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April 4, 2010

Google’s Real-Time Search Impact On Small Businesses

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Google recently introduced us to Real Time Search and this has been met with a lot of questions. What Tweets will show up in real time? How will this affect businesses who are, and those who are not, engaging in social media? How will it affect PPC? Where will the searches show up? The biggest question is what impact will this have on small business? Small business owners are met with limited resources and adding any additional hours into their day is nearly impossible. But can a small business ignore real time search?

What is Real Time Search? As per Google

“… new features that bring your search results to life with a dynamic stream of real-time content from across the web. Now, immediately after conducting a search, you can see live updates from people on popular sites like Twitter and FriendFeed, as well as headlines from news and blog posts published just
seconds before. When they are relevant, we’ll rank these latest results to show the freshest information right on the search results page.”

In other words, your tweets from Twitter and new blog articles will be appear as “Latest Results.” The latest results are featured in 2 ways.

  • a. On the search results page below the “News Results” (if there are news results). This appears for very hot topics that are getting a lot of activity.
  • b. The “Show Options” menu: click on “Latest” under All Results and the live search results will appear.

What Does This Mean for Small Businesses?

1. Customer Experience.

Consumers are much more savvy and they are going online for more information. A quick Google search will provide them possibly more information about your company than you might have thought. A business cannot control what a person tweets about. As we see in the example below, tweets are posted when they mention a topic, business name, a name, etc. See:

Image Courtesy of: Lifehacker.com

Most tweets, blog entries and company mentions will show up under “Latest” and not on the main search results page. However, if a consumer wants to see more information about you, they have the option at their fingertips.

2. Reputation Management.

Not every business is on Twitter or has a blog, nor do they necessarily belong. However, ignoring your “Latest” news can present a problem. If a consumer is singing your praises, or worse a bad comment is written and you do not respond, you are adding fuel to the fire. That customer has been given a chance to continuously go on and on about your company/brand whereas the praise singer just got deflated with no feedback from you. Failing to monitor your reputation online could result in some missed opportunities or a poor company image that leads to reduced sales.

3. Spam.

Yes there will be spam because spammers are going to jump on this like ants at a summer picnic. While Google will make every attempt to try and control spam, the current algorithm for posting in real time makes that nearly impossible. How will this affect a small business? Spammers could very well keyword stuff tweets to get ahead and push your company lower on the tweets area. This is going to happen. There is no control right now, but the key is to try and stay ahead of them.

4. Search Engine Optimization.

Will real time search improve page rank? This remains to be seen. Will keyword laden tweets that are tweeted over and over from different accounts and push a company to the top of a searched term make a difference? Will this be seen as spam? Keyword laden tweets will give great results for a specific term, especially for those difficult to rank terms, and even if your company is atop of tweets for a short time, you may reap some rewards.

Real time search is not just the posting of tweets. It also posts company mentions from blog articles. So if your company has a blog, you may want to check out your “Latest” results.

In small business branding we have to consider social media marketing as an extension of your brand in the same way that we do traditional advertising. For some businesses, it is a time of uncertainty. As stated earlier, not every business needs to be on Twitter. A “crickets” account is worse than no account at all. But can you still just ignore the social media community?

The good news here is that, if you are able to squeeze in an extra hour as a small business owner, you can go and see what terms are popular in your industry, see what is being said about you, and see if you need to move full steam ahead in 2010.

Most smal businesses will need to do so because social media marketing has just started to make a big impact and getting in now will make a world of a difference in a year or so.


Suzanne Vara is founder of Kherize5, a Las Vegas advertising & marketing agency for small businesses that creates strong brand images through customized marketing plans in traditional advertising and social media marketing.

15 Responses to “Google’s Real-Time Search Impact On Small Businesses

    avatar Google Real Time Search | Internet Marketing Links says:

    […] on SiteProNews, Suzanne Vara has a nice overview of the changes Google’s RTS will bring and in particular speculates about the impact on small […]

    Thank you for this extensive article on the subject. I read something similar yesterday which made the whole issue somewhat scary, simply because it provided very little information in terms of pros and cons. Rgds Vince

    avatar EM Jackson says:

    AdZzoo.com is the source behind the real time search and has included Facebook. in their ad campaign packages. Your ad for your business not just local geo-targeted ad positions, but demographic positioning as well. It is an add on feature that is available for an extra $50.00 a month. Well worth the money you pay for advertising.

    Nice article…But Google real time search won’t have much emphasis on small business as real time search shows more result about latest trends, topic, news than about a company or brand. If the company or its brand is in trend or related to latest trends then only it’ll show the real time results.

    avatar Oisaeaux says:

    I spend quite a lot of time on the web and as yet I have not come across any twitter / facebook search results on any subject.

    今天文章內容很好,
    thank you

    avatar SpinWeb Studios » Blog Archive » Google’s Real-Time Search Impact On Small Businesses says:

    […] Read More […]

    avatar IM Links says:

    @Oisaeaux – after Google returns the results for your search, click “Show options” then “Latest.”

    I used SMM as atest search and saw a few tweets in there.

    avatar Vera says:

    Huh?! What a ridiculous feature – if you’re the small business who’s being searched for. I can’t imagine spending all day attending to every tweeter who’s just said something about my business. The constant Twitter monitoring would take too much time, and as a small business, I can’t afford to hire someone to do that all day for me.

    I think Google wants to make sure that organic results, which are not directly controlled by website owners, are a threat to a business, rather than a help. In this way, it makes many businesses feel they must pay the maximum to get listed prominently at the top of Google listings. (Dirty Google secret: users tend to distrust those paid listings, anyway.)

    When, in life, has it ever been true that you can control what others say about you? Google just turned into the gossip girl.

    Just one more example of how Google actively pressures business people into paying more and more to be listed there. Psychological warfare…

    avatar best sleeping pills says:

    Valuable thoughts and advices. I read your topic with great interest.

    avatar Suzanne Vara says:

    Website Dev Company

    I agree that it will not have too much of an impact on some of the small biz, your point about if it was a trend then they will show up is the the point. Monitoring what is going on in your industry and staying on top of the trends and contributing is where this helps. Being aware and timely.

    avatar Suzanne Vara says:

    Vince – it does seem scary at first as it feels like so much information will be out there. At the same time it helps to get noticed as staying on top of trends in your industry and positioning yourself to be a part of the those trends helps to get found.

    @SuzanneVara

    avatar Mark - Business Advisory Service says:

    This seems like a positive move for small business but I’m yet to see the results for any of ours. Twitter rarely produces search results and short of googling names I’ve never seen a result from any other social media site.
    Perhaps I’m just googling the wrong things…

    avatar Daniel Jose says:

    Real time search is unique feature that introduce by Google,And nowadays its useful for small business.You explain well.

    今天這篇文章內容有些意見值得參考,
    thank you

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