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Dark Search and Social—Run Rabbit Run!42:53 with Marshall Simmonds
With data from 112 publishers with 164+ billion page views, Marshall will dive into the challenges of tracking social and search campaigns. He'll focus on history's lessons and what’s happening with direct and mobile traffic in an app-heavy world.
[MUSIC] 0:00 Hello, MozCon. 0:06 >> Hello. 0:09 >> Hello, about halfway through all this aren't we? 0:09 I was just told backstage that people that were here this morning were complaining, 0:13 those that were hungover were complaining, because the speakers were pacing too much. 0:20 [LAUGH] Seriously. 0:23 [LAUGH] So quick story. 0:27 April of last year, I get a phone call and some random day in the evening, it's Rand. 0:31 And he says, hey, Jolene and 0:36 I are going to South Africa, with Sarah Burton and her family, do you want to go? 0:40 Sure. 0:45 Let's go to South Africa. 0:46 Cuz, why not, right? 0:48 Why not? 0:49 And, when Rand and I get together, we get our families together every so often. 0:50 And when we do, we're really good at not talking about work. 0:54 We're good at keeping church and state. 0:58 But, there was a time when we were in South Africa that, when we weren't 1:00 goofing off, that we were talking about the industry and something came up. 1:03 And I happened to mention 1:08 that at Define we started to see something interesting with our publishers. 1:10 We started to see direct traffic increase and we couldn't quite be sure why. 1:15 So we went back and we did some data digging and 1:19 we looked back into 2013 and we thought, where is this happening? 1:21 Why is this happening? 1:24 We couldn't really figure it out. 1:25 But we started to see it grow. 1:26 And we saw it extending into 2014 as well. 1:27 And he stopped me. 1:31 And he says, that's your topic for MozCon next year. 1:32 I'm like, whoa, whoa man. 1:36 We're all trying to have a good time here, right? 1:37 We don't need to bring MozCon into this. 1:41 And you could feel the anxiety already getting all nervous, and like no, 1:42 I'm not speaking at MozCon, no. 1:45 He's like, you're speaking at MozCon. 1:46 That's a great topic. 1:49 And he's like okay, you've got nine months, you'll figure it out. 1:50 So word to the wise, if Rand calls you to go on vacation somewhere, go. 1:57 Cuz you're gonna go somewhere awesome, but 2:01 be very aware of what you talk about, because nine months later, 2:03 your ass could be on the stage talking at MozCon about this. 2:06 So, what is dark traffic? 2:11 I mean, dark traffic, quite simply, is a URL that you can't track. 2:15 It's a URL that doesn't pass a referral string. 2:20 And so we've got this big bucket called direct traffic. 2:22 And as we started to dig into this and unpack it, we realized that big bucket 2:28 started to segment itself out into dark search, dark mobile, and dark social. 2:32 They seem to be the major contributors. 2:37 These are URLs that don't pass referral strings. 2:39 And our analytic software, whatever it is, whether it's Google Analytics or 2:42 whether it's Armature, if they don't get a referral string 2:46 they throw their hands up and throw it into the direct traffic bucket. 2:50 It's basically their way of saying I don't what it is. 2:53 It's not telling me anything, we're putting it into direct. 2:56 You deal with it. 2:59 You figure it out. 3:00 And it's become a problem. 3:02 So we start to segment this traffic out more, and we start to see 3:05 some facets that are starting to tell us what is going on with this traffic. 3:08 It's direct traffic, it's apps, it's browser, it's image search, 3:14 it's secure search, it's misinformation. 3:17 That's a big part of this too. 3:19 With mobile, it's apps, it's Twitter, it's referral traffic. 3:21 It's the platforms themselves. 3:24 It's the operating systems that are accountable for this. 3:25 For social, it's email, it's peer-to-peer sharing, it's sharing apps. 3:29 It's Facebook, Snapchat, etc. 3:34 Anything in a secure environment, whether you're on HipChat, 3:36 if you're on Slack, if you're sharing a URL that's in a protected environment, 3:38 that referral data isn't being passed. 3:44 And so, we lose track of where it comes from and 3:46 maybe even lose track of our work. 3:49 So in 2012, Alex Madrigal who was the editor in chief at The Atlantic 3:53 coined this phrase, dark social. 3:57 He said we started to go through our analytics and 3:59 we started to see we weren't getting traffic, 4:01 or we weren't getting attribution, proper credit for our Facebook traffic. 4:03 And he's since moved on to be the editor in chief of Fusion, and 4:07 he's still talking about it. 4:12 So if you're interested in digging into the history of the data, that's your guy. 4:12 So we went back over a few years and 4:18 if we think about when this all started happening, it's very early on. 4:22 We don't have a lot of answers. 4:26 Unfortunately, there's not a lot of solutions to it, but this is what we see, 4:28 based on the data. 4:32 And this is the culmination of the nine months since Rand pointed at me and said, 4:33 you're doing this. 4:38 So the goal here is to create awareness. 4:40 Because, you're losing traffic that you did the work for, we know that to be true. 4:42 We just don't know how much, we've got some ideas. 