Ask the Expert: Search

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How has search changed in the past six months? Sullivan: Last year, blended search was a revolution. There's a lot of buzz around the whole blended search space. People are still trying to get their head around what that means for them. They only had one entrance point until now, and so [the question is], which door do I walk through? If you want to be in the top listings at Google, you need to consider [other searchable content such as] video. There are several new doorways to the front page. Blog search, news search, video search, image search, shopping search and book search. Google is integrating these into search results much more than it used to. How can b-to-b marketers take advantage of some of these new doorways? Sullivan: If, for example, you have any kind of local-oriented business, your ability to show up on Google is much better right now. If you do searches on Google now, you'll notice a map at the top of the results and 10 little listings that take up half the screen. Local results dominate the page. Marketers should look at each of these areas and look to see if they have materials in each area that are relevant. Not everyone will do local search; not every b-to-b marketer is locally oriented. But people who are looking for b-to-b providers are going to be doing some local searches. What are b-to-b search marketers getting wrong? Sullivan: When potential customers come to the sites, b-to-b marketers tend to want to qualify their information. But sometimes they ask for too much, and that can impact whether they get the leads they are looking for. You need to do a lot of testing to see how people are coming into your site. It can be helpful to talk to customers beyond those who are doing the purchasing and understand how they work with the employees who have purchasing power. Too many people think of search secondarily. They put together a marketing plan and figure out where they will buy their ads. After the fact, they think about search. They need to be thinking about these things in the beginning. If you run an offline campaign, you have to understand people are going to go search on it. And you want those results to put you in the No. 1 position. M
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