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2005 Search Engine Marketing Predictions

Search engine marketing is continuing to evolve, and for the most part, for the better. Searchers are having an easier time finding what they're looking for, and search engines will continue to add features that make life easier for all of us. Here are a few things I see on the search horizon:

  1. Maps - Yahoo's addition of related information overlayed on maps is a going to be a trend continued in 2005, party brought on by competition from other map sites. Traffic information is a big leap forward, but other features will make mapping even more valuable.
  2. Shopping Search - Still VERY new. As more customers become accustomed to this powerful type of search, more retailers will follow. Shopping search companies will make the setup process less painful for retailers by standardizing or at least becoming better at reading other program’s feeds (or so we hope?).
  3. SMS Search - Other companies will follow Google's lead with this convenient search feature. Wal-Mart will freak out and try to ban text messaging within their stores after observing consumers typing UPC numbers into their cell phone to compare prices to other retailers. This will make SMS search more popular after people read about it on Yahoo’s Oddly Enough News Stories.
  4. Consolidated Personals Search – A will company provide a Froogle type search that indexes multiple personals sites. Personals companies will be able to push their ads onto the consolidated site where people will be able to view consolidated personals listings alongside the various personals sites rates. Epinions may provide personals services ratings?
  5. Overture's Interface – It will become more like Adwords. It’s already heading that direction, but still has a way to go to offer people the same level of control of their ads. Expect more of a move toward an Adwords Ad Groups interface, more control over negative terms, and better reporting.
  6. Ad Firms - Companies who think SEM is simply an online ad buy will choose to work with their ad firms to handle the their online ad budgets. Some will receive surprisingly good service while others may fall short on the technical skills necessary to handle the various tasks involved in SEM.
  7. Reciprocal Linking - Search engines will get better at detecting links for link's sake, and sites currently ranking high solely from reciprocal links will feel some pain. Quality web sites owned by people with little understanding of reciprocal linking will mysteriously be rewarded for being good. Of course, good sites that actively seek out links from relevant sites will still have the edge because they’re expediting the link building process.
  8. Car Sales – Google will jump into the car business by adding an automotive section to Froogle that consolidates car sales sites. Savvy consumers will compare car prices using their cell phones while on car lots, causing car salespeople headaches.
  9. Personalized Search - Personalization won't make a big leap forward, but people will continue to get better at searching. For example, people will search using quotes around “search terms,” –negative keywords, more words in search phrases, and Search Within Results, to help them find what they’re looking for faster.
  10. Google's Content Targeted Advertising – Will finally have separate bidding and Ad Groups from search, which will lead to an increase in the number of advertisers using it. This will be good for publishers, advertisers, and Google.

Do you have some additional guesses? Think I'm totally off base? Stop by the thread on Highrankings Forum about 2005 Industry Predictions to share your thoughts.

Ed Kohler is the President of Haystack In A Needle, Inc., a web marketing firm in Minneapolis, MN, offering search engine optimization and pay per click advertising consulting services.





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