Webeden Blog Archive Is Real Time the next big thing for Search Engines?

Is Real Time the next big thing for Search Engines?

4 Replies

Archive Digital Marketing

Two of the three big search engines have made announcements this week about new developments in ‘real time’ search.

Real time search has been seen as the next big thing for search engines. Much as it sounds, ‘real time’ search means getting up to the minute results pages – even for articles and posts that have only just been made – rather than a traditional ‘index’ of the web which has been compiled over the last 3 months.

It has been ushered in due to Twitter’s search function which allows you to see what people are Tweeting about right now.

To prevent themselves been left behind in a potentially lucrative market, both Google and Microsoft have developed ‘real time’ additions to their products,

In our ‘Google the innovator‘ series we showed how Google allows you to see if any new instances of a search query have been added in the last 24 hours. Google has also updated its Blog Search, which includes the opportunity to see the latest posts from popular blogs.

And Microsoft’s new search engine ‘Bing’ has just announced a trial that means that the latest Tweets from a few high profile users will be instantly displayed in the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs).

But how useful is real time search to us consumers? Do we really care if someone has just Tweeted about the subject that we’re searching for – will that really make any difference to us?

It probably depends on the sorts of things that you’re searching for. If you want to know the latest developments in Michael Jackson saga, then (as we showed last week) its pretty important to have instantly available results. But if you’re researching a place to go on holiday, then it’s not going to be quite as necessary.

One problem with real time search is its inaccuracy. Web pages with true and accurate information are often linked to by other web pages. These links – amoung other things – ensure that those pages rank well in the results pages. As a consequence, more people see these accurate pages. It’s a positive feedback loop.

Whereas a 140 character Tweet is at the other end of the scale. Apart from being unverified, it might be a joke, a rumour re-tweeted. If other people then search for and find that Tweet in the SERPs, and then subsequently find it to be untrue, then those people will loose faith in that search engine’s ability to return accurate results.

So maybe Google has got the balance right with this one. Bing has no way of knowing how accurate the Tweets in their SERPs are. Whereas blogs – which by their very nature are a bit more accurate and more thought out that Tweets – might be a good way to capture that ‘real time’ essence without compromising accuracy.

What do you think? Would real time SERPs help you promote your website? Do you as a user want to see Tweets in the SERPs? Leave us a comment below.

  • http://www.buteweddings.webeden.co.uk Alison Cross

    I guess that it will get your website details out there from the word go, rather than rely on the index. Might have guessed that Twitter had something to do with this *grin*.

    Actually, I am just reading a book called Twitter Power by Joel Comm.

    It’s amazing what can be tweeted right back at you after some ponderous tweet that you make yourself…..

    But tweets are not reliable sources of information – check out the trending topics, for example, and see what utter bloomin’ rubbish gets wittered – what was it last week Ted Danson or Billy Crystal had died (no – they hadn’t) but it still trended for ages.

    Indexing probably is more reliable, as you say, but we have an insatiable need for stuff NOW. So, who knows – sacrifice quality for speed?


  • admin

    I’m always amazed at the sheer number of Tweets some people get through – don’t they have anything else to do!!!


  • http://www.buteweddings.webeden.co.uk Alison Cross

    Exactly – and most of them are banal rubbish!

    You can use Twitter two ways, I think. Entirely impersonally where you just make polite responses but never deviate from your goal which is to drive people up to your website/forum/blog/shop. Or, personally, where the person who does the twittering interacts with their new friends and becomes a ‘personality’.

    For me, well, for TABI, the second element works – mainly because, I think, most Tarotists are women and women like to talk and exchange confidences. People get to see what our community is like, chat wise, and many sign up with us.

    The former approach – just keep posting snippets and drive folks to the website or forum – didn’t work for us.

    Now – would I like my informal TABI tweets to represent my organisation? No. They serve their purpose on Twitter, but when I’ve got my Chairman’s hat on in the organisation, I want people to see that we’re a hard-working, ethical bunch of people who are striving to create community and raise standards in a much-maligned field.

    I am caught between a rock and a very hard place :-D


  • admin

    That sounds like a difficult balance to master.

    Actually what you’re saying about being more personal on Twitter is a good message. I think that I am a bit guilty of just promoting either the latest blog post, or trying to sell what we do.

    When I’m doing some support on there it feels a lot better – kind of what Twitter is really meant for. So I think thats good advice – and I am going to be a bit more of a person in future!