Search strategy discussed at SXSW conference
Google senior vice president Amit Singhal took to the stage at the SXSW conference in Austin, Texas on Sunday to give his thoughts on the current state of search.
Stepping in as late replacement for Android chief Andy Rubin, he answered questions on a range of topics, including ranking advice, mobile search and Bing's much-publicised 'Scroogled' ad campaign.
Singhal has worked in search for around 20 years, and spoke of how much it has changed during his career. "Early on, people were just amazed if search worked at all," he said.
Asked about the best way to go about ranking highly in Google, he responded that high quality content was key, stating that sites which do this well "don't need to worry about anything else."
When pressed further on this assertion, he clarified that SEO is a vital component of any search strategy, adding further value to the content on a site.
He also revealed that his biggest search challenges involved improvement in three key areas; Knowledge Graph, speech recognition and natural language. Mobile search was also discussed, with Singhal asserting that it had revolutionised the field.
Facebook and Bing downplayed
Singhal was careful not to be drawn too far into discussing rival search products, although he was questioned on the services offered by both Facebook and Bing.
Of Facebook, he said: "time will tell if people need that kind of search." His response was a little more forthright when asked about Bing's 'Scroogled' advertising campaign, which seeks to portray Google in a negative light.
"We focus on our users," he said. "Others should focus on building good products too."
Natalie Booth, head of search at theEword, said: "Listening to Amit Singhal provided a fascinating insight into the world of search and what goes on at Google. Not only did he reveal how search has evolved over the past few years, he also offered clues as to how Google will progress in the near future."