Keyword Research Beats Nate Silver’s 2016 Presidential Election Prediction

Posted by BritneyMuller

100% of statisticians would say this is a terrible method for predicting elections. However, in the case of 2016’s presidential election, analyzing the geographic search volume of a few telling keywords “predicted” the outcome more accurately than Nate Silver himself.

The 2016 US Presidential Election was a nail-biter, and many of us followed along with the famed statistician’s predictions in real time on FiveThirtyEight.com. Silver’s predictions, though more accurate than many, were still disrupted by the election results.

In an effort to better understand our country (and current political chaos), I dove into keyword research state-by-state searching for insights. Keywords can be powerful indicators of intent, thought, and behavior. What keyword searches might indicate a personal political opinion? Might there be a common denominator search among people with the same political beliefs?

It’s generally agreed that Fox News leans to the right and CNN leans to the left. And if we’ve learned anything this past year, it’s that the news you consume can have a strong impact on what you believe, in addition to the confirmation bias already present in seeking out particular sources of information.

My crazy idea: What if Republican states showed more “fox news” searches than “cnn”? What if those searches revealed a bias and an intent that exit polling seemed to obscure?

The limitations to this research were pretty obvious. Watching Fox News or CNN doesn’t necessarily correlate with voter behavior, but could it be a better indicator than the polls? My research says yes. I researched other media outlets as well, but the top two ideologically opposed news sources — in any of the 50 states — were consistently Fox News and CNN.

Using Google Keyword Planner (connected to a high-paying Adwords account to view the most accurate/non-bucketed data), I evaluated each state’s search volume for “fox news” and “cnn.”

Eight states showed the exact same search volumes for both. Excluding those from my initial test, my results accurately predicted 42/42 of the 2016 presidential state outcomes including North Carolina and Wisconsin (which Silver mis-predicted). Interestingly, “cnn” even mirrored Hillary Clinton, similarly winning the popular vote (25,633,333 vs. 23,675,000 average monthly search volume for the United States).

In contrast, Nate Silver accurately predicted 45/50 states using a statistical methodology based on polling results.

Click for a larger image

This gets even more interesting:

The eight states showing the same average monthly search volume for both “cnn” and “fox news” are Arizona, Florida, Michigan, Nevada, New Mexico, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Texas.

However, I was able to dive deeper via GrepWords API (a keyword research tool that actually powers Keyword Explorer’s data), to discover that Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, and Ohio each have slightly different “cnn” vs “fox news” search averages over the previous 12-month period. Those new search volume averages are:

“fox news” avg monthly search volume

“cnn” avg monthly search volume

KWR Prediction

2016 Vote

Arizona

566333

518583

Trump

Trump

Nevada

213833

214583

Hillary

Hillary

New Mexico

138833

142916

Hillary

Hillary

Ohio

845833

781083

Trump

Trump

Pennsylvania

1030500

1063583

Hillary

Trump

Four out of five isn’t bad! This brought my new prediction up to 46/47.

Silver and I each got Pennsylvania wrong. The GrepWords API shows the average monthly search volume for “cnn” was ~33,083 searches higher than “fox news” (to put that in perspective, that’s ~0.26% of the state’s population). This tight-knit keyword research theory is perfectly reflected in Trump’s 48.2% win against Clinton’s 47.5%.

Nate Silver and I have very different day jobs, and he wouldn’t make many of these hasty generalizations. Any prediction method can be right a couple times. However, it got me thinking about the power of keyword research: how it can reveal searcher intent, predict behavior, and sometimes even defy the logic of things like statistics.

It’s also easy to predict the past. What happens when we apply this model to today’s Senate race?

Can we apply this theory to Alabama’s special election in the US Senate?

After completing the above research on a whim, I realized that we’re on the cusp of yet another hotly contested, extremely close election: the upcoming Alabama senate race, between controversy-laden Republican Roy Moore and Democratic challenger Doug Jones, fighting for a Senate seat that hasn’t been held by a Democrat since 1992.

