Web Users Embark on New Digital Frontier
Byline: Joseph Szadkowski, THE WASHINGTON TIMES
CHICAGO -- The Windy City played a snowy host to the last Search Engine Strategies Conference & Expo of the year.
The four-day event, held at the Michigan Avenue Hilton, gave search engine aficionados and online marketers a place to learn, share and build business opportunities based on information retrieval and delivering advertising to the average Web user.
With gap analysis reports, typosquatting, link remediation and ontology tagging dancing in their heads, attendees found a selection of sessions, workshops and panel discussions loaded with knowledge on how to get search engines to see their clients and services.
As the online world transitions from Web 2.0 to the next digital landscape, at least three search trends stood out during the conference.
* First, the days of a search engine simply offering 10 blue links per results page are over. Big boys such as Google and Yahoo are fully on the track to displaying rich, universal (also referred to as blended) search results. That means results routinely page embellished with video, star ratings, maps, top ten lists, music snippets and photos. Pushing more information with fewer clicks to the end user is core of the initiative, and it's already happening.
Chris Blakely, director of Client Services for comScore, a global Internet information provider, reported that 85 percent of Web users have seen a blended search result and that 31 percent of all search results average at least one enhanced entry.
Yahoo has gone one step further by empowering publishers to take control of its results listings. Larry Cornett, vice president of Consumer Products for Yahoo Search, spoke in three panels in a row about his company's SearchMonkey initiative (http://developer.yahoo.com/searrchmonkey). Offering templates and application development to the Web site owner, it delivers an enhanced listing tailored to a site's content. It should be noted that it will not help rankings or how high up a listing appears on a search results page.
* Next, the question of a search engine's effectiveness outweighing privacy rights continues to heat up. Anyone using a browser, might as well be sitting in front of his computer naked, according to Mike Grehan, global KDM (keyword driven marketing) officer of Acronym Media during the panel Battle of the Browsers: Personalization or Privacy. …