The Death Of Street View Optimization

In my last column, I defined the birth of Google Street View Optimization (SVO) -- an entirely new and previously undiscovered marketing concept designed to make the most of one's own personal appearances in Google Street View photos (see "The GoogleBalt's Great American Road Trip: Five Street View Optimization Tips"). But less than one week after the debut of this great search marketing innovation, Google has informally announced that they will be blurring out people's faces and other identifying info captured by the GoogleBalt from Street View, which effectively renders all of my outlined SVO optimization concepts meaningless. In less than a week after its birth, SVO is now dead.

While SVO was one of my greatest achievements during those six days (I also managed to clean out my garage over the weekend), it looks like I have some free time now, as my hopes for an SVO book contract and speaking tour have been dashed. During this time, SVO created many positive contributions and insights into the search marketing world.

Let's take a look back and reflect:



1) "SVO" now holds the record for the World's Shortest-Lived Internet Marketing Buzzword or Phrase ever. Shorter lived than "information superhighway"; even shorter than "they just don't get it." SVO lasted only six days, but it will not be forgotten, if not for all the wrong reasons. Born Friday, August 17, 2007; died Wednesday, August 22, 2007.

2) The power of this Search Insider column on Mountain View cannot be disputed. We know that Google has included MediaPost's Search Insider on their blogroll in the past, and we also know that they know that we know that they know that Search Insider has a major influence on the general public at large. Simply put, Google wasn't going to allow this second coming of SEO to foul up their Maps results, and decided instead to nip it in the bud before mass armies of SVOs began donning sandwich boards and chasing the GoogleBalt on their scooters for the purpose of marring the purity of Street View photos. Also consider this: A Search Insider column introducing SVO goes out on a Friday; internal discussion at the GooglePlex about the potential threat of SVO occurs on Monday; Marissa Mayer makes an offhand comment at Search Engine Strategies San Jose on Tuesday; SVO is dead on Wednesday. I think I've made a solid case here.

3) Did you mean, "Googlebot"? Various search indexes now contain a new word from the last column - "GoogleBalt" -- one that did not previously exist in the Google index prior to the publication and crawl of the column. This new search buzzword has been all the rage with duplicate content spammers everywhere. At this writing, there are now 804 results in Big G for the term, thanks to the help of 803 other scraper sites and splogs.

Yes, it was a great week for search engine marketing.

Spot the GoogleBalt on the move? Have any other introspective thoughts on the life and death of SVO? Sick and tired of search pundits pushing superfluous buzzwords into your inbox and browser every day? Post your comments in the Search Insider blog.

Clarification: A Google PR person has asked to clarify one point in yesterday's Search Insider. "It seems as if your article has confused 'ranking' with 'promotion,'" she wrote. "These are actually separate formulas... Rather [than] stating that Google 'used to rank ads based on their Quality Score'... it would be accurate to state that Google "used to promote ads to the top ad position based on their Quality Score...' How we rank ads has not changed; what has changed is how we promote ads from the right-hand side position to the top ad position."

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