SES NY: Thinking about the Future

    February 28, 2006

I was in the ‘Search Pundits’ session this morning here at Search Engine Strategies in New York. Basically, you had Robert Scoble, Matt Cutts, Jeremy Zawodny, Zia Daniell Wigder and David Vise sitting up front with Danny Sullivan moderating questions from the audience.

One of the more noteworthy responses, I thought, had to do with a question to the effect of ‘where did the panel see search in the future’. Sure it’s a bit open ended, but Danny’s response struck me as particularly poignant. Largely, I suppose, since I’d heard him say something similar at a past SES (Chicago maybe) and since then I’ve really realized how right he may be.

The gist of the response was basically that the SEO game is changing right before our eyes. The long running race to be the number one result in a major engine web query is on the verge of changing course rather dramatically (and quicker than some folks may think).

For example, just check the Yahoo! result for a basic query ‘new york hotels’ and the same in Google+Search” class=”bluelink”>Google and finally in MSN… What’s the number one result? Well if our definition of number one is the first non paid listing, it’s the local result in all three engines. Point being, the actual traditional organic results we’ve all been working on optimizing over the years are moving further and further down the page. On my screen resolution, my Yahoo query has so much stuff before the traditional organic results that I only actually see the first two before I have to scroll.

Danny speculates that we are probably closer than a lot of us may realize to the day where a basic query result pages is going to actually look a lot more like Google+Search&sa=N&tab=wl” class=”bluelink”>this one than what we’re accustomed to. Adding the personalization component where result sets can be essentially edited by the individual end user and you muddy the waters even further.

So I guess the food for thought is, are you ready for this kind of shift? Does anybody have any doubt that things on the search landscape are on the verge of some fairly dramatic changes? How will these things impact your SEO strategies?

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Mike is a manager at iEntry. He has been with iEntry since 2000.