Everything You (Think You) Know About Google Is Changing

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Are you becoming more and more of a Search Geek? If not, you should.

The Search Engine landscape is shifting beneath our feet and, as Marketers, it might be cool and fun to play with all of this Social Media and Web 2.0 stuff like Blogs, Podcasts, wikis and online social networks, but your biggest win is going to come from how well you understand, use and capitalize on the power of Search.

I’m not going to harp on the stats or logic behind building a better Marketing brain for balancing paid and organic search results for anything and everything you touch, I am going to let you know about a couple of interesting developments that have occurred, which will affect how Consumers discover brands, products and services in the coming weeks, months and years.

On May 19th, 2007, I published a Blog posting, Google Universal Search Will Be Good For Users And Challenging For Search Engine Optimization Professionals, where I said this:

"If search result pages are now going to also include images, news items, maps, etc… the limited space at the top of fold is going to change dramatically as well. There is no chance that Google is going to drop the Cash Cow that is pay-per-click search engine marketing, Google AdWords, so my guess is that search engine optimization or trying to make your website appear at the top of organic search results is going to get a lot more heated and complicated in the coming months."

Just today, I caught an article on ClickZ titled, What Google SERP Changes Mean To Marketers. As Google continue to integrate their Universal Search platform they’re also testing some new functionality, like a search box beneath certain site listings that enables Users to search that specific site without ever having to leave the Google search page.

You can see what it looks over like here (courtesy of  ClickZ Journalist, Julie Batten): Google – Search Result – Toronto School.

I know, I think it’s pretty cool too.

Here’s what Batten says in the article:

"…maybe these extra elements included on the Google SERPs are just another challenge for the marketer. That is, it’s not just about optimizing your site any more. It’s about optimizing every type of content you have available. So instead of whining about the SERP’s reduced space, why not invest that energy into listing your business with Google Maps or optimizing your images and video for search?"

To better grasp these implications, Anna Maria Virzi of ClickZ reports this from her article, The Google Conflict – Search Engine or Destination?:

"Of some 1.2 billion search queries on Google during a one-week period in January 2008, universal results were presented about 17 percent of the time, according to research released by James Lamberti, comScore‘s SVP, search and media. What’s more, the total number of clicks on universal results totalled 16 percent. ‘The search result page is beginning to operate as a destination,’ observed Lamberti. ‘The consumers are a priority. Not the marketers.’"

Do you remember the good old days (like twelve months ago) when the real power of search was how quickly they could get you in and out of their results?

Everything you know about Search is changing.