My last installment of Search Insider contained a list of columns that I've written over the last several years that pertained to search and Web design. In this installment, I'm going to discuss and list more of my columns that may hopefully cause you to think about search in different ways.
While it is easy to pigeonhole and skew the search process into a sort of linear, "searcher conducts search, searcher makes purchase" type of mentality, I've long prodded Search Insider readers to consider the possibilities of search beyond the simple text box, and beyond the desktop. To the contrary, and from both a technical and neural perspective, search engines can be as complex as human beings themselves. So here are a few of my own favorite columns from the last few years -- and why I think they may be worth a reread.
Google Bombing and SEM is Evolving into 'Search Engine Activism': By checking out the motives and tactics of online activists, the value of search is expanded beyond direct response and branding. This column includes a list of some of the earliest search activism campaigns, and a basic definition of the concept.
Perspectives Of The Search Engine
Activist: Ethan Zuckerman and Chris Bowers both indulged me on their perspectives of activism in the search engines. While many of the tactics may be similar to search marketing, their
definition of a "conversion" is changing your mind, and/or capturing your attention.
Deconstructing Search Engine Bias: Any discussion of search "bias" is somewhat linked to that of "SEM tactics" (natural and paid). My discussion starts with legal professor Eric Goldman's paper on the topic of search engine bias. I expand his one PageRank example to include other optimization methods that are well known to marketers, but can also be handy for the average searcher to think more critically about results.
Google Trends: The 2008 Democratic Texas/Ohio Primary Post-Analysis: Google search popularity is often touted as a "political oracle" in that it can mirror election outcomes. In this nonscientific analysis, I proved that search popularity does not necessarily equal a corresponding election outcome.
Keyword Analysis of The McCain And Obama Acceptance Speeches: After reviewing a Wordle tag cloud in the New York Times that seemed to be lacking a few key concepts, I decided to run the speeches through an old-fashioned keyword frequency tool. The results offer interesting insights into the subconscious overtones of the candidates' messages.
If Search Engines Could Talk: Confessions Of A ChaCha Clickstream: I put this engine to a test for the term "bass," it was amusing, to say the least. If an engine could talk back in 2007, it might sound like this.
The GoogleBalt's Great American Road Trip: Five Street-View Optimization Tips: In light of Google's brilliantly surreal and unprecedented experiment in deploying a physical search engine, it occurred to me that we now need to start optimizing ourselves and our property. Street View Optimization (SVO) is born.
The Death Of Street View Optimization: Less than a week after I invented Street View Optimization (SVO), word is leaked back to Mountain View, and Google mounts a campaign to nip this one in the bud, lest they have another pesky SEO-like problem to deal with.
20 Funny, Clueless, Weird, and Existential Google Keyword Searches: Sometimes the topics of
my column find me in odd ways. This one started with a lost set of keys.
Search Engines In The Physical World: Over the last few years, it has become very apparent that the search engines we are used to dealing with -- those being mostly cerebral, via desktop search -- are beginning to morph into something entirely different when considered in a mobile environment (mobile, in this case, meaning any situation that doesn't require the user to be chained to a desk to conduct a search). While many marketers are still just getting a basic grasp of SEO and PPC, things are skewing at a rapid pace into other areas away from the desktop, like branches sprouting from two trunks growing out of the same tree.