• Web Widget Optimization
    If Rene Descartes were alive today, rather than saying "Je pense, donc je suis" ("I think, therefore I am"), he might say, "Il est, donc j'optimise" ("It is, therefore I optimize"). By that same reasoning, if Monsieur Descartes were alive today, instead of emerging as both the Father of Modern Philosophy and the Father of Modern Mathematics, he'd be trying to figure out how to optimize Web widgets -- the next frontier of search engine optimization.
  • Word To Nielsen: Brand Matters Less Than You Think
    Poor Google. Just when it looked secure as the great Web colossus, Nielsen/NetRatings changed all the rules. Last Tuesday, Nielsen/NetRatings dropped the page view as its chief criterion, to focus far more on the time visitors spend on a site ("total minutes") to measure site engagement. That's bad news for search engines, and for Google in particular. The search engine business is one of quickly farming users out to millions of other sites as efficiently as possible, a service that's rich in page views but poor in time spent with the engine. It's a page view play, not an engagement ...
  • Search Engine Marketing Goes Back To School
    The back-to-school season is hot on our heels. According to the National Retail Federation, this is the second largest shopping season of the year. In 2006, the NRF reported 42% of respondents began shopping three to four weeks before school started, and 15% of transactions occurred online. Last year, the back-to-school season generated an estimated $17.6 billion in total spending. So, how should paid search advertisers prepare and adjust to maximize their ROI during this impending seasonal peak?
  • Creating Conversations, One Column At A Time
    I've been writing this column for almost three years now. In that time, one of the most rewarding and often humbling aspects is when I get to connect with the community that's formed around the Search Insider column. As a writer, you get lazy and a little sloppy when you get too far disconnected from your audience. Getting feedback brings you back to earth. It reminds you that your musings are not going out in the great void. You're connecting with readers, and hopefully engaging them enough with a concept with which you elicit a response. This is one of ...
  • What Role Does Personalization Play In a World of Ambient Findability?
    Gord Hotchkiss and I traded licks on the topic of personalization in our most recent Search Insider columns. Gord and I agree that personalization is one of the most important (albeit complex) aspects of search innovation and it may be many years before it's actualized. We disagree, however, when it comes to the role of personalized search in achieving digital nirvana -- and whether a world of perfect personalization is truly utopia.
  • Vocal Support For Search
    Voice-activated search is often billed as one of the next frontiers of search technology as search extends its reach to mobile devices. Yet is there a market for using the technology on the desktop?
  • They're Smart Ads -- But Are They Efficient?
    A good number of the online searches I do -- perhaps even the majority -- are about search. But I'm not looking to hire a search firm. And that's a real problem for behavioral targeting programs like Yahoo's new Smart Ads.
  • How Bid Technology Got Me Banned From The Delivery Room
    Sometime in the next 10 days I am supposed to become a father for the second time. I say "supposed to" because my wife was told 10 days ago that she should have this child at any time. Our first daughter was born two weeks early and now we have received a dubious prognostication of the newborn's arrival that has yet to be true. That, combined with my wife's doctor proclaiming that a healthy and on-time delivery could be between 37 and 42 weeks, has gotten me second-guessing our decision process. This led me to an exchange that will forever ...
  • Is Personalization The Path To Follow?
    Last week, fellow Search Insider Aaron Goldman pointed out some loopholes in personalized search nirvana. It's hard to find fault with his points. They're all very real flaws in making personalization a credible evolution in search relevancy. Also, somewhere along the line, it appears that I've become the cheerleader for personalized search. I do admit I'm somewhat bullish on it, but I think I should clarify why I think personalization is important.
  • The Declaration Of Dependence
    A doctrine of search engine inequality can be best expressed as the Declaration of Dependence, whereby the masses grow increasingly dependent on Google to provide answers for every query imaginable. It's against this backdrop that a new movement is arising from various search industry pundits to stand up for the little guys -- even when the most prominent little guys (Microsoft, Yahoo, AOL, and IAC) have a combined market capitalization of over $400 billion.
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