In the final keynote speech of the Webinale conference 2014 ‚The Future of Search and SEO‚, Marcus Tandler’s presentation featured over four hundred slides with gifs, statistics, TV show clips and key quotes that provoked frequent chuckles from the audience.
Tandler gave a fast paced blitz through the history of search engines and SEO. The speech began by tracing Google’s humble beginnings in Stanford in 1998 and quickly revisited Larry Page’s original formula based on links and keywords.
„Google did it right„, he said as he skipped over Bing and other search engines.
99% of people in the Netherlands use Google.
Tandler provided international statistics to illustrate Google’s global domination. Turkey came in second place with 98% of users opting for Google as their search engine, while the Netherlands topped the charts with 99% of internet users staying loyal to Google.
Tandler spoke about how Google altered their search engine to cope with breaking news stories. Amy Winehouse was used as an example to highlight how in the event of a sudden death, users do not want to view links to buy albums, read a biography or watch music videos.
Their main focus is to discover what happened. By abandoning a static index and adding real time social media into the mix this problem was resolved.
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Google+ still lags behind Facebook in terms of sharing potential and user reach yet it has taken steps to combat this. For example, in an effort to close this gap, YouTube comments may only be left with a Google+ profile.
Google still struggles to answer some user questions precisely. It needs to improve it’s ability to scan for more than the article title to ensure writers are not just simply placing keywords in the headline and pasting different content into the body of the text to attract hits.
The future of search engines and SEO
There is no doubt that Google rules the roost. The research they are currently exploring means that while we run around like headless chickens Google will be prompting us with reminders, notifying us of our plans and acting as our personal assistant. Google wants to know our needs before we do.
Tandler elaborated on this stating the danger is that „once you’re hooked you’re stuck„. The experience of being minded and supported is addictive and once people implement it into their lives they find it difficult to remember what they did without it.
Tandler spoke about some of Google’s acquisitions, such as Waze, Funf and Nest, that will help to enable this goal.
Google Voice has been working on a databank of voice queries to develop it’s voice commands which will allow for a more user friendly, instant search engine.
We broke the system.
„We broke guest postings, we broke comments and we’re ruining infographics“ Tandler told his audience. In his closing remarks the keynote speaker said that „SEO is a creative task“and that while it is difficult to make something compelling it is important to make the shift from „search engine optimization to search experience optimization.“
Feature image: BATH, UK – MAY 4, 2011: Close-up of the Google.com search homepage displayed on a LCD computer screen with silhouette of a man’s head out of focus in the foreground. via Shutterstock / copyright: antb