4:47 But most importantly, 4:50 as you come out of this, you wanna know how to talk to your clients about it. 4:51 You absolutely need to talk to upper management about it, and 4:55 you gotta be able to talk to people that don't quite get it. 4:57 Because SEOs, digital marketers, we have to be the evangelists, right. 5:00 We have to explain. 5:03 We're the evangelists. 5:05 We're the explainers. 5:06 We're the ones that have to tell them where this traffic is going to and 5:07 accounting for it. 5:11 So for the sake of this presentation, like Cyrus was talking about, 5:13 we have Defined Media Group has access to a majority of the blue chip publishers. 5:16 We work with them. 5:22 We have worked with them. 5:22 We have access to the data and we compiled it for this presentation. 5:23 It's 130 sites across 68 categories, with billions of referrals. 5:27 So we've got a good cross section and we can point in the right direction and 5:32 offer a couple solutions. 5:35 But again, we know that the buckets are at least this. 5:37 If you are participating in active campaigns around search, mobile, or 5:42 social, you're leaving traffic on the table. 5:46 Just that simple. 5:48 So the first bucket is dark search. 5:52 We have to talk about misinformation. 5:56 When we talk about this dark search, 5:59 misinformation is the number one thing that we need to start with. 6:01 Because there's no bigger misinformer than Google. 6:03 They round up numbers, 6:10 they don't tell us how many links we have, they obscure our keyword data. 6:11 I'm not gonna belabor this point, this is the world we live in, we know it. 6:15 Now the search console, it's one brush but it doesn't paint the whole picture. 6:19 We have to triangulate with Get's That, with Similar Web, with Sim Rush, and 6:25 we can kind of back in to the keyword data. 6:29 But it's the most egregious. 6:31 But the second one that really kind of chaps my hide, is comScore. 6:34 And I railed on them last year and I don't miss an opportunity to rail on them again 6:39 because they're responsible for a big part of our budget. 6:43 Our management is looking at this cuz they set the ad rates. 6:48 And they continue to say that Google is responsible for 64% of the market share. 6:50 What the hell? 6:56 I mean, anybody who's looked at their data, they know that number is not right. 6:58 And yet they won't be transparent and tell us where they're getting this data from. 7:03 It's third party data. 7:06 It's tool bar data. 7:07 Has anybody here installed the comScore tool bar? 7:08 No. 7:10 This is where they're getting their data. 7:13 And they say it's 64% of that is coming from Google. 7:14 And it's flatlined, basically. 7:17 It has tapered off year over year. 7:19 So if your marketing manager's looking at that, and saying hey, 7:21 maybe because this Google run is over, that's a problem. 7:23 So we go and look at this data and 7:26 we repeatedly find that number is way different. 7:27 Pete said the M word this morning. 7:31 But not necessarily, that's not necessarily a number that, maybe Goggle 7:34 doesn't want you to see, maybe comScore doesn't want you to see that. 7:38 92% of the traffic that we look at across, we'll say 5 billion publishers or 7:42 visits with the publishing network that we have access to, 92% of that is Google. 7:48 And good old BuzzFeed loves to talk about this, but they love to say CSO is dead. 7:51 Now BuzzFeed is fantastic at misinformation because they're incredible 7:58 at Facebook and they're really, really good at marketing their Facebook position. 8:03 And so they do this and they say SEO is dead, 8:09 SEO is dead in fact Facebook has overtaken Google, and they say this often. 8:11 But if you go look, and sorry I didn't source this. 8:17 This is BuzzFeed, or excuse me, this is BuzzFeed traffic from SimilarWeb, 8:20 we see that they're actually benefitting from SEO. 8:24 They benefit from search traffic, because as search marketers, 8:26 we know that social begets keyword data and sharing. 8:31 Begets search, begets sharing, begets social. 8:36 It's a symbiotic relationship, you have to have social and 8:39 you have to have search working together. 8:42 So when BuzzFeed is saying this, when BuzzFeed is perpetrating that 8:44 Facebook is overtaking Google and Google is dead, not true, because 8:48 we look at the referral data and I'm not taking anything away from Facebook. 8:51 They have had a meteoric rise that we will talk about in a second. 8:55 They are doing extremely well, 8:59 growing faster than probably any other platform out there. 9:00 But Google is still alive and well, and Google traffic is still a good source for 9:05 traffic, and we should be paying attention to it. 9:09 In fact, if you are in any of these categories, you're killing it. 9:10 These are the most prevalent categories in search. 9:14 And, since January 1st of 2013, all of them have grown. 9:18 Whether it's entertainment, diet, fashion, food, breaking news, etc. 9:23 Growing. 9:29 And this is in search. 9:31 Google took the unprecedented step last August of saying something very 9:35 interesting. 9:38 And that is, if you migrate your site to a secure environment, 9:39 then we're gonna use that as a ranking signal, you're gonna see a ranking boost. 