Google Algorithm Changes, Mobile Internet Have Most Significant Impact On Search Marketers [SEMPO]

About nine out of 10 search marketers say Google’s recent algorithm changes have had a significant impact on them, and about the same amount say that the rise of the mobile internet and local search are also having a significant impact.

The data comes from the SEMPO State of Search Marketing Report 2012, which was just released this week. Nearly 900 search marketers responded to this year’s survey, which was conducted online between March 12 and May 15, 2012. Survey takers represent 36 countries, with about 64 percent being in the US.

What Impacted Search Marketers Most

Whether working in an agency or in-house at a company, the respondents agreed that the two main things affecting them most are Google’s recent algorithm changes and the rise of the mobile web.

On the in-house/company side, 87 percent of respondents said a) Google’s algorithm changes, and b) increasing mobile web use have had a “significant” or “highly significant” impact. That’s well ahead of every other option in the survey.


They’re referring, no doubt, to Google’s Panda algorithm update that launched in February 2011 and has undergone numerous updates since, as well as to the Penguin update that happened in late April. It hasn’t had nearly as many updates as Panda, but Google has warned about “jolts” still to come.

The numbers are similar on the agency side, but those respondents also added local search into the mix. Here, 92 percent called mobile internet use significant (or highly significant), 87 percent said local search and 85 percent said Google’s algorithm changes. The other survey options were also voted nearly as significant — that’s likely a reflection of the broader type of projects that agency search marketers work on.


Other Results

The report is filled with other industry data, perhaps the most important of which is SEMPO’s estimate on industry valuation. SEMPO and eConsultancy (which assisted with the survey) now estimate the value of the search marketing industry in North America at $22.9 billion this year, and $26.8 billion for 2013.

The survey also finds growth in marketing budgets, with 86 percent of all respondents saying they expect their digital marketing budgets to grow and only four percent expecting a decline.

Related Topics: Channel: Strategy | Features: General | SEM Industry: Community | SEM Industry: General | SEM Industry: Stats | Top News


About The Author: is Editor-In-Chief of Search Engine Land. His news career includes time spent in TV, radio, and print journalism. His web career continues to include a small number of SEO and social media consulting clients, as well as regular speaking engagements at marketing events around the U.S. He recently launched a site dedicated to Google Glass called Glass Almanac and also blogs at Small Business Search Marketing. Matt can be found on Twitter at @MattMcGee and/or on Google Plus. You can read Matt's disclosures on his personal blog.

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  • ScottyMack

    All well and good for people running businesses that have store fronts or are local service based businesses. I wouldn’t imagine that is a significant percentage of the total number of websites online, though. It IS probably a significant portion of work that SEO’s do, though.

  • Nathaniel Bailey

    If anything we have found (in most cases) for our clients that the google updates and rise in mobile search have both in fact helped us, and the rise in local search is the one that’s done damage in some cases due to our high listings being pushed down the SERP by local listings which in some cases offer less value to the searcher.

  • Blue Global Media

    Both have definitely shook up the search engine world, but with so many saying local and mobile have had a significant impact, it makes you wonder if the next update could possibly have to do with that. At this point, whatever the people want Google continues to deliver.

    Everyone wants better content, so Google made it a priority with Panda. Those working in the space wanted spammy links to stop benefitting the sites using them, and with the swish of their wand, Penguin took care of it. The updates usually aren’t surprising – in intent – but they continue to have a major impact on sites. As long as everyone continues keeping it clean and delivering the best user experience possible the updates will be something to look forward to instead of something to fear.

  • sharithurow

    To be honest, none of my clients were affected by Panda or Penguin (or any algorithm change for that matter). I think that doing SEO right in the first place is the best way to survive many of these search engine changes.

    Same with mobile. Mobile doesn’t replace desktop search. It’s an addition to desktop search.

    My 2 cents.

  • ienlaces

    Search results have constantly changed in my browser these days. I hope it stabilizes a little.

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