Consumers conducting searches on Google Inc. and Microsoft Corp.’s Bing often get a lot more than links to web sites in their results. For example, a search for Barack Obama on Google brings up numerous images, a brief bio, the recent election results and pictures of other people connected to Obama that the searcher might be interested in learning more about—all corralled within the search results page.
This approach to search results—called semantic search—seeks to answer a search query, not just supply links to web sites. The approach has implications for marketers: If search engines answer queries, traffic to web sites may drop as fewer consumers click through.
With the move towards semantic search, retailers should consider how they can add more robust content to both their web sites and also their search ads to boost search engine traffic, says Kevin Lee, CEO of digital marketing and search agency Didit.
Lee will discuss what search engines are doing, how those moves could impact marketers’ web site traffic and how marketers can adapt the new rules to serve their own goals of selling to consumers at the 2013 Internet Retailer Web Design and Usability Conference in a session titled: “Beyond links: What Google’s efforts to provide info and not just links means to marketers.”
“Often the searcher would prefer to see images or click-to-play videos,” Lee says. “As retail marketers, it is critical that we learn how best to take full advantage of both the organic and paid implementations of semantic search. Those retailers implementing best practices will reap the rewards.”
Retailers using Google product listing ads, for example, can add richer product information, such as images, price, merchant name and more. A product listing ad for “green tent,” for instance, could show the capacity of a tent and average customer star rating right on the search results page.
Internet Retailer’s editors asked Lee to speak because of his digital marketing expertise that encompasses social and display media and other forms of digital marketing. Lee launched Didit in 1996 and developed search marketing products including Maestro, Didit’s search, social and auction-based display campaign optimization technology and Didit MAPS technology, a geotargeting technology for search engine marketing campaigns.