9:44 [SOUND] SEOs lost their shit. 9:49 >> [LAUGH] >> They couldn't get their sites secure 9:53 fast enough, and We're gonna go secure it, and 9:57 we're just gonna let the traffic roll in. 10:01 And, interestingly, nothing happened. 10:04 So we have to think of, when it comes to this missed information, the information 10:10 that we get from these major sources, we have to consider what their MO is. 10:13 What is the opportunity for them? 10:18 Because when they tell you to go secure, they're doing it for the right reason but 10:21 they're just saying the wrong thing. 10:25 Because there is no search benefit. 10:27 We took one of the largest publishers in the world. 10:28 We helped them migrate to a secure environment. 10:31 They were already going there. 10:34 They weren't going there for SEO needs or SEO purposes, but they were going there in 10:34 February, and traffic didn't do a thing and it still hasn't done anything. 10:39 Sure, it may be a ranking signal. 10:44 But again, it's not an SEO play. 10:46 Now to Google's credit, they picked up 80 million URLs in three days. 10:50 So if you're gonna move to a secure environment, do it for 10:55 the right reasons, but understand what the consequences are. 10:58 You're moving to secure, you're starting to play in this dark traffic abyss. 11:02 And you're setting yourself up to potentially have some pitfalls. 11:09 Now, again, the clicks came back really quickly so, to Google's credit, 11:12 they indexed a huge site very fast when they went secure. 11:17 So that's not the problem. 11:20 The problem is, when you go secure, you lose all your shares. 11:21 So if you have a very popular page that has a lot of shares, 11:26 on your share buttons, if scoring is a big part of your page, 11:32 you're gonna lose those, because it's a new URL. 11:37 So, if you wanna maintain your social shares after a site migration, 11:40 you may wanna look at this. 11:43 This is an older article that Mike King did. 11:44 And, it's not necessarily easy, but if there are some key pages 11:47 that are important to maintain those social shares, so they don't lose, so 11:51 they don't go into the dark abyss, you may want and need to look at this. 11:54 It's a little complicated, and like I said, it doesn't necessarily scale, but 12:00 this is a deal breaker for several of our publishers. 12:04 They won't go secure because they don't want to lose their social shares. 12:06 They don't wanna start over from zero. 12:09 And Cyrus wrote a great article two weeks ago. 12:13 About the Meta Referrer Tag. 12:15 So say you go secure, if I'm linking to a non-secure site, 12:17 that non-secure site won't see where my traffic came from. 12:21 It's basically obscure. 12:26 Now we're playing in the dark traffic hole. 12:27 The dark search traffic hole. 12:30 I'm not sending traffic, refer traffic. 12:32 So what if I have a partnership deal with these people or 12:34 what if I want to get on their radar? 12:36 As a viable source, or somebody or module that I had that's sending them 12:38 hundreds of clicks and making for them thousands of dollars. 12:42 Unless I have this meta referrer tag on, and 12:45 my site's secure, I'm not getting tracked. 12:47 I'm not doing my part. 12:50 So get this meta referrer tag on your site as quickly as you can if you're going 12:53 secure, and Cyrus has a great article about it so we don't need to belabor it. 12:56 But when we talk about search, we have to talk about the browsers. 13:00 Cuz something happened very interesting on March 30th. 13:04 Now, a couple clients said, we saw direct traffic increase. 13:09 And so we dive in. 13:13 We started doing our forensic investigation to figure out where is this, 13:15 what's happening? 13:18 Where's it coming from, what's the cause, etc. 13:19 And we were unable to figure out what was going on. 13:22 And it wasn't for a long period of time, it was about two days. 13:24 Now, when something like this happens, 13:27 when you see a direct spike, the first thing we thought is bot attack. 13:28 And we have to think that something is happening here that is not man-made. 13:33 So we go into analytics and we look at view settings, 13:39 we make sure bot filtering is checked. 13:41 But we ran out of reasons. 13:46 So what we eventually did was started looking at the browsers. 13:49 And we said looked at Chrome. 13:52 And there's incognito, 13:53 there's private browsing, there's a lot of things that are happening. 13:58 And cookies are highly unreliable now. 14:01 Retargetting is unreliable for the most part, maybe that's too big of a statement. 14:04 But we need other alternatives. 14:08 But as we started looking into the browsers, we found something. 14:11 And we saw that over this period of time, if you look at the orange line over 14:15 the purple line, I was showing that there was something going on. 14:19 That direct traffic spiked. 14:24 Firefox also showed the same thing. 14:26 It could still be a bot attack. 14:32 They are getting pretty savvy. 14:33 They're coming from multiple IP addresses and through proxies, so it could be. 14:35 That could be a problem. 14:38 But the point is, is that we can correlate this loosely, 14:40 with updates that were made to these browsers around that time, too. 14:43 So hopefully, that wasn't the problem. 14:47 But if, when there are new browser updates, our first job is to go and 14:48 make sure that direct stays consistent, that we don't see any spikes. 