We've recently done a lot of testing on how people interact with search results. We discovered a number of things, but one finding in particular surprised us. The user interaction with search results has been defined. A standard has been established. And until a discontinuous improvement in the search interface comes along, we will expect all search to be the same.
"Search is great! It's the best form of advertising, with the lowest return point. It can build brands and create interest, intent and be point of sale. In short, search is the revolution and the future." That's a summation of the search marketing community's view of itself.
The backlash against search engine marketing that arises sporadically in the press and at industry conferences is frustrating for those of us who constantly see SEM prove its value. Yet by understanding where the backlash comes from, we can diffuse it and engage in meaningful dialogue with search's detractors.
Courting a marketer for search dollars requires fending off many suitors, including full-service agencies, technology players, or the engines themselves. Eventually the marketer commits, the union is celebrated, and the honeymoon begins.
Fifty milliseconds is not a long time. It's about one frame of video, or half as long as the blink of a human eye. And that tiny little slice of time is all it takes for a visitor to a Web site to decide how appealing that site is.
Is it too late for a New Year's themed column? Nah, if I'm still writing "2005" on my checks, it's all fair game.