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As Search Behavior Evolves, So Must Search Strategy

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Creative Commons License photo credit: Jermz Photography

While it’s obvious that the web is no longer a one-way communication process, it’s less clear where consumers will end up looking for information, with so many more options available than ever before. YouTube, Facebook, Forums, Blogs, AND search engines. Laptops, desktops, mobile devices, home entertainment centers and maybe even your toaster.

“Nothing in search marketing is as certain as change. Ten years ago Google did not exist – now it’s a verb that means searching on the Web.”

The SES San Jose session: “Beyond Googling: Where Will Your Customers Be Searching in Five Years?” looked to address these questions and showcase opportunities.

Moderated by John Marshall, on the SES Advisory Board & CTO of Market Motive this session features thought leaders from across the search engine marketing industry.

Dixon Jones, Managing Director at Receptional LTD kicked off the session (Hello America!). [Dixon just took over the marketing for Majestic SEO - worth taking a look at]

Do you doubt life after Google?

  • Facebook is generating more inbound links than Google. Twitter is also on the rise. Change is coming.
  • Check out Majestic SEO’s inbound link graph and Compete.com numbers for unique visitors amongst Google, Facebook, Twitter and MySpace. The gap between sites is shrinking.

Trust/Convenience Contract

  • Searching Google is not really a free transaction – you’re giving up time, privacy, trust in result effectiveness. There just has not been a better alternative.
  • So what is the alternative? The presentation of information on the web is changing. Social news, networks and blogs change the way we can find information.

How “Personal” will marketing get?

  • Regardless of the method people use, online properties (search engines and social sites) are tracking user behavior through a range of services and platforms (Chrome, Hitwise, YouTube etc) in order to provide more effective and personalized experiences.

Dixon showcases how Brian Featherstonhaugh believes we are changing the way we market (4 P’s to 4 E’s). See my post this morning for more information on this marketing transition.

Anne F. Kennedy, member of the SES Advisory Board and Partner & Founder of Beyond Ink is up next, talking about the future of video in online marketing.

Nokia N97 - Open
Creative Commons License photo credit: William Hook

  • Anne gets excited about “convergence” and shows examples to convince us that this is a priority.
  • Search engine use is flattening while shopping sites, social networking and videocasts are being used in greater frequency
  • Where do searchers go for information? 88% of respondents in the US indicate that TV (video) has the most impact; however TV advertising is flat
  • Internet video is getting bigger and the screens are getting smaller (making it more convenient)
  • Better television is available online with sites like Hulu, YouTube is offering premium content (a recent change), and you cannot forget mobile video uploads (QW)
  • Small screen video could be the next big thing in search – you’re always connected, it’s ready at hand with improved video quality

Anne show’s an example of a concrete company’s [A CONCRETE COMPANY!] video strategy on YouTube has generated 1 million views over a 2 year period. Their DIY searches can be found in traditional search results.

Pauline Ores, on the SES Advisory Board & Senior Marketing Manager, Social Media Engagement for IBM Corporation is up next, talking about the “Deep Web”

Pauline only has one slide and wanted to talk more to the audience instead [good for the audience, bad for me].

Key insights for what she believes will be upcoming:

  • The majority of data/content is not crawled by search engines
  • Next generation will do more than add to an existing model
  • Must understand intent, reflect current events and support insight creation.

What does this mean? Companies like IBM are beginning to realize their sitting on a gold mine of data that can be used for business insights and marketing strategies going forward.

Finally, Frank Watson, CEO of Kangamurra Media is up.

Twitter

Frank asked the audience: do we have people here from Google? [one person raises their hand - yikes!]

Watson believe Google is the lazy man’s method for searching. Enter Twitter. Information, news and images are being shared in real time. Twitter is becoming a trusted communication source.

We’re simply used to Google but there are more options than ever before. “Twitter has the ball rolling”. Twitter is being integrated into tools, applications and sites themselves [Example: the landing page for this conference]

The only way to stop Twitter? Google needs to buy them. [I think he was joking] Why? Twitter provides real-time search, local alerts, immediate response, advice and customer service. Google cannot do this [at least not yet]

How can search engine marketers leverage Twitter? Watson offers some practical advice:

  • Get involved
  • Build trust
  • Share important and relevant information

He cautions that we’re not getting rid of Google, but Twitter offers [potentially] better trust, real-time results and recommendations from friends [or "friends"]

Watson wraps up with some key Twitter tools: TweetDeck, TweetLater. He cautions that those not using tools like Twitter (and whatever else is developed in the future) are missing out on opportunities to enhance their business’s ability to communicate and be found online.

Derek Edmond is a Managing Partner at KoMarketing Associates, specializing in B2B SEO, PPC and Social Media Strategies

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