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yahoo-search-appAccording to new data from web traffic analytics provider StatCounter, Yahoo has reached its highest share of the U.S. search market in more than five years thanks to a recent agreement with Mozilla.

In December, Yahoo’s search share jumped to 10.4 percent, up from 8.6 percent in November. The new share of the search market came at the expense of Google, who was previously the default search engine for Mozilla’s web browser Firefox.

In late November, Mozilla agreed to a five-year partnership with Yahoo, breaking a 10 year partnership with Google. December marked the first full month during which Yahoo was the primary search engine on Firefox.

The drop brought Google to its lowest share ever recorded by the analytics firm, falling from 77.3 percent to 75.2 percent.

SearchShareDec2014

“The move by Mozilla has had a definite impact on U.S. search,” says Aodhan Cullen, chief executive at StatCounter. “The question now is whether Firefox users switch back to Google.”

Bing also saw an increase in their share of the search market last month, though not nearly as significant of an increase as Yahoo. From November to December, Bing’s share rose from 12.1 percent to 12.5 percent. The “other” category stayed practically the same, fluctuating from 2 percent to 1.9 percent.

Google has had a strong grip on the vast majority of web traffic, but a new report suggests they are losing their grasp. In just two weeks since Yahoo replaced Google as the default search engine in Firefox’s latest version, the search engine has experienced a 29.4 percent growth in usage, while Google has experienced a significant drop.

Analytics firm StatCounter said that “Yahoo search was used three times more on Firefox 34 than on Firefox 33.”

It should be noted, the user base of Firefox 24 is relatively low as many users haven’t upgraded yet and Firefox’s US market share overall is only about 15 percent. However, StatCounter still showed that Yahoo has benefited a fair amount from this deal, growing from 9.6 percent to 29.4 percent. In comparison, Google usage in the latest version of Firefox fell from 82.1 percent to 63.5 percent.

Screen-Shot-2014-12-03-at-3.38.35-PM-800x494

In the big picture it is clear that Google still has a massive lead on other search engines, but that lead doesn’t seem near as solid as it once did. This report shows that “default” search engines still hold a lot of influence over how users interact with the web. With Google’s agreement with Safari also coming to an end in the near future, there is a large chance that Yahoo or Bing could continue to make significant gains.

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

Love her or hate her, chances are if you were searching for a celebrity this year using Bing, you were probably looking Kim Kardashian. Thanks to her highly publicized marriage to Kanye West and her “break the internet” magazine cover, Kardashian was the top searched for celebrity on Bing in 2014, topping a list of mostly female celebrities, according to Bing’s latest list of search trends.

Bing Trends compiles the most popular searches across 15 different categories every year, including everything from top news stories, athletes, and vacation destination searches. There is even a list of the top ALS Ice Bucket Challenge videos shared online this year.

Keeping in line with past lists and similar findings from Google, the list of most searched for celebrities is absolutely dominated by women, with females taking eight of the 10 spots. Notably, the Kardashian family occupies more than one spot on the list as younger sister Kendall Jenner also makes an appearance on the list.

Top 10 Most Searched Celebrities

  1. Kim Kardashian
  2. Beyoncé
  3. Miley Cyrus
  4. Katy Perry
  5. Justin Bieber
  6. Joan River
  7. Jennifer Lopez
  8. Kendall Jenner
  9. Kaley Cuoco
  10. Robin Williams

The lists also covers the biggest events and news stories of the year. Capturing the most attention of the entire year was the World Cup, however numerous more serious world news stories such as the rise of ISIS and the protests in Ferguson also claim spots on the list.

Top 10 Most Searched News Stories

  1. World Cup
  2. Super Bowl
  3. Missing Malaysia Airlines Jet
  4. Winter Olympics
  5. The Rise of ISIS
  6. Ray Rice Controversy
  7. Shooting in Ferguson, Missouri
  8. Ebola Outbreak
  9. Brittany Maynard Death with Dignity Debate
  10. Ukraine Conflict

The top searched Musicians is also notably female-heavy, with Justin Bieber being the only male to hold a spot on the list. Other controversial figures also sit near the top, such as Miley Cyrus and Katy Perry. Of course, at the top of the list sits Beyoncé for another year.

Top 10 Most Searched Musicians

  1. Beyoncé
  2. Miley Cyrus
  3. Katy Perry
  4. Britney Spears
  5. Justin Bieber
  6. Jennifer Lopez
  7. Selena Gomez
  8. Taylor Swift
  9. Nicki Minaj
  10. Carrie Underwood

You can see the other findings for categories including “political movers & shakers” “most-searched athletes” and “celebrity births” on Bing Trends.

