Search Marketing Will Move to Phone, TiVo, iPod

Search marketing and optimization have moved from the obscure periphery of advertising to its center stage, but have only just begun their conquest of environments beyond the Web browser.

That’s the opinion of search expert Danny Sullivan, who gave the keynote speech at the Search Engine Strategies conference in Chicago.

“Search is going to be on your Web browser, as it is now, and on your mobile phone, on your TiVo, on your MP3 player,” he said. “When it comes, there are going to be ways for you to make sure you’re well-placed there.”

Sullivan conjured that future in a wide-ranging speech describing a search marketing industry with unprecedented budgets and business cachet. He noted SEM has always been strong, whereas other interactive ad channels have had uneven success. On the downside, he said, as SEM has gone mainstream, so has the nasty reputation of many of its practices.

“When it was depression all around, search was thriving,” he said. “Search is a fundamental advertising medium [and] public relations medium. Despite our gains, we have a reputation problem that is going to dog us more.”

Sullivan called on SEM pros to be more aggressive in advocating good practices, as well as in denouncing bad ones. He especially singled out comment and link spam as a scourge on the Internet.

Additionally, he described a future in which engines will rely less on spiders to maintain their indexes, instead allowing more content owners to submit their content directly. He noted several recent developments that suggest this may be a trend, including Google SiteMaps and Google Base.

“Maybe we can move further with the concept that everybody can feed content [to the engines].” Addressing the engines, he said, “Maybe we can start handing stuff to you, and you can start trusting us.”

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