That title might have inspired thoughs of Jedi Knights, those with ADD might have instantly warped their thought trains to Pink Floyd and “The Dark Side of The Moon”.
Both might be correct in their connections.
Just like you couldn’t see the dark side of the force, and you can’t see the dark side of the moon, you can’t actually see all of your traffic that originates from search on the internet.
This is something that Tim O’Reily seems to be forgetting.
Search is only one way to find things. It’s the most easily monetizable, so it gets the lion’s share of the attention. But take a look at (and report on) what percentage of techcrunch’s traffic comes from search. For the O’Reilly Radar blog, it’s about 35%. Significant, sure, but hardly a sign of lack of competition. If Google absorbed both Yahoo! and Microsoft, the share of our visits coming from search would still be below 40%. (That tells you what a small share of our search traffic comes from the other guys today.) And that’s just the web traffic. Count in RSS (which is much bigger than web for most blogs, including ours) and the Search share of traffic goes down to a much smaller amount. So there’s not much worry about people not being able to find information.
Flour Water or Yeast
Based upon photo by Gene Hunt
Which is the most important ingredient in a loaf of bread?
Search is a vital ingredient in the online ecosystem. It might be possible to get by without it, before the Yahoo directory in the early 90s people did get by without any significant method of searching for information on the internet, but it wasn’t until “meta crawlers” were introduced, indexing individual pages that search really came of age.
Whilst it is easy at this stage of internet development to discount the value of search as only a small percentage of the whole, the source of traffic to your landing pages doesn’t necessarily mean that that was the starting point even for that single internet session, and when you factor in how a visitor entered preceding traffic funnels, you find multiple occasions where search may have “touched” a visitor before they visited your site.
How did a visitor to your site first become acquainted with Facebook, Digg, Stumbleupon, a subscriber to a blog which linked to you, subscribed to a mailing list, or even come to use Google.
Certainly a percentage of “original origin” comes from offline referrals, but how did the referring offline agent come into contact with the service they recommend?
This is very much like the six degrees of seperation
If you take that diagram, and make 40% of the dots represent a search engine, the path from A to B will very rarely be devoid of direct search engine involvement, amd on a macro scale the chances are infinitely less.
It is great to look on social media sites as a better filter of information, but that isn’t effective unless you again implement some method of searching.
If you removed all forms of search from the internet, finding information when you need it would be highly inefficient.
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