Local Search Highlights in the 2015 Internet Trends Report

Jon Schepke (with Search Engine Watch) pulled some great insight from Mary Meeker’s 2015 Internet Trends Report – and, in reading between the lines – could see that all lines point to… Mobile & Local Search.  So if you’re still on the fence about mobile and local search marketing & optimization strategies, you might as well hand in your Marketing Badge right now.  Here were his key take aways;

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Optimizing for Mobile is TABLE STAKES

  • Mobile searches have overtaken desktop search (sooner than projected)
  • Mobile use has also overtaken desktop use, on a daily basis (see the chart above).
  • 73% of the planet has a mobile phone
  • “if your local search strategy fails to address the mobile consumer, you might as well not have a local search strategy”
  • See Google’s recent release of Micro Moments noting that ‘near me’ searches have increased 34 times in 2011 (in Q4 2014, 80% of those searches were conducted via mobile devices).
  • See Forrester’s push of Mobile Moments, by definition, “a point in time and space when someone pulls out a mobile device to get what he or she wants immediately, in context.
  • See Facebook’s Retailer Beacons for businesses to offer deals & content for consumers in store via Place Tips.
  • In most cases, mobile (and mobile search) is the MOST direct connection between your company & consumer demand.


  • “Brands that convert ‘near me’ searches into revenue through appealing mobile wallet offers are solving for the “last mile” of local search.” (truly creating a full circle consumer behavior).
  • Whole Foods has seen mobile payments surge by 400% since adopting Apple Pay.
  • Pep Boys has seen a seven-figure sales result from mobile wallet.

A Testament to the Internet & Information Design

Emiliand is a Slideshare HERO – taking one of the top Internet Trends Reports (Mary Meeker‘s annual Internet Trends Report – from KPCB, the firm that assisted Facebook, Twitter and Groupon in IPO) and (very humbly) redesigning it.  His work is a testament to the power of information design – and, without it – how a very valuable message, data and information can get lost.  The same goes for a brand’s website, social content, app and overall digital experience (just look at brands that have MADE IT, simply because they have put design and functionality, first).  Here’s a snippet from Emiliand’s work…

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The Changing Landscape of Search & Key Trend Traffic ‘Rush’

Danny Sullivan is a pretty radical guy.  When I saw him present The Changing Landscape of Search, and I noticed he was wearing Google Glass while paddle boarding I thought, “wow – you know you’ve made it when Google sends you so many Glass prototypes that you use them as goggles.”

More importantly, he made sure that everyone knows that SEO IS DEAD.

Well, not quite yet.  In fact, his presentation shows all of the new changes in the search landscape that prove it is ever-changing, and that marketers need to evolve as well to adjust (in everything from scraper keywords & sites, pandas, penguins, to click to call changes).  In fact – looking at a higher level on search trends, he was also able to show that search is still critically relevant – something most men realize in the day or hours before Valentines Day;

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Thank you, Danny.

Facebook’s Ad Relevance Tool is a 10!

Finally, Facebook is taking a step ahead with the release of its new Ad Relevance Tool (rating 1-10) for advertisers.    We knew they’d get here eventually – as we’ve seen that;

Quality Content (Creative) = Higher Engagement  = Lower CPMs

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AdAge reports;

This move appears to be the latest way Facebook is trying to get a grip on the firehose of content flooding people’s news feeds. Last year the company moved closer to a pay-to-play model for brands to communicate with people on Facebook, which made room in people’s feeds for posts from friends and family. But heated as the competition may be to freely take up space in people’s feeds, things are also heating up on the paid side.

For the past two years, the average price for a Facebook ad has been on a steep incline, while the number of ads the company serves has dropped. In the fourth quarter of 2014, Facebook’s average price-per-ad rose by 335%, and the number of ads it served fell by 65%.