14:53 Cuz again, it's still an unknown. 14:57 So you can go back and look at that date and see if it's the same for you. 14:59 I talked about image search last year, and so I'm not gonna get into it too much. 15:02 And we wrote about it on our blog. 15:07 But image search is dead. 15:08 Google made a big change to their UI where they essentially hijack your images now. 15:10 They give you credit but they don't send the link. 15:16 If you click on an image in the search results page, you don't go to the website. 15:18 You go into their image gallery. 15:21 So image search is no longer a viable option for 15:24 us from a marketing standpoint, for these vast image databases that we have. 15:27 But when we were going through this data, we found a couple things that I 15:32 think are fairly interesting, and they fall under the whole dark search category. 15:34 As we were looking through three years of data, 15:38 we wanted to see what are the most popular months for search? 15:41 We've talked a lot the last two days about, and 15:45 yesterday was definitely prevalent, 15:47 where the speakers were saying, it's about how you market, but when you market too. 15:49 And so this kind of falls into that. 15:57 We found that overwhelmingly, Q4 is the most searched time in the year. 15:58 Based on three years of data. 16:03 Just hard numbers. 16:04 October, November, December. 16:07 Now this might be no-brainer info, but it sure is good to see. 16:08 And not only that, but down at the very bottom we get August, 16:12 July, and poor February that doesn't have enough days to compete. 16:14 So this is the popularity, this is from top to bottom. 16:20 When's the most popular time? 16:23 So if there's ever time for a code freeze, right there. 16:24 You don't wanna be doing anything because, in general, that's where it's popular. 16:29 To that extent, 16:33 the popular weeks obviously make up a majority of the months. 16:36 But interestingly, you look at this data, 16:39 a lot of it's happening before Thanksgiving and after Thanksgiving. 16:42 If you think about it, we have a perfect storm with Hanukkah and Christmas two 16:46 years ago, where the Internet shut down for like the last three weeks of December. 16:50 And yet, we still see a lot of activity happening in those weeks. 16:53 It's a powerful time, it's a powerful time to be hawking your wares. 16:58 And the most popular day, 17:03 anybody have a guess what the most popular day of the week is for search? 17:04 Well, it's not rocket science, but it basically, 17:13 falls in line with my school of thought and my attention span. 17:16 Because, by Wednesday, it's the day before the day before Friday, right? 17:22 And so, you're kind of, checking out at that point. 17:24 >> [LAUGH] >> And, 17:26 it's good to know we still have Saturdays, that we still covet Saturdays. 17:28 But like Rand said yesterday, you have a shelf life of two and 17:33 a half days for an article. 17:36 So what day do you want to push that article out? 17:37 Hey. 17:40 Agreed, Monday. 17:42 So direct traffic. 17:44 That's a big chunk of the pie, and that's across a lot of publishing data. 17:48 34%, we look at this number and it's overwhelming. 17:53 And it probably is, if you look at it, 17:59 it's probably the biggest source of traffic on your site as well. 18:01 So this is the graph that I was talking to Rand about in South Africa. 18:04 We saw, in 2013, we saw this spike. 18:09 Now, we're tracking long URLs. 18:15 Not short URLs, because by the definition and 18:17 direct traffic, it's something that somebody's either bookmarked, or typed in. 18:20 Now, is somebody typing in this URL right here? 18:25 You go in and look at those URLs. 18:29 And you see, there's three or four directories deep, and 18:30 they've got a file name that's half a mile long. 18:33 Is somebody actually typing that in accurately? 18:36 No way. 18:40 So where's that coming from? 18:42 There's no way somebody's typing that in. 18:45 And yet we find those URLs in that direct bucket. 18:47 That's got to be man-made. 18:52 So we know that in 2013, iOS 6 rolled out and screwed everything up. 18:58 iOS 7 came out. 19:03 Screwed more things up. 19:04 Android came out. 19:05 A lot of stuff were happening in 2013. 19:06 But in 2014, it plateaued, but that's our new normal. 19:08 350 million visits a month. 19:12 That's our new normal. 19:20 We've got to figure out what the heck is going on there so we take this and 19:21 we have a simple formula and somebody, if you're looking for a tool idea. 19:25 Here it is. 19:30 So we take this data and we look at the direct bucket, and 19:31 we say, okay let's pull that. 19:35 Let's pull that direct bucket, all that traffic. 19:37 And let's remove the homepage, and the section front, and 19:39 any major popular pages that people are probably bookmarked to. 19:44 And what's leftover? 19:48 It's probably dark social. 19:50 Now stick with me for a second, because we're talking about dark search. 19:51 But that's the first step. 19:53 So we take that data and we de-dupe it. 19:55 We verify it against any social campaigns. 19:59 We have access to the social campaign links. 20:02 We know what those are, we can pull those easily. 