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Google Labs jumps into social search

People have been talking about social search for years, but the noise reaches a crescendo whenever Google does something–in this case, Google Labs suddenly delivering a Social Search function. How does social search change the game for search marketers?


That’s actually a trick question, because nothing in Google Labs changes anything for search marketers. Almost no one uses alternate search interfaces, and social search is no different. The real question is how will this change the game if social search’s features are folded into Google’s mainstream search that is used by almost everyone?
Social search has some interesting features by which it shows content by people you know much higher in the search results than they’d otherwise be. Regardless of whether this creates a successful search experience, this shuffling of results wreaks havoc for the average search marketer.
Search marketers have grown accustomed to relying on search rankings to determine how well they are doing. Everyone wants the #1 result, but social search, and all other forms of search personalization, doom rank checking, because every searcher might receive different results for the same search keywords.
In a personalized search world, search marketers must stop focusing on rankings, instead focusing on referrals—the number of searchers that click through to your site—and conversions. Personalized search, including social search, might finally take the focus off search itself and place it squarely on the business value it generates. That would be a huge step forward for the business.

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Mike Moran

Mike Moran is an expert in digital marketing, search technology, social media, text analytics, web personalization, and web metrics, who, as a Certified Speaking Professional, regularly makes speaking appearances. Mike’s previous appearances include keynote speaking appearances worldwide. Mike serves as a senior strategist for Converseon, an AI powered consumer intelligence technology and consulting firm. He is also a senior strategist for SoloSegment, a marketing automation software solutions and services firm. Mike also serves as a member of the Board of Directors of SEMPO. Mike spent 30 years at IBM, rising to Distinguished Engineer, an executive-level technical position. Mike held various roles in his IBM career, including eight years at IBM’s customer-facing website, ibm.com, most recently as the Manager of ibm.com Web Experience, where he led 65 information architects, web designers, webmasters, programmers, and technical architects around the world. Mike's newest book is Outside-In Marketing with world-renowned author James Mathewson. He is co-author of the best-selling Search Engine Marketing, Inc. (with fellow search marketing expert Bill Hunt), now in its Third Edition. Mike is also the author of the acclaimed internet marketing book, Do It Wrong Quickly: How the Web Changes the Old Marketing Rules, named one of best business books of 2007 by the Miami Herald. Mike founded and writes for Biznology® and writes regularly for other blogs. In addition to Mike’s broad technical background, he holds an Advanced Certificate in Market Management Practice from the Royal UK Charter Institute of Marketing and is a Visiting Lecturer at the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business. He also teaches at Rutgers Business School. He is a Senior Fellow at the Society for New Communications Research. Mike worked at ibm.com from 1998 through 2006, pioneering IBM’s successful search marketing program. IBM’s website of over two million pages was a classic “big company” website that has traditionally been difficult to optimize for search marketing. Mike, working with Bill Hunt, developed a strategy for search engine marketing that works for any business, large or small. Moran and Hunt spearheaded IBM’s content improvement that has resulted in dramatic gains in traffic from Google and other internet portals.

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