Travel Trends – Google SearchWiki, Display Ads, This is My Milwaukee

That is 2 votes for

That is 2 votes for

Google SearchWiki – Last week Google launched their rumored SearchWiki, a new addition to the user interface that allows users to edit search results by re-ordering, removing or commenting.  If you have a Google or Gmail account and have searched via Google in the last few days, you have probably noticed the new up or ‘X’ buttons next to each search result.  Great for customizing your personal search results, but what does this all mean for your SEO campaign?

According to Google, nothing or maybe something:

Google emphasizes that changes made in the SearchWiki interface will have no impact on the traditional ranking of web pages. If you put your own site in the 1st position for your primary keywords, you’re the only Google user who’ll see your site at the top of the rankings. Your site will, however, be included when users click the “See all notes for this SearchWiki” link at the bottom of the page; that link leads to another page that shows what results other users have re-ordered, removed, or added.

Still, Dupont didn’t completely rule out the possibility that user data from SearchWiki may someday impact regular search rankings. I asked what would happen if 10,000 people all added “Matt McGee’s Widget Page” to their own results for the phrase [widget]. “We’re always looking at user data as a signal,” Dupont says. And in a situation like that? “We’re not closing any doors.”

Translation, it would impact the rankings for Matt’s Widget Page.  However, at this point, the new SearchWiki should not cause any major alarms, read up on the subject and try out the new service.

Display Ads are so 2002 – We have heard this one before.  Traditional display (banner) ads cannot provide solid metrics or ROI for most advertisers and soon, this pillar of the online advertising plan will cease to exist.  Plus, with almost everyone cutting back or scrutinizing every last penny, display ads will be the first cut from many online budgets.  Possible, but considering past history, not the end of the display ad.  That being said, personally, I think there is a greater value and ROI in pursuing an integrated online buy (content + search!) rather than just display ads. And even if you are using display ads, at least be sure the metrics you are measuring provide a clear picture of the results or as Mo and I like to mention every so often…engagement!  But, will display ads go away?  Probably not.

This is My Milwaukee – Last week, Martin (@coldinpdx) sent around a link to an, apparently, new tourism video and site for Milwaukee.


(Reading via RSS or email, click for video.)

Because Martin described the video as ‘Cool? Weird? Funny?,’ I was intrigued enough to watch.  The video starts off somewhat normal, reminding me of something we would watch in the 6th grade about the invention of the VCR or the fall of Communism, but after a few minutes the footage and tone skews wildly off-track and it becomes apparent that either A) Milwaukee has a completely different target that everyone else or B) This video was not produced by the Milwaukee CVB.

After a quick search for the Milwaukee Tourism Commission (which does not exist) and a few minutes on a couple of forums, it became obvious that this was the start of an ARG or alternate reality game.  ARG’s are a subject we don’t typically cover on the Travel 2.0 blog because they are usually more suited or at least more utilized for music, movie or video game promotions.  But, considering the subject matter of Milwaukee Tourism, it seemed like a good introduction into ARGs.

So far, there has been a vigorous discussion on several forums about the site, with members trying to decipher clues from the video as well as call the number listed on the site.  Yes, someone actually picks up the other line and will play along with you, giving out more clues.

Plus, the group has set up a Wiki site (literally overnight) about the campaign to organize all of the clues and information they have gathered so far.

More than likely, unless the Milwaukee CVB is really pushing the envelope, this will probably turn out to be a video game promo, however, it provides a fantastic, real-time case study for ARGs, Wikis, social communications and viral marketing campaigns.

Watch, enjoy and be confused.

Comment? @travel2dot0 or email.