Search Engine Year-End Predictions: 2007 Scorecard

Last year, Search Engine Watch did a round-up of search predictions for 2007. So how did some search gurus do?

Well, one man’s opinion does not a study make. So, I hit the streets and asked professionals in the search engine marketing space how they felt the year stacked up.

The reader responses I received were interesting and thoughtful. They covered a wide array of topics within the large spectrum of search. I wanted to share a couple of them with you here.

I asked readers to review some Search Engine industry predictions from 2007. Here are a couple places that made search marketing predictions:

Readers were encouraged to talk about ones that came true and why that’s cool. Or ones that didn’t come true and why that’s interesting. The first one’s a winner:

Deep Search: The Invisible Web

ReadWriteWeb predicted “consumerization of the enterprise.” In response to my question, David Goebel from Goebel Group wrote: “[This” trend will start to infiltrate corporate IT in the form of Web-based office apps and more collaborative systems.”

With more organizations looking at cloud computing, Goebel felt the prediction is right on. “Adoption is slow, but will grow in 2008. Enterprise search vendors are starting to use social and user driven search results suggestions and comments within the enterprise (Vivisimo). This is a feature directly from the consumer Web and will help enterprises become more efficient.”

This is apropos, considering Microsoft just bought Fast Search, a specialist in “search technology used inside companies and government agencies to cull for information in documents, databases, and software applications.” Plus, hybrid 3D search engines like Ergo launched to considerable acclaim at CES. It’s shaping up to be an exciting year for innovations.

Corporate or enterprise search is often left out of the search marketing discussion. As more corporations create internal networks of information, understanding how to optimize that data effectively becomes more important. What’s good for the goose is good for the gander.

What Predictions Didn’t Come True in 2007

Leslie Carruthers from The Search Guru is interested in predictions that didn’t come true. Leslie notes that many predictions will come true, just not when we hope they do:

“We’ve come to expect the industry to change at a fast pace,” Carruthers said. “Many predictions for 2007 either did not happen or did not happen fully. Why? We believe it’s not the industry slowing down, the industry has sped up past the point of users’ abilities to keep up with the potential for change.”

Search engines make changes faster than humans can keep up. Carruthers made another excellent point:

“Users become bored with one concept before launching into another and the growth of concepts has outpaced even the average user’s nanosecond attention span,” Carruthers said. “Not to worry though, as many of those predictions will come true, eventually. Just not as quickly as we might expect.”

I feel the same way.

Here are the top predictions of 2007:

  • RSS will go mainstream in a big way
  • The explosion of widgets
  • Semantic Web products (Twine)
  • Browser wars between IE7 and FireFox
  • Virtual world businesses
  • AOL acquired
  • And most of all: the social revolution!

It all ended with a resounding, gigantic yawn. I didn’t really feel any of these heavy, important moments everyone was making 2007 out to be.

The social media movement, the kind SEW Expert Carrie Hill has suggested in “Social Media for SEM Savvy Small Biz Owners,” has been the biggest let down of all. Going into 2007 I felt business was really going to get it. Social media was going to change the landscape of online business marketing. I talked a lot about social media.

Companies were definitely curious. Ultimately, few really jumped into the social world. There might be a few more blogs out there now in 2008 compared to 2007, but most of those are shallow and lacking in heart.

Social media requires a total shift in marketing philosophy. Only the smartest, most creative marketers will adapt. The others will retreat back to tradition.

Seth Godin evangelizes about the 2008 marketing revolution. Mark your calendar. This Wednesday, January 23 at 2 p.m. EST, Search Engine Watch will present a Web cast featuring Godin on the question on every marketer’s mind: “How Do You Avoid the Meatball Sundae?”

Cheers to 2008: The year of getting stuff done.

Did I miss any earth-shattering predictions of the year that was? Let me know.

Related reading

SEO is a team sport: How brands and agencies organize work
How to pitch to top online publishers: 10 exclusive survey insights
search reports for ecommerce to pull now for Q4 plan
amazon google market share for ecommerce, data