By Rob Greenlee, Host / Founder WebTalkGuys
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
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
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 and locally.
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
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
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
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 inclusion results.
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 expo, visit: http://www.searchenginestrategies.com/.
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 Internet at http://www.webtalkguys.com/.
Greenlee is also a member of the The International
Academy of Digital Arts & Sciences.