Now that I’m no longer in the trenches of SEO, Darren Shaw and Nyagoslav Zhekov of Whitespark agreed to take over research for the latest edition of the Local Search Ecosystem graphic. We hope it helps you understand who the major players are when it comes to the flow of online business data and why it’s important.
Despite Brian’s disclaimer that his research focuses on non-local SERPs, I’m sure local SERPs have seen a similar migration of clicks from organic to paid this year, particularly in industries with blended ads like home services and hospitality. To succeed in many categories of Google results now means paying to play.
Although this article focuses on the explicit tools Google’s rolling out to help large publishers in search results, I’d expect this kind of personalization to happen downmarket soon as well (i.e. regardless of the notoriety of a content source). Gmail already readily identifies the pattern of email subscriptions through major service providers like Mailchimp, Constant Contact, and Sendgrid, and it’s likely subscribers will see their subscription sources rank higher for relevant searches in their personalized results, if they don’t already.
Ironically the same tools mentioned in the article above could have helped stave off the garbage spread by high-ranking “news” sites following last week’s awful events in Las Vegas. NPR clearly did its research, interviewing two extremely knowledgeable friends and colleagues (Bill Hartzer and Greg Sterling) for their story.