Are Search Engines Becoming Irrelevant?
Are Search Engines Becoming Irrelevant?
While Google and Bing/Yahoo fight for dominance with countless search engine battles, could it be possible that both are fighting a losing war? Wouldn't it be a bit ironic if all online search engines become irrelevant, sooner rather than later? Those who consider that question preposterous or downright laughable, should look towards their own surfing habits for a sobering answer. Have your surfing habits changed? Do you still use the web in the way you used it a year ago, 5 years ago or even 10 years ago?
More importantly, what will your surfing habits be like in the forseeable future?
Nothing stays the same, including the Internet and how we use it. As the web evolves and our usage of it matures, will we still have a need for search engines, regardless of whether it be Google, Bing/Yahoo or some other search engine?
Will they all soon become obsolete or worst yet - irrelevant?
While it is way too premature to pen "The Rise and Fall Of The Google Empire" mainly because Google, along with all the other search engines, are not going anywhere. But can a change in surfing habits, how we actually use the web, put a major dent in Google's search numbers? And those numbers are mighty impressive, according to comScore Google handled roughly "two-thirds" of all the web searches done in the United States in October ('09) and in other parts of the world those numbers may even be higher.
However, are we asking the right question, we probably all know who will be king of the hill, but will there be a hill worth fighting for in the years or even decades to come?
The core question which has to be asked is this: will online surfers who are becoming increasingly web savvy, have any need for search engines? Or instead, will they in ever increasing numbers by-pass the search engines and go directly to web sites to find what they're looking for on the net? Human nature dictates we take the shortest route to our destination, search engines will be no exception to that rule.
Will the "next generation" web surfer really need a search engine in the first place?
Keep in mind, the web is in its infancy, but already we are seeing the rise of countless keyworded domains which are becoming branded into the web surfer's psyche. These domains and the companies that own them are pouring millions into advertising and brand recognition. Many are doing intensive cross media promotion in the "Real World" on television, radio, newspapers and so on. The fallout could have long-lasting benefits that even they can't imagine.
Once these big brand keyworded domains become itched into our brains and our online experience, the whole ball-game is on the verge of changing. Faster and more relevant results can be found by going directly to those sites. If you want to find a book you go directly to Amazon or Barnes & Noble, if you wanted to find a film you go directly to RottenTomatoes or IMDB (Internet Movie Database), if you want to find a video you go directly to YouTube, if you news you go to CNN, if you want to find solid information you go to Wikipedia, if you want to find a lawyer you go directly to lawyers dot com... well you get the picture.
Will our surfing habits eventually make search engines obsolete?
However, current search numbers don't indicate any mass movement away from using search engines. Actually, the complete opposite is true, according to a global study done by comScore there were over 113 billion searches carried out in July 2009, that's up or grown by 41% since July 2008. Only disclaimer here - the Internet itself is still growing with hundreds of millions of new users each year - only when this growth rate levels off, will we be able to better judge the search numbers. Usage per user, how many searches a person makes in a month would also be a good variable to measure, although even that number can be misleading - have you ever used a search engine not for search but as a spell-checker or to check the proper grammar usage of a word or phrase?
But over a longer time period, will major brand-name sites start eating into the search engine's market share? Will they give some much needed competition for the major search engines such as Google or Bing?
Valuable keyworded domains will only become more powerful as they pour more money into promotion and building their online empires. Large brand name sites like the ones above will present major competition for the search engines, in an all out battle for the hearts and minds of surfers. Truth be told, Google should probably be more worried about Wikipedia than any other search engine. It is curious to note that Google places a Wiki search bar in the Google SERPs so that Google users stay within Google longer while searching Wikipedia.
Never underestimate human nature - it can take on the mightiest of opponents, even Google!
Will those next generation web users follow the above scenario and have little use for search engines? Could it possibly mean that search engines will play more of a supporting role, rather than be a star performer in the future web? Will they be delegated to a back-stage job, fueling searches within sites, rather than outside of them. Powered by Google could have much more significance in the "new" web, where no doubt, there will always be a role for the little search engine that could.
Nor will these search engines give up without battling for those surfers with a media-blitz of their own. Look how quickly Bing has been branded into our daily lives and Google has countless other free programs and services which will keep its brand name front and center. As mentioned before, they're not going anywhere; but despite how big those search engines become, the lowly surfer will have the final say on how they actually use the web. One click at a time.
Reinventing The Wheel - Google's Plans for Search in the Future. Matt Cutts gives some very insightful information on what directions Google will take towards making search more useful and much more diverse in the very near future.
The author is a full time online affiliate marketer who has sold millions of dollar's worth of other people's stuff (mostly electronics) on the web. His livelihood is derived from and depended upon search engine marketing and the daily monitoring of targeted keywords, mainly within Google. He operates numerous niche sites, as well as two sites on Internet Marketing, where you can get valuable marketing tips for free: Free Marketing Tools
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