regular website results!

Real Time Search
Google’s new Real Time Search automatically pulls in new results as they happen. These results are displayed in a “Latest results” area. The feed will constantly stream new results while the user is viewing their search results. Results are pulled from Twitter, Facebook, Google’s News and Blog searches, new web pages, recently updated web pages, MySpace updates, Google Buzz and a number of other social networking sites.

However, the Real Time Search feature will not always appear in your search results. For the Latest Results section to appear there must be a real-time component to the search topic. If Google recognizes a sudden spike in queries or information for a certain topic, then this section will be activated. The results are ranked by time, site authority and relevancy to the topic.

For example, on the day I did this search Jason Elam had just announced his retirement from the Denver Broncos. Since this is a significantly newsworthy topic (especially if you are in the Denver area like I am) the Real Time Search feature appeared in the results (see below for example). It continued to scroll new results as they were generated and pulled in. When I searched for Jason Elam today, the Real Time Search feature no longer appears since there is no longer a relevant buzzworthy topic related to him.

What Does It Mean For Your Business?
With both of these new features you have an opportunity to gain more significantly more exposure for your business. Want to increase your chances in showing up in the Real Time Search? Then, if there is a specific topic that is gaining considerable attention in your industry, regional area, etc. discuss it in on your social networking sites, such as Facebook and Twitter, or write a blog about it. If your blog and social accounts continually have content relevant to your industry, it’s very likely that each is already acknowledged by the search engines as being focused on specific topics concerning your industry. Continue to post relevant topics on a regular basis, build your authority and utilize that to your advantage.

Google’s Universal Search also opens up plenty of new opportunities for increasing your business’s online exposure. This search silos information from multiple search areas. Not only could your website appear in the search listings, but your business’s videos, images, news, blogs, local listing and social networking pages could also appear! You can easily increase your chances of being found by utilizing these different areas. Have business videos? Post them on YouTube. Have a blog? Register it with the blog search engines. Also, consider how you name the images on your website and what keywords are in their tags. You can further increase your exposure by verifying and optimizing your local business listing, as well as developing a social networking presence.

Below is an example of a search I did for one of my clients, Dr. Terry Bass a cosmetic dentist in Oklahoma City. Not only does his website appear in the organic listings on the first page, but so do his Facebook page and his YouTube videos!
With the one stop shopping method that Google has embraced your business isn’t limited to being found only through its website anymore. Consider expanding your business’s existing online marketing presence and exploring new areas to increase traffic and exposure. After all, the first step in connecting with your customers is to be found!


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