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Advice on Mobile SEM and SEO from Inside Google
Google invited 150 search marketing professionals along with Bing, Yahoo, Razorfish and 360i into the Atlanta Google office for a mobile search marketing event. Each of the major search engines sat side by side along with Razorfish to speak on upcoming trends in mobile search and to answer our questions from search engine optimization consultants, internet marketing companies, web designers, creative agencies and any company providing SEM and SEO services among the 150 first people to make it through the door in Atlanta.
I was one of those 150 people.
The event was simulcast from Google Atlanta to offices in New York and Boston. Limited audiences were invited to attend the event in New York and Boston. A live feed from each office was projected on the wall in the Atlanta office alongside the speaker presentation screen. The speakers responded to questions from all three locations.
The mobile search marketing speaker panel consisted of:
- Bing: Director of Bing Mobile Product Management – Andy Chu
- Yahoo: Senior Director, Mobile Sales Strategies – Paul Cushman
- Google: Senior Account Executive (Mobile Ads Team) – Elliott Nix
- Razorfish: VP of Mobile – Paul Gelb
I showed up a little early to make sure I had plenty of time to explore the Google office. The office in Atlanta is a satellite office for Google, and as you might imagine looks like a small version of the California office descriptions, decorated with big red, yellow, green and blue circles in the carpet, carved into the walls, in the ceiling and repeated playfully throughout the decor.
After networking for about an hour with other SEM and SEO agency, marketing and designer SEMPO Atlanta members we settled down for the presentations. After introductions by various sponsors and SEMPO officials we got to the speaker presentations. Razorfish went first, followed by Yahoo, Bing, then Google.
Whether intended or not, the reoccurring theme behind was how human behavior drives mobile search. Here’s a synopsis of their presentations.
Paul Gelb, Vice President of Mobile for Razorfish opened with entertaining examples of mobile search niches based on available search apps. Search apps are catered to every behavior: shopping, finding restaurants, finding directions and even finding public restrooms (complete with user reviews and ratings on cleanliness), one of which provided by Charmin, the toilet paper brand. Paul Gelb relates that particular search apps are used based on human behaviors.
Yahoo Mobile Search Presenter
Next Paul Cushman, Senior Director of Mobile Sales Strategies for Yahoo presented. Paul presented some fresh demographic information from Yahoo and insights on how to predict mobile search trends.
- The overall age is a younger demographic engaged in mobile search.
- The average number of keywords in a mobile query is shorter than on desktop.
- Day parting is shifted as mobile search volume starts earlier in the day and lasts longer into the night.
- iPads and entertainment related search increased as people search on iPads during TV watching
Paul Cushman presented a study of search volume during 2010 Academy Awards. TV commercial breaks were tracked against mobile web user traffic. Results show tendencies of “co-browsing”: spikes in mobile search traffic during commercial breaks.
An audience member asked how to persuade mobile paid search programs to prospects who are still new to the idea of mobile search. Paul pointed out how search behaviors for mobile, unlike desktop, follow common sense. In other words, think about how you search on your phone and the trends pretty much match.
- People search while in the bathroom, instead of using a magazine.
- People grab their phone before getting out of bed and search.
- People search products to read reviews while at store locations before making buying decisions.
These search trends are pretty easy to explain to customers, however it is new and if someone is not ready to shift funds into a new platform, than its probably not right for them yet.
Bing Mobile Search Presenter
Andy Chu, Director of Bing Mobile Product Management spoke next. Andy provided data and case studies illustrating further opportunities in mobile search marketing. Andy through out a few user statistics, skipping over those covered by Paul Cushman’s Yahoo presentation. He did however mention the 18-20 year old demographic is growing fastest, up 65%.
Andy explores two types of search activity: task centric and local centric.
Task Centric Search:
Bing, a Microsoft brand maintains its market differentiators for search as visually organized, following task centric needs. Task centric search sessions may last an hour.
Local Centric Search:
Local centric searches are geographic related and usually are infotainment related – learn about restaurants or movies in order to make a decision and find a location.
- It takes 21 steps to choose a restaurant
- Mobile searches have 1.5 times more typos than desktop
- 60% of adults rate alternate input as lead enabling experiences
- 70% of tasks are completed within 1 hour
Bing studies on money saving tasks indicate:
- 56% iPhone users compare prices
- 5.3% consumers reddem mobile coupons
- 39% of businesses intend to use mobile coupons
Bing opinion on search apps verses browsers:
Distribution of apps is a challenge. Regardless of the platform, users are provided hundreds of apps to scroll through. Most app descriptions lack meaningful content (hello, optimize your apps anyone?). Therefore the apps are not effectively searchable.
Question from the audience:
What are the values of a mobile site verses desktop site? Do you really need a mobile site?
Answer from Andy Chu of Bing:
Yes. Mobile sites have more interaction and click through.
Google Mobile Search Presenter
Elliot Nix, Senior Account Executive of Google’s Mobile Ads Team presented last.
- 35% of Android search is via voice
- A study in Japan showed a mobile device is always within 3 feet
- Mobile search occurs in the bathroom
- 1 in 5 adults check their mobile device before leaving bed in the morning
- 79% of retailers do not have a mobile site
- Google Analytics can track mobile app activity after the app is downloaded
The process for a mobile search strategy
- Create a mobile site
- Think mobile
- Be discovered
- Track (mobile independently)
Audience Question: Does a slate or iPad device render desktop websites or is a 3rd version required after mobile?
Panel Answer: Most websites render fine on iPad, however flash is a problem.
Audience Question: How does +1 (plus one) affect search results?
Google Answer: +1 is a personal consumer tool, so it may affect organic search for that individual searching while logged into the account where +1 was used.
The original presentation can be found here:
- Paul Cushman, Yahoo:
- Andy Chu, Bing:
- Paul Gelb: Razorfish:
- Google’s presentation is not available online, but they have provided the link below.
Links courtesy of Benjamin Rudolf, President SEMPO Atlanta.