Another Gigantic Fail for Microsoft Marketing Team: Kumo.com
Microsoft Possibly to Rebrand Live Search to Kumo.com?
Though it is only rumored, Search Engine Land‘s (SEL) column on this move offers some convincing evidence that this rebranding is in the works.
Why Kumo.com Will Fail As Rebranding:
Let’s start with the fact that Microsoft is trying too hard to be that nice, neat, and all-expansive buzz word: “Web 2.0″. Kumo supposedly can be translated to mean “cloud” or “spider” in Japanese. So it’s likely they are thinking more along the vein of “spider” than “cloud”.
It’s just unique enough to completely forget.
Secondly, if the they don’t augment the search algorithm capability to, at the very least, match what Google and Yahoo are doing, then it won’t matter that it’s called Kumo. It will still return the results that have made it a consistent #3 search engine, and still be equipped with the functionality that make a search disaster.
Lastly, the Microsoft Team has participated in far too many blunders. Starting with Microsoft/Seinfeld Ads and then possibly using BrowseRank, then going back a year to the launch of Vista. Microsoft’s reputation has taken too many blows to hide behind a simple name change. They don’t have to start from scratch, but they certainly need to put much more thought into these branding messages.
My advice: time to find a new marketing team. This is should be the final nail in the coffin for the completely inept, and non-tech folks they’ve got working these branding schemes now.
What Will Really Happen if Microsoft Goes Through with Kumo.com
If the speculative change happens, then Microsoft will see, overall, a lower share of the search market. This is an attempt to reach out to a younger, possibly more tech-savvy audience, interested in social networking and “cool, unusual names”. Microsoft must have looked at the numbers and seen that the majority of their users are non-tech and net-savvy Boomers and older. Those users who use IE (Internet Explorer) like it’s going out of style.
And, the way Microsoft pushes out their branding pieces is so “in your face”, that it will be impossible to disassociate itself from Kumo.com if it does happen to tank miserably (which it will). They’ll see an influx of users, much the way Kuil (Cool) did, and then slide into a slow and destitute oblivion, with very little hope of Live Search ever resurfacing and regaining back users.
They only way Microsoft has a chance if they launch Kumo as a somewhat independent engine, loosely associated to Microsoft Live Search. In this manner, Kumo will be able to gather a user base organically. And if and when it chokes out, Live Search will still have a semi-strong brand backing and not have lost too many users. But to completely switch the branding over to Kumo as the new Search Crown Jewel is brand-suicide.
According to TopNews, “In the internal memo, Satya Nadella said, “Kumo.com exists only inside the corporate network, and in order to get enough feedback we will be redirecting internal live.com traffic over to the test site in the coming days. Kumo is the codename we have chosen for the internal test.“
Update #2 From Search Engine Land
How about that brand name? Last year at SMX Advanced, then Microsoft online services president Kevin Johnson acknowledged that Microsoft had a search brand problem, one that he decisively said would be fixed, even if that meant getting a new brand. Since then, four contenders for the new brand name have emerged:
Should Site Traffic be the Ultimate Goal?
Ranking is dead,” says Bruce, recalling his words from his presentation. Going forward, he says you’re going to have to look at analytics, measure traffic, bounce rates, action, etc. SEOs will have to ask themselves questions like: – Did I get the conversion I was after? – Did I really deliver on the promise of SEO? Bruce thinks that in the first six months of 2009, we’re going to see a lot more implementation of behavior and intent-based search leading to a mindset of ranking is dead, and traffic is all that matters.
I wrote about this topic in early September this year, and it seems to be finally making it’s way to the mainstream. Do I think that Bruce has got it right? Yes, Bruce got it right: search engine position and rank is dead. However, where I think Bruce is leading SEOs astray is claiming traffic is the new “Google #1″. It most certainly is not.
In Terms of Small Business SEO:
Personalized search (behavior-based search) based of your IP Address, or Google tracking you through your Google Account, is going to make search engine rankings quite irrelevant. Because results will be based on several new factors, not automatically taken into account now: geo-location, types of searches, and previously visited pages, results will now be somewhat tailored to fit those factors.
Will this affect small business SEO? Inherently, yes. A majority of small business owners have trained themselves in the belief that being “#1 in Google” is the only goal that matters. With personalized search, “being #1″ may or may not help; for example:
If a user, let’s say this user is a dentist, and does dental searches all day for information on x-wing bites, a common dental x-ray technique, but is a Star Wars buff. Our dentist can’t remember the name of the rotund guy who flies the x-wing in the original Star Wars. So the dentist types in “fat guy x-wing”. Personalized search is, in all probability, not going to be able to distinguish between a “work” search and “Star Wars” search. Thus, giving the dentist work-related results. (By the way, the fat guy was Porkins).
Trying to explain why being #1 in Google may be irrelevant to small business owners, will not be easy. For years this is all they heard, this is all they know.
A Point of Contention With Bruce Clay
Do I think that Bruce was wrong to say that traffic is the new goal? Absolutely. Traffic, of course is a must have, but should it be the singular goal of the SEO? Absolutely not.
In fact, it’s definitely not the most important benchmark for success. It’s simply a byproduct of success. What is the real measure of success on a website? Goal Conversion. It’s where all SEOs should be focusing themselves. Goal Conversion.
In my opinion traffic is akin to pageviews. You can have a lot of both, but if you aren’t making money, then does anyone really care that you bring in 10,000 unique visitors a day, who view 1,000,000 pages? Definitely not.
We have established, albeit painfully, that the CPM-model for site revenue is non-sustaining. Use the latest tragedy of CPM-Model driven revenue: Boomertowne. A spectacular disaster; simply an awe-inspiring bomb sure to make every not-so-net-savvy entrepreneur think twice before getting on the CPM Train.
This is all to say: traffic, like pageviews, is of a bygone era. The focus has to be on goal conversion: funneling consumers/users to make the purchase, inquire for more information, or contact you.
How To Function As An SEO in the New Personalized Search
1) An SEO must still do the basics:
- Tedious KW research, tedious client research, and tedious competition research.
- Solid Meta-Data (Page Titles, Description, and, yes, a couple of keywords too)
- Site and Page Usability Methodology
Why do all this if Google is going to throw traditional search out the window? Because people are people. Because users have a sixth-sense if a site is spam or not. Because users still read search engine results pages. And, most importantly, Google will not remove these factors from the algorithm. It’s built an empire from making these, and link calculation methods, how relevance is calculated and then displayed.
2) Focus on Goal Conversion
That’s the bottom line: are users converting on the site? Considering the economic disaster at-hand, small business owners probably care less about high traffic numbers, if they’re not making any money. As an SEO, you are not only the traffic bringer’, you’re also the goal conversion expert. (At least you should be. And if you’re not, you need to start learning quickly)
That’s where SEO and SEM are headed: Goal Conversion. It’s more important ever to be cognizant of goal conversion as the goal of SEO.
The Milwaukee SEO is back and better than ever! What brought The Milwaukee SEO back so quickly?
Natalie Marie Verre, my second daughter was born yesterday. An to honor this momentous occassion, we’re back on the search engine marketing trail again. Tune-in and drop out.