SEMPO: Google Shakes the Search Tree

When it comes to search marketing, 2012 will go down as the year of Pandas, Penguins and the start of the great shift to mobile — especially local search. This comes courtesy of SEMPO’s annual State of Search Marketing Report, which found that over 45 percent of in-house search marketers surveyed cited Google changes as having the greatest impact on their business. The story is the same on the agency side; 55 percent of agency marketers surveyed pointed at algorithm changes as having the biggest impact.

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SEMPO’s survey queried almost 900 in-house and agency search marketers on changes to world of search. The report was published by Econsultancy.com and is available to SEMPO members; there’s a good recap of the report on searchengineland.com.

If the impact of algorithm changes is the biggest wave to rock the search boat in 2012, the advent of mobile search — especially local — is the coming storm. Fully 92 percent of agency survey takers cited mobile search as having a significant impact, while 87 percent said the same about local search.

As for the way agencies use search as a marketing tool, SEMPO found that 11 percent cited brand/reputation as a goal — that’s more than double last year’s result and may show the impact of consumer-generated content on search marketing. Interestingly, the study also shows that as search begins to lean into more upper funnel relevance, social media — that bastion of brand awareness — is simultaneously shifting toward customer service/cost reduction and traffic generation.

That kind of shift may reflect a larger trend taking shape — one in which digital stops being a boutique add-on to marketing efforts and begins to merge into overall sales, marketing and CRM disciplines. Even with its complexities and specialized knowledge requirements, digital marketing is, after all, another channel companies use to advertise their products, market to prospects and nurture their customers.

Key Points

–Mobile search is the biggest emerging trend

–Google algorithm changes had the greatest impact

–Search is becoming more brand and reputation relevant

Sources: Econsultancy, Searchengineland, SEMPO

—Brian Chee

Published on DrivingSales

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