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Following last week’s post about mobile barcode factoids, I took a broader look in this month’s Search Engine Watch column. It also brings in other takeaways from last week’s Search Engine Strategies conference. An excerpt is below and you can read the whole thing here.

Last week at SES San Francisco, one of the many prevailing themes was local search. This isn’t terribly new as the conference has covered it for years, including panels I’ve sat on or moderated over the last decade.

There are perennial issues like local ranking factors and listings accuracy in the face of fragmentation. But the conversation is also increasingly being taken over by mobile and social.

These have always lived within the conference agenda, though not necessarily tied to local. But their connection is clear, as this column for the past few years has fed on the convergence of social, local, and mobile (SoLoMo).

A few stats that I heard repeated throughout the conference triangulate and underscore the opportunity:

— Smart phone penetration is currently a third of U.S. mobile subscribers (Nielsen actually pegs it at 38 percent).

— Mobile searches are currently about 15 percent of total search query volume in the U.S.

— 20-50 percent of mobile searches have local intent. (This is a broad range because of different definitions of local intent. Google’s figure is 40 percent).

Bring it all together and you have a perfect storm for mobile advertising in search, display, and SMS; and across mobile web and native apps. But the main point is how mobile ad revenues will increasingly come from local – something we’ve argued for some time.

Some of this might not be terribly new, but the usage numbers and growth continue to surprise us and indicate opportunities. Hardware evolution likewise continues to shine a light where opportunities lie, such as voice and visual search.

Read the rest.

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