As I was busy posting to my personal Facebook page last night I noticed an ad which kept coming up on my page. The headline read, "Search Is Dead". After I had a good chuckle, my next inclination was to click on the ad to see if I could get another laugh. But then, morality kicked in, and as I don't like folks clicking on my PPC ads for the sake of it, I decided to do a "Search" instead, for "Search is Dead." What a sobering experience...
Go ahead and Google the phrase yourself. At first I did have another good laugh. The Pay-Per-Click ads (better known by web marketers as Search Engine Marketing, or SEM) were ads for "Death Notices" and "Free Death Records Search". I guess Ancestry.com has money to burn on the keywords "death" and "search". Probably their "what if" strategy in case someone accidentally added the word "is" when looking for an obituary or death record.
The remaining listings are articles ranging from the Google Panda update, which seemingly targets link-farming from sites with low content levels or re-posts of content from another site on the internet in an attempt to build backlinks. These articles were over a year old, as Google rolled Panda out in the U.S. over a year ago.
More interesting to me were articles which discussed how Google is using data from their own social networks (and others)to serve us information which is more tailored to our tastes--articles, posts, etc. which members of our social networks are sharing. For example, when Nancy conducts a search she will receive an article that her friend Missy promotes or shares. However, Julie may receive a different story because her friend Becky promoted/shared that article.
This type of micro-targeted, behaviorally-based search results makes it crystal clear: in an ever-increasingly competitive business climate you must have a very beefy social following, with content which is optimized for sharing. It's not just about Twitter and Facebook anymore.
If you want to remain relevant in your field and on the leading edge of marketing you absolutely must embrace Social Media, especially social medial networks, like "Groups" on LinkedIn or "Circles" and "Hangouts" on Google+. Otherwise you could quickly find yourself on the "bleeding edge" while your competition literally sucks market share from you because they had the foresight, devoted elbow-grease and resources to engage your former customers in numerous social media platforms, with interesting content that others share, like and promote.
The train is about to leave the station. Are you going to be on it, or under it?