Search Engine Marketing
Greenlee, Host / Founder WebTalkGuys Radio
Thursday, September 4, 2003; 12:20pm EST
The Search Engine market is very
hot with a growing renewed interest in search engine marketing (SEM)
and search engine optimization companies (SEO). The legitimacy of
search engine marketing has arrived.
This weeks 2003 Search Engine Strategies conference and expo event in
San Jose has proved the booming growth of this industry. This year's
jam-packed event has generated an estimated 2,500 attendees with
standing room only sessions on topics like sponsored links, linking
strategies and buying keyword ads. Sponsors include Google, Yahoo,
Lycos, Looksmart and Ask Jeeves. The hoopla reminded me of the wild
and lavish events of the dotcom boom times.
Google hosted a big party called the Google Dance for all event
participants in a grassy area under tents next to their new future
corporate offices recently leased from the downsized Silicon Graphics
(SGI) campus. The event offered loud rap music, a Google technology
demonstration tent and offered a Segway Transporter giveaway. See more
Google Dance 2003 Photos
The major trends that were highlighted at the event were industry
consolidation with the Yahoo purchase of Overture, Microsoft's rapid
coming entry of its own search technology, the fast growth of paid
inclusion, sponsored links, paid placement, free organic listing
optimization and now the hot contextual advertising trend - which many
at the event debated if it should even be discussed as may not really
be true search marketing.
This search event is hosted each year by Danny Sullivan, editor of
SearchEngineWatch.com. Sullivan, an search industry spokesperson and
beloved leader of the industry, moderated panels and keynoted the
events opening day session.
Sullivan stated many times during the event that he does see free
search results listings disappearing and that search engines need to
keep looking at new ways to help searchers find more user-defined
results by possibly offering categories of search areas right up front
and offering assistance tools to more easily refine searches globally
Sullivan's ideas almost sound like a return of Yahoo's directory, but
with the new twist of having those results based on crawling and
indexing high quality pay-for-placement sites that compete with each
other based on relevance and ad budget.
At this event it was clear that search engine marketing is evolving
from its geeky computer nerd past into an industry full of offline
advertising agency clients and online marketing agency hybrids.
Madison Avenue is coming to search engine marketing. The days of the
non-commercialized web is disappearing and a new web is being born.
Big companies were represented at the event with a large group of
Microsoft MSN folks in attendance, as they are learning as much as
they can about the search space. MSN is developing their own search
technology solutions that could launch a new era in the search space.
The major debate at the event raged around the areas of free natural
or, as the industry calls it, organic search results vs. paid
inclusion and sponsored links. The issue centered on which will win
and whether all results will wind up being paid.
The search engines seem to have a disincentive to continue pushing
free unpaid organic search results. The reason is that it costs the
search engines quite a bit of money to operate free listing search
results without any revenue for the page real estate and bandwidth.
They mainly see commercial websites getting free advertising in these
free search results.
Another example is many companies are spending large budgets at the
beginning of a search engine marketing campaign and then, after the
site has attained strong organic or free search listings, they then
lower their site search spending on paid listings.
Results relevance is one of the other justifications. It seems most of
the search engines think that if they can offer the same type of
results relevance with paid listings as organic search then they will
feel it may be OK to drop free listings and convert to all paid
We must accept this new web and it's lost non-commercial purity. The
web is reaching the promise the dotcom boom failed to produce. Web
commerce has been figured out to a level that large companies and
marketing experts are really able to monetize search on the web.
It is sad to see the Internet's age of innocents disappearing, but it
is exiting as the web is reaching its full potential.
For more information about the Search Engine Strategies conference and
About Source of Article
Rob Greenlee is Founder and co-host of the WebTalkGuys Radio Show.
WebTalkGuys, a Seattle-based talk show featuring technology news and
interviews. It is broadcast on WebTalkGuys Radio, Sonic Box, via
Pocket PC at Mazingo Networks and the telephone via the Mobile
Broadcast Network. It's on the radio in Seattle at KLAY 1180 AM
and KVTI 90.9 FM. Past show and interviews are also webcast via the
http://www.webtalkguys.com/. Greenlee is also a member of the The
International Academy of Digital Arts & Sciences.