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Friday, February 24, 2006

NBC Adds Olympic Medal Count to Paid Search Results

I2m_googlenbcolympic_1 As most good content publishers know, there are moments where a highly relevant "nugget" of content from your site will be the piece that generates the largest number of searches and a surge in site traffic.  For content publishers offering Winter Olympic coverage, that nugget is definitely the Olympic Medal Count.  To reach all the users who type in this extremely common search string (and common derivatives, such as "olympic medal") - NBC is working with Google to include the top 3 medal winning countries and their relative tallies as part of the search results.  This is interesting for several reasons.  Firstly, because Google is the only network they could have done this with - other networks like Yahoo are producing their own competitive content and would therefore be less perfect partners.  Secondly, and more importantly, because it allows NBC to take the most valuable piece of their content and push it above the fold, so to speak.  You don't have to click to get the top countries medal count - the content is pushed to you through the body of the sponsored search listing. 

It represents an interesting idea for search marketers ... what if you could take your best nugget of information and put it above the fold?  What if, instead of relying on well written 100 character descriptions of your site, you could actually include some content to peak a user's interest?  And from the user side, wouldn't this offer a better ability for you to know for certain that the site you are about to visit has content relevant for you?  It's an intriguing concept idea to consider, because today the main content of a site that appears alongside the site title in organic listings is either the meta-description or the first few lines of homepage content.  It's a one-size fits all approach that puts a limit on how widely relevant a particular page can be.  Placing sponsored listings with some amount of site content based on a particular user query could help sites to target users based not just on the relevancy of a keyword and site description, but by enticing them with an excerpt of specially selected content from their site.  Ultimately, it would lead to a collision of paid search marketing with organic search engine optimization where the success of your sponsored search placements would depend on the relevancy of your content.  I wonder how most content publishers would cope with a reality like this? 


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