Search marketing is the epicenter of digital marketing, so it’s exciting when the industry’s savviest minds get together to talk shop. We recently sponsored SMX East 2015 in New York City and hosted hands-on labs at BrightEdge Share15 in San Francisco. These events were jam-packed with industry experts from the likes of Google, Microsoft, Salesforce, and many more. Considering the caliber of attendees, we were thrilled to have the opportunity to show off our latest product, Jumpshot Elite, along with our Keywords Research tool. The response we got from the big players in the search marketing industry was overwhelmingly positive. We genuinely appreciate everyone who stopped by and took the time to meet us and learn about how we can tie keywords to conversions for any website.

During these conferences, we gleaned some valuable insights about the current landscape of the search industry. What are the issues companies are confronted with today in search marketing and search engine optimization? What are the latest innovations that help combat these issues? Let’s break them down here!

SEO is Hard

The hope of deciphering key search phrases and keywords for SEO is dwindling with the decreasing visibility into search engine results pages (SERPs). Search engines’ shift to encrypted search has left marketers in the dark, prompting them to create hacks to retrieve inferred results regarding those elusive (not provided) keywords that drive the vast majority of their organic traffic. SEO professionals and search marketers spend countless hours perfecting these hacks only to be returned with imperfect results. There were many sessions that focused on the difficulties of SEO and the importance of keyword research. It was evident that there is a need for a tool to facilitate SEO and optimize SEM by identifying the real organic and paid keywords consumers search and tying them to conversions.

Content is King (Again)

A website can’t exist without great content. And by great content we mean unique, well-written, relevant and informative content that provides value to the reader. But getting that content seen can be tough, and managing it can be even tougher. Similar to what we saw at MozCon 2015, there was a lot of discussion around content creation, distribution and optimization at Share15 and SMX East. Major themes included the differences between short and long form content, keyword research to derive long-tail keywords for SEO, and ways to use web analytics to ensure that your search and content marketing strategies are actually working.

When it comes to content, one of the most difficult issues is the ever-increasing shift to mobile. According to BrightEdge research, 35 percent of organic search traffic comes from smartphones, and if a website isn’t mobile-friendly, it will lose up to 68 percent of the potential traffic from consumers on phones and tablets. At Share15, BrightEdge introduced their Global Data Cube, which helps marketers identify content opportunities, high ranking and long-tail keywords and discover competitor’s rich media.

Google Adds User Verification to Search Advertising

The search behemoth is attempting to riff off of the industry’s move towards personalizing online advertising, with the announcement of an update to its algorithm and a new tool for advertisers. Google’s latest algorithm change, Penguin Real-Time, is a filter aimed at eliminating web spam that artificially increases web page rankings, such as unnatural links. Google’s new advertising tool, Google Customer Match, is similar to Facebook Custom Audiences, and allows advertisers to target their AdWords and GDN ads by email addresses. This means that advertisers have the ability to build campaigns around verified pieces of information (Google account email) rather than inferred audiences and estimated traffic volumes. Basically, Google is upping its game in advertising.

There’s Room for Change in The Search Industry

Despite Google’s push towards monopolizing the search industry, we felt a welcome excitement   for a newcomer. The idea of regaining keyword visibility created a lot of buzz and enthusiasm. There was still a lot of the typical tried-and-true marketing agencies, platforms and hacks, but there was also a thirst for a game changer. Our booth was flooded with inquiring minds, and our workshops filled with enthusiastic spectators. People were thrilled to hear an updated take on keyword research and our ability to tie keywords to conversions for any website out there caught the attention of SEM and SEO professionals alike.

Bottom line: The Search industry is known to be in constant flux, due to search engine algorithm updates, privacy issues and the impact of new technology on consumer behavior. As a result, native advertising and content marketing especially, are taking center stage. The need to regain visibility of the organic keywords driving traffic is evident. The possibility of tying consumer keywords (organic and paid) to traffic and conversions with our Keywords Research tool was extremely positively received. We’re excited to be part of the revitalization of the search industry. And we’re excited that you’re excited. This is just the beginning of our quest to democratize data, so stay tuned.