Is SEO like the Lottery?

The recent US Lottery of $758 Million Powerball jackpot that captivated the USA last week holds a lesson for all marketers who think that there lucky number will come up or should I say website will appear on page 1 of Google.

There are many uninformed online marketing people (and senior management) who believe that once SEO is undertaken, their website will magically appear on page 1 of search engine results pages (SERPs). We tell our clients it isn’t an instant lottery result!

Many colleagues have expressed to me over the years that like lotteries, ranking in search engines has the same “random number generation” mechanics. That is, like dice rolling or casino roulette, the result cannot be reasonably predicted better than by a random chance.

While no one really knows to what extent the randomness that search engines like Google and Bing apply, we do know it’s not 100% like a lottery. Yet these mega lotteries have massive appeal. Our long time client in William Hill in¬†Australia last month launched Planet Lottery that taps into international lottery systems for mega hundred million dollar amounts.

Are Algorithms laundering data?

The core of SearchForecast is analyzing data. Every day, our team is analyzing Google Analytics, conversion data, CRM data¬† and email campaign metrics. We provide insights from this data, using our experience learned from client work. Cathy O’Neil has a very insightful TED talk here on algorithms. We too warn clients not to seed emotional input into algorithms as this can have and does have negative effects. This is worth watching if you’re providing solutions with data.

When one door closes, another one opens

Famous words from a famous film! RIP DMOZ. You inspired SearchForecast to be founded. For the record, SearchForecast has always known the meta description tag need not be exact on characters as Google often shortens the sentence. Here is the proof from the Google Webmaster Tools Blog dated 2nd June 2017. Screenshot attached or long form at

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15 per cent Daily new searches on Google

Crazy to think that “15 percent of searches we [Google] see every day are new” as cited in

That’s 1 in 7 searches. If you apply the Pareto principle (also known as the 80/20 rule) where roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes, then there is serious work to do understanding the intent of these new words and effect on client leads, conversions, etc.

Action Point: Get to work analyzing new keywords!

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What does Easter Bunny and Google Home have in common?

We’re working harder and are fatigued. We are tired of searching using our keypad and with Amazon Echo and Google Home appliances accelerating the voice search market that is estimated to reach out 50% of all search traffic by 2020, no wonder I can draw comparisons between this poor old Easter Bunny asleep at 11am in Stanford Mall in Palo Alto as I walked along with my recently purchased Google Home device.

Like many of you, I have found the physical component of searching using my fingers and keypad increasingly laborious and arduous. The brain wants a faster way to search and retrieve results. My first few months of Google Home use has taken time to adjust to the voice phrases I use to get the results I want. It takes a longer time for all of us to verbalize what we are thinking than if we are typing. That said, Google Home voice understanding/ recognition is pretty much spot on. It understands everything I say !


I don’t need Google

From all of us at SearchForecast who spend days and weeks deconstructing search engine algorithm updates by Google (from Penguin to Possum this week), thank you to the person who sent us this. I would only say that finding one that says ‘My husband knows everything’ is certainly worthy as many of our clients and co-workers are quite sure about this as well as the gentleman referring to their wives!

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Case Study: Panasonic Cloud “Keyword to Close” Webinar

In 2013, SearchForecast was commissioned by Panasonic Inc to provide content development and search engine optimization for the launch of Panasonic Cloud, the Voice-Over-IP phone service.

Targeting Small & Medium Sized businesses across the USA, Ray Mercedes, Panasonic Cloud’s Director Product Management oversaw the launch.

In this case study webinar, listen to Marc Phillips from SearchForeast and Ray Mercedes speak about the importance of managing the keyword to content development inorder to maximize conversion of business leads.

Watch the Webinar on Youtube

Visual Images: Snapchat catching Instagram

I attended the Internet Retailer Conference in Chicago on June 9-11 and it was very interesting to see that the focus has shifted to “images” and “photos”. This visual content is now clearly driving content engagement and there were excellent case studies how The North Face and Z Gallerie are integrating user generated photos and video to help convert e-commerce sales.

Firstly, the below screenshot of a presentation shows that almost half (46.8%) of all Snapchat users are 18 to 24 years of age. SO, the big news is that Snapchat has more almost 30% of users aged 25 to 34 years of age. Not so young are they. I know this as Snapchat is highly addictive for parents because it’s fun and fast to take a selfie or video and use those way cool geo codes to show where you are.


Secondly, Snapchat users are more likely across lots of genres of content to post videos as opposed to just take photos. As we know from YouTube, video is a killer application.


Overall, Internet Retailer in Chicago in 2016 was about images, photos and video on social networks and how all retailers are supplementing product images with user generated content photos and videos.