Successful Blogging in the Real Time Search World

by Brad Shorr January 13th, 2010 

In the old days (2008, for instance) if I wanted to know what was going on with, say, real time search, I'd just Google the term. But today, I might check it out on Twitter Search to see who's tweeting on the topic.

Real Time Search Results from Twitter

Or, if I want to see a little broader view of what's hot on that topic, I could visit Topsy -

Real Time Search Results from Topsy

Or, if I wanted an even broader look at more online media sites, I could visit Collecta -

Real Time Search Results from Collecta

Twitter Search, Topsy, and Collecta are all part of the real time search phenomenon – "real time" search engines that return results from various social media databases on what's being said right now about a given topic.

Real time search has all bloggers thinking – and some worrying. Everybody knows that a well optimized blog will dramatically improve a site's search performance on Google. But what if nobody is using Google anymore? What if the herd stampedes to Topsy and Collecta?

Google itself is rapidly adapting its services to a real time search world. For instance, it recently launched its own URL shortening service, which allows bloggers to automatically deliver blog content to social media (Twitter only as of this writing) through Feedburner.

How Important Is Real Time Search for Business Bloggers?

happy man

Still, not every searcher is looking for the latest results. Much of the time longevity is more important than recency. For instance – if I'm looking for a compensation consultant, I want someone who's established, with a long track record of outstanding performance, not the consultant who happened to be retweeted five minutes ago. An old fashioned Google search makes more sense than scouring Twitter. If I'm looking for a residential realtor, I'll probably start with Google or "traditional" local search engines and community sites.

The way I see it, real time search is an opportunity for bloggers to bring in a new pool of readers and potential customers. For now, the majority will continue to use traditional search engines. The experimenters, the folks who are swimming in social media – these are the people who bloggers can reach through the real time search tools. And bloggers should reach: these folks tend to be influencers and decision makers.

How Business Bloggers Can Capitalize on Real Time Search

With that in mind, here are a few things business bloggers can do to bring qualified traffic to their sites through real time search engines.

Add topical posts to your editorial calendar. Many business bloggers write about "timeless" topics such as case studies, product/service benefits, etc. Look hard for a newsworthy angle. Does your business tie in with the Super Bowl in some way? Have you done work for a client that's now making headlines?

Report your own news. Your blog and online press releases are ideal platforms to spread the word, yet I believe they are seriously underused for reporting news. When people spot news on a news directory site or on your blog, they're tempted to Tweet it, throw it into a LinkedIn Group discussion, or link to it on their Facebook News Feed.

For topical posts, go frequent and short. Staying visible on the real time search radar takes a sustained effort. So, instead of a single post tied to the Super Bowl, make it a series of 5 short posts.

Get on Twitter, for gosh sakes. I've had tremendous success bringing readers to my own site – and client sites – by tweeting blog post links. By using keywords intelligently, you'll be found for any number of relevant real time searches. Facebook, LinkedIn, and other social media content databases also have enormous potential for driving traffic, but right now, Twitter is the big dog. If you're not there, you're not anywhere, unless …

Pay attention to your analytics.Macro trends in search behavior theory are interesting and worth considering, but nothing succeeds like success. See where your referred traffic is coming from, and factor that strongly into your search marketing strategy going forward. To my surprise, some clients are cleaning up on Facebook but can't get any traction on Twitter. Caution: tracking referrals on Google Analytics is tricky because of the rampant use of all the different URL shorteners. I like using HootSuite, a popular web based Twitter interface, because it's internal tracking system does a pretty good job of reporting traffic.

One constant: Relevant and engaging blog content is crucial for success in real time or traditional search. Snappy headlines and clever angles may get you some immediate attention, but that's never enough for sustained prominence on any type of search engine.
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Brad Shorr lives in the Chicago area and is president of Word Sell, Inc. helps organizations strengthen their online presence with business blogs,content strategy, and SEO copywriting. From time to time he writes business cartoons.

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Brad Shorr

Brad Shorr is Director of Content and Social Media for Straight North, a Chicago Web development agency. The agency specializes in B2B, with clients in industries such as flame resistant clothing and performance measurement tools.

Chicago Web development agency

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9 Responses to “Successful Blogging in the Real Time Search World”

  1. Steve says:

    Google is definite stepping up its realtime indexing. I have a Google alert set up for my name (vanity!) and I used to get one or maybe two alerts a month.

    Recently I've been getting one alert per day containing multiple links so Google seem to be indexing much more often and more widely than they used to do.

  2. Moreno says:

    Hi Brad,

    I have noticed this real time Twitter search as well. It is kind of a useful idea. I have heard some good and bad things about it. Regardless it has shown useful in getting real time news out.

    For example the Haiti earthquake has been all over Twitter and they are getting releif faster than probably ever before. I like the idea of connecting with people real time throughout the world.

    So basically what you are saying in this post is right now.
    .-= Moreno recently posted: Best Of Ben Moreno dot net 2009 Plus 2010 Resolutions =-.

    • Brad Shorr says:

      Hi Moreno, It's terrible that the best way to illustrate the point is with the example of Haiti, but you are right. The real strength of real time search is when we are in crisis mode or whenever the need for information is immediate. I can't recall seeing a relief effort ramp up as quickly as this, and in the future the efforts will no doubt be faster yet and more organized. That's one piece of good news in these bad circumstances.

  3. Steve says:

    For the last two days I've received 2 batches of Google alerts per day – maybe it's working a little too well ;-)

    Real time has definitely reached the point where it can affect situations as they happen where before search could only report what had happened now real time can change what is happening.

  4. [...] week I did a guest post on Search Engine People – thank you, Ruud Hein. The post is called Successful Blogging in the Real Time Search World. Times they are a-changing! No rest for the wicked, or for bloggers – we have to keep [...]

  5. What fabulous advice, Brad!

    I'm somewhat embarrassed to admit that I haven't yet taken the Twitter plunge! Really must do that soon! It just seems there's always so much else happening–and so many other things vying for my time and attention–that I never seem to get around to learning another whole social media platform. Will simply have to go for it one of these days–and soon!

    Being topical and up-to-the-minute really is important. I was just thinking earlier today about how a blog should include both newsworthy and evergreen content to take advantage of all that a blog has to offer.

    Sorry I didn't have time to comment the first time I read this post!

  6. Brad Shorr says:

    Hi Jeanne, Always good to hear from you, whatever the timing. Yes, you should explore Twitter. Besides the fact I think you'd enjoy connecting with people in that medium, Twitter would no doubt help your business by opening up new relationships and solidifying current ones. The SEO aspects of social media are just the beginning.

  7. I've no doubt you're right, Brad! Will definitely have to think over my social media strategy and work on getting as much as I can from it.