The future of search
Thursday, May 22, 2008/
The choices for getting what you want from the web are going through a revolution, with core implications for your business. CHRIS THOMAS
By Chris Thomas
On Wednesday night I spoke at an Australian Interactive Media Industry Association event with the scary topic headline “The future of search”. I joined Amye Saunders, senior SEO consultant at 24/7 Real Media, Sandeep Baruah, group manager of online search at Sensis, and Jen Hanrahan, e-communications officer at Plan International.
Broadly speaking, we all looked at the evolution of new technology platforms that are changing the traditional methods for web access as well as content; and the way search engines are now allowing us to optimise all our content (video, images, local and text).
Amye did a great talk on mobile search, where it’s headed and things we all need to think about before it really begins to make an impact for online businesses and users alike. Being an experienced industry leader, Amye’s advice for us was not to drop everything and rush headlong into mobile search unprepared.
In practical terms, mobile search is really only applicable to certain types of businesses. “Mobile web isn’t about browsing or surfing, it’s about searching and finding,” she said.
Industries that should consider getting into mobile search are the ones that are relevant to users who use their phones to find important local information quickly.
These include location-based businesses – restaurants, medical centres, theatres, bars, florists, trades, weather etc. And not so location based – news, sports, entertainment, Facebook, MySpace, Google etc.
Jen Hanrahan spoke about her experience with search optimisation and online marketing for the child sponsorship organisation Plan International. It was a great perspective from an organisational rather than an agency side of things.
Jen discussed how the culture has changed within their organisation, to a point where people are now fully on board with the idea of online marketing and SEO. She also spoke of their successes in utilising/leveraging social media (YouTube) and the benefits of optimising video content as well as standard SEO and PPC (pay per click).
Sandeep discussed how Sensis was seeing huge opportunities in mobile search. It is in a very strong position to leverage nearly all the Sensis verticals (Citysearch, Yellow, Whereis, Gostay) within the Telstra mobile phone customer base. He offered some extraordinary insights into user behaviour, mobile phone web browsing uptake rates, and the research Sensis has performed through testing initiatives. Real food for thought.
There was a panel discussion and Q&A session at the end where we got into some SEO questions, as well as talking about how uptake of mobile phone web browsing will inevitably increase as costs come down. All in all, an enlightening experience!
Read more on mobile search
Chris Thomas heads Reseo a search engine optimisation company which specialises in setting up and maintaining Google AdWords campaigns, Affiliate Programs and Search Engine Optimisation campaigns for a range of corporate clients.
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