Every year, Moz details the local ranking factors they can identify in Google’s algorithm to help small businesses get a foot up in the listings. Earlier this week they announced the release of this year’s findings and everything seems… surprisingly the same.

Analysts have only found a few notable changes, but the findings are largely the same as last year’s. However, David Mihm did highlight a few important things to notice in the findings, including:

  1.  Behavioral signals such as click through rate, are more of a factor this year that others.
  2. With Pigeon‘s release, experts are saying Domain authority is more of a signal today.
  3. Google may have tuned up the proximity to searcher factor as well.

You can see the charts from the study below, or you can get more details from the results over at Moz.

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moz-local-ranking-localized-2014

Tulsa Marketing Online has always believed tracking data is one of the most essential steps to running an informed marketing campaign, but apparently many search marketers are opting out of comprehensive tracking when it comes to phone conversions from search campaigns.

A new survey from Invoca has found that just 36 percent of respondents reported using call extensions or click-to-call ads in their search campaigns. Of course, call conversions aren’t a major metric for some campaigns, but the survey shows that isn’t the whole story. The results also show that 63 percent of those surveyed said phone leads are equally or more valuable than web conversions.

It is surprising that such only a relatively small percentage of marketers may not be tracking phone call conversion data, especially in light of the wealth of studies showing the value of phone calls to search marketers. Google’s numbers say that 70 percent of mobile searchers have called a business directly from the search results page and BIA/Kelsey estimates inbound calls from mobile search is going to almost double between now and 2016.

The only real explanation is that a fair portion of marketers simply aren’t considering the value of call conversions and how search marketing may be driving calls.

Without data on call conversions, it is hard to get the full picture of how campaigns and marketing strategies are performing and budgets may be getting misplaced or outright wasted. When you have all that information at your fingertips, it is easier to make truly informed decisions about your future strategies and ensure that marketing budgets are being used to their full potential.

You can read Invoca’s full report here and see their related infographic below.

Call Tracking Infographic

 

Google Authorship

There was a time not too long ago when every SEO professional felt confident proclaiming that Authorship was the future of search, but it appears the predictions couldn’t have been much more incorrect.

When Google was pushing Authorship as a part of their search system, it frequently repeated that authorship information would help users identify more trustworthy sources and improve the quality of results. In the end, it was ultimately little more than a picture and name next to content and was often ignored by users.

This problem was reflected in the confirmation by Google’s John Mueller that authorship information will be entirely stripped out of search results. In the statement, Mueller explains:

“Unfortunately, we’ve also observed that this information isn’t as useful to our users as we’d hoped, and can even distract from those results. With this in mind, we’ve made the difficult decision to stop showing Authorship in search results.”

If we are being honest, the vast majority of Google users probably won’t even notice a difference and site owners shouldn’t be too concerned since Authorship didn’t help increase traffic to pages. But it has received considerable attention from the online marketing community because it seemed like a common sense and simple way to improve listings. In the long run however, it just didn’t work.

Mueller did clarify that Google will continue focusing on Schema.org structured markup, saying: “This markup helps all search engines better understand the content and context of pages on the web, and they’ll continue to use it to show rich snippets in search results.”

Bing is working hard to improve user safety. But rather than censoring or blocking sites that Bing deems to be a threat, the search engine is offering extra information so that users can make informed decisions and hopefully avoid sites that may have been compromised.

Bing announced the Bing Site Safety Page this week on the Bing Webmaster Blog. The safety page will show up on search results if Bing has identified a specific site as having a potential safety issue. This means users will receive a warning that a site might have problems and the webmasters will have added incentive to resolve the issues quickly.

Below you can see a screen shot of what the alert will look like and what the full Bing Site Safety Page looks like.

Bing Safety

The Bing Site Safety Page will include information such as how long the issue has existed and when the last scan took place. Webmasters will also have extended information about how to resolve the security issue within Bing Webmaster Tools.

