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Search Insider: The Hyper-Relevant Zone

Search_insider_masthead_2_7I didn’t see this one go out, and no responses came in. Perhaps it’s a technical glitch, or perhaps you can skip this column. Still, I think the meat here describes an issue that every single marketer engaging in search engine optimization, paid search, and feeds needs to be aware of.

From this week’s column:

In a MediaPost "Just an Online Minute" column last week, writer Wendy Davis discussed a recent Merrill Lynch report that said Google may present a conflict of interest with advertisers by including links to its own content in natural and paid results. Every engine does this in one way or another, and it’s arguably in the consumer’s best interest. We’ll explore if and how this threatens marketers, and what marketers can do.

There are several types of conflicts of interest that can present themselves, but today we’ll focus on one type in particular: when engines link to content that sits above the body of natural results, oftentimes sandwiched between sponsored and natural listings. There’s no universal term for these, so I’ll call them Hyper-Relevant listings. Taking the engines’ perspective, these are supposed to be more relevant to the user than either the natural or paid results. Otherwise, there’d be no need for them.

There are three types of Hyper-Relevant results, which I’ll call Dead Ends, Flypaper, and Cross-Sells.

See what all three of these mean, and what the implications really are.

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