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Track Santa With Google & NORAD Santa Tracker Apps

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Track Santa With Google & NORAD Santa Tracker Apps


Track Santa’s location this Christmas Eve with the Google & NORAD Santa tracker apps, which are now live worldwide.

Simply type “Where’s Santa?” into the address bar and you can follow Old Saint Nick in realtime as he travels from city to city.

Google’s Santa tracker app features a live map which shows Santa’s current location, a counter of gifts delivered, and an estimated time of arrival to your location.

Santa will visit more than 500 locations, which you can learn more about through galleries of photos taken by Google’s Local Guides.

In addition to a live map, Google’s Santa Tracker mini-site is packed with a selection of extras that keeps growing from year to year.

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Google has been building on its Santa Tracker hub since it launched in 2004.

In previous years, Google has used this hub to experiment with new technologies that later became permanent additions to search results.

Most recently, in 2019, Google debuted the “View in 3D” feature on the Santa Tracker hub. This allows users to view 3D objected via augmented reality (AR) through their phone’s camera.

Google Engineer Dave Holmes attributes his learnings to the work he’s done on the Santa Tracker:

“We figured out how to do so many different things because of Santa Tracker — how to build things, how to launch things, how to make things accessible, how to improve web design, how to optimize tools. I like to say that everything I’ve learned at Google, I learned from Santa.”

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Lessons learned by Google’s team via its work on the Santa Tracker have benefited other areas, like Doodles and apps developers create for events like Google I/O.

Google’s Developers aim to make the experience better and more interactive each year.

To explore everything that has been developed to date, see the full Google Santa Tracker mini-site.

Screenshot from: santatracker.google.com, December 2021

From the main site you can install a desktop app for Chrome. Google also offers a Santa tracking mobile app for Android.

NORAD Santa Tracker

We can’t talk about tracking Santa without mentioning the tracker that started it all.

The original Santa Tracker, run by the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD), is once again live for its 66th year in a row.

You don’t have to do the math to recognize that 66 years ago is decades before the internet ever existed.

So how has the NORAD Santa Tracker been around for so long?

It was originally launched via phone lines, which are still operational!

In addition to following Santa’s journey on a dedicated website, NORAD continues to operates a call center.

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Should you find yourself somewhere without internet connection this Christmas Eve, dial 1-877-HiNORAD (1-877-446-6723) to get an up-to-date report on Santa’s location.

NORAD will provide live updates throughout the day on its social media channels, so you can track Santa on Twitter as he travels around the world.

Like Google’s Santa tracker, NORAD offers a variety of extras such as games, videos, music, a live Santa Cam, and more.

From the whole team at SEJ, a very Merry Christmas to all!


Featured Image: Screenshot from blog.google/inside-google, December 2021.





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Small Business Search Trends On The Rise In 2022

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Small Business Search Trends On The Rise In 2022


A new report from Semrush reveals searches related to small businesses, particularly ‘opening’ a small business, are on the rise.

The report details the business categories and specific search queries gaining traction and offers insight into what areas of marketing businesses are investing in.

Data in the report is based on the keyword and search volume intel collected by Semrush.

After analyzing the traffic growth trends to organic search performance over time, Semrush shares which small business categories manage to do better online.

Here are some key highlights from the report.

Search Trends Around Opening A Business

Looking at search volume for various searches that indicate an intent to open a business, the report finds:

  • Over the past four years, the number of “open business” searches has grown by 21%.
  • The majority of “open business” searches occur in January and March.
  • From 2018 to 2022, searches for all things related to starting a small business spiked by 76%.

Most Popular Small Business Categories

While general interest in starting a small business is spiking, search volume indicates aspiring business owners are looking to open boutiques:

  • Almost one-fifth of all entrepreneurs-to-be want to open a boutique.
  • starting an Etsy business looks attractive to almost one-fifth of all the searchers.
  • Vending machines appear to be gaining the most significant traction, as the category broke into the second spot of most-searched small businesses.

Analyzing search trends across regions, the report finds:

  • The “Etsy, cleaning, boutique” triad is present—fully or partially—across each state’s top 3.
  • In exactly half the states, coffee shops also make it into the top 3 most searched small business categories.
  • Montana and Vermont searchers also consider delivery services as a potential undertaking.

Most Frequent ‘Small Business’ Related Searches

Half of all the top small business-related searches are related to financing.

Here are the top queries, ordered by average monthly searches:

  1. Small business loans
  2. Small business grants
  3. Small business administration
  4. Small business ideas
  5. How to start a small business

Small Business Searches Related To Marketing

Keyword stats indicate small business owners try to embrace all the up-and-coming trends:

  • Searches for digital marketing services surged by 1,500% (especially fast during the pandemic).
  • Interest in creating short videos for small businesses grew by 420%.
  • 600% more people were looking up free text message marketing in 2022 than in 2018.