I researched each Alabama county — 67 in total — for good measure. There are obviously a ton of variables at play. However, 52 out of the 67 counties (77.6%) 2016 presidential county votes are correctly “predicted” by my theory.

Even when giving the Democratic nominee more weight to the very low search volume counties (19 counties showed a search volume difference of less than 500), my numbers lean pretty far to the right (48/67 Republican counties):

It should be noted that my theory incorrectly guessed two of the five largest Alabama counties, Montgomery and Jefferson, which both voted Democrat in 2016.

Greene and Macon Counties should both vote Democrat; their very slight “cnn” over “fox news” search volume is confirmed by their previous presidential election results.

I realize state elections are not won by county, they’re won by popular vote, and the state of Alabama searches for “fox news” 204,000 more times a month than “cnn” (to put that in perspective, that’s around ~4.27% of Alabama’s population).

All things aside and regardless of outcome, this was an interesting exploration into how keyword research can offer us a glimpse into popular opinion, future behavior, and search intent. What do you think? Any other predictions we could make to test this theory? What other keywords or factors would you look at? Let us know in the comments.

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from Raymond Castleberry Blog http://raymondcastleberry.blogspot.com/2017/12/keyword-research-beats-nate-silvers.html
via http://raymondcastleberry.blogspot.com

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Rescinding Clean Power Plan a Positive Step Toward Free Market for Electricity

This article was printed in the December issue of POWER magazine.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in early October announced it would rescind yet another signature Obama administration policy: the electricity regulation known as the Clean Power Plan (CPP).

As with President Trump’s Paris climate agreement withdrawal announcement earlier in 2017, the CPP decision has been met with acrimony. But producers and consumers of electricity alike—which is to say, all of us—should rejoice to be rid of this deal, which was rotten even on its own terms.

According to a study by NERA Economic Consulting, under the CPP, 23 states could have experienced retail electricity rate increases of 10% to 20%; seven states could have seen rates jump 20% to 30%; and 10 states could have experienced increases of a whopping 30% or more.

Higher Electricity Costs

The CPP’s overall cost of at least $29 billion annually is three times higher than the cost of EPA’s Mercury and Air Toxics (MATS) rule, which was deemed an EPA overreach by the Supreme Court in 2015. The late Antonin Scalia, writing for the majority in the MATS case, Michigan v. EPA, stated, “It is not rational, never mind ‘appropriate,’ to impose billions of dollars in economic costs in return for a few dollars in health or environmental benefits.” He added, “EPA must consider cost—including cost of compliance—before deciding whether regulation is appropriate and necessary.”

On that standard, one would expect CPP must have presented a wide suite of benefits to outweigh those high costs. But one would be wrong.

Despite the “Clean Power Plan” moniker, the CPP would not have done much to clean up our environment. That’s because its main target wasn’t pollutants such as sulfur oxides, nitrous oxides, or ozone, but rather the perfectly safe carbon dioxide—a gas each of us emits with every breath, and that is necessary and beneficial for plant life.

Given the rhetoric surrounding the CPP, many Americans would be surprised to learn that we have drastically reduced our air pollution over the past half-century. According to EPA, despite our gross domestic product growing by 246% since 1970, we’ve cut our emissions of the six common air pollutants by an average of 70%. So what was the CPP really after?

The purpose of the CPP was to nudge the economy away from carbon-intensive fuel sources and toward others on the premise of anthropogenic global warming. As President Barack Obama expressed on a number of occasions, the plan would, by design, have made the use of coal more expensive in order to coerce utilities to use less-carbon-intensive options. According to estimates produced by the Obama administration’s EPA, the plan would have reduced the electricity sector’s greenhouse-gas emissions approximately 25% below 2005 levels by 2020, and 30% by 2030.

Little Effect on Global Warming

But inconveniently for CPP backers, execution of the plan would have had a negligible effect on global warming.

Climate scientists Pat Michaels and Chip Knappenberger of the Cato Institute used a climate model emulator that was developed with the support of EPA to determine that complete adoption of the CPP would have resulted in a temperature reduction of less than two one-hundredths of a degree Celsius by the year 2100.

