First up today is the opening keynote by Satya Nadella of Microsoft then after that the expo hall opens up. I wonder what interesting things I can grab to put on my desk that six months later will turn into the bane of my existence.
Nadella is the Senior Vice President of the Search, Portal & Advertising Platform group at Microsoft and I’m sure his insight into the future of the Microsoft will be an interesting one.
Nadella is being introduced by SES’s Kevin Ryan who begins by thanking California for making such great wine and also providing great access to Ibuprofen.
Nadella is now going through the history of SEO and search and how we got to where we are today. The end result from the start has always been how the end user reacts to the message. This is a key thing to anything in life but where marketing is concerned there is a price tag attached to it. The ROI. Search has been through a few phases and Keyword has been quite a crucial ingredient in not only how to build a search engine but also how to build a site. The Search Engines, namely Google with the PageRank system instituted rules to combat those that would keyword stuff their pages and/or hide the text so it was the same colour as the background of a page thereby turning the text invisible.
Nadella is breaking down a particular search where a user, who is a prime example of the Long Tail searcher that originally searched for a pair of Merrel shoes and ended up actually buying a pair Clarks. This session, which is close to an hour, of the user originally searching for a style of shoe and then adding more terms to their search as they go along. Near the end of the session they found out that they wanted Clarks and not Merrel’s. This could shy you away from Long Tail optimization but the point behind this example is to show the intelligence of the basic online shopper. Searchers that input very specific search terms are proven to convert better into buyers than someone who is looking for just ‘shoes.’
Microsoft, according to Nadella, relies on a ‘Great Search Experience.’ They are working towards an ‘Openness and Transparency’ which he alludes to some future innovation in the works. Xbox Live is noted to playing a key role in their future. He says they are looking to broaden their advertising portfolio and platform and if you have been following this blog or any other tech/seo blog this isn’t any big news.
They are also trying to simplify key tasks by understanding search patterns and fit results to cater to those needs. Innovation in business search is also coming down the pipe.
In terms of blended search Microsoft is providing not only keyword results but also ‘whole page’ results, which is another term for Semantic web which means understanding the content of web page and judging its relevance based on a search term. This ties into the recent acquisition of Powerset which is a true Semantic search engine.
Nadella is showing a demo of a new version of Live Search that will make a searchers experience a lot more robust. Results such as a analysis of airfare pricing over a certain time frame and letting a user know if what price they are getting is high or low. Other searches on merchandise spit back a sort of ‘Amazon’ type listing with bigger images and better descriptions.
Overall Microsoft Live is taking us into account when building their next platform because they finally realize that if we are happy about our experiences we will be more loyal and from a company that released Windows NT that makes me happy.
BTW, NT actually stands for Nice Try.
Sorry that was my very bad geek joke but trust me that joke kills in Cupertino California