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(Thanks to AdAge & Senor Moreno)

Desktop vs. Mobile – Cost & Conversion

Another lil’ gem found in The Guide to Social Media Advertising, published by Ad Age’s Content Strategy Studio (so that’s what they do!) and sponsored by Kinetic – share’s data from Kinetic Social and Ad Age on the debate between Desktop vs. Social, from eCPM to Action Rate, effective Cost Per Action and Mobile Social ROI;

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Organic Search – Industry & Vendor Trends

Back to DigitalRelevance‘s 2015 Enterprise Buyer’s Guide to SEO – it includes even more info on organic search industry trends – and – trends in best vendors that sums up the state of the SEO industry in a few lists (love!) – here are the highlights;

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Organic Search Trends

  • The Big Picture > Sustainable SEO – understanding macro-trends (not just the micro-trend code-level updates) in SEO is mandatory, now that competition is more intense – this means SEO is at the core of your Content Strategy & marketing machine.
  • Increase of Long-Tail Search Traffic (16% of all searches done today have never been seen before – and – social & video are an ever present search competitor).
  • Changing Display of Search Results (Google Carousel, Knowledge Graph, and future changes & updates).
  • Merging of Thought Leadership and Social Engagement – social engagement is needed as proof to Google that you’re a true thought leader (or, it could be correlary, in that brands that do great SEO also support great social efforts).
  • Value of Truly Earned Links – link building is alive, and better than ever – given that it’s one of the few ways to still rise above the competition, prove relevance, and leverage content.
  • Fragmentation of Search – optimization on other platforms is necessary, as Google is losing a bit of search traffic to other info providers; Amazon, Wikipedia, Yelp and mobile apps.  Amazon SEO is a great next step to consider.
  • Diminishing Focus on Keywords and Rankings – first manifest in Google’s encryption of keyword search data – putting more focus on the use of Google Webmaster Tools (GWT).
  • Personalization – personalized results across channels will set brands apart.
  • Importance of Mobile – mobile surpassed desktop in 2014 so mobile-specific content and pages are a must.

Common Traits of Winning SEO Providers

  • Passion – a team that will tell any brand what it’s going to take to get the job done, not just what they want to hear – not sacrificing quality for a quick win, yet proposing a sustainable strategy that will work.
  • A Track Record of Success – a demonstration of impressive and sustained results across multiple brands over time (especially if dated back to the birth of SEO).
  • A Long-Term Focus – an understanding of the sales funnel and how content aligns to it, planning, measuring and creating long-term campaigns that make an impact (and please upper level execs).
  • A Multi-Disciplinary Approach – a holistic, sustainable approach to SEO is a multi-disciplinary one that relies on the interplay between search, media outreach, content, technical elements and social factors (and video!).
  • The Ability to Execute and Prove ROI – execution and measurement of the items above for both B2C and B2B clients.

Content & Commodities @ CES 2015

From my agency perspective, CES 2015 (#CES2015) was the year of Content & Commodities across technology.  One thing is made VERY apparent at this show – we have even more ways to consume content, but also, ways to power, customize and accessorize the devices with which we consume this content.  That creates a need for (1) lower cost devices / commodities and (2) great branded content.

The nature of commodities is that they are the same high-tech consumers are seeking, only at a more affordable cost, increasing the adoption of such devices.  There are several brands that all provide the same curved TV, the same set of headphones, the same smart phone – making digital content all the more readily available.

The interesting opportunity here is also with branded content – the kind of content that is accessible via a TV or digital device, that stands apart – but most importantly, simply… exists.  It’s those brands that have no content, no social presence, no search visibility that in the digital age, don’t exist.  Digital, video, audio, article, infographic, social content – whatever the right mix, start producing the right type of content (i.e. – give consumers something to connect with, the brand experience doesn’t stop with the product / service these days).

Sarah Hofstetter (@pezmeister1) of 360i sums it up well with her perspective on the affordability of new technology across the board…

Best Stats of 2014

Jim Yu (founder and CEO of Brightedge) compiled a great collection of top stats from 2014 in an article for Search Engine Watch – some stats need a bit more explanation, but at best, a great collection of some of the top stat providers last year;

Organic Search Statistics 2014

No doubt that the organic search channel has proved its place in marketing over the past few years, and data points from 2014 show it:

  • According to BrightEdge data, organic search was the largest driver of traffic to websites across sectors studied, and the largest driver of revenue – even over paid search – in most sectors studied.
  • Thirty percent (30) of traffic to insurance sites in June 2014 came from search, according to a study by Millward Brown Digital.
  • According to an experiment conducted by the Groupon marketing team, up to 60 percent of direct traffic is actually organic search traffic.
  • Mobile implementation errors cost websites 68 percent of organic search traffic, according to BrightEdge data.
  • Search engine marketing, including SEO, is the most effective acquisition channel for 85 percent of retailers, says Shop.org.
  • Search is the starting point for 60 percent of travelers, according to data from Kenshoo.
  • According to BloomReach, 49 percent of U.K. consumers use organic search to find retailers.