That’s not even enough to make you zip your jacket.

The Clean Power Plan’s defenders treat it as if it were a seawall holding back a tide of environmental ills. In reality, “Clean Power Plan” was a misnomer. The plan entailed few environmental benefits, while pushing significant costs onto energy consumers.

Beyond its concrete implications, the plan wasn’t cooperative federalism as EPA claimed, but coercive federalism and a misapplication of the Clean Air Act. The CPP for the first time would have seen EPA regulating not specific sources, or “inside the fence,” but establishing emissions guidelines for entire states. Fortunately, the current administration’s EPA takes a more restrained view on the role of the federal government, which will allow for more local application of knowledge and innovation.

The rescinding of this plan, though, is not the end of the CPP debate. Legal challenges to this EPA decision are sure to follow. What’s more, rescinding the plan does nothing to address its underlying basis: the 2009 EPA Endangerment Finding that requires the agency to take action under the Clean Air Act to curb emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. As long as the Endangerment Finding stands, decarbonization schemes will be on the table.

While not a panacea, the rescinding of the Clean Power Plan is a positive step toward freeing energy producers to supply the indispensable value of electricity to American families and businesses in the most efficient manner possible.

The post Rescinding Clean Power Plan a Positive Step Toward Free Market for Electricity appeared first on IER.

from Raymond Castleberry Blog http://raymondcastleberry.blogspot.com/2017/12/rescinding-clean-power-plan-positive.html
via http://raymondcastleberry.blogspot.com

Rescinding Clean Power Plan a Positive Step Toward Free Market for Electricity

This article was printed in the December issue of POWER magazine.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in early October announced it would rescind yet another signature Obama administration policy: the electricity regulation known as the Clean Power Plan (CPP).

As with President Trump’s Paris climate agreement withdrawal announcement earlier in 2017, the CPP decision has been met with acrimony. But producers and consumers of electricity alike—which is to say, all of us—should rejoice to be rid of this deal, which was rotten even on its own terms.

According to a study by NERA Economic Consulting, under the CPP, 23 states could have experienced retail electricity rate increases of 10% to 20%; seven states could have seen rates jump 20% to 30%; and 10 states could have experienced increases of a whopping 30% or more.

Higher Electricity Costs

The CPP’s overall cost of at least $29 billion annually is three times higher than the cost of EPA’s Mercury and Air Toxics (MATS) rule, which was deemed an EPA overreach by the Supreme Court in 2015. The late Antonin Scalia, writing for the majority in the MATS case, Michigan v. EPA, stated, “It is not rational, never mind ‘appropriate,’ to impose billions of dollars in economic costs in return for a few dollars in health or environmental benefits.” He added, “EPA must consider cost—including cost of compliance—before deciding whether regulation is appropriate and necessary.”

On that standard, one would expect CPP must have presented a wide suite of benefits to outweigh those high costs. But one would be wrong.

Despite the “Clean Power Plan” moniker, the CPP would not have done much to clean up our environment. That’s because its main target wasn’t pollutants such as sulfur oxides, nitrous oxides, or ozone, but rather the perfectly safe carbon dioxide—a gas each of us emits with every breath, and that is necessary and beneficial for plant life.

Given the rhetoric surrounding the CPP, many Americans would be surprised to learn that we have drastically reduced our air pollution over the past half-century. According to EPA, despite our gross domestic product growing by 246% since 1970, we’ve cut our emissions of the six common air pollutants by an average of 70%. So what was the CPP really after?

The purpose of the CPP was to nudge the economy away from carbon-intensive fuel sources and toward others on the premise of anthropogenic global warming. As President Barack Obama expressed on a number of occasions, the plan would, by design, have made the use of coal more expensive in order to coerce utilities to use less-carbon-intensive options. According to estimates produced by the Obama administration’s EPA, the plan would have reduced the electricity sector’s greenhouse-gas emissions approximately 25% below 2005 levels by 2020, and 30% by 2030.

