Brafton has reported that social search is on the rise – from search engine developments such as Bing's Like-based results and Blekko social slashtags to new socially rooted search options, including Facebook's “Discover Facebook Pages” feature launched last fall. Now, search marketers might want to consider data from Forrester that suggests searches will move outside of search engines, and SEO strategies must be implemented in social campaigns accordingly.
Forrester's latest Wave report, relayed by CMS Wire, indicates that the majority of Americans still rely on search engines to find websites, but they are also turning to newer channels for site referrals. Sixty-one percent of consumers depend on search engines to bring them to websites, but this is a notable decline from 2004 when 83 percent of internet users relied on search engines. Moreover, Forrester suggests this number will drop even further as users increasingly rely on other referral sources – including apps and social recommendations.
For brands, this doesn't reduce the need for search marketing strategies. In fact, CMS Wire reports that Forrester says search marketing accounts for the majority of interactive marketers' budgets, and SEO expertise is still a competitive need. Rather, the trend away from search engine reliance indicates that search-optimized content must be put to work in social channels and mobile apps if brands want to be discovered.
While Forrester's study may be a catalyst for some marketers to distribute search-friendly content through myriad marketing channels, a number of CMOs are already planning to beef up the optimized content they deliver through social channels. As Brafton has reported, social content is poised to be a marketing priority this year.