In this broad look at search trends and searcher data, Rand will explore the key changes affecting search marketers and those seeking to earn influence through Google. From zero-click searches, to tough choices on structured data, to the new ways Google is using information consensus and weighting particular types of authority, this presentation will make every marketer a more strategic thinker about search.
Does Voice Search Change Anything?
Do Voice Answers Change Anything?
“That is called the
Google Search in Browsers is Plateauing…
U.S. Searches by Month (web browsers only)
Google Desktop Google Images Desktop Google Mobile Google Images Mobile
• Desktop devices average ~800
distinct pages viewed per
• Mobile devices averaged ~300
distinct pages viewed per
• Slight decrease in mobile
browser pageviews over time
(probably cannibalized by apps)
• In March 2019, users viewed
2,350 unique pages on desktop
and 680 unique pages on
mobile (monthly counts in the
graph count multiple visits to
the same URL per month as 1)
Average Distinct Pages Viewed Per Device by Month
Browser-Based Web Use Is Still At All-Time Highs
But with Mobile App Use
Factored In, Web Search &
Web Traffic Continues to Grow
Google Controls the
Majority of Web
Traffic ReferralsGoogle, 66.0%Facebook,
Rest of Top
12 Years… Desktop Barely Shrank While Mobile Grew
40 Years… Video Grew, But Didn’t Kill Radio
20 Years… TV’s Getting Watched More, in More Places
5 Years… Despite Voice, Web Search Keeps Growing
Over the Last...
9 Years… Websites Dominate Apps (for anyone outside the top 25 apps)
What Evolving Web Use Means for Marketers:
2: Considering a big investment in voice answer SEO? It’s
probably too early; other tactics will likely have better ROI.
1: Both mobile and desktop are still big; don’t ignore either.
3: Web-based video, podcasts, and websites all continue to
be excellent investments… Mobile apps not so much.
What Google’s Behavior Means for Marketers
2: Organic CTR is still high, but those who can benefit from
answering zero-click searches will be a step ahead.
1: Paid CTR has risen but (if history’s a guide) will slowly
decline until Google’s next visual SERP change.
3: The 2020 Democratic Primary and US General Election
will likely have a major impact on Google’s future.
48.73% 48.89% 49.25% 49.39% 49.56% 50.33%
47.57% 47.55% 46.95% 46.81% 46.23% 45.25%
3.70% 3.56% 3.80% 3.80% 4.21% 4.42%
Jan 2019 Feb 2019 March 2019 April 2019 May 2019 June 2019
Google Search CTRs & Zero-Click Searches (2019, USA)
Zero-Click Searches Searches w/ Organic Clicks Searches w/ Ad Clicks
Crossed 50% for the
first time in June
The Zero-Click Decision Tree
Can I benefit from
ranking for this
KWs that send
Will my team or client
give credit for rankings
that don’t send traffic?
Invest in On-
The Structured Data Decision Tree
Will I gain or lose value
from adding structured
data that Google may
use in an answer box?
Would I rather have
the answer box, or
cede it to a competitor
to focus on other KWs?
Find other KW
Has the right links?
Best satisfies searchers?
Has the best on-page SEO?
Has the most accurate info?
Does this rank because it:
Structures information best?
These ranking factors
appear to be on the rise
Comes from a trusted source?
From Links, Clicks, & Keywords to
Accuracy & Comprehensiveness
“There’s no right
“The wrong answer
could cause serious
Weighting of correctness, authority, & comprehensiveness
in Google’s ranking algorithm
“are vaccines safe”
What if authority, accuracy,
come to your SERPs?
What Google’s Evolving Algo Means for Marketers
2: Improving content accuracy (up-to-date, comprehensive,
correct) may boost rankings and earn featured snippets.
1: Establishing your site as an authority and earning links from
existing authorities could have immense ranking benefits.
3: Being at the cutting edge of your topic could adversely affect
rankings if your info doesn’t match authoritative consensus.
What Citation/Credit Loss Means for Marketers:
2: The Justice Dept. battle means investigators will seek
examples of Google’s actions harming businesses; there’s
never been a better time to be vocal.
1: If Google is using your work without crediting your site,
the press can be a powerful ally.
3: When Google returns link credit to SERPs, traffic
opportunity rises (e.g. Images are high potential again)
If SEO or Content is My Focus…
Why Should I Care About Social Reach?
Content that earns traction
on Twitter, Instagram,
YouTube, Reddit, and (to a
lesser extent) Facebook &
to rank in
Branded search demand for your content
Links from high-authority sources without outreach
Amplification and traffic from link likely audiences
Diversity of traffic (social, referral, direct, etc)
If you want to earn…
Subscribers who want to receive your content
You Need to Win on Social Platforms:
1: Play to the algorithms’ bias
for on-site engagement
2: Use high-engagement streaks
to earn algorithmic reputation
3: Spend engagement streaks to
earn visits & email subscribers
A Return to Less-Trackable Marketing
Via Simo Ahava and Reuters
A Vastly Bigger Industry
634,075 LinkedIn Profiles with “SEO” in their
job title or description
2.976M LinkedIn Profiles with “SEO” in their job
title or description (470% increase)
More Competition and Sophistication
More Activity, But Fewer Organic Clicks
Google Search Click-Through Rates
(browser-based queries, June 2019, USA)
Searches w/ Organic Clicks
Searches w/ Ad Clicks
A Shift in Ranking Signals
Inbound Anchor Text
Inbound Anchor Text