Search goes super holistic at San Jose. Blogs, reputation management, content and communities are big on the agenda as well as the return of creative advertising, this time by way of Google and Yahoo!

So San Jose, one of the biggest dates in the search industry’s calendar is in full swing. It feels like the whole industry is waking-up to the fact that search is part of a much wider ecosystem. Algorithm chasers beware, your days are numbered. It’s time to get engaged into communities and trust networks…

Paid search demographic targeting is looming large for UK marketers. Age, gender, wealth and lifestyle data are just some of the information MSN’s new Adcenter is bringing into play. Add to that the launch later this year of Yahoo’s ‘Panama’ advertising platform and you have some pretty powerful tools to bamboozle your competitors and squeeze a bit more from your paid search budget.

Interesting points came from Michael Stack, CTO at Inceptor who tested some of the new features against a standard optimised campaign (where creatives and titles had been optimised) against the demographic targeting in Adcenter. His findings, although based on a small data set, indicated what you would expect – targeting does raise conversion rates, but at the cost of click volume.
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Ouch! It sounds like the SEO fraternity may have to come out from the shadows and start to communicate with the rest of the marketing community (I hear knives sharpening). Maybe Google is winning the war against search spam. If you want to get good and sustainable search visibility you might just have to start thinking creatively.

Favourite personal buzzword index from the show:

– ‘ecosystem’
– ‘hockey stick’ (replaces the trusty old ‘J-curve)
– ‘tail’ – will it ever go away!
– ‘slice and dice’
– ‘nascent’

Oh yes, and brand apparently is important too. Although, from the way many in search act, you would think that they think that visibility creates demand… Hmmm, lots to chew on here. Tonight the motley Spannerworks crew go to the source as Google holds party for the faithful on the hallowed turf of ‘Mountain View’. Cheers.