Little Effect on Global Warming

But inconveniently for CPP backers, execution of the plan would have had a negligible effect on global warming.

Climate scientists Pat Michaels and Chip Knappenberger of the Cato Institute used a climate model emulator that was developed with the support of EPA to determine that complete adoption of the CPP would have resulted in a temperature reduction of less than two one-hundredths of a degree Celsius by the year 2100.

That’s not even enough to make you zip your jacket.

The Clean Power Plan’s defenders treat it as if it were a seawall holding back a tide of environmental ills. In reality, “Clean Power Plan” was a misnomer. The plan entailed few environmental benefits, while pushing significant costs onto energy consumers.

Beyond its concrete implications, the plan wasn’t cooperative federalism as EPA claimed, but coercive federalism and a misapplication of the Clean Air Act. The CPP for the first time would have seen EPA regulating not specific sources, or “inside the fence,” but establishing emissions guidelines for entire states. Fortunately, the current administration’s EPA takes a more restrained view on the role of the federal government, which will allow for more local application of knowledge and innovation.

The rescinding of this plan, though, is not the end of the CPP debate. Legal challenges to this EPA decision are sure to follow. What’s more, rescinding the plan does nothing to address its underlying basis: the 2009 EPA Endangerment Finding that requires the agency to take action under the Clean Air Act to curb emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. As long as the Endangerment Finding stands, decarbonization schemes will be on the table.

While not a panacea, the rescinding of the Clean Power Plan is a positive step toward freeing energy producers to supply the indispensable value of electricity to American families and businesses in the most efficient manner possible.

The post Rescinding Clean Power Plan a Positive Step Toward Free Market for Electricity appeared first on IER.

Not-Actually-the-Best Local SEO Practices

Posted by MiriamEllis

It’s never fun being the bearer of bad news.

You’re on the phone with an amazing prospect. Let’s say it’s a growing appliance sales and repair provider with 75 locations in the western US. Your agency would absolutely love to onboard this client, and the contact is telling you, with some pride, that they’re already ranking pretty well for about half of their locations.

With the right strategy, getting them the rest of the way there should be no problem at all.

But then you notice something, and your end of the phone conversation falls a little quiet as you click through from one of their Google My Business listings in Visalia to Streetview and see… not a commercial building, but a house. Uh-oh. In answer to your delicately worded question, you find out that 45 of this brand’s listings have been built around the private homes of their repairmen — an egregious violation of Google’s guidelines.

“I hate to tell you this…,” you clear your throat, and then you deliver the bad news.

marketingfoundations1.jpg

If you do in-house Local SEO, do it for clients, or even just answer questions in a forum, you’ve surely had the unenviable (yet vital) task of telling someone they’re “doing it wrong,” frequently after they’ve invested considerable resources in creating a marketing structure that threatens to topple due to a crack in its foundation. Sometimes you can patch the crack, but sometimes, whole edifices of bad marketing have to be demolished before safe and secure new buildings can be erected.

Here are 5 of the commonest foundational marketing mistakes I’ve encountered over the years as a Local SEO consultant and forum participant. If you run into these in your own work, you’ll be doing someone a big favor by delivering “the bad news” as quickly as possible:

1. Creating GMB listings at ineligible addresses

What you’ll hear:

“We need to rank for these other towns, because we want customers there. Well, no, we don’t really have offices there. We have P.O. Boxes/virtual offices/our employees’ houses.”

Why it’s a problem:

Google’s guidelines state:

  • Make sure that your page is created at your actual, real-world location
  • PO Boxes or mailboxes located at remote locations are not acceptable.
  • Service-area businesses—businesses that serve customers at their locations—should have one page for the central office or location and designate a service area from that point.

All of this adds up to Google saying you shouldn’t create a listing for anything other than a real-world location, but it’s extremely common to see a) spammers simply creating tons of listings for non-existent locations, b) people of good will not knowing the guidelines and doing the same thing, and c) service area businesses (SABs) feeling they have to create fake-location listings because Google won’t rank them for their service cities otherwise.

