As digital marketing has matured, integrated search has become even more important and wide ranging.

Integrated search has traditionally referred to a tactical and strategic balance between natural search (SEO) and paid search (PPC), but with the proliferation of multichannel behaviour and the use of mobile friendliness as a ranking signal, the term has become somewhat broader.

One of the 35 roundtables at Digital Cream this year was on this very topic and a full Trends Briefing on Integrated Search sponsored by Ayima is available free to download for all registered users.

For anyone who has not attended an Econsultancy Digital Cream event before, it consists of three sessions of roundtables on a variety of topics, attended by marketers and ecommerce heads who share insight and issues on the topics they’re interested in.

Here is a brief overview of some of the key trends that emerged during the discussions on integrated search.

Digital_Cream_2015

Site architecture and performance more important than ever

One delegate discussed their own website, saying that its site search wasn’t sophisticated enough to serve the right content to users. The effect of this was users being driven to Google to search for specific site content, rather than being able to find it easily from the site’s homepage.

In this particular example, the phenomenon of relying on Google for site navigation was seen among staff members too, demonstrating that information architecture and site search can be a significant hindrance in the user journey. 

The effects of this may include the need to increase paid search spend on brand terms and longer tail generics, not to mention poor conversion on site.

Mobile search is about intent and experience

Delegates voiced concerns about the predominance of paid ads within mobile search. The SERPs can often solely include paid ads on mobile, due to limitations in screen size. This was a particular concern for smaller companies that can’t compete on more popular generic search terms.

Mobile search is different to desktop for several reasons. Users are often in the early stages of their journey to purchase, researching a product or service. This makes it even more important that sites are usable and present plenty of persuasive and focussed content on mobile.

Content and social may be stealing the limelight

Content marketing and social media were often the subtext to discussions about the maturity of SEO and PPC, and organisational challenges in integrating search. Growth in content marketing and social media job titles has outstripped that of search-related positions. The success of 

Facebook Advertising in particular may be diverting some focus from search, even though no other ad product can rival PPC for capitalising on intent.

Do not discount Bing

In previous years Bing may not have been taken as seriously as a topic of discussion of Digital Cream. That changed this year as many admitted they would be reconsidering their lack of spend on Bing ads. 

This is partly due to continued share of search on the platform and an improving product, but also due to Firefox’s adoption of Yahoo (powered by Bing) as its default search engine last year.

For much more insight download the full Integrated Search Trends Briefing.

Christopher Ratcliff

Published 28 April, 2015 by Christopher Ratcliff

Christopher Ratcliff is the editor of Methods Unsound. He was the Deputy Editor of Econsultancy. You can follow him on Twitter or connect via Google+ and LinkedIn

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