Content Statistics 2014

Fueling organic search success is content, and it has its own set of unique opportunities and challenges. From the Content Marketing Institute’s most recent research on content for the B2B and B2C sectors, we find the following stats …

B2B Content Stats

  • Eighty-three (83) percent of B2B marketers use content for lead generation.
  • Website traffic is the key metric for tracking content success, according to 63 percent of B2B marketers, while 39 percent say SEO rankings is.
  • Eighty-one (81) percent of B2B marketers say articles on their websites are a most-used tactic; 80 percent say blogs are, and of those that use blogs, 60 percent say it’s the most effective.
  • Publishing new content multiple times per week was the norm for 26 percent of B2B marketers; the next largest data set was “weekly,” at 17 percent.

B2C Content Stats

  • Seventy-seven (77) percent of B2Cs use content marketing.
  • Engagement was the primary goal for content for 88 percent of B2Cs.
  • Sixty-two (62) percent of B2Cs say website traffic is a key metric for content success.
  • Blogs were the most effective platform for content, according to 54 percent of B2C respondents.
  • Thirty-one (31) percent of B2Cs publish new content multiple times per week.


6 Google Search Updates

6 recent Google search updates worth noting (if you haven’t already noticed);

  1. Date Selector in Hotel Carousel Results
  2. Google Cards for Local Results
  3. Google Answers for Complex Questions
  4. Enhance Stock Cards
  5. Distance Results w/ Maps
  6. Streamlined Search Options

…making Local SEO / Marketing and Content Marketing even more important.  Best to have all bases covered.  Thanks, Search Engine Land & Jessica Lee.


Rand Fishkin + New Approach, CliffsNotes.

Brad Miller of Search Engine Watch sums up a recent interview w/ Rand Fishkin of Moz – to get his take on some of the hot topics for SEO in 2013 and a new approach for some…

  1. Local Search for National Brands (think nationally, compete locally)
  2. Content Marketing: How to Stand Out (‘industry source’)
  3. Where Should Content Live? (on your site – go long term)
  4. Getting Picked Up (more visibility & engagement, not dates)
  5. Link Building vs. Social Signals (corollary for holistic approach)
  6. Email Marketing & SEO (start connecting the two)
  7. Google+ (using it for authorship / leadership visibility)
  8. and the rest of the interview, here.

Matt Cutts, Moonshots & the Future @ PubCon, CliffsNotes.

Talk about a great way to wrap up the year – SEL summed up Cutts’ Pubcon speech about Moonshot and the future of SEO in beautiful bullets and snippets galore like;

  • Moonshot changes (voice, convo search, Google Now, word relationships)
  • Core Quality changes (HBird, Panda softening, Authorities)
  • Webspam Changes (Penguin, spam networks, advertorials)
  • Communication w/ webmasters
  • Future of Search (machine learning, mobile, authorship/identity/social)
  • Webspam Trends (hacking, hot topics)

AND – most importantly, his advice…

  • mobile.
  • auto-complete requests for Chrome
  • ad-heavy pages above fold
  • authorship tightening
  • rich snippets
  • smarter on javascript

SEO Tips for 2014

Jayson DeMers of Search Engine Watch gave a great starter list of what to expect from SEO in 2014 – I’m only curious to see what our own Jason (Squardo) @ ZOG Digital would have to add to it.  Here’s Jayson’s top 10;

  • Strategic SEO Focus (evolving from tactics to strategy)
  • 2013 tactics are still relevant, but amplified
  • Content marketing is bigger than ever
  • …and the organization of SEO, Social, PR teams to support it
  • Social Media will be more visible, more valuable (esp. w/ hummingbird)
  • Time to invest in Google+ (if you haven’t already)
  • Hummingbird was just the tip of the mobile iceberg
  • Long vs. Short?  (both)
  • Using PPC  / Adwords to access keyword traffic data
  • Guest blogging most effective (but has to be SEO focused)