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SearchLove London 2019 - Rand Fishkin - The Search Landscape in 2019

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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.

SearchLove London 2019 - Rand Fishkin - The Search Landscape in 2019

  1. 1. Rand Fishkin | Founder & CEO State of Search 2019 The death of the click. The rise of untrackable web marketing. And the shifts search marketers must make.
  2. 2. Today, I’m Going to Tell You Six Stories…
  3. 3. A Story About How We Use the Web…
  4. 4. 2012… Mobile is Cannibalizing Desktop 1981… Video Killed the Radio Star 2001… Computers Will Be the Death of TV 2019… Voice Search Will Destroy Web Search 2010… Apps Will Make Websites Redundant
  5. 5. Edison Research, 2018
  6. 6. eMarketer, 2019
  7. 7. Bond Internet Trends, 2019
  8. 8. StatCounter Mobile vs. Desktop, 2012-2019
  9. 9. Hours Spent on Digital Devices / Day (USA) Bond Internet Trends, 2019
  10. 10. TheWebMaster, 2019
  11. 11. Does Voice Search Change Anything? Not Really.
  12. 12. Do Voice Answers Change Anything? Yes! “That is called the Achilles Tendon.”
  13. 13. Google Search in Browsers is Plateauing… - 5,000,000,000 10,000,000,000 15,000,000,000 20,000,000,000 25,000,000,000 30,000,000,000 35,000,000,000 40,000,000,000 Jan-16 Feb-16 M ar-16 A pr-16 M ay-16 Jun -16 Jul-16 A ug -16 Sep-16 O ct-16 N ov-16 D ec-16 Jan-17 Feb-17 M ar-17 A pr-17 M ay-17 Jun -17 Jul-17 A ug -17 Sep-17 O ct-17 N ov-17 D ec-17 Jan-18 Feb-18 M ar-18 A pr-18 M ay-18 Jun -18 Jul-18 A ug -18 Sep-18 O ct-18 N ov-18 D ec-18 Jan-19 Feb-19 M ar-19 U.S. Searches by Month (web browsers only) Google Desktop Google Images Desktop Google Mobile Google Images Mobile
  14. 14. • Desktop devices average ~800 distinct pages viewed per month • Mobile devices averaged ~300 distinct pages viewed per month • 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) 0 150 300 450 600 750 900 Jan-16 M ar-16 M ay-16 Jul-16 Sep-16 N ov-16 Jan-17 M ar-17 M ay-17 Jul-17 Sep-17 N ov-17 Jan-18 M ar-18 M ay-18 Jul-18 Sep-18 N ov-18 Jan-19 M ar-19 Avg.#ofPageViews Average Distinct Pages Viewed Per Device by Month Mobile Desktop Browser-Based Web Use Is Still At All-Time Highs
  15. 15. But with Mobile App Use Factored In, Web Search & Web Traffic Continues to Grow
  16. 16. Google Controls the Overwhelming Majority of Web Traffic ReferralsGoogle, 66.0%Facebook, 5.1% YouTube, 3.9% Bing, 3.9% Yahoo, 3.5% Twitter, 2.1% Amazon, 2.0% Reddit, 1.9% Wikipedia, 1.6% Gmail, 1.0% DuckDuckGo, 1.0% Rest of Top 250, 7.9% %ofReferralVisitsSentByTop250Referrers,June2019 (250M+browserreferrals,10M+mobile&desktopdevices)
  17. 17. 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)
  18. 18. How Does This Impact Me?
  19. 19. 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.
  20. 20. A Story About Congress…
  21. 21. Congressional Hearing Notes, 12/11/2018
  22. 22. Organic Clicks: 41.45% Paid Clicks: 3.58% Alphabet’s Clicks: 6.01% Zero-Clicks: 48.96% Q1 2019 Google Searches that result in:
  23. 23. In 2019 Google’s sending ~20% fewer organic clicks via browser searches than 2016.
  24. 24. Did Google’s Mobile Search App Make Up for That? Probably Yes…
  25. 25. 43.9% 44.3% 45.8% 46.0% 46.0% 47.5% 48.0% 47.8% 47.5% 47.7% 48.2% 48.8% 49.0% 49.7% 54.0% 53.6% 51.7% 51.3% 51.5% 49.8% 49.0% 48.6% 49.0% 48.4% 48.1% 47.3% 47.4% 46.1% 2.10% 2.18% 2.46% 2.67% 2.47% 2.73% 3.03% 3.59% 3.58% 3.92% 3.65% 3.95% 3.69% 4.14% 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% 100% Q1 16 Q2 16 Q3 16 Q4 16 Q1 17 Q2 17 Q3 17 Q4 17 Q1 18 Q2 18 Q3 18 Q4 18 Q1 19 Q2 19 Google Search CTRs & Zero-Click Searches (2016-2019, USA) Zero-Click Searches Searches w/ Organic Clicks Searches w/ Ad Clicks Google in 2016: 26 organic clicks to every 1 paid clickGoogle in 2019: 11 organic clicks to every 1 paid click
  26. 26. April 2019 June 2019
  27. 27. 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% 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% 100% 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 +16% Ad CTR April-June
  28. 28. Via SparkToro, 2019
  29. 29. Via NYTimes, 2013 and The American Prospect, July 2019
  30. 30. Via Forbes, July 2019 and The Verge, Sept. 2019
  31. 31. How Does This Impact Me?
  32. 32. 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.
  33. 33. A Story About On-SERP SEO…
  34. 34. Via SocialMediaExaminer
  35. 35. “I rank #3 for social media; why don’t I get more traffic!?”
  36. 36. SocialMediaExaminer.com’s Search Console
  37. 37. They’re Not Alone… Via Lily Ray on Twitter, June 2019
  38. 38. Zero-Click Searches
  39. 39. 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% 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% 100% 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
  40. 40. Ten blue links, but hard to earn ROI
  41. 41. Featured snippet, but clear path to ROI