In all three scenarios, the brand puts itself at risk for detection and listing removal. Google can catch them, competitors and consumers can catch them, and marketers can catch them. Once caught, any effort that was put into ranking and building reputation around a fake-location listing is wasted. Better to have devoted resources to risk-free marketing efforts that will add up to something real.

What to do about it:

Advise the SAB owner to self-report the problem to Google. I know this sounds risky, but Google My Business forum Top Contributor Joy Hawkins let me know that she’s never seen a case in which Google has punished a business that self-reported accidental spam. The owner will likely need to un-verify the spam listings (see how to do that here) and then Google will likely remove the ineligible listings, leaving only the eligible ones intact.

What about dyed-in-the-wool spammers who know the guidelines and are violating them regardless, turning local pack results into useless junk? Get to the spam listing in Google Maps, click the “Suggest an edit” link, toggle the toggle to “Yes,” and choose the radio button for spam. Google may or may not act on your suggestion. If not, and the spam is misleading to consumers, I think it’s always a good idea to report it to the Google My Business forum in hopes that a volunteer Top Contributor may escalate an egregious case to a Google staffer.

2. Sharing phone numbers between multiple entities

What you’ll hear:

“I run both my dog walking service and my karate classes out of my house, but I don’t want to have to pay for two different phone lines.”

-or-

“Our restaurant has 3 locations in the city now, but we want all the calls to go through one number for reservation purposes. It’s just easier.”

-or-

“There are seven doctors at our practice. Front desk handles all calls. We can’t expect the doctors to answer their calls personally.”

Why it’s a problem:

There are actually multiple issues at hand on this one. First of all, Google’s guidelines state:

  • Provide a phone number that connects to your individual business location as directly as possible, and provide one website that represents your individual business location.
  • Use a local phone number instead of a central, call center helpline number whenever possible.
  • The phone number must be under the direct control of the business.

This rules out having the phone number of a single location representing multiple locations.

Confusing to Google

Google has also been known in the past to phone businesses for verification purposes. Should a business answer “Jim’s Dog Walking” when a Google rep is calling to verify that the phone number is associated with “Jim’s Karate Lessons,” we’re in trouble. Shared phone numbers have also been suspected in the past of causing accidental merging of Google listings, though I’ve not seen a case of this in a couple of years.

Confusing for businesses

As for the multi-practitioner scenario, the reality is that some business models simply don’t allow for practitioners to answer their own phones. Calls for doctors, dentists, attorneys, etc. are traditionally routed through a front desk. This reality calls into question whether forward-facing listings should be built for these individuals at all. We’ll dive deeper into this topic below, in the section on multi-practitioner listings.

Confusing for the ecosystem

Beyond Google-related concerns, Moz Local’s awesome engineers have taught me some rather amazing things about the problems shared phone numbers can create for citation-building campaigns in the greater ecosystem. Many local business data platforms are highly dependent on unique phone numbers as a signal of entity uniqueness (the “P” in NAP is powerful!). So, for example, if you submit both Jim’s Dog Walking and Jim’s Bookkeeping to Infogroup with the same number, Infogroup may publish both listings, but leave the phone number fields blank! And without a phone number, a local business listing is pretty worthless.

It’s because of realities like these that a unique phone number for each entity is a requirement of the Moz Local product, and should be a prerequisite for any citation building campaign.

What to do about it:

Let the business owner know that a unique phone number for each business entity, each business location, and each forward-facing practitioner who wants to be listed is a necessary business expense (and, hey, likely tax deductible, too!). Once the investment has been made in the unique numbers, the work ahead involves editing all existing citations to reflect them. The free tool Moz Check Listing can help you instantly locate existing citations for the purpose of creating a spreadsheet that details the bad data, allowing you to start correcting it manually. Or, to save time, the business owner may wish to invest in a paid, automated citation correction product like Moz Local.

