t's true that these are dark times for desktop search. There is barely a whisper of resistance to the Google juggernaut. But to declare unconditional victory is a little premature. As Google itself is fond of saying, we've barely begun to play the search game. To declare it won now would probably be as myopic as awarding the crown to AltaVista in 1997. True, Google has a huge head start, but we're not even sure which route the race will take.
My kill count is reaching Jack Bauer status. I started by slaying four would-be Google killers. Then I targeted three more contenders before crowning just one. Today, I'll crush even more potential killers than that. Unlike other pundits who consider emerging search engines to be challengers to the Google throne, my focus is on companies, individuals, and institutions that stand in the way of Google reigning supreme in the $500 billion global advertising universe -- and in case you couldn't tell, I don't think any search engine is going to do that.
Dear Jakob Nielsen: I almost missed the last newsletter you sent me, as it was delivered directly to my junk mail folder. Maybe Microsoft was so dismayed by your recent commentary that Outlook rebelled against you. Whatever the reason, I'm of two minds about your section on "What MS Can Do Without Y!" First, I thought you were joking and dismissed it outright. Then, I thought that if you were serious, someone needed to provide a rebuttal.
The reason the media has been obsessing over the Microsoft-Yahoo acquisition story for the past three months is simple: tech writers and ad industry scribes, whose grim task in life is to inject some spark into what is usually a stupefyingly dull stream of self-serving product announcements, were finally gifted with a hot story brimming with titanic egos, knuckle-whitening timetables, unconscionable blunders, and apoplectic shareholders. Suddenly, the SEM world was relevant again, a fact acknowledged by SEMPO chair Dana Todd when she told the New York Post that the Microsoft-Yahoo slugfest had enough juice to put the search industry, which …
Quick results in search marketing are only possible with pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, right? Wrong. The advent of blogging, as well as recent advances to search engine algorithms, has narrowed the gap between PPC and search engine optimization (SEO) to mere hours. With PPC, there is instant gratification as your advertisement will appear in search results almost immediately after your campaign is activated. However, this same advantage can now be seen in SEO.
In just over a week, I'll be the emcee at my third Search Insider Summit, on beautiful Captiva Island, Fla. This time around, I also lent fellow Search Insider, David Berkowitz, a hand in putting the program together. We started by asking some past attendees what they liked and what they'd improve about the shows. With the search show calendar as jammed as it's becoming, it's important to find a niche that attendees find valuable. In these conversations, the almost unanimous response was "more conversations!"
On some days, there are so many interesting news stories and topics that I wish I could devote an entire column to each one. But today, if I can get a few thoughts off my mind at once, and also pull off an obscure and misspelled Terry Southern/ Dennis Hopper reference in the column title at the same time, then it might be just enough. Let's face it -- some columns are too text-heavy for the Web, and as writers, we could often do a lot better just to cut to the chase. So let's get this miscellaneous news/commentary roundup …
Trying to get people to care about privacy is like trying to get people worked up about the amount of fiber in their diet. Everyone knows they should do something, but hardly anyone wants to go out of their way. That may change when mobile adds a new dimension to search. As mobile goes mainstream, where people search from matters as much as what they search for, and people will have to consider how much they'll want to share their mobile whereabouts.
Because David Berkowitz has been probing the issue of search vs. discovery in recent Search Insider columns, I'd like to point out some thorny challenges faced by the search community as we move to a world where information is shared more freely via social networks and discovered through ways that might be termed "less active" -- because they depart from traditional search query behavior. How exactly are agencies and marketers supposed to think about the idea of discovery as a critical component of consumer influence toward action/conversion?
Without demand, there can be no supply. When it comes to search engine marketing, demand must occur on one of your keywords in order for your ad to serve. As advertisers seek more volume in their search engine marketing (SEM) campaigns, typical tactics to accomplish this are to bid on more keywords or to improve click rates and conversion rates through ad copy and landing page testing. While these are essential tactics to employ, they usually only provide incremental lifts in volume.