  42. 42. How Does This Impact Me?
  43. 43. The Zero-Click Decision Tree Can I benefit from ranking for this query even without traffic? Optimize for KWs that send traffic instead YesNo Will my team or client give credit for rankings that don’t send traffic? Yes No Invest in On- SERP SEO!
  44. 44. The Structured Data Decision Tree Will I gain or lose value from adding structured data that Google may use in an answer box? Add the structured data and optimize for rankings! LoseGain Would I rather have the answer box, or cede it to a competitor to focus on other KWs? Cede Have Find other KW opportunities
  45. 45. A Story About Tragedy…
  46. 46. Via The Guardian, July 2019
  47. 47. Via Washington Post
  48. 48. Via Sistrix US data
  49. 49. 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?
  50. 50. From Links, Clicks, & Keywords to Accuracy & Comprehensiveness
  51. 51. “There’s no right (or particularly dangerous) answer” “The wrong answer could cause serious harm” Weighting of correctness, authority, & comprehensiveness in Google’s ranking algorithm Low High “are vaccines safe” “homeopathic cancer cures” “best star wars movie” “capybara memes”
  52. 52. How Does This Impact Me?
  53. 53. What if authority, accuracy, and comprehensiveness come to your SERPs?
  54. 54. 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.
  55. 55. A Story About Who Gets Credit…
  56. 56. Via The Outline, 2017
  57. 57. Via WSJ, 2019
  58. 58. R E D H A N D E D
  59. 59. A week after the story, Google changed how they cited lyrics sources
  60. 60. 18 months ago, they made a similar change to image search links
  61. 61. They added links to Knowledge Panels and images in featured snippets
  62. 62. How Does This Impact Me?
  63. 63. 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)
  64. 64. A Story About Engagement…
  65. 65. Goodbye Organic Reach… Via RivalIQ 2019
  66. 66. Via RivalIQ 2019
  67. 67. Hello Viral Content Via Brookings Institute
  68. 68. If SEO or Content is My Focus… Why Should I Care About Social Reach? What journalists write about. Content that earns traction on Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Reddit, and (to a lesser extent) Facebook & LinkedIn What the press cites. What tends to rank in Google. What gets searched-for. What earns links. What bloggers write about. What high influence accounts amplify.
  69. 69. Via Twitter
  70. 70. Tweet the algo thinks is most likely to engage me What the algo thinks is next most likely to engage me 3rd most likely, etc.
  71. 71. Instagram Works the Same Way IG’s algo thinks this video will keep me watching It thinks these images will keep me in the app
  72. 72. It’s How YouTube Decides What’s Up Next
  73. 73. It’s How Facebook Decides The Feed Via Arieh Kovler, June 2019
  74. 74. Engagement, Not Amplification, Powers Social Reach Now
  75. 75. Social platforms’ ML algorithms are trained to create addiction based on engagement. That can have some nasty side effects.
  76. 76. Delightful, fun, and entertaining… But wonderful comments like these don’t create addiction…
  77. 77. High controversy content, however… Creates the engagement and addiction that fuels the learning systems’ targets
  78. 78. Social Reach in 2014: Retweets by highly followed accounts Shares by accounts with many friends/fans Large number of likes Shares by well-connected accounts Views, embeds, links, keywords
  79. 79. Social Reach in 2019: Whatever signals the machine learning system has found to correlate strongly with engagement, return visits, and future usage.
  80. 80. Social Reach in 2019: Comments & clicks > RTs & Likes Comments & messages > Shares Comments > Likes Comments & messages > Shares & Likes Time watched > Views
  81. 81. How Does This Impact Me?
  82. 82. 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
  83. 83. 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
  84. 84. The Future of Search Marketing
  85. 85. A Return to Less-Trackable Marketing Via Simo Ahava and Reuters On-SERP SEO
  86. 86. 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) 2015: 2019:
  87. 87. More Competition and Sophistication Via Backlinko
  88. 88. More Activity, But Fewer Organic Clicks 50.33% 45.25% 4.42% Google Search Click-Through Rates (browser-based queries, June 2019, USA) Zero-Click Searches Searches w/ Organic Clicks Searches w/ Ad Clicks
  89. 89. A Shift in Ranking Signals Link Quantity Brand Authority Keyword Matching Intent Matching Comprehensiveness Content Accuracy User/Usage Signals Inbound Anchor Text Content Structure 2014 2019 Link Quantity Brand Authority Keyword Matching Intent Matching Comprehensiveness Content Accuracy User/Usage Signals Inbound Anchor Text Content Structure
  90. 90. Ever-Changing Tactical Effectiveness
  91. 91. You Can Do It.
  92. 92. Rand Fishkin | Founder & CEO Thank You!

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