So what was on our collective mind in Bonita Springs? The early-morning sessions on day 1 set the tone for conversation centered around the guiding principles of search and the applications of search construct to other platforms. From there, the buzz shifted to how search is impacting and is being impacted by various macro conditions and sociological trends. These themes permeated much of the dialogue throughout the conference and are reflected in the Top 10 buzzwords from last week's SIS.
From the very first moments of last week's Search Insider Summit, the word "transparency" kept arising. I can't say I saw it coming; the only time a form of the word appeared on the agenda (which I wrote) was in the description of the session on click fraud....
"Search, Ads and Apps" -- the tagline that Google CEO Eric Schmidt announced Thursday, at Google's annual shareholder meeting, is what Schmidt calls his vision of the "next strategy evolution" within the Googleplex. It starts with two elements of search that we're all quite familiar with -- search and ads. But it gives new prominence to a third part of the picture that, until now, has been something of a side business within Google: software applications. And those software applications place Google directly in combat with Microsoft.
If ever there was a week to clone yourself for the sake of search expertise, this was it. In Seattle, Microsoft was holding its yearly Strategic Advertiser Summit. 3,000 miles away in San Bonita, Florida, MediaPost was holding its biannual Search Insider Summit. And while all this was going on, I was traveling to Milan for the launch of our brand in Italy. So, for those without the proper invites, credentials or passports, this column is for you.
Since most of the Search Insiders are in Bonita Springs this week, chances are that you'll be hearing a lot of what's happening down here in the Florida Everglades (other than the brush fires which appear to have us surrounded). Aaron Goldman shared his Buzz-o-meter with us on Tuesday, where he measures the words that seem to be dropped with the greatest frequency. It appears that my opening remarks set a tone that has been picked up in a number of sessions, and two words breaking into the top 10 are "connection" and "community." Aaron added a third "c": "content."
An extensive study measuring the natural search engine visibility of the twelve major travel companies in the Fortune 500 sought to answer the following three questions: 1) How visible are Fortune 500 travel companies in the natural search results of the major search engines? 2) Does leadership in the traditional marketplace translate to leadership in natural search visibility? 3) What strategies can Fortune 500 travel companies implement to improve natural search visibility?
In the Everglades, there are mangrove trees by the water with some of their roots entirely exposed, as if the trees are searching for a spot to anchor them. While touring the Everglades during the Search Insider Summit this week, I found these trees offered a fitting metaphor for the search industry. Does it matter if we know where to anchor our roots?
Forget the new entity with a combined share of 27% of all searches. Forget Microsoft's $291.21 billion market cap. Google should be worried about a united Microsoft-Yahoo because of the touchpoints. After all, Microsoft and Yahoo have a combined reach that includes nearly all PC desktops, two of the three most popular search engines, and a portals presence with a truly enormous reach. And so a joint Microsoft-Yahoo would be able to capture users at every stage of computer use, keeping those users away from Google all the while.
After years of exhibiting the blue highlighted sponsored listings at the top of search engine results pages, Google has once again changed the search engine marketing landscape with the end user in mind. Google searchers may or may not have noticed a slight change in their search results the week of March 26, but advertisers did -- and the verdict is in. Google's decision to change the background color for sponsored links from blue to yellow, as well as the clickability of these ads, has yielded positive results for both advertisers and Google users.
Why do we have to worry about a global marketplace? All the reasons can be summed up in two words: things change.