In the last eight weeks, I've presented at five conferences, given a webinar, spoken with approximately two hundred search marketers, and presented to several clients. One thing I've noticed in the years I've been in this business is that the biggest trends are not kicked off by any one single person, discussion, or presentation. They tend to be a product of the conversation at large. In all of these communications, the dialogue about search that I'm having now is very different from what it was a year ago. What is fascinating to me is how people whom I have never met, or haven't spoken with in some time, have emerged with similar findings, and similar observations about where things are going. This is a good thing, because in a business where everything changes -- and in some ways nothing changes -- there is a seeming independence in views that form into a collective rock-solid trend that is a bankable foundation to plan ahead for.
Here is what the collective "everybody" has been saying, the sort of ambient thinking that eventually cements our current way of thinking:
Search as platform for other forms of advertising (besides the search box) are starting to take shape. Search is evolving from the desktop into the physical world, and the search industry is poised to lead the charge. It's no secret that the Web has been fragmenting in a number of ways for some time now. While some new models take the form of apps and other shiny widgets, search remains core to the delivery of content, primarily because finding and seeking behaviors exist everywhere. It may be a push or pull, voice-activated, or on a new device, but the core principles of search still apply.
Connectedness. I personally came into these last few conference presentations with a message of connectedness, and found that this was also a recurring theme with other leading strategists; I was in a chorus that I had not experienced before, particularly at the Search Insider Summit on Captiva Island, Fla. This is essentially a theme about the imperative of being networked, either socially or through search, as I wrote about extensively in my Search Insider series on "Marketing in the Moment." In a way, it contains similar messages that marketers have presented in the past, but the difference is that if marketers are not fully connected and engaged, they might as well not exist.
The more things change, the more they stay the same. With personalization, real-time search, social search, and other segments of search that are developing rapidly, the landscape may seem reactive and confusing to many marketers. But the lifeline for a solid strategy is to stick with the basics and the foundational elements of search, which in the end, are actually anything but basic. This includes foundational search principles of crawlability and indexability, and also going the extra mile with market research, in addition to engaging with the target audience.
Content is king again. Okay, so maybe it never lost its status since it was crowned back in the 1990s. But there's no doubt that there is a renewed sense of commitment from clients and search peeps to lead their search strategies with solid content, on a massive scale.
Again, these are just a few top-of-mind thoughts that continue to permeate the landscape. I'd be interested to hear what's been on your mind lately (click on the link below to comment).