Keynote Panel: Search Marketing: Analyze This

March 23, 2010
By Lisa Barone in Internet Marketing Conferences

Hola, kids! We’re back in action for an afternoon keynote. SES is all about the afternoon keynote, after all.  Up on stage we have Henry Blodget moderating the likes of Erika D. Brown, Jonathan Blum, and Brad Hill. It’s z0mg-freezing in here so lets get started or my fingers may fall off. And that would be awkward. And make it hard to hold my beer later.

Henry is doing introductions.  Everyone on stage kind of looks like they’re wearing the same outfit.  It’s making me giggle. Only to myself, of course. Okay, there are important people talking now. I’ll shut up.

[I missed the question, but here’s the answer. I’m awesome.]

Brad: SEO has changed and become a behavioral issue. It’s about how people are experiencing their exposure to content. People still do search in the old school ways (Google), but its more about community and personal networks and encountering what you find on the Web because you have surrounded yourself with the sources and influences that are important to you. SEO has been enormously influenced by Facebook and Digg.

Jonathan: For some reason, we’re not getting cool and engaged searches off the search engines anymore. People want to feel like they’re part of something.

Erika: She disagrees. Facebook is where you meet and talk to your friends. LinkedIn is where you talk to the people you’re working with. There’s Twitter – that’s where you’re going to show people how smart you are.  [Okay, raise your hand if you think Erika has never been on Twitter based on that comment.] But Google is the main standard for search. That’s where you go to look up information.  Google is not being disrupted by social media.

Jonathan: He agrees with that.

Brad: He agrees Google isn’t profoundly interrupted yet, but if they weren’t being influenced, they wouldn’t be stepping their hands into all these different social channels. Social search,anyone?

What does it mean that we have Facebook/Twitter getting involved? Is it changing SEO?

Brad: SEO now encompasses these environments. You have to put your content where the users are and expose it in such a way that it will increasingly be passed around by people in their personal networks. Virality no longer just means creating a funny YouTube video. Actually, no one knows what it really means anymore.  All of their editors are deeply engaged in social networks. Interestingly, even though their products have Twitter feeds and accounts, its their editors that have the most traction in those networks.

Erika: She sees how its going to affect SEOs. SEO is going through a huge transition. It’s now Search Everything Optimization. There are fewer HTML pages showing up. She’s seeing that its mostly news.

There’s a difference between news/content and commerce. He’s not seeing the commerce search utility on Facebook and Twitter. Is that what you (Erica) are referring to?

Erika: There are definitely category killers and there’s a lot of marketing opportunity in that. You’re not going to buy plane tickets on Google, you’re going to buy them on Expedia. Nothing will interrupt Google unless Bing/Yahoo come up with a killer mobile application.

So, is there any chance Yahoo/Bing will come up with a killer mobile application?

Erika: There’s definitely a chance.  [She goes on a bit of a tangent after that but…none of it made a hell of a lot of sense. I’m filtering it for you.]

Every year it’s been “this is the year mobile ads are going to take off!”. It’s never happened. Is it ever going to happen or is mobile a crappy marketing ad platform?

Erika:  Previously, you’ve been marketing before or after a purchase. With mobile, you’re hitting a potential client at the point of purchase. This is happening in the future. [in the fuuuuuture!] Your phone isn’t a cell phone, it’s a tracking device.

Jonathan:  The potential is there but to have it pay off for someone like MediaPost (a client), there are too many barriers. Google is squaring off with several automotive manufacturers. There are going to be voice-activated ads in cars, but there’s no one CLOSE to doing it right now.

Microsoft has been trying for 15 years to make some headway beating Google. I totally admire their willingness, but really? Does Microsoft have a chance here? They lose 2 million dollars a year when Google makes that a day.

Brad: From the publishers perspective, SEO is all one big keyword processing engine.  As publishers, we don’t distinguish between them. They’re agnostic.  It’s a keyword game. They win in some and lose in others.  They’re interested in growing referrals from the social engines. They do see mobile coming up behind them month to month.  Mobile is a platform for information, gaming and applications. They’re big on optimizing their experience for mobile platforms. He thinks its more important to optimize your site for these platforms, more so than trying to get them to download your app to their device. It’s a bigger investment to create an app than to optimize a site. They’re about differentiating products.

Jonathan: What’s driving that is you have to get off the Web. Anything that you gets off and into iTunes, you have to take a shot.

Erika:  We all need to go mobile. It takes two minutes to go mobile. You just have to create  Apple is dominating in a closed system. That’s scary. What if Google one day decides they’re not going to read PDFs?  Then you’re in trouble. You have to think about this.   There are so many apps out there – yeah, there’s lots of market share – but with apps, it comes back to all of us with SEO. Your app needs to be discovered.

If you go back to the 1990s, Apple pursued the same strategy on the desktop and it bombed.  Then Microsoft gave them money and suddenly they’re rocking it. Google with Android is now taking the Microsoft approach making it all free. How does this play out? Is it the same movie all over again?

Jonathan: Everyone is going to be on the Android. Google is getting a pass on a lot of things because they’re Google.  There will be an opportunity for a high-end player to offer something better.

Brad: He thinks its Apple vs Google for the next few years. But he agrees with Brad.

Erika: WebTV is going to be another big thing. It’s going to have the Internet. It’s going to be so heavily targeted with advertising so that if you’re looking at a table  — the other speakers totally cut her off laughing because no one agrees with her. Erika’s on her own island of thought over here. The tweets regarding her are pretty harsh, but very much accurate. Some are even asking SES to mute her mic.

I had to cut out of this one a bit early because my laptop is about to die and SES isn’t the best about providing power. I need an outlet like one of these speakers needed to recheck their MySpace page.

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