change the way in which people find information. They don’t want to spend as much time searching
anymore. Social media give consumers the ability to find the information that they need based on
recommendations from their friends and colleagues as opposed to the message that the marketer is
trying to send to them through their advertising.
The big question in the industry is, how can social media marketing affect search engine results
pages? Until recently, social media haven’t shown up in search engine results, but now we’re starting
to see more and more social media sites showing up under general research-based search terms. This
is the reason that the search engine marketing industry began to take notice of social media.
The next evolution of the question right now is, “How can we as search marketers understand and
influence what is driving the inclusion of these results with the search landscape?” Marketers want to
understand how pages are showing up on their brand and what those pages are saying about them.
A good example of a site that is driving a lot of search visibility for brands is Wikipedia. Wikipedia
consistently ranks well in Google searches, and in particular for those searches relative to brand infor-
mation. So marketers are trying to figure out how to use social media to rank well, and how to con-
trol social media search results algorithmically in order to help control the view of the brand that a
searcher is presented with inside of organic search results.
Jerri: How long will it be before we see this algorithmic control and ranking of the influences
that social media have on web sites?
We probably won’t ever see ultimate control, but I think within the next six to eight
months people will find a way to influence search results with social media. There’s also a lot
more talk about vertical search, and even in social media marketing I think the search world
will become more verticalized.
Verticalized search is where people are finding other places they want to search. I think the next
evolution of search is of a person telling a search engine how, where, and what to be told and then
utilizing the engine to deliver on that request. What this means is that people are starting to utilize
different search engines for different types of content, and in the future this will also extend to
using different search engines for different categories of information as well.
The next 15 to 18 months will be critical in growing a more qualified audience in vertical search.
If you tell users to tell you what they want you to tell them, they will. Especially as it applies to
organic SEO, consumers are saying they want information that’s not necessarily of the brand yet is
specific to a particular type of content area or format. If vertical engines can deliver on this request
in a fashion that is easy to use, then they will have the advantage over the personalized search fea-
tures of the major search engines.
Jerri: Is there anything else that I haven’t touched on that you think is important?
The big thing is that the data and learning that you derive from what people do inside
a search engine has an effect that we can’t even fathom yet. There are ways to look at, track, and
understand that data that are still in development. And when we figure out how to do that, we’ll
have the ability to provide users the information they need through not only customized search
programs, but also through the customization of all marketing efforts.
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