Something's brewing in Mountain View. Google's geared up the SAR (Screwing Around Rate) of its results page to unprecedented levels. We have Google Instant, Place Search and Google Previews all rolling out in the last few months. And from around the blogosphere, there's rumors of testing that allows users to show 11 sponsored ads on top and also the telling switch of the label "Sponsored Links" to simply "Ads." So what do Google strategists have up their sleeves?
With some 110-odd columns written for Search Insider in the last four years, I'm moving from the point of providing year-end review lists, to providing review lists for a particular topic that I've frequently written about. Today's topic is a review of 15 articles covering the process of designing or redesigning a web site: whether it is ensuring that search considerations are taken, or making the business case to do so.
Like many of my fellow pundits, I've pointed out more than once that Google has never had a smash success beyond search. After all, text advertising, predominantly via Google's own websites, will account for around 90% of its total revenue this year. Search for Google is on such a galactic scale that it's easy to be dismissive of the many other tentacles the company has spread throughout the Web -- and throughout our lives.
When I first began my career in marketing, I was working for a nonprofit, the San Francisco AIDS Foundation / Pangaea Global AIDS Foundation. Back then, before the passage of the historic Ryan White CARE Act, which finally made possible formal federal funding to fight the pandemic nearly ten years after the first person was diagnosed with the disease, the only tools available to us were word of mouth, education and the dedication of a number of extraordinary individuals determined to tell the stories of the unfolding disaster.
About a week ago Google rolled out Place Search. It's a new kind of local search that effectively takes the integration of Google Search and Google Local to a whole new level. We're seeing Google move away from the familiar 7-pack to something new that local search expert David Mihm has dubbed the 0-pack. Basically, local search results now look more like regular search results, and the map has moved to the right of the results and scrolls with you as you move down the page.
Google's ramping up of local results last week made me realize something: our Web presence is rapidly being taken out of our immediate control. Case in point, the Place Page.
Last week, Ben Elowitz, CEO of Wetpaint and former co-founder of Blue Nile, penned a byline titled "SEO is Dead, and the New King is 'SMO.'" (In case you were wondering, that's social media optimization, not the Seattle Mandolin Orchestra.) As with any pundit who ever dared declare the death of SEO (or its lack of rocket science), Elowitz received quite a bit of backlash from the SEO community, including the requisite name-calling.For what it's worth, I think Elowitz is actually right -- but also totally wrong.SMO is powerful. But SEO is not dead.
Am I the only one who finds it difficult to manage multiple accounts, multiple admins, and multiple campaigns online? Surely not. Facebook used to live at the inconvenient extreme of making it impossible to remove the originating Page admin, implying that no mere successor admin could ever be trustworthy enough to carry the mantle forward. Now they've boomeranged to requiring a nearly saintly level of trust in each and every Page admin, any disgruntled one of whom can remove all the others and destroy your company's reputation with a few judiciously placed comments and inappropriate pics. Really, Facebook? There's no …