Have you heard of BackType? BackType is a real time search engine that indexes "online conversations from across the web in real-time, so you can see what people are saying about topics that interest you." It’s a very valuable tool for social media marketing and link building, and I’ve been using it a lot lately.
What is Real Time Search?
Real time search is a phrase that’s been used to capture this idea that information is being shared on the Internet so quickly, that you really need to be able to search what’s being said about a particular topic right this minute. Traditionally, search engines take a lot of time to send out their robots to crawl a site and bring back the results. But this isn’t the case with real time search. With real time search, we need to know what was said 2 minutes ago on a particular topic.
Why is Real Time Search Important?
Real time search gives you the ability to observe and/or take part in an ongoing conversation that really has no end. If you’re involved in a particular niche, the benefits can be enormous. These might include:
- Keeping up-to-date on your industry and competitors
- Getting feedback about what people like or don’t like about a product or service
- Receiving insights and ideas for product creation or improvement
- Informing potential customers about your product or service as a solution to their problems
- Contributing your voice to the conversation (and possible backlinks to your company)
- Gauging the importance of a particular topic within your audience
- Providing ideas for blog posts and collaboration with others in your field
Why I Like BackType
To me, real time search isn’t just about Twitter. There are conversations happening all over the web across multiple social networks and individual blogs, and they’re an important part of our social media marketing. With that in mind, I’ve been using BackType because it pulls results from many places (not just Twitter). I also like the way their results are laid out. Try BackType’s Real Time Search for yourself. The layout includes the title of the article, where the article was posted, how long ago it was posted, excerpts of the conversation below that, and a comment count at the bottom. If I want to see the Twitter chatter, I can see the most recent Tweets on the right, and those update in real time. When new post results come in, a notice appears at the top of the screen and I can click there to choose to update the page with the most recent conversations on platforms other than Twitter. BackType also has alerts. And these are great because they’ll notify you whenever a term is mentioned in a comment.
Another great feature is the ability to track your conversations across multiple platforms. By signing up for an account, and providing your social media usernames, BackType will help you claim your comments. Chris Brogan is a big user of the service. Just click his name to see an example of a BackType profile and comments. You can see his comments, where he commented, and you can even follow him so you can participate in all the conversations he’s participating in. Just don’t tell him I told you to do that…
Are There Other Real Time Search Options?
Of course. These include Google search options, Bing Tweets, Twitter search, FriendFeed advanced search, Scoopler, and a host of 3rd party Twitter apps I won’t even mention. But BackType has some unique value compared to other real time search providers, and their service and offerings will only get better as more people use them. So check ’em out.
What are you using for real time search and why? Leave it in a comment below.