Saturday, 2 August 2008

'What Next For Search?' - M&M Global magazine feature includes my comments

The latest issue of M&M Global magazine (July / Aug issue) includes an article entitled 'What Next For Search?'

The article considers the 'important developments in search marketing that have been pushed out of the headlines [as a result of the continued speculation around Yahoo! and Microsoft]'. The first part of the article covered Google's removal of restricted trademark bidding in the UK and this is where my quotes were included.

'Nick Burcher, board director at ZED, believes Google's motivation to change the trademark laws [was in part] driven by the fact users are getting better at searching. "They are moving away from generic search terms, such as credit cards, and towards branded search terms, such as Lloyd's credit cards", he says. This means generic search terms aren't generating the revenues they used to as people are searching with trademark terms, which have remained cheap because only the trademarked company could bid on it's term. Burcher adds: "People have moved from highest cost-per-click marketing in competitive areas to lower costs with branded terms and navigational search."'

(click for larger image)

My comments were also backed up by Hitwise study into the growth of navigational search. Robin Goad writes: "navigational search has been increasing; in 2007, 76.0% of search volume for the top 2,000 terms was navigational in nature, up from 63.6% in 2006 and 58.2% in 2005."

There has been significant analysis on what the changes have meant and Robin Goad followed up his original articles with further Hitwise analysis which looks at how the Google landscape changed in the month following the trademark changes. The most interesting statistics being that there were significant increases in paid brand search activity (averaging +22%), whilst traffic generated through brand searches showed only a very small decrease as a result of the trademark changes (91.8% to 91.3% in traffic to brand owners’ websites from searches for their own brand names following the changes.)

The impact of Google's trademark changes has varied significantly by sector. The short term effects are obvious (more competition, increased cost etc), but it is still too early to tell what the long term effects of the changes will really be.

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