20:04 We deduct those, we filter for any new user, maybe in the last two years, 20:06 that was the threshold we set. 20:10 Any new user that hasn't been on the site in under two years. 20:11 And what's left? 20:14 Any long URL, that's dark search. 20:16 There it is. 20:21 Now it's not all, it's not everything, there's gonna be a bunch of noise in there 20:24 too, but there's a bunch of traffic that we're leaving on the table, so 20:28 we went out and did it. 20:32 So we looked at the two top publishers that we have access to, 20:34 215 million visits. 20:38 Of those 42 million were direct. 20:41 We scrubbed it, we pulled out the homepage and section fronts, and 20:45 popular pages and what was left was 18%. 20:50 Now if you're in your performance review, do you want 18% more? 20:55 Do you want 18% more traffic? 21:01 I do. I don't care if it's just 2%, 21:04 that search, I'll take that 2%. 21:06 But we ran it through this formula and 18% of it was search and social. 21:09 I don't care how it breaks up, we're not getting credit for the work. 21:13 Because the apps aren't sending it, 21:17 it's being obscured, There's a lot of reasons why that's happening. 21:20 But that data's there for us to have. 21:26 And it leads us to Dark Social. 21:29 Because Dark Social was kinda, Facebook was kinda the beginning point, right? 21:31 The genesis of dark traffic. 21:36 Now if Google equals search, Facebook equals social. 21:41 Right? And there's been a huge bit of growth here 21:44 and it started last August. 21:47 But again their growing, Facebook is growing at an unparalleled pace. 21:49 And Google is still growing too, But. 21:55 If you're an in-house SEO, if you're not actively talking and 21:59 working with that social team, you're missing a huge opportunity. 22:02 If you're not coordinating what the share links are, how the headlines are written, 22:06 if you're not coordinating that across multiple departments, 22:10 you're missing an opportunity. 22:13 Because social works. 22:15 Social absolutely works, and it works hand in hand with search. 22:18 That's not news. 22:21 Anyone? 22:24 And Facebook Insights, Facebook is very aware of this problem, and 22:28 they've made some moves to help. 22:32 But it's still obscuring data. 22:35 Facebook Insights, not telling the whole story. 22:36 We need other tools to help us unearth what is that problem, and where 22:39 is that percentage, and where is dark social, and how do we get credit for it. 22:45 Facebook did something extremely interesting that everybody here probably 22:48 saw last August. 22:51 They said, they're gonna help us. 22:54 They said, we are going to clean up the spam. 22:57 We're going to clean up the spam and we are going to sharpen the news feed. 22:59 This was the day that Facebook became a publisher. 23:05 Because as a result to them cleaning it up, we saw this huge increase. 23:10 August of last year, we saw that increase happen. 23:16 They cleaned up the newsfeed. 23:18 They cleaned it up so much, that I went and 23:20 unliked certain publications because I couldn't get it out of my newsfeed. 23:22 And they've fixed it since then. 23:26 And they've been working with Bitly, Bitly was a big part of this too. 23:27 Cuz Bitly was saying wait, all of a sudden, all these links, 23:31 whether the video's playing in a, if it's spawning a new browser, 23:35 if it's playing in the app, if it's on mobile. 23:37 Were not tracking it correctly. 23:41 So Facebook and Bitly have been working together 23:43 to help make this data a bit more tangible and easier to understand. 23:48 So they made this fix and the growth happens. 23:51 Probably the leading tool out there right now, for 23:59 mobile data around Facebook is Chartbeat. 24:02 Chartbeat issued a fix in December of this year, or excuse me, of last year, and 24:06 they said that they now can detect 10% to 50% more of that dark social traffic. 24:11 That's a big deal and that's one of the first tools that's been able to say that. 24:17 So if we're not manually pulling that data like we showed in the formula, 24:21 Chartbeat may be your answer, especially if you're dependent on news, or 24:25 excuse me, on mobile, for Facebook traffic. 24:30 Now, this isn't our chart, and I'm sorry I didn't source it, I will try and 24:34 source it before, oh it already went. 24:36 Went out, sorry. 24:38 This isn't our chart, but one of the charts from one of the sites that we were 24:40 looking at and doing some research, we start to see the correlation happening. 24:43 We start to see Facebook fixing the problem, perse. 24:47 We see the trajectory of direct going down, we see social going up. 24:50 So Facebook is addressing the problem. 24:55 But they initially stayed stagnant, but it seems to be figuring itself out. 24:56 But we go back to the formula, right? 25:02 We pull the direct bucket, we remove the home page, the section fronts, 25:04 we correlate it against any active campaign, there's our social traffic. 25:08 Speaking of dark social, 25:16 when we're looking at this data, obviously the pervasive, 25:18 the pervasive tool out there, the pervasive platform out there is Facebook. 25:23 If we remove Facebook, it shows us a world. 25:27 And that is one of Twitter, and Pinterest, and Reddit, and StumbleUpon, 25:30 and LinkedIn, etc. 25:35 And Twitter's coming. 25:37 They kiss and made up with Google, and so they're coming. 