Archive for December, 2009
If you’ve used Google this week, you may have noticed a “Latest results” section where content is delivered in a dynamic stream. These are real-time updates pulled from various sources, including social media and news sites.
There’s a scroll bar — you can move it up or down to see more items, and if you click the “Latest results” header link, or click “Latest” in the left-hand search options menu, you’ll get a full page of up-to-the-minute results.
The new real-time feature is in response to growing public desire for instant up-to-the minute information; and by the popularity of Twitter, in particular. There’s even a joke going around that if you haven’t heard about something on Twitter, then it hasn’t happened yet.
Google is following the trend.
Millions of changes a day
Earlier this week Google’s blog featured a post titled Relevance meets the real-time web, which explains the how and why of its entry into real-time search.
The company touts its accomplishment, which we are told, is:
“based on more than a dozen new search technologies that enable us to monitor more than a billion documents and process hundreds of millions of real-time changes each day.”
Sounds like a heck of a lot processing, but then, Google’s business is based on crunching billions of bits of information on a regular basis — as of June of this year its engine was estimated to receive 304 million searches per day.
Of course, the results returned for those searches were based on a lag-time between when a piece of information first hits the web and when it gets indexed. If you searched for a specific term on one day, and then a week later, the results were often similar.
As of December 7, with real-time search, Google tells us:
“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.”
What defines relevancy?
The algorithm for Google’s search engine is tip-top secret (sort of), not to mention constantly changing. However, it is commonly understood that if others think you are worthy — say by linking to your website, or your link in search results gets lots of clicks/traffic — this can help raise your rank in the search engine results page. And yes, there’s more to it and that I am way over-simplifying, still, the gist is that indicators of quality and/or popularity matter.
With real-time flow of information it’s challenging to ascertain what’s deemed good quality. Sure you’ve got retweets, tags, bookmarks and social news sites that can infer a degree of popularity (which is not the same as quality, to be sure). There’s also authority of domain to go by. Regardless, the concept of relevance is harder to pin down when messages are pumping out at a furious pace.
For instance, a search for “obama” on the day President Barack Obama personally received the Nobel Peace Prize, you get real-time results like this:
Whatever the result, it moves by fast. If one item offends, or is of little interest, count to three and something new comes into view.
It’s an intriguing way to measure the popular zeitgeist.
And if nothing else, Google’s real-time search results prove that what’s news can merely mean what’s new, and what’s relevant is all relative.
- Deni Kasrel
What are your thoughts on real-time search? Does it really improve the search experience? Comments welcome.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
Guest post by: Steve Hartkopf | Read his blog
If you blog, then you know that generating traffic takes constant promotion, especially in the beginning. My blog readership is up nicely this year and it isn’t an accident — I work hard.
I believe bloggers earn every one of their readers. That said, I’m always searching for new ways to attract more readers. This post is about how that very common goal led me down an unexpected path.
The path between my pragmatic readership goal and what I’m now calling, The Boob Trial, requires some background.
It’s no surprise, especially to those of you who have teenage boys, that words associated with sex and the female anatomy are highly (Highly!) searched on the Internet. I mixed those two facts and, whammo, The Boob Trial was born.
Joanna Krupa is a famous bikini model and recent contestant on Dancing With The Stars, which is where I was introduced to her. When she was (unjustly) eliminated last week, she handled it with maturity and poise. Her fans, however, did not. They sent emails and posted comments about Joanna’s treatment, they acted like boobs. I took the liberty of naming them, Joanna Krupa’s boobs. My November, 23 blog, “Bloggers, Don’t Act Like Joanna Krupa’s Boobs,” was written to coach my fellow bloggers using Joanna as an example.
I just wanted them to redirect their energies and stop whining about how hard it is to find an audience. If you’re a great writer it may be “unfair” that you can’t generate an audience. Who knows? But whining is not the cure or the solution to your problem. The solution, as it is in most of life, is hard work. OK, so I had a little fun with boobs. Hey, you know what I mean.
The boob test
Good tests have limited variables so I abandoned my usual promotional activities and only posted a few Tweets. I do a lot more promoting for most of my blog entries, but this was my version of a Mammogram, a boob test. The results were probably predictable but hilarious, nonetheless.
To determine the impact of boobs I needed some numbers, so I calculated my average pageviews, bounce rates and visitor duration for the prior three months and they became my baseline, my average day. Here are the results:
- “Boobs” increased my pageviews 331%. 331%!
- My bounce rate, which refers to the number of people who view one page and leave, went up 340%. That’s bad because it means virtually none of my new visitors stuck around to peruse my site. One and done, baby.
- The average length of time spent on my site is about 4:00 minutes but I’ve had visitors hang around for a half an hour. Not Monday. The average visit was under 30 seconds. Apparently my new visitors aren’t big readers. No pics, no sticks.
More than meets the eye?
I’m always very grateful when anyone takes the time to read my blog, leave a comment or send an email. So I want all my loyal readers to know that I don’t ever plan on using such tactics again.
However, if it weren’t for my little experiment, would Deni have asked me to write a guest blog? So maybe suspending my better judgment wasn’t a bad idea? Maybe there’s more here than meets the eye? I wonder what Heidi Klum is up to?
Steve Hartkopf, is the founder and managing partner of Aligned Marketing, LLC a marketing consulting and technology solutions provider. Steve’s insights and clear communication cut through the noise to increase sales, improve profitability and lower costs.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )