From insight on the rising use of the mobile web to new developments that reveal the increasingly social side of search, the internet marketing news from the past seven days serves as a reminder that the digital landscape is constantly evolving and marketers must stay ahead of the latest trends to keep up.
Perhaps one of the simplest yet a vital developments marketers must consider is the rise of mobile devices as a means of searching the internet. As Brafton has reported, browsing the web is one of the most common tablet activities, and searches on smartphones are similarly rising. (More than 70 percent of Android users have conducted Google searches on their phones in the past 30 days.) In addition to catering to mobile audiences with content that considers nearby, on-the-go users, marketers should note that many believe mobile devices will alter the nature of search, itself.
The other channel of the moment that has (consistently) driven internet marketing headlines – social – has had a number of new developments in the past week, as well. Facebook announced a new Subscribe feature that enables users to manage how much social content they see from friends and other people they’re connected to on the social giant. As Brafton reported, users can choose to see the normal amount, more content or less content from users, and they can also opt to subscribe to public posts from respected figures (meaning users might want to be more careful about which posts they designate as public).
In other social news, Twitter unveiled several new features, including Promoted Tweets expansion. Where users once saw Promoted Tweets only when they followed a sponsoring brand, the company will now display promoted Tweets to all social users. Additionally, Twitter has announced new Analytics that marketers might like. Twitter’s Web Analytics are aimed to give businesses a better sense of how much of their traffic comes from the microblogging site, which content is most shared on Twitter and the level of effectiveness of the Tweet button on a site.
This should be good news to marketers as driving site traffic from social pages is a key measure of social marketing success. As Brafton reported, a survey from Duke University shows that page views and repeat visits are among the top social media metrics that marketers love. Perhaps the best way to drive positive social results is to use varied social content. Industry experts agree that updated posts and unique types of content are key to continuously engaging social audiences – and anything to boost fan interaction might pay off. As Brafton reported, conversions from social marketing are growing, according to a report from RichRelevance.
Marketers hoping to catch conversions from Google+ users will find they still need to wait to directly engage this audience. At last week’s SMX East conference, Google’s Christian Oestlien confirmed that Google is still perfecting its business pages. While Social Media Today reports that Ford is testing a Google+ business page, the feature is not yet available for most brands. Of course, marketers may be less eager to jump on the Google+ bandwagon in light of recent news that Google+ posts have decreased by 41 percent in the past two months.
In spite of its reportedly dwindling posts, Oestlien suggested to SMX attendees that the search giant’s social network is thriving. He said Hangouts are becoming a key business tool and that Google is pleased with consumers’ adoption of Circles. He also spoke at the event about the recently confirmed theories that Google is testing +1 as a ranking signal. In fact, marketers might expect a lot more of +1 data across Google’s search and other products as Oestlien said, “At Google, social is not a vertical, it’s horizontal.”
Search Engine Land reported that Google+ sharing is now available on Google Maps, and SEL contributor Greg Sterling predicts that this integration is a template for Google+ availability on other Google products. Indeed, Oestlien shared insight at SMX about the integration of Google+ with paid search ads – the company is testing Google+ celebrity endorsement data for major brands at the moment. He and Google developer Tiffany Oberoi also hinted that they’d like social data beyond Google+ to be part of the search experience, but the company doesn’t have access to Like data at the moment.
Google is not alone in its desire to use as much social data as possible to serve personalized, relevant results. Personal search was a major theme at SMX East. In fact, an SMX keynote was devoted to search author Eli Pariser’s take on personal search, which he proved means no two searches for the same query are guaranteed to provide the same results. Google’s Jack Menzel and Bing’s Stefan Weitz also spoke at the conference about how both engines deliver personal results to users based on their location (whether or not they are logged into Google/Microsoft accounts), as well as data from previous searches, web visits and social cues. To this end, Bing announced Adaptive Search, which considers previous queries to offer relevant results.
Search Engine Land’s editor-in-chief and SMX moderator Danny Sullivan went as far as to say that the rise of personal search means, “Social is the new, democratic link building.” Indeed, personal search brings many SEO implications marketers will need to consider as they plan campaigns and attempt to measure results in an evolving landscape.
SMX East offered ample insight on SEO in the current climate. As Brafton reported, attendees spoke about how marketers can monitor social campaigns, content updates, interaction metrics and more to determine which factors may cause or correlate with SEO success. Additionally, attendee Tony Wright spoke about the four Cs of SEO – coding, content, connections and conversations – that are core to any search optimization strategy.
The general consensus was that planning is key. Marketers need to consider the target audience of their sites and develop an editorial calendar that considers what will keep their sites fresh and convert visitors. This was a theme of the week beyond SMX; as Brafton reported, some CMOs have reported that content campaigns struggle without proper planning. Planning for search crawlers and site visitors is becoming the necessary dual approach to SEO, and SMX East attendees offered ample insight on this in a Panda-proofing content session of the conference.
The expertise offered at SMX East was shared by Brafton and elsewhere on the web. Marketers looking for more info should be sure to check out the coverage from Search Marketing Sage and Search Engine Roundtable.
In addition to being at the root of search conversations at SMX, Google made headlines for a new pagination feature. As Brafton reported, the search giant is offering new options for multi-page content offered by websites to try to promote the best possible user experience (and subsequently, boost site engagement). The search giant will show all the content on a single page when possible, and otherwise aim to make the first page of multi-page content the first page visitors land on. This development should help long-form content drive better interaction, but – as always – marketers will want to think about the appropriate length for anything they publish on their site to best convey the intended story and hold users’ interests.
Speaking of copy length, a report from MarketingSherpa suggests that concise, informational email content drives better engagement than long email marketing messages. As Brafton reported, a condensed version of one sample marketing email drove 100 percent more conversions. This should be of interest to businesses as a report from last Tuesday reveals that 94 percent of marketers rely on email marketing to connect with prospects and current customers.
For the week ahead, marketers will want to look out for continued insight on how to measure SEO success in the given state of personalized search. Stay tuned.