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Search Marketers' Wish Lists

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So far, we've shared some New Years Resolutions, and predictions from several search marketers and social media marketers. I asked many of those same marketers what they would most like to see from search engines in 2008. WeI'll be sharing part 2 of these search marketing wish lists tomorrow.

If you want to share your own wish list, or discuss any of the ones shared here, feel free to join the conversation in the SEW Forums.

Q: What's at the top of your wish list from the search engines this year? What are the most egregious problems they need to address? What would be the most helpful product/feature/service they could offer to help you?

Amanda Watlington, owner of Searching for Profit

Transparency. It is pitiful that they are so distrusting of us as an industry that they send their staff to conferences without even business cards. I am always stunned when search engine types admit that they don't have a card – who are they kidding?

What are the most egregious problems they need to address? Clean up the spam. There is still a huge volume of spam ranking highly for any given competitive keyword.

Andrew Goodman, principal at Page Zero Media

It would be most helpful if a major search engine would become more deeply involved in contributing functionality to the open source community, so that site search powered by SOLR-family code would be easier to customize for the open source development community.

Dana Todd, executive VP at SiteLab International

Innovation and standardization. It's been feeling "same-old" for a while now, even with nifty distractions like mobile search. The technology platforms are stale, the accessibility for small business is still lacking, and there's still not enough standardization to create efficiencies and new technologies that can actually succeed and provide a financial reward to developers.

In terms of my biggest wish of all, I'd like full transparency from all publishers/networks – to know exactly where my money is going at all times. Only with this level of disclosure will we be able to stop the fraud that occurs not just in search but also in display advertising.

Danielle Leitch, EVP of client strategy at MoreVisibility

I'd like to see more tools, with better functionality from the paid search side, especially for agencies using the APIs with each of the Big 3.

We also need certifications of varying levels. Google AdWords Certified should differentiate between a person working from their home doing search for a few months versus a professional with a company or agency that has years of experience.

I would really like to see some standardization on trademark and brand infringement or usage allowed within the online marketing space. If it's not legal precedence that can be made, then possibly industry standards that the trade associations or engines will agree on and enforce through their platforms.

David Berkowitz, director of emerging media & client strategy at 360i

I think the most important thing for the major engines to do is to adapt the innovations from the smaller and emerging engines, if not outright acquire them. Blinkx, Clipblast, and Truveo are innovating with video search. Spock has adapted search engine algorithms to its people search site. Kosmix offers a universal search spin on health search. Like.com has some of the most impressive product and image search functionality. These sites and so many others offer great ways to improve the user experience, and that really has to continue to be the primary focus in 2008.

David Wallace, CEO of SearchRank

The very top right now? That Google would be more like Ask. Other than that, simply that the other search engines (besides Google) would try to incorporate functions that help webmasters, in the same way Google's Webmaster Central has done.

Debra Mastaler, link building specialist at Alliance-Link

I'd like to ask the engines to use those human reviewers they have to manually check each Wikipedia result coming back for a medical term and remove them in favor of a true medical site. Do I really need to explain why?

Fionn Downhill, president of Elixir Systems

1. Google must address how high they have turned the dial on trusted sites. A thread on an aged forum can now rank higher than an entire site on a subject just because the forum is old and has lots of links. This cannot be considered relevant.

2. If Eric Schmidt would just return my calls and tell me how much Google loves SEOs, that would be great.

Frank Watson, director of SEM and co-founder of Kangamurra Media

More transparency to lessen click fraud and help PPC advertisers get better, tighter reach. Click fraud is the most egregious problem, just ahead of Google's constant changes that cost real advertisers more money and never really eliminate their intended targets. I'd love to get phone book style click reports.

Greg Meyers, SEM consultant at SEMGeek

1. I would love to see Google and the other engines provide an SEO forecasting model that would make a huge impact on convincing all CEOs, VPs and other executives that SEO is a very important part of search marketing and internet visibility. Too many times I have seen a disconnect with companies who just do not understand the important and long term value of an SEO strategy.

2. A more reliable and accurate Traffic Estimator Tool. This helps a lot with prospect scoping and expectation setting.

Gregg Stewart, senior VP at TMP Directional Marketing

My wish list would be for the engines to work more closely with advertisers and their agencies to develop their product offerings. All too often, the engines develop products because they can technologically do it. But when you back them up against advertiser and consumer needs, they are developed out of sync. Local search is a good example: we have yet to address the myriad accuracy issues of the listing data that power most of the local and mobile search applications.

Herndon Hasty, account manager at Range Online Media

My 2008 wish is for more influence over sites' Quicklinks in Google's natural results, like being able to choose which pages and anchor text show up with more certainty – even if it comes at a cost. The Quicklinks feature would have even more value to Google users if they could all be pointed to the site's most valuable and interesting content rather than a string of 'contact us' pages. And, of course, it would be valuable to the site's marketers to be able to reach consumers with a relevant message the first time, every time.

Jeff Pruitt, EVP of corporate partnerships at iCrossing

My wish for the search engines is that they continue to open up their technology and API ecosystems that will give us the ability to integrate tracking across all new products on a single platform. This would not only increase efficiencies for search marketers, but enable better decision making by marketers.

Jeremy Hull, account leader at Range Online Media

Dear Search Engines,

This year, I ask that you bring me:

1. Upgraded editor functions with more bandwidth to make timely changes. Marketers can take the time to build out and optimize very granular campaigns, but they simply do not integrate well with the current editor functions.

2. A closer integration of tools into account management, such as the ability to add keyword suggestions to your account in a few clicks.

3. A more aggressive policy targeting misuse of trademark/counterfeit product. This has long been an overlooked and labor intensive process, and we owe it to advertisers to find a meaningful solution.

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