I recently wrote about how, in future, search could greatly benefit on-demand digital television, but the future of search doesn't start there and isn't even that futuristic. I think search is about to undergo a major evolutionary shift that will change the underpinnings of how search works, is used, and is defined.
There is certainly no lack of worthwhile topics to discuss this month, but I can't hone in on one. So this month's column is a bit of a Sm"rgåsbord. Here's what's up.
About six years ago, I had one of those life-changing moments that set me on a new path. I've always been curious. I've always had questions, and up to that point in my life, I was usually able to find an answer, with enough perseverance. But in 2003, I had a question that no one seemed able to answer. It didn't seem to be an especially difficult question, and I knew someone had the answer. They just weren't sharing it.
I really enjoyed Gord Hotchkiss' series of summer stories -- or, as I like to call them, fireside chats -- and was quite moved by Kaila Colbin's column about her father's stoke. It's not often you get a glimpse into the lives behind the Search Insiders -- unless you make it out to the biannual Search Insider Summit -- so I thought I'd continue the trend with my "getting into search" story.
Two weeks ago, I spoke lovingly of my father. Last week, my mom got the praise. But I'm devoting this week's column to making fun of myself. Here's the backstory: I'm out at dinner with my fiancé and his friend. We're talking about odd movie moments, and a memory stirs. I say, "What was that movie where that guy had a penis rocking-chair in the basement that you could sit on and it went up and down?"
The online ad industry has been on a fairly stable course for at least seven years now. However, the more I observe developments -- both inside and outside this industry -- the more I am convinced that we are all poised on the cusp of an era of great change that will shift the way we do business more seriously than anything we've experienced before.
Lately I've been talking to a lot of people in the industry trying to get a handle on the current SEO sales cycle, what people are charging, what their close rate is -- and, most importantly, what are the main objections that they are facing from prospective clients. SEOs typically hold their cards close to the chest but I've managed to glean a few nuggets.
In the early days of our search marketing business, our collection of SEO clients ran the gamut from slightly off-white to shades of gray approaching black. Yes, back in the day we too did some stuff that wasn't smiled upon by the anti-spam gods of the search universe. Of course, it was (and still is) sometimes difficult to determine where the line between white and black could be found.
A lot has been said, and a lot has been read on last week's Bing-rise/Yahoo!-fall last week, which makes now as good as time as any to start thinking about what it really means in the broad scope of "search engine marketing" - for both paid and natural search. I personally spent the better part of last week talking about and reflecting on the change, and I've written numerous thoughts on the implications. Given that there has been a little bit of time to let the news sink in, here are a few additional thoughts on what this change means …
One of the critical ways in which we communicate, grow, learn, and build relationships is through storytelling. And what makes a great story? A hero (usually the underdog), a villain (often the evil giant), and a quest to overcome great odds for an impossible dream. This clichéd plotline explains something I've noticed in the nearly two years I've been writing this column: We're not happy unless Google is doing battle.