The Bing Safety Page offers:

  • The reason the page is being marked as malicious, e.g. Malicious Javascript, DriveBy Attacks, Malware Network References, etc…
  • The date the infection was first detected
  • How often the URL has been scanned
  • The date the infection was most recently detected

Bing also said they planned on expanding the page further in the near future with more data such as:

  • The total number of URLs detected as malicious on the site
  • The types of malware found
  • The last date of suspicious activity
  • When the site was last scanned
  • Warning trigger rate/ coverage

By now you may have heard the claims that internet traffic from smartphones and tablets will outpace traffic coming from desktop computers any day now, but yet a large amount of the internet isn’t optimized for mobile devices in any viable way. If you’ve ever wondered why, it is because many businesses don’t see the value of investing in mobile traffic, due to lack of information and misunderstandings of their audience and the market.

The question most businesses need answered isn’t “how much traffic is coming from mobile devices?” If we spent all the time that has been used answering that question every few months on instead answering “how valuable is all that mobile traffic” most businesses of every size would already have perfectly usable mobile websites.

It is true that the mobile market is constantly growng, but the most interesting data is how mobile internet users are doing online. Compared to desktop traffic, mobile users are exponentially more likely to take action. People tend to do in-depth research and general browsing on desktop systems, so each visitor you receive is as likely to politely look around and leave as they are to convert. In fact, they are statistically much more likely to not take action.

However, each study on the consumption behavior of smartphone users only shows that people are using their phones more and more to purchase or take action every day. The latest study from comScore.com and Search Engine Watch says 80% of local searches coming from mobile phones lead to conversions.

There are a few industries that benefit the most from these conversions, as mobile searches for localized results tend to favor restaurant, auto service, and arts queries. You can read the whole breakdown of the report at Search Engine Watch, but if you are a local business owner who has been telling yourself that mobile websites only benefit major businesses you are likely selling yourself short.

The team from Neustar also created an infographic highlighting the results of the study, which can be seen below:

cross-device-infographic-neustar-15miles

Search engines have been attempting to get local search right since the invention of the internet, but they have only managed to make local search a major player as smartphones have allowed us to take the internet everywhere we go. Now that we can search for locations nearby, or double-check the time of the next bus from a bench outside, local SEO has gained real importance in how we organize use the web.

That also means it is more important than ever for businesses to make the leap into establishing an online presence. With the high level of connectivity in the modern day, not having an online presence for your business is becoming more and more like not existing. Searchers may be standing right in front of your business and decide not to come in simply because they can’t find anything about you online.

To really get your business cemented online, you need to do more than put a site online and wait for visitors. But, many places will barrage you with a million optimization techniques you can use to raise your visibility all at once, so it can be hard to know exactly where to start. Sarvesh Bagla made a checklist specifically so you know what you need to have done right now to expect your local business to have any online success.

Each step is laid out and explained in Bagla’s article on Tech Magnate, but they also created a nice graphic that you can keep close by, which can be seen below or printed off and hung by your computer to keep you on track.

handy-local-seo-checklist-2014

seahawks-vs-broncos-us-bing-searches

No one is calling a clear winner for the Big Game Sunday Night. As numerous sports analysts have pointed out, it is rare that both of the best teams from the past season actually make it to the Super Bowl, but this year the Seattle Seahawks and Denver Broncos match-up should make for a truly exciting game.

While the game will likely be close, Bing says the Seahawks have already been dominating the Broncos online. Bing examined U.S. search volume for both NFL teams, and the Seattle team has taken the lead in 33 states.

Obviously, the Seattle Seahawks absolutely dominated searches from The Evergreen State (95 percent), but they also have a clear lead in Oregon (82 percent), Idaho (79 percent), Alaska (78 percent), Hawaii (73 percent), and California (64 percent).

Of the 17 states where the Broncos held the most search volume, they had a less significant lead. Their home state of Colorado had the most significant difference with 85 percent of searches, while neighboring Wyoming had (77 percent). South Dakota and Indiana brought up the lead with 66 and 64 percent respectively.

In total, Bing users searched for the Seahawks 26 percent more often than the Broncos.
Of course, outside factors could explain the differences in search volume.

As Search Engine Watch points out, searches for the Seahawks spiked across the nation immediately following Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman’s infamous post-game interview. The controversy and excitement surrounding the over-the-top interview made the Seahawks’ search volume jump over 80 percent.

http://youtu.be/PPD_Lgq7IyI

The Broncos have had their own moment of viral fame, with tons of clips compiling Peyton Manning yelling “Omaha”, but the larger focus after the Championship games two weeks ago was easily favoring Sherman. Without his spectacular outburst, search volume would likely have been more even across the country.

http://youtu.be/hBqwWe0S8jw

What are you thoughts? Who are you favoring in Super Bowl 48?