As a refresh on basic search strategy here is the search triangle Your content must be presented in a way that is accessible to be searched – live or indexed. How can the search engine see what’s in your video, audio or flash content?The content must be relevant and high quality – is it answering the question the person searching is asking?Printer = I am looking for a new printerServer = what new servers are on the marketCheap laptop = I need a laptop and price is my decision point.3. Are you effectively distributing quality content to where people need or want it? Is that content searchable where it is and branded effectively – does it link to your site – does it need to >???
A stream is a rapidly changing sequence of information around any given topic or in our case brands, services or products. This information stream is facilitated by blogs, forums, and microblogs, and alsothe rise of services like Twitter, FriendFeed, Facebook. Streams are constant driven through status updates, instantly shared thoughts, photos, and videos.Stream’s are forum topic’s – twitter conversations – business communities groups and of course product reviews and exist everywhere people can publish content. Where content is democratized the stream is created.It’s important to consider how the stream differs from the old content creation model – where professional and brands created the content channels for users to engage with.
There are some important trends we are starting to see with the shift to stream created content.Streams are starting to replace search engines as the starting point for web browsing – think about your own behavior - where do you start your web browsing? Checking your Facebook or twitter communities? Following posted or shared content? Looking for news stories in dig? Looking for videos in Vimeo?With streams users are in control of channel and the content – this is increasingly rich media content. We no longer control where and how are brands are being defined. We need to understand how to work in this new world were we can’t pay for play.Stream just mean more and more content is being created – more of everything – more video – more audio – more text. Differentiation and cut through as we know it is difficult – perhaps impossible.As a brands we create and own on average less than a quarter of the content related to our brands products and services – so how can we optimize this to make it more findable? Users are telling us what they think, what they need and how they feel – this creates what is described as the Semantic Web where we can use this information to customize web experience and content delivery. Are you listening?
So why is the stream concept important for us to understand when dealing with search – Simply - content is what people are searching for - where they interact with and how they search for it is changing.
In the old content model we had the mind set – If we build great content they will come and interact with it – of course we helped them find the pages we were creating through advertising and or the unfortunately named ‘traffic generation’ activities. With the old content model the focus for search is to create traffic for the content hosted on your site and perhaps selected partner sites.The approach here using the old content model is to optimize onsite experience and text based content for search rankings and paid search performance. This relies on three factors:That the brand owns or controls all the content that users are searching forContent is created in professional manner and published – not live and socially createdPeople are using traditional search engines to find content.In the steam none of these factors will hold true…
One of the key takeaways we covered earlier showed that brands now only own a fraction of the content the rest is being created live in the stream.Content for a brand now resides in myriad places not just on the corporate site - all of this content is searchable and in many ways is MORE important to us. We now not only need to optimize for search results on our site we also need to reputation manage how our brand content is searched and the results on and offsite through search engines or in the stream. When a user now searches for content they are going to start in this stream and as we can see all of these distributed social media content sites are also search engines in their own right - I will cover some of these new types of search in some of the upcoming slides – but this is clearly demonstrating how search is evolving into the navigation point for stream content.
As we evolve the types of content we are creating and is created in the stream we, as brands, are struggling to keep up with the search demands of this change. As we move from our text based content to more interactive and shareable content such as video and multimedia we start to loose traction with our current search optimization processes that are focused on the old ‘build it and they will come’ content models. As we know content is now distributed to many sites so we must now not only think about how to optimize this content but where to store it?Should the video live on your site or be embedded from you tube?Then as we move into stream content the processes need to help to optimize this changes again… how to I optimize something I don’t own?
When content is created in the stream it’s created live in real time – Google does not index this live content. Searching this type of live content called unsurprisingly ‘Instant Search’Again we now know that most of the content being developed on the web is being generated in the stream. So there is a massive new opportunity for brands to optimize live search to get more interaction with its key content – whether this is professional content or social content such as peer recommendations.However firstly we must understand the threat this new type of search is for established brands – reputation management will become a key weapon for brands to optimize live search – in fact I would estimate the biggest convergence we will see operationally within our organizations is the creation of a new type of marketeer focusing on ENGAGEMENT MARKETING using search and social skills to optimize at the point of content creation.