25:41 And we'll talk about that in a second. 25:44 But if we normalize for all this, one thing that we didn't see was YouTube. 25:46 And something happened last year with YouTube. 25:53 And we checked this data, cuz we thought, this can't be right. 25:56 It's right. 25:59 What happen to YouTube people Google+ is outpacing YouTube traffic. 26:01 I hope that the sound lose on you. 26:06 >> [LAUGH] >> So what happened? 26:09 So you go out and you look at the third party tools and 26:14 there say yeah, look the world is linking to YouTube. 26:16 We are, right? 26:20 We link into YouTube. 26:21 33% of outbound traffic goes to YouTube across these publishers that we looked at. 26:23 Dp you know how much is coming back? 26:26 0.001% comes back. 26:27 YouTube is dead. 26:32 It's one way, it's a walled garden. 26:35 It's a branding experience. 26:38 That's it. 26:39 Now, this guy knows how to do it. 26:42 If you're interested in information about how to build that branding experience, 26:44 Phil Nottingham's your man. 26:50 Because like Dr. Pete said, there's a lot of video showing up in the web results. 26:51 A lot of videos showing up. 26:58 And a lot of it's, shockingly, Youtube. 27:00 So there is an opportunity there but 27:03 that juice isn't worth the squeeze for us if it's not sending it back. 27:05 I can't close those pop ups fast enough when I'm watching a video. 27:09 This leads us to dark mobile. 27:15 So In January I was preparing for SearchFest, and 27:19 I thought it would be interesting to see when mobile traffic will surpass search 27:23 based on typical growth patterns, average growth patterns. 27:28 So we looked at desktop average growth which was 5% 27:32 month over month since July of 2012. 27:35 2012, yeah. 27:39 And then we said, okay, so how fast is mobile growing? 27:44 Mobile's growing at 11%. 27:48 And tablet is growing at 8%. 27:52 So in January we're looking at this and like, it's gonna happen. 27:54 Mobile search is gonna surpass desktop sometime between March and July. 27:59 The spoiler alert is, it hasn't happened yet. 28:03 Because we can't account for seasonality, and 28:06 this was in January that we ran this, this data. 28:09 So we'll update this but it's interesting. 28:12 It hasn't happened yet. 28:14 And Dr. Pete was talking about it. 28:15 Cindy was talking about it as well. 28:17 It hasn't happened yet, but it's gonna happen. 28:18 So the second thing that Google did, that they told us, 28:22 which again an unprecedented step was, mobile friendly. 28:25 And we're not gonna believe that because Cindy covered it really well, 28:30 but mobilegeddon didn't come, mobilegeddon has been here. 28:33 Right? It's been here. 28:38 There's been 122% growth in the last 18 months. 28:39 If Mobilegeddon was a surprise to anybody, you weren't paying attention. 28:42 If you've been to any conference, we've been talking about mobile. 28:46 But what didn't happen on April, 28:50 was traffic didn't drop out of the bottom of the world. 28:53 We're all still here. 28:56 and so again, for the second time, Google told us they would do something 28:59 that would effect your ranking, and it didn't. 29:04 Now, it got a lot of publishers off their butts and got them mobile-friendly. 29:08 So Google, thank you. 29:12 Thank you for drawing the line in the sand. 29:15 Just do it with different messaging. 29:17 >> [APPLAUSE] Tell us the truth. 29:18 So [LAUGH] thanks, Rand. 29:22 >> [LAUGH] The history of mobile is important to note, too. 29:26 We wrote about it on our blog. 29:31 And if you want the details, check it out, but 29:33 basically the bottom line is anytime there's a new iOS version pushed out. 29:38 With iOS it happened, with iOS 6 it happened, 29:46 with iOS 7 happened, with iOS 08 it did not. 29:50 But two out of three times iOS has pushed out updates And organic traffic 29:54 has plummeted, because somebody forgot to flip the attribution button. 29:59 Oh, this is organic traffic, Whoops. 30:06 Who left this off? 30:07 They did, a couple times. 30:09 And they did it the first time with iOS 6 for a year-and-a-half. 30:11 And then Android did it for another year. 30:16 And so we had to go back and 30:21 make up numbers because while we think you got this much from mobile. 30:22 But they fixed it and it bounced right back up. 30:27 They did it with iOS 6, and then iOS 7 rolled out and they did it again. 30:30 But it only lasted for a couple months and they fixed it. 30:36 They seemed to have a handle on it. 30:40 And what the creepy thing is, after a year and a half, 30:42 both Android and Apple turned it on on the same day. 30:47 Whoops. 30:55 So, they just announced last week, Apple just announced last week, 30:57 that iOS 9 is in beta. 31:01 So remember this moment when it rolls out. 31:03 It'll take about six weeks for adoption. 31:05 The first thing you should do is go look at your organic traffic from mobile. 31:08 Go look at you direct traffic from mobile to make sure all is well. 31:12 Cuz they've been wrong 66% of the time. 31:21 As I mentioned before, Twitter's coming. 31:26 And Twitter's coming for desktop. 31:28 And Twitter's coming for desktop in search, I should say. 31:30 Google has been saying for months now, it's coming. 31:34 Google loves to tweak with the algorithm come July and August. 