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Search strategies for publishers
Key questions facing website publishers
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Lead analyst for this report is Danny Meadows-Klue.

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Search engines have fundamentally changed the way we access knowledge. Whatever sector your website or publication is in, you need a search strategy. Search engines have democratised access to information, and in particular changed the role of magazines and newspapers. The impact of search on the media landscape will be greater than the arrival of television. And in contrast to what most publishers may hope, we're only at the start of the transition period.

This Digital Insight Report reminds publishers of the scale of change and urges them to decide how much content to 'give away' and how much to protect within the walled garden. Search engines can be the primary circulation-building tools for online audiences, making or breaking the firm's performance. It's tricky to get the balance right, but that decision will frame everything that then happens in terms of the site's traffic, audience data, advertising revenues and subscriptions.

Best regards from all here at Digital,

Danny Meadows-Klue
Founder and Chief Executive
Digital Strategy Consulting

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"Online advertising spend will be on a par with television advertising in the UK by the end of the decade."

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Search: a wake-up call for publishers

Web publishers need to embrace search engines and devise the right strategy to reach the audiences they attract, while maintaining ownership of their copyright and content. In this Digital Insight Report we investigate the issue around search partnerships and outline the key questions every publisher must face. Failing to act is acting to fail.

Speed read

  • Search engines change the way we access information. The relationship with the
    creators and owners of the information is no longer as strong.
  • Search advertising revenue has grown exponentially on the back of its ability to offer real
    results and accountability at a lower cost than alternative media.
  • Search means established information brands face a plethora of new rivals for audience
    and that has a serious impact on their value to advertisers.
  • Search enables businesses of any scale to attract customers (both online and offline)
    without the need for intermediaries such as directories and publishers.
  • The revenues now being devoted to search are having a serious impact on classified
    advertising, direct response and direct marketing. The scale of this will grow.
  • Online ad revenue goes to the biggest players; everyone else is fighting over the crumbs.
  • Any product must aim to be number one or two in its sector.
  • Publishers need to determine their attitude to search if they are to help their businesses
    develop in the new environment. The first decision they need to take is how much of
    their information they will allow the search engines to 'see' and how much is protected.

Tricky issues

A second set of key issues revolve around how you respond to the shift of advertising - initially classified listings and now display space - out of print titles, onto the web, and into search. Although this didn't happen with the speed dotcom enthusiasts once anticipated, the reality is now unquestionable. The next five years will see a much larger migration of advertising spend out of print titles and into digital than the previous decade, and most media groups remain worryingly unresponsive to the scale of the task ahead.

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