Lee Odden

3 Essential Small Business Search Marketing Trends

search marketing trends“Qualified”, “showing intent to buy”, “high conversion rate” and many other phrases are used to describe search engine marketing.  As a $16 billion industry, Search Marketing including SEO (search engine optimization) and PPC ads (pay per click) represent a substantial opportunity for small businesses to connect with customers at the moment they are looking for products and services to buy.

Even though Search Marketing presents an attractive opportunity to grow online sales, many businesses are too busy running their companies to stay on top of future trends. To that end, here are three search marketing trends worth paying attention to:

1.  Online & Offline Marketing Integration – Forrester Research estimates $917 billion worth of retail sales in 2009 were “Web-influenced” in contrast to $155 billion of consumer goods sold online in the same year.  Small businesses must pay attention to customer search online influencing offline purchases as well as the influence of the in-store experience on searching and purchasing online.

2.  Mobile Device and Local Search – Companies must recognize consumer trends towards mobile search with the proliferation of smart phones. The web experience has definitively extended beyond the personal computer to mobile devices such as iPhones, Blackberries and iPads.  Marketers must understand their customers’ use of mobile search and what the marketing opportunities are.

Companies that serve customers in specific regions or with geographically specific needs must be present in local search results, map results and specific geo-location queries. Segmenting potential customers through geo targeting with paid search advertisements will help focus the right ads on the right customers.

3.  Social Media Advertising – Savvy small business marketers are increasingly realizing that the opportunity to reach customers extends beyond traditional paid search into the booming social media space. Having surpassed Google as the most visited website for the week ending March 13, 2010 and with over 400 million registered users, Facebook offers a significant audience that shouldn’t be ignored.  Social networks like Facebook can provide online marketers hyper-targeted advertising opportunities that can tap into new customer segments and serve as a complement to other paid search programs.

Whether it’s incorporating online and offline influences with search marketing, diversifying PPC advertising networks, leveraging local and mobile search marketing or extending advertising programs to include social media, small business marketers that capitalize on these trends will gain a competitive advantage. Of course, if they hire an online marketing agency like TopRank Marketing, that advantage may come even faster.

This post was excerpted from my article that was originally published on American Express OPEN Forum. Be sure to visit 5 Search Engine Marketing Trends That Impact Your Business for the other 2 trends.

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Lee Odden About Lee Odden

@LeeOdden is the CEO of TopRank Marketing and editor of Online Marketing Blog. Cited for his expertise by The Economist, Forbes and the Wall Street Journal, he's the author of the book Optimize and presents internationally on B2B marketing topics including content, search, social media and influencer marketing. When not at conferences, consulting, or working with his talented team, he's likely running, traveling or cooking up something new.


  1. The post is very relevant to the current trends or developments, you have discussed about some crucial issues on which companies need to focus. Good Post!

  2. I think online web tv advertising will be the trend in the next couple of years

  3. One thing I have learned in my Marketing class is the integration of business with social media is increasing. Businesses in specific niche such as powder maker, cookies manufactures are using social media as a medium for user-generated content. Users play games, create something funny, share them on twitter or facebook. Uses have fun while businesses gain because their name, brands and images are spread out to the world.

    • Avatar freefor15 says

      People are becoming wiser in what types of advertising they belive in. Back in the day if they saw it on t.v they thought it was a good product. But now with so many ways to recieve information they are relying on there friends to help them choose. That is what social networks are doing almost bringing back the word of mouth but through the computer and other devices.

  4. Avatar Rodney Akomas says

    Yes the search trend is continuing to grow and as was mentioned in the post these type of searchers are at the stage of “ready to buy” which is good news for practitioners of inbound marketing. With the increased use of hand held devices this market cannot be taken for granted.

  5. Avatar MarciDesign says

    Excellent, Thanks again Lee!!!

  6. May I add, the mobile marketing industry is really booming right now, it's really fun browsing the web thru small cute browsers or apps…There's so much to explore in the mobile world now, thanks to the touch screen mobiles and handheld devices, the world wide web just got bigger, better and very much accessible… =) Well, I'm pretty sure online marketers are up to the challenge of trying to put their ads or links to those tiny mobile screens…

  7. You are so right about savvy businesses benefiting from Social Media advertisements, my more adventurous clients have been enjoying the fruits of hyper-targeting…so much that now my clients with more conservative approaches can see the benefits.

  8. Avatar Juliana Crispo says

    Just read something like online retail sales are up 10% from last year's quarter which is a good sign. Potentially due to the new ways to search and shop socially. Wrote a couple posts focusing on social shopping and the Groupon-esque collective buying sites in a slideshare presentation. Blog linked to name so check it out as it might be helpful for anyone trying to do some research on new social search and social shopping trends.

  9. Hi Lee,

    Yes i am agree with Social Media Advertising.
    I am using Facebook and Linkedin marketing for my clients. And i found more positive response through Facebook and LinkedIn.

  10. Avatar Nick Stamoulis says

    Social Media and Mobile Device search are huge right now, and I am totally in agreement that those are things small business owners need to capitalize on. It will only give their business an advantage to have a strong social media or local search in the online space. Most of us run to our mobile devices first when it comes to online search, and we are all involved in social media in some capacity, that at times I find when I am searching for a business online, and I notice they don't have much of an online presence, it's a deal breaker!

    • There's a promise brands make when they offer links to social or mobile destinations and if it's not a good experience, then the promise is broken. Same goes for being easy to find in those channels. Consumers expect it and like standard Google search, if customers don't find your brand in social and mobile then they'll certainly find the competition.

  11. We are already seeing the integration of online and offline marketing increasing rapidly. For instance receiving email regarding offer going in store to buy. Looking online for product and actually purchasing in store. Looking for reviews etc. Website is already most vital part of business. Social media are also involving with time to provide more specific purpose eg linkedin, flicker. Mobile is already changing the way we do many things. So social media isn’t something business, big or small can ignore.

  12. Avatar Website Builder says

    Three great trends that a lot of small businesses are overlooking. Older business owners aren’t taking advantage of social media and mobile marketing. To survive you must adapt.

  13. Brilliant information you have shared out here regarding the 3 Essential Small Business Search Marketing Trends. Mobile Device and Local Search Is quite an impressive one

  14. Great Article! Smartphones, such as the iPhone, Droid and Blackberry, have recently taken networking by storm. Businesses of all sizes are utilizing the new mobile platform in order to increase the frequency and ability with which they can communicate with their customers. By providing information on the mobile platform, customers are able to access this information 24/7 through email, twitter, and mobile applications. Small businesses especially can increase their presence by tailoring their information in order to be compatible with mobile devices.Here are 5 ways you can build your business using your mobile phone!

  15. Avatar Sehar Electro says

    Does anyone have or know where I can find statistics on companies that spend money advertising opposed to those who don’t and what advantage their dollar buys for them over the company that SAVES money advertising?