31:37 If you've been in the industry for a while, they like to announce and 31:40 launch things in July and August. 31:43 If I were to place my bets, I would say this is coming soon. 31:47 I would say it's coming in the next six weeks or so. 31:49 Cuz we see it in mobile. 31:52 Heck, they're indexing me on Twitter in Google. 31:54 Now, my immediate thought is okay, are they measuring this correctly? 32:00 Is attribution accurately defined? 32:05 And the short answer is, yes. 32:07 If I run a search on my Android phone, find my tweet, click on it, the metrics 32:11 that Twitter gives us, the impression data that Twitter gives us, is accurate. 32:17 Yay. 32:21 We also see something new, 32:24 and that's the In the News module is indexing tweets on mobile. 32:26 So if you're in Google News, the number one way people get breaking news 32:31 is Twitter and direct navigation, people going to CNN, people going to NYTimes.com. 32:37 But the other way is Twitter. 32:42 So this is gonna open up a whole new world, so if you're 32:44 thinking about your Twitter strategy now's the time cuz it's happening. 32:47 You're getting indexed, Google News tweets are getting indexed, 32:51 and they're getting indexed accurately. 32:53 So If you run a search, and 32:55 click on any tweets, in iOS, on Safari, 33:00 and in the Google app, it passes accurate organic referred data. 33:05 [APPLAUSE] That is good. 33:09 If you're running Chrome on Android, 33:12 the mobile browser passes organic referrer data [APPLAUSE]. 33:15 However, if you're using the Android search app, it passes the data as direct. 33:19 Now, I would test this, but 33:27 all of our tests continued to show that this was coming through as direct. 33:28 Now, the problem is, how many people are actually doing that? 33:31 I don't know, but it's out there and it's dark. 33:34 400 million users, 50 billion messages a day. 33:42 If that's not reason to remove the Google Plus button, Share button, 33:47 I don't know what is. 33:51 Now, when we start talking about this, when we start talking about WhatsApp and 33:55 adding it to the share buttons, that's valuable real estate on your article. 33:58 You've got Twitter, you've got Facebook, you've got email, 34:03 and you've got Google Plus. 34:06 It's time to pull Google Plus down and replace it with WhatsApp. 34:08 It is horrendously popular. 34:10 USA Today sports section put the WhatsApp button up, 18% increase in two weeks. 34:16 Huge, huge. 34:24 Should you be adding this to your share buttons? 34:27 Yes. 34:30 Snapchat and Pinterest are the last dying gasp for galleries and slide shows. 34:32 And if you haven't tested with it, now's the time. 34:41 Because if you have gallery-rich sites, 34:44 there's your option because Google isn't gonna send you the image traffic anymore. 34:46 But there's cautions, of course, and we talked about them. 34:52 Adrian talked about it yesterday with Tag Manager. 34:55 Adam talked about it today with Tag Manager. 34:57 Manage this correctly cuz what you want to do, 34:59 if you think about how these companies are operating, 35:01 their job is to get users on board in user experience and engagement. 35:05 Tracking is an afterthought. 35:14 It's imperative on them that they actually facilitate better metrics, but 35:17 they haven't done it yet. 35:21 So these other companies, it's not important to them yet. 35:22 So we need to take this step and track it appropriately, and 35:26 getting Tag Manager set up so you can track this. 35:29 Then it doesn't matter what they do on their end, you can short circuit that. 35:32 There's a full list of schemas if you want to open into deep apps and 35:39 app optimization, and we're gonna talk about that, 35:44 because Google has done a very good job of supplying us information. 35:47 If you are building an app, if you've gone so 35:50 far as to build an app, you gotta pay attention to App Indexation. 35:53 All the data is there. 35:57 They're doing it for iOS, they're doing it for Android. 35:59 And they quietly announced in May that they're gonna be providing some analytics. 36:01 Now, it's Webmaster Tools data. 36:07 However, They're offering it. 36:09 It's now being rolled in to the Webmaster Search Console. 36:14 They have the SDK for it. 36:19 If you're looking that's somebody that's following this, Justin Briggs. 36:21 He's writing about this often, and can walk you through a lot of the scenarios. 36:26 But if you didn't catch this last week, 36:32 here's the bible when it comes to App Store and App Search Optimization. 36:34 Emily Grossman wrote what's probably the best article about app search optimization 36:39 that's ever been written. 36:43 It's one of three, a series of three, the iOS version just came out. 36:44 We're all waiting anytime now for the next two to come out. 36:50 But they got this chart, I guarantee you, you're all gonna use this chart. 36:56 Just give them the link. 37:02 And finally there's some new tools, if you haven't been playing around, 37:06 that we've been looking at. 37:10 Sensor Tower, gives you a nice cool number. 37:11 Gives you a grade, gives you a score, talks about visibility, 37:14 does some extraction, it's a pretty score. 37:18 App Annie, and then TUNE. 37:23 So the takeaways. 37:31 Awareness. 37:33 Awareness is the most important thing. 