We are also seeing new type of search emerging as people search for different type of contentYou can search for videos or images in Google – however You Tube is now the second largest search engine on the web as users want to search in the stream of content they are in – why go to Google when you are already in You Tube, Vimeo or Flicker?With a tool such as Tweet deck we can organize and group live search information. Live search results are different to normal result in that you need to have a real time feed of information to understand how the content is evolving. Blog search such as technorati and standard search on Twitter are also massive growth area’s for search.And of course people search – now this is an area that has exploded as social networking has become more popular – People search includes looking for your friends – screening clients and employees – job hunting and networking. Linked-in is now one of the most popular and effective job search sites on the web. With these new types of search becoming more and more important – we need to ensure we have content available everywhere people are searching for it.
We can’t ignore Google or Bing as they are still the fundamental base of search… and a huge source of qualified leads and revenue for Brands. However we need to now balance our optimization efforts for all types of content.We need to concentrate on placing content into distributed stream sites so it is searchable in many ways. We also now need to work out how we will optimize and shape the content created in the stream about our brand. We can already start seeing this content being blended into Google search results – do any search and you will find video on you tube and images hosted on Flicker etc.A big plus with distributing content into the stream is that it helps build links to our brand web sites – links are king for Google rankings.A big question this shift in search raises is where are we going to pay for traffic from and where will we send it to? We will probably see a mixture of search engine and stream paid search and delivering more point of interaction advertising rather than shifting the user to the brand site. So from traffic generation to content experience.
Don’t underestimate the threat this change will have on your brandYou don’t own the content so user can be saying anything about your brand and you have no control (remember Dell Sucks) users searching for brand information will now be presented with ALL your dirty laundry – using the wrong plastic in laptop production – suddenly this is ranking alongside your products. Content is not retired in the stream – if users continue to consume the content then it can take on a life of it’s own. So if users are throwing mud at your dirty laundry it can stick and for a long time. If users are search and your not there this can have quite a negative brand connotation – there is an expectation from our consumers that we have an optimized content strategy for all touch points.And remember there is no editor in the stream the content people search for my not be accurate, on brand or even fair – reputation management is key.
In order to succeed search marketing in the stream it’s important to understand and engage with our customers on their level.To do this we need to understand the engagement maturity model – and understand that: As we move through this model the maturity needed to become engaged increases. Each stage of the maturity model demands increased levels of time, budget, expertise, market readiness and content. The engagement model is based on the 4 C’s of effective relationship buildingContact – working with the key content creators in your spaceConversation – joining in on existing conversations to inform, dispel rumour and shape directionCreation – starting new streams of conversationsCollaboration – how can we work together with our audience?The engagement model is based around the maturity of three factors:Your audiences’ readiness to be engagedWhat relationship do you already have with your audience – is there already trust? Your organisational / internal readiness:As we move through the engagement model building up organization experience we can move closer to being truly collaborative and developing community around our core topics. The ultimate goal of engagement.
Search in the streamJustin Galehttp://uk.linkedin.com/in/justingale
The Stream – key takeaways People are starting at the stream rather than search engines Users own the stream - not the brand Streams = more rich media content and more text Brands now own less than a ¼ of the content1 The stream creates the semantic web – are you ready for web 3.0? 1 360i - 2009
Why is the stream Concept important for search? I’m going cover this for you in four parts : Distributed content Change in content type Live content New types of search
CONTENT is changing Text rich - just how search wants it. Stream content – who do we optimize for? Multimedia – no indexable text
LIVE CONTENT – the chink in Google's armor?
New Types of search Tweet deck: Organized live search Video and image search: You Tube is now the 2nd most used search engine on the web People search Search social and business networks for friends, jobs, colleagues
Optimize the stream Google is still the big dog for professional content search We now need to optimize the stream for all distributed content Stream results are started to be blended into Google results Distributed content and stream optimization drive Google search results – remember links are king Paid search strategy needs to shift to focus on the best content available professional or in the stream
Search becomes a threat to your brand in the stream You don’t own the content Mud sticks & never seems to wash out If your not there you’re square There is no editor in the stream
Embrace engagement marketing to optimize stream content