Small Business Site Categories With the Highest Traffic Growth

The report finds the average traffic growth for small businesses across the board was 2900%.

Semrush states:

“This means that over the past 4 years, most of the websites within our client list managed to expand their visitor base.”

Top 10 Small Business Site Categories By Share of High-Ranking Organic Keywords

The report explores which small business site categories have the largest share of high-ranking organic keywords.

Here are the categories listed in order, followed by the median number of organic keywords where the domain ranks in the top 10

  1. Publishing: 45,581
  2. Online Media: 10,116
  3. Veterinary: 9,379
  4. Entertainment: 6,627
  5. Consumer Services: 3,518
  6. Consumer Goods: 3,339
  7. Building Materials: 2,957
  8. Music: 2,593
  9. Human Resources: 2,145
  10. Food & Beverages: 1,839

What’s interesting to note here is how the top 10 categories by high-ranking keywords don’t line up with the fastest-growing site categories by traffic. Semrush suggests this could mean ranking for a high number of keywords might not directly lead to traffic growth.


Featured Image: Monkey Business Images/Shutterstock





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Google Top Stories Topics Sections On Desktop

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Google Top Stories Topics Sections On Desktop


Google Search is now grouping some of its Top Stories sections for some queries by topics. This was working on mobile for a while but is now reportedly working for the desktop Top Stories Google Search results.

Here is a screenshot for a query on [biden] where Google Search on desktop is showing a topic section for abortion articles and a topic section for the US military in Europe. You can click on the image to enlarge or check it out yourself for that query.

click for full size

Yes, the layout is now new, it is from December 2021 but the topics on desktop search is new according to Shalom Goodman, who is a news SEO and would know this.

He shared more screenshots on Twitter:

It makes sense to group some queries by topics for the Top Stories section.

Also, I wasn’t sure if this was new, but the “Topics In News” section on the right is supposedly new:

Forum discussion at Twitter.





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64.2% Of Sites Use WordPress

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64.2% Of Sites Use WordPress


WordPress continues to dominate the content management systems (CMS) market and is currently used by 64.2% of websites that have a CMS, according to data from W3Techs.com.

Shopify is a distant second for June 2022 and accounts for 6.3% of the CMS market.

Wix, Squarespace, and Joomla round out the top five with less than 3.5% market share each.

CMS Market Share June 2022 is available to reprint with attribution; see Creative Commons license for details.

W3Techs notes that 33.1% of websites do not use any of the content management systems they monitor.

WordPress is therefore used by 43% of all websites, and 64.2% of those with an identifiable CMS.

WordPress Plans To Continue Working On Security, Stability

WordPress shows no signs of slowing down and is currently about five years into a ten-year project that involves rewriting its entire codebase.

In a recent interview, Josepha Haden Chomphosy, Executive Director of WordPress, told SEJ,

“…the next year, as with all of the years in a project like that, is making sure we are still as stable and capable as a CMS as people have come to expect while also still pushing forward with a newer more modern way to manage your content online.”

WordPress rolled out version change Arturo 6.0 this month and within two weeks, 36.2% of WP sites had updated to it.

Roger Montti reported that WordPress shared a proposal for a plugin checker that would improve security and site performance by proactively vetting plugins, as well.

Shopify Enters B2B Marketplace With June Update

Shopify released its Summer ’22 Edition in June, adding more than 100 new features for users.

A new feature simply and aptly called “B2B” will connect Shopify Plus merchants with wholesalers and offer integrations with NetSuite, Brightpearl, Acumatica, and others for a more seamless experience.

See Brian Frederick’s coverage here to learn more.

Wix Publishes Structured Data Guide For SEO Pros

Wix, in third place for CMS market share this month, released “Wix Structured Data Guide: How To Use Standard & Custom Markup” in June.

Contributing author Mordy Oberstein, Head of SEO Branding at Wix, shared his comprehensive guide to implementing structured data on Wix here at Search Engine Journal.

“In fewer than three years, Wix went from supporting little by way of structured data to offering SEO pros and site owners the ability to do nearly whatever they want with relative ease,” Oberstein wrote.

He also noted that due to recent platform updates, any content elsewhere on the internet around this topic is now out of date.

See his guide above to learn more about applying structured data to your Wix site.

Stay tuned for next month’s CMS Market Share Monthly report.

Related reading:


Featured image: Paulo Bobita/Search Engine Journal
Data source: W3Techs.com, Usage statistics of content management systems, as of June 27, 2002.





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