SEO was on the brain of all in attendance at this year's MnSearch Summit, held Friday, June 23, in Saint Paul, Minn. Epicosity repped the digital and web teams at the event, and we picked up some valuable information about what to expect in the near- and long-term future when it comes to search marketing.

Here are four key takeaways from day one of the conference.

Mobile Usage Tracking is Coming

Krista Seiden, an analytics advocate for Google, kicked things off with the morning keynote. Her primary thesis statement was that mobile app marketing analytics will be seeing some enhancements in the near-term. As more than half of all web traffic now can be sourced back to smartphones and tablets, it's important to track app usage now more than ever. Since 85 percent of all mobile usage takes place in apps, it's critical for digital marketers. Google currently has some developments in the works to effectively track mobile app usage in the future, including tracking foreground app engagement, event-based analytics and a focus on AMP pages.

Search Intent > Volume

Rob Bucci, CEO at STAT Search Analytics, brought targeted content to his discussion during session one of the MnSearch Summit. His primary goal was to emphasize that strategists need not rely on search volume alone in digital decision-making. With the right levels of research, determining intent is a distinct possibility and is far more valuable than volume in the long run. And depending on the stage at which a content consumer is viewing your material (i.e., "informational," "commercial, "transactional"), the intent can grow and change. He talked about thinking of "share of voice" as a product of your ranking and search volume as a working pair. And though organic search is the best indicator of intent, when it comes to paid search, shopping boxes consistently prove the most important for your measurable data.

Instant Gratification Matters

Bucci additionally pointed out the importance of instant gratification when it comes to search. It will beat brand loyalty in many instances, so it's important to cater to broad product searches with engaging imagery—particular at the "commercial" stage of intent. In fact, the more you cater to searchers' expectations of results, the better your click-throughs. For example, when users search "best," they want to see answer boxes, versus shopping or news boxes. When users search "compare," they typically want to engage with video content, and "new" typically signifies a desire for image-based content.

Local SEO on the Rise

David Mihm, founder of Tidings, finished up the first morning of MnSearch Summit by talking local SEO and how future enhancements will continue to evolve the veracity of the medium. Google is in development on better assessing the authority of physical locations by sourcing customer reviews, local data, bookmarking locations Google Maps shares. In addition, voice is playing a bigger role, as it accounts for 20 percent of mobile searches. Proximity continues to be the No. 1 ranking factor when it comes to local search (i.e., "nearby..."), but SEO lovers should keep in mind that customer bookmarking habits should soon begin to impact rankings. Companies with physical locations should continue to focus on reviews and accuracy of their listings to spur better engagement with searchers and higher-quality rankings over time.

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