Search and Online Holiday Shopping

Excerpts from my latest article at NBC 5 Chicago’s Inc. Well blog: “How Search Impacts Holiday Shopping.”

Most businesses accept online shopping as a necessary part of their business models, and search as an important driver of brand recognition and shopping decisions. With the 2012 holiday season upon us, let’s take a quick look at how search impacts holiday shopping and what you can do today to capture more customers.

My favorite search stats of the season comes from Google’s Holiday Consumer Intentions 2012 Study: Forty-nine percent say that search will influence their holiday shopping decisions. For those shoppers who don’t know what to purchase, 37 percent of consumers say search is their go-to source for gift ideas. And 46 percent of consumers said they’d be shopping around for gifts and deals this holiday season due to the economy.

All in all, 80 percent of holiday shoppers will research products online before deciding what to buy. And they’ll be consulting social media, video and online reviews to help make those purchase decisions. Search has become an integral part of that shopping research process for online and offline shoppers alike….

Read the article in full at Inc. Well »

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Originally posted on Web PieRat.

Holiday Search Trends on Desktop vs Mobile

The key online holiday shopping days have been similar since the Internet went mainstream in the 90’s. What I find particularly interesting is the influence of mobile devices on retail search trends. Google recently released some interesting search data from last year’s (2011) holiday season:

  • Searches on Mobile devices peak on Thanksgiving with Black Friday a close second
  • Searches on desktops peak on Cyber Monday and show strong preference for Mondays after that until Christmas

Other interesting Holiday 2011 shopping factoids released at the same time include:

  • 82% of those surveyed said online influenced which stores they chose to visit
  • 25% used more than one device to shop during Holiday 2011
  • Google predicts 85% will begin shopping on one device and complete the purchase on another during Holiday 2012

See the full Holiday Quick Guide at Think with Google.

Google’s 2012 Algorithm Updates: Where’s Google Going?

Excerpts from my latest article at Practical eCommerce: “Understanding Google’s Algorithm Updates.”

Google’s war on webspam, low-quality sites that use manipulative SEO strategies to win rankings and traffic, has reached an all-time high with the search giant churning out an average of one to two updates a day. But Google makes updates to its algorithms for many more reasons than fighting webspam. Understanding these algorithm updates and how they impact your place in Google’s search results is important to defining your SEO strategy.

Read the full article for details on each of these algorithm updates in 2012:

  • Quality Algorithm Updates: Penguin, Panda, EMD, Top Heavy
  • Information Design Algorithm Updates: 7 Results, Knowledge Graph, Knowledge Graph Carousel
  • Personalization Algorithm Updates: Search Plus Your World, Venice

The common themes in all of these algorithm updates boil down to surfacing higher quality contents that are more likely to answer individual searchers’ questions. Google is in the business of answering questions, knowing that if it’s more successful than other engines the searchers will continue to prefer Google. The more searchers Google can boast, the more data it can collect to serve those searchers ever more effectively, and the more money it makes selling advertising across all of its free products.

That sounds cynical, but it’s the reality. If your site isn’t optimized for search, according to Google’s definition, Google will just skip over it and offer searchers the sites that are optimized. Understanding the algorithm updates Google spends its time and money creating can help you understand Google’s definition of “optimized” and craft a strategy that merges SEO, customer experience and business needs into a compelling site that wins rankings and attracts customers.

Read the article in full at Practical eCommerce »

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Originally posted on Web PieRat.

There’s a New SEO in Town, Baby.

B is for baby. B is for boy. B is for Brown.

We’re expecting a new search geek in the Kocher Brown family, some time in March 2013. He’ll be accepting contract work and expounding on the glories of Android shortly thereafter, though we expect to have to sharpen his initial presentation skills a bit.

Obligatory ultrasound photo & cutesy baby clothes follow:

If you look closely you can already see his little pierat eye patch and cutlass. The sword, not the Oldsmobile.

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Originally posted on Web PieRat.