After reading Search Engine Visibility, an Edelman Insights paper by Steve Rubel and others at Edelman Digital, I found both some things that I knew prior to reading this and some things that I was not aware of or had never considered before when it comes to online search engines.
1. What did I learn- Before reading this paper, I previously knew a good amount about search engines, how they work, and that they are a big part of the online community. However, there were several things that broadened my knowledge of search engines after reading this paper. For example, I knew about the concepts behind paid searches, reputational searches, optimized searches and social searches, but I found it interesting the take that PR companies are taking to utilize new social networking technologies in order to fully optimize search engines. One line that I read that stands out is “While some may view this as “sour grapes,” it underscores the democratic opportunity: any content creator can see his/her page rank well on search engines, regardless of prestige. However, a site first has to earn Googleʼs trust.” This is referring to a New York TImes article in which searches for “gaza” when the conflicts there were big in news, were returned with outdated news articles about the happenings there. This statement reflects that with a medium so expansive as the Internet, that search engines are useful tools to get anyone’s voice heard, however there still are flaws with the system and it will take both the efforts of Google programmers, to make sure the most relevant and up-to-date information appears in a search, as well as it is the responsibility of searchers themselves, who have to take some initiative when searching and make sure that they review many of the results to get the most credible sources for what they are searching for.
2. What surprised me- I found the section “Reputational Search in Action” very interesting, because it went into detail on how social media can not only manipulate search results, but can also act as search engines themselves. PR professionals are beginning to utilize social networking sites like Twitter to generate exposure and in turn help them in the competition of getting noticed on search engines like Google and Yahoo.
3. What do I want to know more about- I feel that this paper takes a good and thorough approach to search engines, an furthermore, the effects of social networking on search engines and how PR companies are utilizing social networking technologies to influence search results. As social networking grows in popularity and more companies begin to utilize these marketing and promotional techniques, it will be interesting to see how this will effect online searches.