Real-Time Search Results: Another Compelling Reason for Franchise Companies to Embrace Social Media

Social Media Blueprint – Making the Most of Social Search (as posted on SmartBrief on Social Media)

If social media was not on your company’s marketing radar three months ago, recent developments in search have most likely changed that. Social media is now intertwined with search like never before, providing a uniquely tangible business case to marketers deliberating on the benefits of social-marketing efforts.

This special report is designed to help you keep up with those changes and learn how others are successfully adapting to cutting-edge technology.

The future of social search with AOL’s Simon Heseltine

Simon Heseltine is the senior marketing manager at AOL. He is responsible for all SEO efforts across AOL’s FanHouse (sports) and News properties. Here’s an abridged version of his conversation with SmartBrief’s Rob Birgfled on the effects social search is having on SEO efforts.

How would you define social search? How does it differ from algorithmic search? What are the benefits of human qualities in search engine input?

The basic difference is that with social search, you’re using humans and human behavior, through tagging, re-tweeting, voting, etc., to assist with the order of the search results. As for whether pure algorithmic search is better than socially adjusted search, look at what Google’s been doing for a while now: For a video to be ranked, they look at views, comments and rankings (among other factors). That is socially adjusted search.

What has happened over the last six months that changes the search equation? What should businesses do to keep pace?

In December, you started to see real-time news streams and Twitter streams for breaking news stories showing up in the search results. In my opinion, they can be a bit distracting, but if they’re improving click-through rates, they’re going to stay, and if they’re not, the search engine will move them out for the next big idea to be trialed.

Where is search going, in your opinion? Given these developments, is search becoming more important to businesses?

I had the pleasure of moderating the “Future of Search” panel at SES Chicago, and what I got from that panel is that there’s a lot of opportunity in mobile, especially with all of the functionality that’s available in today’s smartphones (I just upgraded to a Droid last week, and I’m quite frankly amazed at what can now be done, and the possibilities). I think there’s also going to be a lot more integration of social factors within search, so if your business isn’t looking beyond the “10 blue links,” you should, because your customers are.

Read the full interview on SmartBlog on Social Media.

Recent poll results regarding real-time search results and social media activity…

Now that search engines are including real-time results from Twitter, Facebook, etc., are you paying more attention to what you are sharing/saying?

Not at all. 37.97%
Definitely. 29.11%
Does it even matter? 16.88%
Taking a little more time. 16.03%

Has the integration of social media into traditional search changed your online-marketing strategy in the past six months?

Yes. 44.22%
Still trying to figure out what the changes mean. 27.21%
No. 24.49%
What’s social search? 4.08%

One thought on “Real-Time Search Results: Another Compelling Reason for Franchise Companies to Embrace Social Media

  1. It really is amazing where we’ve come from and where we are going. The power of these search engines is incredible and business owners not paying attention to them are going to be left wondering what happened. A large portion of people no longer use the yellow pages to look up a business. Not when they can type in a few words on the computer or cell phone and pop up what they need.

    And now, with the power of search engines indexing in real time (or near to it), it is imperative to be active on the internet.

    Thanks for posting the link to this. Good stuff.

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