Google's Realtime search service that allows users to find the latest online chatter surrounding various topics is down.

Google’s Realtime search service that allows users to find the latest online chatter surrounding various topics is down. Realtime is no longer one of the available features on the Google homepage, and many attribute this to the company’s expired contract with Twitter.

At press time, searching for Google Realtime produces a 404 error. The search service offered realtime social updates, providing the latest Tweets related to queries. This feature was good for sites that regularly offered fresh content to fuel social conversations, as brands publishing articles on up-to-the-minute news and topics were more likely to be mentioned in the chatter.

Now, Google’s contract with Twitter has expired. The defunct contract gave the search engine access to an exclusive feed, explains Search Engine Land. But if marketers start thinking this means the value of social content for SEO has diminished, they should think again. The source quotes Google as saying:

While we will not have access to this special feed from Twitter, information on Twitter that’s publicly available to our crawlers will still be searchable and discoverable on Google … Our vision is to have include Google+ information along with other realtime data from a variety of sources.

It makes sense that Google would want to pull its recently released Google+ information into its social search feature. Plus, the company had already started adding more social sources to Realtime search to highlight conversations across the web and, perhaps, reduce its dependency on Twitter.

This suggests that marketers will want to continue to offer frequently updated, social-friendly content to insert themselves in the online chatter. Adopting the +1 button might be a good way to encourage Google+ shares. And while Twitter might play less of a role in Google’s social search, the company has stated Tweets will be crawled.

With this in mind, social marketing and Twitter marketing for SEO should hold strong. As Brafton has reported, Google’s Matt Cutts says Tweets can help the search engine find web pages faster and reward the right sources for valuable content.

Katherine Griwert is Brafton's Marketing Director. She's practiced content marketing, SEO and social marketing for over five years, and her enthusiasm for new media has even deeper roots. Katherine holds a degree in American Studies from Boston College, and her writing is featured in a number of web publications.