On The Impact Of Personalization And Real-Time Search

It may no longer be news in a world of "in the moment" content distribution, but in the wake of Google's announcements on real-time search and personalization this week, SEO is taking a major turn for those looking to stay successful for the long term.


The good news for marketers is that there are many crossover points between the two to be addressed, points that will not only be helpful to maintaining visibility in search, but are also deeply connected to an overarching social and digital strategy as well.  While there are many nuances of personalization and real time to be covered in its impact to SEO, I think it is important right now to look at the big picture in moving towards a long-term search strategy. 

Stay on course; sustainable SEO is still the foundation. To achieve continued success in real-time and personalized search, a sustainable optimization approach is still in order. This means that indexability, crawlability, content, keyword research, and many other search basics will continue to serve as a cornerstone for SEO.



You can have the best research, social programs and execution in the world, but the bottom line is that engines are still not at a point where they can semantically deliver results in a way that is separate from basic search optimization principles.  Ignoring basic SEO is a set-up for failure, even in a personalized and real-time environment.

I'm also of the mind that personalization and real-time search serves as a major opportunity for enterprise marketers who fully understand the implications of Google's latest innovations. Seasoned SEOs have long gotten over complaining about changes in the engines, and instead start thinking about how to adapt to new approaches.  For both personalization and real time, the following points just received much more weight in a sound, long-term search and digital marketing strategy:

Content publishing: Marketers must now accept the fact that they are in the publishing business. Creating highly engaging content on a frequent basis will help marketers gain the most from the search channel, in addition to direct visitors and social networks. 

Engagement: Because much of the new Google framework is driven by social network signals, marketers must clearly understand their target audience, and keep them highly engaged. The bottom line is that engaging content translates to higher network visibility, and this translates to higher search visibility and traffic. 

Market research: The importance of guessing the intent of various keywords is rapidly diminishing as it relates to personalization and real-time search.  Enterprise marketers must place research at the forefront of their search strategy. This means that deep analysis into audience behavior must be conducted via interviews, focus groups and studying search behavior. Analysis should be applied and mirrored in social, content, search, mobile, and Web development strategies in a connected way.

Network distribution: We talked a lot about this aspect on the Search and Social panel at MediaPost's Search Insider Summit last week. The promotion and distribution of content in social networks is also critical, and ultimately allows for content to quickly spread to like-minded audiences, in a way that benefits both search and social. In some ways, this could be described as the "earned" counterpart to paid content distribution via syndicated news networks, and is particularly important in building links and other external signals.

Social media: Because of the increased importance of network distribution, a higher understanding of engaging in networks and social media should be a key element of a connected search and digital strategy.

It is also worth noting that while these changes may radically alter the search results for certain types of queries, many keywords might see little or no impact in both real time and personalization, at least in the short term.  So as with other major changes in Google, it is important to step back and monitor the impact of both the short- and long-term effects, and get ready to start thinking of a new approach for maintaining and growing what you already have. 

1 comment about "On The Impact Of Personalization And Real-Time Search".
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  1. Tom Shivers from Capture Commerce, December 10, 2009 at 8:33 a.m.

    "The bottom line is that engaging content translates to higher network visibility, and this translates to higher search visibility and traffic."

    I've put together a list of business market resources to help marketers understand and engage their target audience(s):

    Review it, use it, add to it.

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