Search has come a long way since the glory days of WebCrawler, Excite, and Altavista. The introduction of Google’s PageRank system forever changed the search landscape. Algorithms have evolved and innovation continues to occur. But what is next on the horizon for search?
Verticals, verticals, verticals
I know I keep emphasizing the importance of verticals over and over. However, their value is priceless. I will not rant about them again in this post. Instead, if you want to read more about my stance on verticals, you can do so by reading the following:
Search engine education
Most users are unaware of the full capabilities of a search engine such as Google. Did you know, for example, that Google search can be used as a calculator? A stock quote tool? A parcel tracker? A flight status checker? A dictionary? Chances are you probably don’t. Further education and instruction is needed to maximize the user experience and provide exposure for these little-known functions.
Indexing of ALL pages
This has been a topic of discussion for quite some time. It is 99.99% likely that not all of the web pages on the Internet have been crawled or indexed. Search engines strive to reach the 100% milestone, although it will never happen. The constant surge toward this target (and the innovation that goes along with it) is critical. Making as much information available as possible creates more relevant search results and more efficient browsing.
Removal of clutter and SEO landing pages
As we all know, the web is riddled with redundant, meaningless clutter. Parked pages and SEO-tailored landing pages continue to appear, decreasing overall efficiency on the web. Add to that duplicate content that has been ripped off and republished, and there is a widespread problem that needs to be dealt with in a systematic manner.
The notion of removing pages seems to contradict my last recommendation of ‘indexing ALL pages’. However, as I’m sure you’ll agree, these clutter pages are useless and do nothing more than make life on the web a pain.
Over and over again, the concept of personalized search seems to resurface. What fails to surface is exactly what this looks like and what it means to us. Painting a clear picture of personalized search will be the biggest obstacle. Obviously, behavioural search patterns and trends will play a key role. But how? Are search results displayed in a new way? Are SERPs tailored to your individual profile? I have no idea. Yahoo and Google are making strides in the area, but it will be years before we can truly realize and appreciate the true potential of such a concept.
The way I see it, search is still in its infancy. Anyone who’s read the book “The Search”, by John Battelle, would probably agree with me. Soon, we will be able to search for anything, at any time. He sees a day when you can Google your lost luggage in an airport. I see a day like that as well.