Live from Pubcon South: How Search and Social Media Intersect

By Janet Driscoll Miller | Apr 14, 2010
More Articles by Janet

The next session of the day focused on how search and social media intersect and also focused on real-time search. The panel featured Rob Garner of iCrossing, Marc Purtell of, Rebecca Murtagh of Karner Blue Marketing and Alison Driscoll.

Rob Garner

First up was Rob Garner of iCrossing. He opened by asking “What is the big deal about real-time search?” He said it’s a bit of a different animal than what we’ve seen in the past, and it requires a perfect storm between the crawled sites and social elements.

Rob said there’s more to real-time than just tweets. Some other things going on now that are important in search include forums, blog posts, comments on blog posts, web pages, feeds and microformatted data. Twitter, of course, can’t be beat for real-time streams. But as an aggregator of all types, Google is the leader.

Rob said that “Recency” is the new “Relevancy”. How quickly did it happen? Recency impacts a major segment of all search queries. One recent study said that up to 40% of all queries have some sort of real-time intent, although Rob said that is likely closer to 20-40%. And some keywords are better suited to real-time search than traditional web pages. For example, “hotel deals” and “coupons” require recency.

He shared some examples, like “hotel deals”. Google resulted in valid coupons in the top ten — ones generated in the last 30 days. Much more recent results.

Image representing OneRiot as depicted in Crun...Image via CrunchBase

When you have social profiles, apply the same parallels as you would in regular SEO efforts for web pages. If you want predictive keyword planning, look at your keyword space and plan accordingly. For example, today, you might prepare for “tax deductions”. You can also use Google Hot Trends for real-tie keyword planning.

Image representing Wowd as depicted in CrunchBaseImage via CrunchBase

Rob mentioned OneRiot, a tool that aggregates citations from multiple social sources. Wowd, another tool, shows the most popular pages users are viewing right now. If you type in a query on Wowd, you’ll see real-time page shifting as views change by users. Rob also showed Google’s Forum “Discussions” search and Google Alerts as other useful tools. He also touched on Google Top Links, which launched yesterday.

Rob then shifted discussion around “marketing in the moment”. The web is evolving into a real-time, networked, sympatic environment. Think of it as a tipping point in time: It’s not about the social networks, but that a society is becoming networked.

Rob’s simple truths:

  • A brand’s identity must embody the spirit of the audience.
  • Brands are now publishers.
  • As a brand, you are what is published about you.
  • It is a brand’s obligation to listen and act on the data that is provided and available.
  • Your organization and audience are your primary networks.
  • It takes a lot of preparation and strategic vision to act in this marketing environment.

Alison Driscoll

Next up was Allison Driscoll who focused on Facebook specifically. Facebook pages has more potential to repurpose content on Facebook. You can also add applications to make your page more interactive. Most importantly Notes and Links are important for SEO, like for pulling in your blog posts.

Provide exclusive Facebook content to get them to come back and revisit the page often. Just like you apply SEO principles for your web pages, apply them to your Facebook page so you can come up in Facebook search. Have scanable, readable content on your page.

Allison brought up a good point about misspellings of your brand name, like TJMaxx. Think about how to treat “TJ Maxx” and “T J Maxx” as well.


  • Set up a Facebook page.
  • Get your vanity URL in Facebook.
  • Install FBML to customize page.
  • Optimize static content on the left hand wall and info tab.
  • Pull in optimized content from other sources.
  • Offer exclusive content to fans.
  • Promote page with other online/offline initiatives.

Rebecca Murtagh

Next up was Rebecca Murtagh. Rebecca discussed the relationship between social media and search. Rebecca emphasized that the relationship between search and social media is real. Remember: There is a human being behind the device! Engage – have conversations.

Why does everyone struggle with social media? Remember we’re communicating with humans. Get that social perspective.

Mechanics are not enough:

  • Static is not attractive to search
  • Strategy is key to effectiveness
  • Brand/keywords
  • Updates: balance conversation and social media optimization updates
  • Testing/analytics

Social media platforms are not equal when it comes to search:

  • The landscape evolves every day.
  • Profiles and updates are treated differently.
  • A presence on all relevant social platforms is prudent for long term.
  • SMO (social media optimization) of profile updates is key!

If you don’t have a Google Profile, Rebecca said that a Google Profile will, at minimum, put you at #10 on the first page of Google. Rebecca incorrectly said, however, that Google Profiles are not for brands, but individuals. There actually are company Google Profiles — even Search Mojo has one. 🙂

Marc Purtell

Finally was Marc Purtell. Mark’s tips:

  • Fully fill out the profile in Twitter and put in links to your site
  • Target 2-3 keywords per YouTube video in your profile and descriptions
  • Create a YouTube channel
  • Comment and subscribe to others in YouTube
  • Add captions and subtitles to your YouTube videos
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