Pro tip: Apart from removing local business listing stumbling blocks, unique phone numbers have an added bonus in that they enable the benefits of associating KPIs like clicks-to-call to a given entity, and existing numbers can be ported into call tracking numbers for even further analysis of traffic and conversions. You just can’t enjoy these benefits if you lump multiple entities together under a single, shared number.

3. Keyword stuffing GMB listing names

What you’ll hear:

“I have 5 locations in Dallas. How are my customers supposed to find the right one unless I add the neighborhood name to the business name on the listings?”

-or-

“We want customers to know we do both acupuncture and massage, so we put both in the listing name.”

-or-

“Well, no, the business name doesn’t actually have a city name in it, but my competitors are adding city names to their GMB listings and they’re outranking me!”

Why it’s a problem:

Long story short, it’s a blatant violation of Google’s guidelines to put extraneous keywords in the business name field of a GMB listing. Google states:

  • Your name should reflect your business’ real-world name, as used consistently on your storefront, website, stationery, and as known to customers.
  • Including unnecessary information in your business name is not permitted, and could result in your listing being suspended.

What to do about it:

I consider this a genuine Local SEO toughie. On the one hand, Google’s lack of enforcement of these guidelines, and apparent lack of concern about the whole thing, makes it difficult to adequately alarm business owners about the risk of suspension. I’ve successfully reported keyword stuffing violations to Google and have had them act on my reports within 24 hours… only to have the spammy names reappear hours or days afterwards. If there’s a suspension of some kind going on here, I don’t see it.

Simultaneously, Google’s local algo apparently continues to be influenced by exact keyword matches. When a business owner sees competitors outranking him via outlawed practices which Google appears to ignore, the Local SEO may feel slightly idiotic urging guideline-compliance from his patch of shaky ground.

But, do it anyway. For two reasons:

  1. If you’re not teaching business owners about the importance of brand building at this point, you’re not really teaching marketing. Ask the owner, “Are you into building a lasting brand, or are you hoping to get by on tricks?” Smart owners (and their marketers) will see that it’s a more legitimate strategy to build a future based on earning permanent local brand recognition for Lincoln & Herndon, than for Springfield Car Accident Slip and Fall Personal Injury Lawyers Attorneys.
  2. I find it interesting that, in all of Google’s guidelines, the word “suspended” is used only a few times, and one of these rare instances relates to spamming the business title field. In other words, Google is using the strongest possible language to warn against this practice, and that makes me quite nervous about tying large chunks of reputation and rankings to a tactic against which Google has forewarned. I remember that companies were doing all kinds of risky things on the eve of the Panda and Penguin updates and they woke up to a changed webscape in which they were no longer winners. Because of this, I advocate alerting any business owner who is risking his livelihood to chancy shortcuts. Better to build things for real, for the long haul.

Fortunately, it only takes a few seconds to sign into a GMB account and remove extraneous keywords from a business name. If it needs to be done at scale for large multi-location enterprises across the major aggregators, Moz Local can get the job done. Will removing spammy keywords from the GMB listing title cause the business to move down in Google’s local rankings? It’s possible that they will, but at least they’ll be able to go forward building real stuff, with the moral authority to report rule-breaking competitors and keep at it until Google acts.

And tell owners not to worry about Google not being able to sort out a downtown location from an uptown one for consumers. Google’s ability to parse user proximity is getting better every day. Mobile-local packs prove this out. If one location is wrongly outranking another, chances are good the business needs to do an audit to discover weaknesses that are holding the more appropriate listing back. That’s real strategy – no tricks!

4. Creating a multi-site morass

What you’ll hear:

“So, to cover all 3 or our locations, we have greengrocerysandiego.com, greengrocerymonterey.com and greengrocerymendocino.com… but the problem is, the content on the three sites is kind of all the same. What should we do to make the sites different?”

-or-

“So, to cover all of our services, we have jimsappliancerepair.com, jimswashingmachinerepair.com, jimsdryerrepair.com, jimshotwaterheaterrepair.com, jimsrefrigeratorrepair.com. We’re about to buy jimsvacuumrepair.com … but the problem is, there’s not much content on any of these sites. It feels like management is getting out of hand.”

