SMX Keynote with search guru Chris Sherman

A late start due to technical hitches. Barry introduces Chris. And we are underway:



Chris begins with a “What a Wonderful World” video intro. Yes, Search is a truly wonderful world.

Lots of new things – there are big things happening in Search.

Cool, let’s hear it.

  • The GFC is over. Hooray!
  • Search represents 47% of online ad revenue, which is mostly consumer spend, not B2B.
  • B2B search spend is still less than pre downturn.
  • 1960s video of “the future with the web”. Sets the scene well.
  • Google Fast Flip – rejig on Google News, shows news WITH the brand of the newspaper (appeasing old media?).
  • Check your own Google Account – with all your Google products. Chris showing us his, probably 20 different Google products, and the info Google is storing about you. He says this shows Google is committed to privacy.
  • Google Insights for Search. Trending search terms. (We use this, it’s very useful.)
  • Google Local Business Centre renamed Google Places. Businesses MUST claim their listing. Seriously, why haven’t you?
  • This week -> Enhanced Street View – team of photographers to go inside shops. Interesting!
  • Chris is now summarising Google’s lawsuits that you’ve seen in the press, eg privacy violations in Italy, Street View lawsuits in multiple countries.
  • Google/China issue. Clued up people in China are using proxy servers to get outside access. He has presented on Search in China four times.
  • Government requests tool. Removal requests, to take data off Google & also data requests made by govt, all shown on a Google map. Nice transparency.


  • Yahoo: They are changing. Exciting. But it will take time. I’m not sure who he is talking about?
  • And now Bing. (I did try them for a week, but went back to my true love.) The advanced Wikipedia results are really good for research.
  • Bing maps – some good apps, eg one where you can see the front page of newspapers anywhere in the world.
  • (Personally, I find Bing video search kicks Google’s ass.)
  • Try Bing’s travel search (they recently bought a startup) – you can find out the best day to buy a ticket. (I have tried it – couldn’t get much for Australian data.)
  • Showing a ten-pin bowling trick video – the “shiny new disruptor”. Meaning Wolfram Alpha (WA) – a “knowledge engine”. He says it sounds very much like a search engine – even though they say they’re not. Showing some powerful mathematical searches. And typing in music notes, which it is converting to real music. Chris has inspired me to play with WA some more.
  • He is asking WA some ambiguous questions: “Is laughter the best medicine?” No answer. “When will I die?” gives lots of life expectancy stuff. We could hear more from WA.


  • He is showing stats on how much more time we are spending on sites like Facebook. Don’t stop marketing on Google, but think about Facebook (it’s incredible how Facebook advertising has now suddenly become so mainstream).
  • Email usage is flat lining, while social media is going gangbusters.
  • Google 88bn searches per month. Yahoo 9.4bn. Twitter 19bn.
  • The 19bn searches is self reported by Twitter on their website. 75% of Twitter traffic comes from APIs. So Twitter numbers could be MUCH bigger.
  • The take-away – search via Twitter can be a big source of traffic for you.
  • Twitter ads just starting. Called “Promoted Tweets”.
  • They plan to expand their program with partners, which will be a big boost.
  • Keep an eye on Twitter advertising. There will be big opportunities here.
  • Facebook has 600m users. If it was a country it would be the 3rd largest in the world. It is forecast to grow by 100% this year.
  • In 18 months, Facebook will be the largest place where humans gather.
  • Only a huge privacy breach will stop them.
  • Look at Facebook Insights for analytics.
  • Good resource:


  • Google are revamping their entire search engine algorithm, Google Caffeine. All focused on real-time crawling.
  • They have ripped out the heart of the old technology algorithm. When you publish something to the web, it will be crawled instantly.
  • This has a big impact on SEO – real-time is starting to displace organic results.
  • Personalisation – If you’re logged into Google account, you will also see slightly different results just for you.
  • Universal search has been around for 3 years, but there are still good opportunities for businesses (ie video, images etc). Use all types of  digital assets.


  • 5.8bn users by 2013. Wow!
  • 30% of people will be on smart phones by 2013.
  • By 2014 there will be more mobile internet users than desktop users.
  • (Optus get your shit together – I am sick of your 3G coverage. Opera House not central enough for you?…ok, and breathe…)
  • Google bought AdMob. They obviously see the opportunity. Do you?
  • “The new mobile. What you need to know” SE Land article is a really good resource.
  • Make your mobile ads focus on “immediate action”.
  • People may not be Googling alot on the phone, but they use apps to search.
  • Cisco estmate video will be 70% of traffic by 2014. Use video in your online marketing. Syndicate widely. Optimise each one well.

That’s it. The first half was a basic overview, but then Chris got into some good stuff. I enjoyed it.

Now on to the PPC sessions.

Let’s connect on Twitter

PS live blogging is bloody hard when you’re a crap typist – please forgive the punctuation & grammar errors.

By Philip Shaw


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