In the final meeting of DFWSEM, representatives from both Google and Bing present tonight on the state of search.  But first, a quick introduction by Mark Barrera.

The Future is Now

Five points that search marketers need to target today:

  • Mobile
  • Personalization
  • Social
  • Local Search
  • Behavioral Targeting

“If you are not focused on these, you aren’t focusing on the right things.”

More than 50% of search marketers know that social is an important metric but only 29% of people have merged it into their strategies.  One thing SEOs tend to do is “talk” about social media but have poor to little implementation.  In 2012, search marketers need to be focused in all of the above points.

Mary Bowling, of Planet Ocean, provides her perspective on Search Trend Predictions for the New Year

“Web search used to be the sun and everything traveled around it.
Moving forward, social will be our sun.”

True Engagement will be the wave of the future.  The user is becoming more savvy to overly automated social engagement and they are now expecting that businesses are listening to social networks.

In 2012, social shares will be the new links.  Content will be king, if you have any pages that do not have strong content then take it down and revise to engage users.

Freshness will also have a big influence in the SERPs.  Therefore, should you have evergreen content, put it on a new URL and time stamp it to show the freshness of the site.

Local search will be an even bigger aspect of search than it is today.  Mobile search will also lend to local search.  It is not uncommon for mobile users to be using a map app to search.  Therefore, it is not unfathomable that mobile search will triple in 2012.  According to Nielsen, 50% of Americans will have a smart phone by this christmas.  As more people adopt smart phones, mobile search will grow.

Susan Moskwa, Webmaster Trends Analyst for Google

What are the trends that Google is doing?
Pushing out more information onto the SERPs.

Rich Snippets
Pulls down more information from your markups in order to provide more information to the users. For trouble shooting your rich snippets, use www.google.com/web masters/tools/richsnippets.

Extracted Enhancements
This is not depended on markup, Google extracts this from your website.  For example, Instant Preview, Google generates a preview of the site in the SERPs. Within Webmaster Tools there is a testing tool to show the webmaster what the instant preview will look like.

Sitelinks
Currently integrated within your rankings.  Shows both links and snippets.  Within Webmaster Tools web masters can take out sitelinks that they think are not relevant.

Duane Forrester, Sr. Product Manager from Bing

New tools launched in Bing Webmaster Tools

  • Can view the links that are actually pointing to the page, no matter the HTTP code on the page.
  • Active email alerts for malware and other important aspects that web masters need to know
  • URL Normalization – canonicalize more of those pesky url parameters (now 50 parameters).  Pro Tip: try to go away from rel canonical and fix the CCS at the source.
  • Deeper data in Index Explorer
  • DNS Verifications
  • AdCenter Data Integration: can see keywords and Average Cost Per Click

Search Engines Today:

  • 1 and 4 delivers successful results
  • 42% of sessions require refinements
  • 44% of sessions lasting a day or more
  • 66% of people are using search more frequently to make decisions

What is the future of search?  Signals Signals Signals.
“My job as a search engine is to wow the searcher every time.  If I can wow them they will come back to my engine.  For a website, quality content is the most important thing because it helps us keep our users wowed.”

How social impacts search will impact search in 2012:
90% seek advice from family and friends before making a decision.
80% of people delay making a purchase online before talking to someone.

If you want to have more click throughs, more conversions and a higher ROI you will need to have more social interaction about your product or service in an online space.

If a search engine can give you a recommendation from your friends conversions will be higher.  That is why social is the future.

In 2012, SEO barely makes the list of top things to invest time in.  Because at this point, it is automatic – search engines are assuming that you are already doing this.

Thanks to our presenters tonight: @duaneforrester, @susanmoskwa, @marybowling and of course @dfwsem for another great meeting.