Michael Bertini, iQuanti’s director of search strategy, attended the Search Insider Summit in April 2018. Here are his takes on how the search channel is evolving – and what that means for marketing professionals.

What do we expect for the search industry in the upcoming year?

Google will be focusing on speed and content delivery. I think the company is going to start giving more relevance to nofollow links this year. We have seen some of our clients significantly elevate their rankings with the acquisition of nofollow links, which contradicts what Google has told us in the past.

How will advertisers react to the data privacy scandal on Facebook?

We already saw Facebook’s US daily active user (DAU) count drop from Q3 2017 to Q4 2017. In the latest quarter, Facebook’s DAUs ticked back up – but the company appears more fragile than it has in the past. It could continue to experience engagement declines unless it makes some big changes in its algorithm and adds more layers of security. If this doesn’t happen, marketers may start pulling back their dollars and investing in other areas such as LinkedIn, Instagram and YouTube.

What threat does Amazon pose to the search industry?

Amazon poses a HUGE threat to Google and other search engines. According to a study done a year ago by e-commerce start-up BloomReach, 55% of users start their product search on Amazon. If Amazon tightens up its UX, it could very well overtake Google in shopping. The issue Amazon has – other than Marketplace sellers offering fake goods – is that it’s cluttered. Once the company balances UX and search, it could become dominant in the shopping search space.

How can Google reclaim its top position?

Google can regain its top position by making fewer modifications to the look of the SERP. There is no consistency with Google. There’s no telling what SERP look you will get anymore… Sometimes you’ll see a rich result one day and the next week it’s gone for the exact same term. It would behoove Google to create a better shopping experience based on factors that users typically look for: how many reviews a product has, who is selling it, the proximity of the product to the user, cost of shipping, product availability, maybe even a product video… These are all factors which will lead to a better shopping experience for the user and a higher conversion rate for the marketer.

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