"Search marketing is here to stay. We need to learn how to use it. Google is not going to rule the world."

"Search marketing is here to stay. We need to learn how to use it. Google is not going to rule the world."

Published: 14 Nov 2005

"Search marketing is here to stay. We need to learn how to use it. Google is not going to rule the world."

These statements came from Patrik Oqvist, marketing director, Hotels.com during the 'profiting from developments in search engine technology' session at the Travel Distribution Technology 2005 being held in London.

"Search engines like Google can be used for marketing. The focus should be on that. (There is no need to consider) what they gonna do to their verticals (referring to travel)," said Oqvist. He also referred to the fact that Google's competitors are catching up. He added, "In my personal opinion, I don't think Google is going to build up full-fledged travel vertical service. There focus has been on indexing and serving content."

On how to optimise for search engines, he added, "To start off, the focus should be on encouraging crawling. This is about allowing the likes of Google/Yahoo to spider your site. Then it's about getting ranked or gaining popularity. Its all about fresh and unique content, which should be relevant. Next is to encourage clicking, which is about title and text. This should be followed by conversion to a sale. Lastly it's the tracking process."

Tracking process is all about assessing volume of listings, position of listing and compare it with competitors. Secondly, its about volume generated through listing and conversion rate, said Oqvist.

On paid search management, Oqvist referred to:

1. Usage of large number of key words - balance between high volume/high cost, and low volume/low cost) and finding most effective bid strategy (click through rate, return on investment and position level) and

2. Actively managing the campaign (It's a dynamic market and high volume words can run away with budget).

During the same session, Sotiris Daminos, general director, Hotelopia referred to reasons why companies are investing huge amounts in PPC. "Does any other media compare...", he added, "(there are advantages) such as filtering power, always on (always on media that's always there and is efficient), sourcing, immediate intelligence, referring power and offers free brand exposure."

However, he added, "Great media, shame about the price...PPC listings costs in the last years have risen faster than the price of oil. Selling models have shifted, buying models have refined and precision strategising is key - targeting, testing, refining."

[The total volume of online searches conducted in the U.S. increased by 22% year-over-year in July, reaching more than 4.8 billion, according to comScore Media Metrix's monthly qSearch analysis of activity across competitive search engines. As per the findings, market consolidation continued as the top six search engines - Google, Yahoo!, MSN, Time Warner (AOL), Ask Jeeves, and InfoSpace - accounted for 99.4% of all searches, up from 98.5% in July 2004. It was stated that MSN-Microsoft saw the highest search volume gain among any of the top search engines, rising 30% from July 2004, accounting for 744 million domestic searches. In July 2005, Google sustained its leadership in the U.S. search market with 36.5% of all the searches submitted. Google was followed by Yahoo! at 30.5% and MSN at 15.5%.]

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