diberry - 3:38 pm on May 8, 2013 (gmt 0)
what is the direction consumers are going in search, and how can you capitalize on it.
That'll be a slightly different answer for every webmaster here. For me, it's social media all the way.
What does your analytics say about traffic trends? My analytics shows that Google is overwhelmingly the top traffic driver. No other site comes close.
Google provides only 30-50% of my traffic, even on sites where I rank #1 on lots of great terms. What, you think everyone here is an SEO? ;) I build for visitors and do very well in social media. Google hasn't been able to hold a candle to the traffic SM brings me in years, and it's getting worse.
Again, I'm not suggesting this is an established happening in every niche already. But it may be the tip of the iceberg. My sites may happen to be in niches where this behavior is more prominent. The question is: are these niches unique, or will this behavior spread? Are people going to learn that they don't need to include Google on their path to other sites?
While I'm sure a lot of people today will go to their graves typing "Yelp" into that same search bar as they always have, I think:
--Martin Ice Web is right: young people especially want something new and fresh that's theirs, and search just can't be that. Neither will Facebook in a few years!
--Apps are showing people they can have a one-click relationship with websites. More and more casual browsers aren't even using browsers that much anymore (and I believe this trend will continue, especially if HTML5 ever gets itself going).
--Search isn't interactive or pretty... it's academic. Pulling from a database seemed cutting edge a few years ago, but search looks like DOS and the niche sites with interal search look like GUI. And it's not just young people - my Baby Boomer friends have figured out on their own that Amazon's sections which show you what other people bought instead of or in addition to the product you're viewing offer additional browsing value that search cannot.
And I think Google is concerned about these trends too, or they wouldn't be pushing Google+ so hard, even when it seems to be a total failure. And Knowledge Graph? What is that, but an attempt to update Google's status as a portal?
Search will ALWAYS be the best way to find some info, BTW. I don't see it going away completely, ever.