Why it’s a problem:

Definitely a frequent topic in SEO forums, the practice of relying on exact match domains (EMDs) proliferates because of Google’s historic bias in their favor. The ranking influence of EMDs has been the subject of a Google updateand has lessened over time. I wouldn’t want to try to rank for competitive terms with creditcards.com or insurance.com these days.

But if you believe EMDs no longer work in the local-organic world, read this post in which a fellow’s surname/domain name gets mixed up with a distant city name and he ends up ranking in the local packs for it! Chances are, you see weak EMDs ranking all the time for your local searches — more’s the pity. And, no doubt, this ranking boost is the driving force behind local business models continuing to purchase multiple keyword-oriented domains to represent branches of their company or the variety of services they offer. This approach is problematic for 3 chief reasons:

  1. It’s impractical. The majority of the forum threads I’ve encountered in which small-to-medium local businesses have ended up with two, or five, or ten domains invariably lead to the discovery that the websites are made up of either thin or duplicate content. Larger enterprises are often guilty of the same. What seemed like a great idea at first, buying up all those EMDs, turns into an unmanageable morass of web properties that no one has the time to keep updated, to write for, or to market.
  2. Specific to the multi-service business, it’s not a smart move to put single-location NAP on multiple websites. In other words, if your construction firm is located at 123 Main Street in Funky Town, but consumers and Google are finding that same physical address associated with fences.com, bathroomremodeling.com, decks.com, and kitchenremodeling.com, you are sowing confusion in the ecosystem. Which is the authoritative business associated with that address? Some business owners further compound problems by assuming they can then build separate sets of local business listings for each of these different service-oriented domains, violating Google’s guidelines, which state:

    Do not create more than one page for each location of your business.

    The whole thing can become a giant mess, instead of the clean, manageable simplicity of a single brand, tied to a single domain, with a single NAP signal.

  1. With rare-to-nonexistent exceptions, I consider EMDs to be missed opportunities for brand building. Imagine, if instead of being Whole Foods at WholeFoods.com, the natural foods giant had decided they needed to try to squeeze a ranking boost out of buying 400+ domains to represent the eventual number of locations they now operate. WholeFoodsDallas.com, WholeFoodsMississauga.com, etc? Such an approach would get out of hand very fast.

Even the smallest businesses should take cues from big commerce. Your brand is the magic password you want on every consumer’s lips, associated with every service you offer, in every location you open. As I recently suggested to a Moz community member, be proud to domain your flower shop as rossirovetti.com instead of hoping FloralDelivery24hoursSanFrancisco.com will boost your rankings. It’s authentic, easy to remember, looks trustworthy in the SERPs, and is ripe for memorable brand building.

What to do about it:

While I can’t speak to the minutiae of every single scenario, I’ve yet to be part of a discussion about multi-sites in the Local SEO community in which I didn’t advise consolidation. Basically, the business should choose a single, proud domain and, in most cases, 301 redirect the old sites to the main one, then work to get as many external links that pointed to the multi-sites to point to the chosen main site. This oldie but goodie from the Moz blog provides a further technical checklist from a company that saw a 40% increase in traffic after consolidating domains. I’d recommend that any business that is nervous about handling the tech aspects of consolidation in-house should hire a qualified SEO to help them through the process.

5. Creating ill-considered practitioner listings

What you’ll hear:

“We have 5 dentists at the practice, but one moved/retired last month and we don’t know what to do with the GMB listing for him.”

-or-

“Dr. Green is outranking the practice in the local results for some reason, and it’s really annoying.”

Why it’s a problem:

I’ve saved the most complex for last! Multi-practitioner listings can be a blessing, but they’re so often a bane that my position on creating them has evolved to a point where I only recommend building them in specific cases.

