Nuggets of Wisdom: The Future of Search

A couple of weeks ago, we held our first Search Chat on Twitter which saw Will Critchlow answer your questions on the future of search. Here are some of the best and most helpful bits. (Some answers are several Tweets welded together.)

Q1) “What part will SERP checking play when searches are so personalised and intent driven?”

“I believe that rank checking is important for diagnosing all kinds of issues. It’s going to stay true even under personalisation. However, it’s clearly getting harder. I’d like to see better tools from Google in particular for this – better data in WMC, etc. I wonder if we’ll get to the point where we can ‘intent track’ – i.e. tracking moving past keywords to other attributes. P.S. I love the projects that Dr. Pete Meyers is running to track the different UI seen in the SERPS.” 

Q2) “Some demand you need a wordy homepage. Moz has taken a different tack and image based sites thrive. Data says what?”

“Short-to-medium-term future: the actual amount of text matters less and less, relevance and user happiness matters more. I still don’t expect OCR or other tech to prevent you having to put the important info in the HTML.”

Q3) “Dr. Pete Meyers talked about the lack of domain diversity in the in-depth articles results. Could this have broader results?”

“It looks like domain diversity is decreasing all round. Check out this Moz article, for instance. Amazon and Facebook are increasingly looking like they have natural monopolies so the strength of the biggest sites is increasing. But ultimately it’ll depend on what users want. Small businesses need to seek out the gaps.”

Q4) Search engines versus social platforms: What’s the biggest takeaway from Facebook’s changing algorithm?

“Remember that, to achieve what they want (ad $), Facebook need real user engagement. That’s where I’d head regardless of algorithms.”

Q5) “After Vic Gundotra’s resignation, will we see a change in how Google+ faces its competitors?”

“This Marketing Land article contains some of the best thinking I’ve seen on the implications.”

Q6) “As YouTube continues to grow, do you think we’ll start to see trackers for YouTube rankings? Do these already exist?”

“YouTube rankings are extremely personalised, making tracking difficult and limited in value. No good ones exist. I can imagine a tool that better tracks overall visibility but first YouTube analytics itself needs to be better.”

Q7) “Will we see better integration that lets us move cross-device and resume the experience we were having already?”

“Video is the next big one for me – I expect YouTube to go there very soon.”

Thanks to everyone who took part. Tune into our next Twitter chat on Wednesday 14th at 4.30pm-5.30pm (GMT). Distilled’s senior consultant Ben Estes will be answering your questions on measuring search. Send us your questions in advance to (140 character limit, please include your Twitter handle).

And if you enjoyed hearing from our consultants, take a look at our London Masterclasses. The upcoming day-long session is aimed at those with an intermediate or advanced knowledge of search, and will include one-to-one time with consultants. See what you can learn.