I was recently talking with Matt Garton of Travel Connexxions about Search Engine Marketing and usability. We discussed niche search engines and the push toward improved usability with Ask leading the way. Currently when you search on an item the results will bring back sites, blogs, images, videos and news. This is more thorough for the user but tends to dilute the focus of SEM, which is to provide a targeted link that someone has paid for. With the increased number/variety of items that are returned, it may be harder to find the sponsored link.
This also brings to light the importance of creating a robust corporate social graph. If a business successfully manages their social graph they will have multiple entry points within search results; tailored to the users medium of choice. (For example, when I search I use the images option. This helps give me a preview of the quality of the site.) This begs the question of whether it will be possible to have a company “own” a search results page. For example.
A user searches on Nike shoes and the results bring back
- Nike’s site
- Nike’s shoes page
- A video from YouTube
- An image of a Nike shoe
- Nike News
- A blog about Nike
(If Nike only knew what it was doing online with respect to search.) The essential elements of these entry points (brand channels) are:
- Insure that brand equity is created and deepened
- A subject matter expert has created the tactics within that brand channel/medium
- The assets are optimized
- Transparency is addressed through interaction with the customers. For YouTube that means that comments are addressed by the company, the image is a link to a page with information about the shoe, the news has links to product and the blog has opinions and comments addressed.
Lee Odden talked about the increasing atomization of the internet in his post about digital asset optimization and I touched on this in my post The Death of the Homepage. In my opinion, search engine marketers/optimizers have a tremendous opportunity to take advantage of the changing face of search results.