Three studies released this week reveal the importance of holistic SEO strategies in a post-Panda (times 5) search engine landscape. One study revolves around video trends, and another touches on how people retrieve information in their localities. The third focuses on social media and how virality and views of a post can vary across the popular platforms.
Broaden Your Site’s Reach with Videos
When we talk about holistic SEO strategies, we mean well-rounded ones suited for all facets of interactive marketing. Not just SEO so that your site looks good to Google, but SEO that makes your site marketable and attractive to potential customers (and converts them into new and returning customers). One way to achieve this well-roundedness, as we have discussed before, is to create and syndicate videos. But we can say things like that without really being able to back it up with solid facts (beyond the fact that videos tend to convert up to 4 times better than text) – that is, until now.
comScore released the September, 2011 report of statistics for videos online, and it’s a doozy. The Press Release for this study noted, “182 million U.S. Internet users watched online video content in September for an average of 19.5 hours per viewer. The total U.S. Internet audience engaged in 39.8 billion video views.” Here’s another surprise (note the sarcasm in my voice!), “Google sites” had the most engagement (VEVO came in as a pretty distant second), with over 160 million unique viewers, over 18 million videos, and an average of 378 minutes per viewer. Overall, comScore revealed, “The average viewer watched a record 19.5 hours of online video content, with Google Sites (6.3 hours) also demonstrating the highest engagement.”
Also notable were the following findings:
“85.3 percent of the U.S. Internet audience viewed online video. The duration of the average online content video was 5.3 minutes, while the average online video ad was 0.4 minutes. Video ads accounted for 14.7 percent of all videos viewed and 1.4 percent of all minutes spent viewing video online.”
What does this all mean? That you can’t afford not to be integrating videos into your interactive marketing strategy. These videos should likely last for between 3-5 minutes, and should bring something different to the table, something interesting, unique and valuable. While ranking videos from YouTube is no easy task, it can and should be done. The ROI will make the time, effort and money you put into it worth it.
Searching Local – Come On, Everyone’s Doing It
Beyond optimizing your site for the search engines, as we learned last night you also have to think about the people. Where are the people, why are they there, and what do they want? Your holistic SEO strategy has to involve not just videos and written content for Google, but also for your audiences – apparently, more specifically, your local audiences.
Search Engine Land brought a recent study to our attention that reveals the following important (yet unsurprising, in many ways) fact: people use search the most when looking for local businesses and their information on the internet. Further, the study reveals that review sites are similarly powerful when it comes to mobile searches. This makes sense because when someone is searching on their mobile phone, it is likely they are on-the-go and looking for somewhere to drop into quickly. However, because they don’t want to fly blind, they can get a glimpse of the quality of the locale before they even arrive via review sites like Yelp.
In addition to the people and technology sides of content issue, another thing that strikes me about the relevance that this study has to last night’s AiMA event (read our live blog here) is the concept of localization of content. One of the panelists noted how important it is to localize your content for your target audiences; so, for instance, if you are taking your English website abroad, you don’t want to just translate it, you want to make your content relevant to your new international audience: not just changing words, language or even idioms, but changing up cultural references and ways of speaking. So, local businesses are wise to cater their content (and their voices) to local audiences, as they are the ones seeking these businesses out more frequently (this is where Scoutmob finds its success). Also, retrofitting content for mobile so that it is easy to find, easy to read and provides quick value is excellent advice in light of the results of this study. But I digress.
Back to the study: From Harris Interactive and sponsored by CityGrid Media, the phone survey was done in August and includes the data from about 1,000 American adults. So, how do adults access local information, according to this survey? Why, through search engines, of course. Beyond emphasizing the importance of localized content, the results of this survey remind us what an integral part of SEO Google Places optimization really is. As the Search Engine Land article notes, “So, while businesses need an optimized mobile presence, it’s not going to be as critical as presence in local search results and on review sites.”
The Relevant Results, In a Nutshell
– 59% said search engines were their first stop when they wanted to research a local business (this number was higher in the under 35 demographic)
– Only 8% of people visit the business’s site before using a search engine
– When deciding on a place to go, 17% actually base their decision on what comes up in the search results
– 15% of adults use review sites on mobile to make this decision (8% use merchant websites)
Social Media: Still As Important As Ever
I don’t think I even have to argue the social media point because it has been so drilled down (but I’m going to anyway). Social media is the way to share your expertise and authority with the world (a world filled with potential customers, mind you), and is an integral part of holistic SEO strategy. Social media expands your site’s reach by allowing you to syndicate to many more people than you would ordinarily be able to influence. Google also views social media presences as a ranking factor. Need more of a push? Your competitor is on the social media platforms, interacting with YOUR potential customers and engaging them in a way that just likely makes you look bad if you aren’t reflecting the same level of commitment.
So, the importance of social media isn’t what’s surprising about what I’m about to discuss. It’s WHERE things are being successfully shared that’s surprising: a recent infographic shook up the world of SEO and social media marketing when it revealed the power of StumbleUpon. By now, most people know Twitter and Facebook are important (and maybe even Google +, though it’s not represented in this particular infographic), and now more people are coming to better understand StumbleUpon’s reach (though many saw this coming because, as we reported here, StumbleUpon sees up to 1,000 people actively using the site during peak hours – in one minute).
Just as a note, these facts were put out by StumbleUpon itself, so just be aware of that as you view the infographic and/or read on here. So, notable facts StumbleUpon revealed here were:
– StumbleUpon drives over half of all US social media traffic
– After 24 hours, a post gets “typically” 83% more stumbles (as compared 5% more likes on Facebook after a day, and 0% on Twitter!)
– A page shared on StumbleUpon has a half life of 400 hours (“Half Life of a Link: The Point in Time When A Link Has Garnered Half of the Engagement It Will Ever Get.”)
– On average, a StumbleUpon user views a page for 72 seconds and remains on the website for 69 minutes (as compared to being on Facebook for 23 minutes)
This doesn’t mean you should put more effort towards getting your content “Stumbled” and less time on garnering Facebook likes, Twitter followers, or Google + followers (“circlers?”) – it means simply that you should spread your energy across ALL of these platforms, and perhaps choose which content goes to the best place. For some piece of content that is timeless, and that can be viewed for days or weeks and still be applicable, StumbleUpon is a great direction in which to go. For content that is more timely and that is really only relevant for a couple of days, go Facebook. For snippets of content that tease people into wanting to visit your blog – go Twitter. It’s about recognizing what audiences are where and then catering to them (also something we learned last night at AiMA Content Matters!).
If you want to learn more about Google Places Optimization, mobile SEO or traditional Search Engine Optimization, check back with us at our blog for regular updates and free tips. If you have questions that are more specific to your business, give our Atlanta SEO company a ring at 770-481-1766.