37:35 Anytime you hear about a rollout or a change in an application, in a piece 37:36 of software, we gotta be aware that that's going to affect traffic somehow. 37:42 Or, at least, we should go make sure it hasn't affected direct traffic 37:46 because there's a lot of misinformation that continues to bombard us, 37:49 from comScore on down. 37:53 Going secure is not an SEO strategy. 37:57 It is for your users. 37:59 No other way about it. 38:02 No matter what, Search Metrics backs up that data. 38:03 SMX conference, they had a panel, they all verified that data. 38:06 It is not an SEO strategy, you will not get the bump. 38:09 Check your metrics whenever your browsers are updated. 38:14 Poor image search traffic, it's dead. 38:18 And the big takeaway is quantify your direct traffic. 38:23 Is it search or social? 38:26 We left 18%, the traffic that we worked our asses off to get, 38:27 and we didn't get credit for it. 38:33 18%, that's a big deal. 38:36 YouTube is dead, Facebook is still obscuring data, but it's working. 38:39 We like ChartBeat. 38:43 We have to be considering the Twitter strategy. 38:46 Are we reaching out to influencers? 38:48 Are we using Followerwonk? 38:49 Are we using BuzzStream's new tool that they're demoing, 38:51 that they're gonna be pushing out later this year. 38:54 BuzzSumo, who are the influencers out there? 38:56 Are we thinking about retweets, are we thinking about hashtags, 38:59 are we thinking about favorites, are we thinking about popularity? 39:01 Whenever iOS and Android release a new version, check your referred data. 39:06 Time to archive G+ and add WhatsApp. 39:15 And yesterday, when Cyrus asked, who's new in this room, and all those hands went up? 39:19 If you're looking for an opportunity, ASO is the new SEO. 39:26 Pay attention to app indexation, Appster optimization, 39:30 deep linking, there's your opportunity. 39:34 We write about this a lot on our blog, but we don't write. 39:38 I should take that back, we don't write a lot, but when we do we use data, 39:40 and we get our message out often and powerful. 39:44 But I've been saying we up here?. 39:49 I am the we. 39:52 These are the guys that have basically put me here. 39:54 This is the we. 39:58 And they're smart, wonderful guys. 40:00 It's a great pleasure to work with them, and 40:03 I thank them for allowing me to be up here, and giving me this data, and 40:04 facilitating this information so I can share it with you. 40:09 Thanks. 40:12 >> [APPLAUSE] >> Woo, 40:14 thank you, so that's a lot of data. 40:21 With that much data, can you see Google algorithm updates that are never 40:23 confirmed, that you just know happened, that don't even show up elsewhere? 40:27 >> No. 40:30 >> No. 40:31 >> [LAUGH] >> Gotcha. 40:31 So a few people on Twitter were asking about UTM tagging, 40:36 creating special languages, is that ever sufficient to solve? 40:41 First of all, can you explain how that works, and 40:45 is that ever sufficient to solve this dark problem. 40:47 >> Actually, I'm probably not the best person to answer that question. 40:49 I think that with the people that are in this room, 40:53 they can answer that a heck of a lot better than I can. 40:55 Or even maybe Shazad, I'll put Shazad on the spot, 40:57 he can answer that later if you corner him. 41:00 Yeah, and that's the process of creating unique 41:02 URLs that- >> Right. 41:04 >> only will trigger in Analytics if someone hits that URL and 41:06 you can figure out if that came from that particular source. 41:08 So Rand had a good question over here. 41:12 He's that guy right there. 41:14 What is the relative accuracy of Google Search Console data, in your experience? 41:17 Google came out with a new search- >> You asked me this last year. 41:20 >> [COUGH] So we've found, it's an interesting question 41:23 because last year I just threw it off and said we're not interested in that data. 41:26 Okay so, it trends accurately the more you have, it trends accurately. 41:29 However, we haven't ever seen the numbers match up. 41:35 Just never seen it. 41:38 But I was talking to a guy last week about it who actively scrapes that data, 41:39 cuz you only get three months worth of the data. 41:44 And they've been compiling it for over a year now, and it trends accurately. 41:47 So it's obscure, but it's one brush in your toolbox. 41:52 >> Interesting. 41:55 So a tweet from Brian Bozarth. 41:59 You talked about images today, image search, 42:01 basically, sort of dead as a traffic source. 42:04 For your publishers that you work with, is there any value at all, 42:07 any value in image search or image optimization to get results? 42:10 >> If you can automate the process, 42:16 absolutely, cuz it raises the contextual relevancy of the page. 42:17 Google looks at the image and it doesn't know what it is. 42:20 You can add file names, alt text, captions. 42:23 Sure, that's important, but is time better spent, your editorial team or your photo 42:26 edit team actually writing headlines and better titles and doing research? 42:30 Yes. >> Gotcha. 42:34 All right, this was the most, last question, 42:35 the the most retweeted question for you from some guy named, Brian Provost. 42:38 Will the Patriots win the Super Bowl next year? 42:45 [LAUGH] >> [LAUGH] Go, Eagles. 42:47 >> Marshal Simmons, thank you. 42:51 >> [APPLAUSE] 42:53
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