If you ask anyone who’s keeping their eyes on developments online what the next big development is, odds are the conversation will sooner or later include the term “the real-time web.” If you’re unfamiliar with the term, it’s meant to encompass the perception that conversations on the web are happening even faster than search engine spiders can index them. Instead the real-time web is about not falling farther behind than the last five seconds.
Search on the real-time web is of particular importance to marketers since, with conversations spreading faster than ever before, we need to know who’s talking about the brands we’re managing immediately and not whenever an email alert is scheduled to be delivered.
It’s all well and good to know what the conversation is on micro-blogs and status networks. But with so many of those status updates and short posts including links to blog posts and news stories it’s going to be increasingly important that the search functionality on those networks go deep into those links so that, if we’re monitoring a keyword or phrase, we can see who’s linking to stories containing that phrase even if they don’t include it in their update.
The necessity for deep-link search is massive. If a marketer has a keyword search setup on Twitter, Delicious or any other service that people use to pass on news and updates, it’s largely only as valuable as what people decide to type. But a search by those networks won’t turn up instances of people linking to a negative or otherwise important article or post if all their update contains is “OMG!: (link).” That’s not useful. People monitoring for a topic need to see what’s beyond that link since that’s the only place that keyword is mentioned.
When deep-link search capabilities are added to the tools that are powering the real-time web it becomes much more fully useful to anyone looking to mine the conversations there for information, whether they be a consumer looking for product reviews or marketers needing to keep an eye on a brand’s online reputation.