How to Prepare for the Future of Search

Keynote Charlene Li
Charlene Li

SES San Jose 2009 Review:
Morning Keynote: How to Prepare for the Future of Search

Bright and early Thursday morning co-author of Groundswell: winning in a world transformed by social technologies, Charlene Li took to the stage to review her suggestions on how to prepare for the future of search. Starting with the past she showed the audience what Google looked like in 2001, then what Google looks like today, and finally Bing. She pointed out that the innovation that has transpired in the last decade is a shift more geared towards understanding the users intent. With this she announced the theme of the keynote–people must be at the center of your search strategy, not keywords.

She predicts that in the future social networks will be like air: we don’t go to them but it is all around us, embedded within society. Citing examples of iPhone apps.

Charlene stressed the importance of social networks in marketing allowing for new ways to target users. She did mention that Facebook advertising was not the route she was talking about, but more so using Facebook like data to serve up ads in search engines. CPM and CPC campaigns should take into account demographic, geographic, and psychographic data that social media sites can provide.

She outlined the engagement pyramid and stated that the most important place for you to be is the bottom in order to create a solid base of watchers or sharers; because without the sharers or watchers the higher sections become useless. What does this translate to? Encourage people by giving them social bookmarks, linkable content and useful information– find out where you can begin the dialogue.

The Engagement Pyramid
^ Curators
| Producers
| Commentators
| Sharers
| Watchers

Here are some other notable points from Mrs. Li:

  • In the future everyone is a marketer
  • The ability to control conversations is over
  • Enable people from your company to engage
  • Get your back-end data in order
  • Prepare to tap into “chain of intent”
  • Deepen relationships with social technologies
  • Be ready to give up control