Five Lessons in Search and Marketing from SES
By Rudy DeDominicis
March 8, 2006
Opinion: Search expert Rudy DeDominicis brings back five lessons about rich media and search optimization from the Search Engine Strategies conference.
I've attended the Search Engine Strategies conference for the past three years, and this year I noticed there was a definite trend in how rich media is affecting the Internet landscape.
In past years, there was a heavy emphasis on how Google used its technology to rank your sites' content within the index.
In the past, discussions revolving around "latent semantic indexing" (LSI) or blog linking and ontology, along with greater details about the engines' algorithms, seemed to dominate topics of conversation.
There was also a greater emphasis on the calculations Google made with pagerank and keyword stemming.
Experts said Google focused more on "off page" (inbound links) and Yahoo focused more on "on page" (context and keyword density).
Recently Google started to roll out its algorithm updates (most recently named Big Daddy) over longer periods of time, rather than releasing updates all at once.
Search specialists claimed this was done to make it more difficult to determine exactly how the update is affecting search results.
But the hot topic this year was definitely rich media and how to increase its visibility in an increasingly competitive landscape. Below, five lessons everyone should have taken away from this year's conference.
1. You should be optimizing your podcasts, blogs and video.
Depending on which sessions you attended, the "organic" focus of SES 2006 was on optimizing rich media, including podcasting, blogs, video and CGM (consumer-generated media) as well as the different feeds used to syndicate this content out to the Web.
Search marketers now have to start looking at not only optimizing the page on which the podcast lives but also optimizing the podcast itself.
Using ID3 tags provides a standard for publishers to include not only audio but also images and related text information into the feed.
2. The popularity of rich media, especially video, contributes to dramatic fluctuations in the popularity of search engines.
Major traffic analysts were also demonstrating how the escalation of rich media adoption proved to be too dynamic to predict future leaders, with the constant introduction of new technologies that captivate visitors in new ways.
There were some discussions about how social content sites, such as MySpace, represents 5.2 percent of all search visits (according to Hitwise).
Search analysts also noted that Youtube.com briefly surpassed Google Video and Yahoo video because of the SNL skit "The Chronic(what?)les of Narnia."
3. Search vendors are out of touch with current optimization needs.
There was also a large disconnect between the services being offered in the exhibitor hall and the issues being addressed at the conference.
While speakers where debating how to track rich media consumption, vendors seemed more focused on just getting your site to appear in search results.
Many of the "me too" vendors could have differentiated themselves by specializing in optimization services specifically around rich media, such as podcasts and blogs.
There were companies who were offering blogging services but not necessarily how to get more visibility to your current blog which seemed to be one of the hotter topics.
Search experts noted this year that blogs seem to be playing a larger role in "buzz marketing" and reputation management of corporate identities these days.
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4. Get your chicklets while they're hot.
If you're a blogger and you're not using chicklets to promote tagging of your content to Del.icio.us, Furl, Digg and Slashdot, you may be missing out on the power of social tagging.
5. Companies must manage their online blog reputation just as closely as their offline reputation.
Companies, meanwhile, should know that the blogosphere does offer a host of social benefits, but it also tends to reveal corporate mistakes and could ultimately affect the success or failure of a corporation's reputation.
For example, Oprah's car giveaway was initially hailed as one of the best marketing tactics of the year.
But immediately following the giveaway, the promotion blogs started posting stories around the tax consequences that audience members were facing.
Questions about the quality of the cars began popping up in blogs, creating a negative spin for both Oprah and the car manufacturer.
The user experience has grown far beyond searching for Web pages and PDF files to interacting with rich media such as video and audio, both in a local computer setting and mobile environment.
Publish.com editor Steve Bryant's Intermedia Blog
The future of search revolves around how to monetize rich media. Right now anyone can publish a Web page.
Perhaps what differentiates media companies and publishers in the future will be how they help customers integrate with the various forms of media that enhance the user experience.
Link to original Article on Ziff Davis Publish.com