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The State of Search


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A look at the latest in search evolution, including Hummingbird and Secure Search,
(aka: keywords ‘(not provided)’)

Published in: Marketing, Technology, Design
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The State of Search

  1. 1. The State of ‘(Search)’ A look at the latest in search evolution, including Hummingbird and Secure Search, (aka: keywords ‘(not provided)’)
  2. 2. Search is growing up. (And we should too.)
  3. 3. What’s changing?
  4. 4. What’s changing? Devices. Devices like smart phones & tablets have created a new search experience and have started the movement toward voice-activated search.
  5. 5. What’s changing? Search Engines. Google continues to revolutionize search with social signals, emphasis on content, releases such as keywords ‘(not provided)’ and more. International search engines such as Baidu, Sogou and Yandex gain popularity.
  6. 6. What’s changing? Location. Wearable computing technology like the Pebble watch & Google Glass will become a common way for people to search.
  7. 7. Still not convinced search is important? A few stats that might convince you... 2/3 of in-store mobile searches are conducted to help make purchasing decisions Google had 114.7B searches per month (in Dec. 2012) Global smartphone use will reach 2 billion by 2015 28% of mobile searches result in conversions 2/3 of in-store shoppers prefer mobile sites to apps 40% of users will click another mobile result if a site is not mobile friendly 73% of mobile searches trigger follow-up actions Smartphone search use most often occurs: during travel (72%), in restaurants (64%) & in stores (63%) Mobile search queries almost double during the holidays 89% of B2C customers use search engines for purchase decisions & 71% of B2C purchase decisions are started with a search engine query
  8. 8. Hummingbird v. Secure Search
  9. 9. Hummingbird v. Keyword ‘(not provided)’ Google’s Hummingbird and the move toward becoming 100 percent keyword ‘(not provided)’ (Google named: Secure Search) are often being grouped together in conversations, or even confused for one another; however, the two topics are different. “There is a relationship between them over the long term, but there’s not an explicit relationship, and there’s not a specific connection on the technology side.” -Ray Grieselhuber
  10. 10. What’s the difference between Hummingbird & Secure Search? Hummingbird is an algorithm change, one of Google’s largest updates in the last 10 years. It moves search queries and behavior away from focusing purely on keywords and short searches like “pizza locations nearby” to more conversational search. For example, the types of questions asked on Quora are longer, more natural language queries. Hummingbird was designed to help Google keep up with ongoing changes in search behavior. People are searching for more nuanced topics and seek very specific results. Short keyword phrases are not equipped to provide the best results. Mobile is also having a large impact on how people search.
  11. 11. What’s the difference between Hummingbird & Secure Search? ‘(not provided)’ In contrast, the move toward 100% not provided data, labeled by Google as secure search, was a technology decision made to encrypt keywords that people are searching on to find new sites. It is not an algorithm update like Hummingbird. In the past, keyword level analytics data has been the focus of identifying performance changes and traffic drivers, and therefore has been critical in accomplishing goals. In the absence of this data, based on the new Google changes, new metrics will need to be prioritized for these purposes.
  12. 12. Aren’t they a little bit related though? + ‘(not provided)’ In the long term, Hummingbird and secure search are indirectly related because now you aren’t able to get keyword-specific data from your analytics. You are forced to rely on two things: 1. A content-centric analytics approach to measure your performance 2. Increased reliance on technology that enables you to model data to understand what people are looking for and tie learnings back to your content. Secure search pushes us in that direction and the Hummingbird algorithm dovetails with that because there is an increased emphasis on topics vs. keywords.
  13. 13. Key takeaways for marketers
  14. 14. Key Takeaways for Marketers: Hummingbird Get to know Google. Marrying social marketing and search into a larger content marketing strategy makes Google more important to marketers than ever before. Semantic search is in its very early stages. A lot of work remains for the search industry to make semantic search a reality, so there’s no need to switch your entire marketing strategy immediately. Algorithms have to be trained to be effective and that requires lots of data. As people start to update their sites with more structured data and behaviors continue to change, Google will continue to make updates. Pay attention and start making smart content moves and setting up metrics now. Get comfortable with change. Marketers should understand that the search world is very dynamic and highly active. “We’re going to see tons of changes over the next few years.” - Ray Grieselhuber Skate toward where the puck is moving. Place a broader focus on meaning and intent in all of your content creation. Get to know your audience better and spend time learning about semantic search’s history and principles.
  15. 15. Key Takeaways for Marketers: Secure Search Collect & archive data. This is probably the last chance you have to collect and archive as much data as you can. Make sure that all of your data is safely preserved in accessible places. It may not be useful 4-5 years from now, but can be useful for the next 6-12 months. Re-evaluate your analytics technology. Pure analytics solutions will not longer be sufficient, because they have removed an important data set. Look for solutions that integrate across content and provide recommendations. Train teams & executives on the importance of search performance. Being found by your audience is more important than ever and measurement will change in a content and semantic search world. Make sure you are ready to explain these changes and to accurately report on your performance versus competitors. “Keywords are very easy for people to understand, and now we’re moving in to this world where it’s not just about keywords, which are essentially just strings of text, but it’s about understanding their meaning.” - Ray Grieselhuber.
  16. 16. Further impact of search engine changes
  17. 17. Further impact of search engine Further impact of search engine changes changes Search engine users are adapting to using Google Now, although many may not know it by that name. Upon searching a growing number of specific terms, Google shows more dynamic content.
  18. 18. Further impact of search engine Further impact of search engine changes changes Brands and agencies seeking to get found or help clients be found online are suddenly dealing with many more variables than ever before. The challenge is to understand how to perform well in search and how to understand the different behaviors people are exhibiting in their search. “If you’re a brand or an agency trying to get found you’re creating content, and our goal is take all of the different data that’s out there and basically try to turn it into usable intelligence for you so that you understand what you should be creating, how you should be creating it and how that content should be distributed.” -Ray Grieselhuber.
  19. 19. Further impact of search engine Further impact of search engine changes changes Creating content is going to be more challenging. For example, responsive websites are supposed to help content creators adapt to many different devices and provide high-quality experiences, but what happens when people are using voice search? What happens if people are only consuming the content surfaced by Google Now and don’t leave the search page? If you look at the types of queries that Google Now and universal search are starting to dominate, you can get information based on a combination of smarter keyword parsing and semantic details than you could get a couple of years ago.
  20. 20. Setting up for success
  21. 21. Setting up for search success Understand how much universal search and Google Now can impact your business. There will be certain queries that will not get traffic, but that doesn’t mean you should give up on search as a marketing channel. Topics that are more nuanced are going to provide more relevant queries; however, keep in mind that with Google Hummingbird, they will be trying to surface more nuanced content. Really understand semantic search. Understand what Google is really trying to do with structured data and how it’s important on your website. Start structuring your data as much as you are able to in relation to both knowledge graph and universal search. is a good place to get started and Google Webmaster Tools has a lot of information about structuring data Create content that is located offsite. Whether that is user-generated content or content hosted on channels like YouTube, it’s important to be more places. Branding and search marketing are merging very quickly, so being everywhere and being findable is really your No. 1 responsibility.
  22. 22. Contact us email twitter @ginzametrics
  23. 23. Sources 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8.