When Google first enabled practitioner listings (listings that represent each doctor, lawyer, dentist, or agent within a business) I saw them as a golden opportunity for a given practice to dominate local search results with its presence. However, Google’s subsequent unwillingness to simply remove practitioner duplicates, coupled with the rollout of the Possum update which filters out shared category/similar location listings, coupled with the number of instances I’ve seen in which practitioner listings end up outranking brand listings, has caused me to change my opinion of their benefits. I should also add that the business title field on practitioner listings is a hotbed of Google guideline violations — few business owners have ever read Google’s nitty gritty rules about how to name these types of listings.

In a nutshell, practitioner listings gone awry can result in a bunch of wrongly-named listings often clouded by duplicates that Google won’t remove, all competing for the same keywords. Not good!

What to do about it:

You’ll have multiple scenarios to address when offering advice about this topic.

1.) If the business is brand new, and there is no record of it on the Internet as of yet, then I would only recommend creating practitioner listings if it is necessary to point out an area of specialization. So, for example if a medical practice has 5 MDs, the listing for the practice covers that, with no added listings needed. But, if a medical practice has 5 MDs and an Otolaryngologist, it may be good marketing to give the specialist his own listing, because it has its own GMB category and won’t be competing with the practice for rankings. *However, read on to understand the challenges being undertaken any time a multi-practitioner listing is created.

2.) If the multi-practitioner business is not new, chances are very good that there are listings out there for present, past, and even deceased practitioners.

  • If a partner is current, be sure you point his listing at a landing page on the practice’s website, instead of at the homepage, see if you can differentiate categories, and do your utmost to optimize the practice’s own listing — the point here is to prevent practitioners from outranking the practice. What do I mean by optimization? Be sure the practice’s GMB listing is fully filled out, you’ve got amazing photos, you’re actively earning and responding to reviews, you’re publishing a Google Post at least once a week, and your citations across the web are consistent. These things should all strengthen the listing for the practice.
  • If a partner is no longer with the practice, it’s ideal to unverify the listing and ask Google to market it as moved to the practice — not to the practitioner’s new location. Sound goofy? Read Joy Hawkins’ smart explanation of this convoluted issue.
  • If, sadly, a practitioner has passed away, contact Google to show them an obituary so that the listing can be removed.
  • If a listing represents what is actually a solo practitioner (instead of a partner in a multi-practitioner business model) and his GMB listing is now competing with the listing for his business, you can ask Google to merge the two listings.

3.) If a business wants to create practitioner listings, and they feel up to the task of handling any ranking or situational management concerns, there is one final proviso I’d add. Google’s guidelines state that practitioners should be “directly contactable at the verified location during stated hours” in order to qualify for a GMB listing. I’ve always found this requirement rather vague. Contactable by phone? Contactable in person? Google doesn’t specify. Presumably, a real estate agent in a multi-practitioner agency might be directly contactable, but as my graphic above illustrates, we wouldn’t really expect the same public availability of a surgeon, right? Point being, it may only make marketing sense to create a practitioner listing for someone who needs to be directly available to the consumer public for the business to function. I consider this a genuine grey area in the guidelines, so think it through carefully before acting.

Giving good help

It’s genuinely an honor to advise owners and marketers who are strategizing for the success of local businesses. In our own small way, local SEO consultants live in the neighborhood Mister Rogers envisioned in which you could look for the helpers when confronted with trouble. Given the livelihoods dependent on local commerce, rescuing a company from a foundational marketing mistake is satisfying work for people who like to be “helpers,” and it carries a weight of responsibility.

I’ve worked in 3 different SEO forums over the past 10+ years, and I’d like to close with some things I’ve learned about helping:

  1. Learn to ask the right questions. Small nuances in business models and scenarios can necessitate completely different advice. Don’t be scared to come back with second and third rounds of follow-up queries if someone hasn’t provided sufficient detail for you to advise them well. Read all details thoroughly before replying.
  2. Always, always consult Google’s guidelines, and link to them in your answers. It’s absolutely amazing how few owners and marketers have ever encountered them. Local SEOs are volunteer liaisons between Google and businesses. That’s just the way things have worked out.
  3. Don’t say you’re sure unless you’re really sure. If a forum or client question necessitates a full audit to surface a useful answer, say so. Giving pat answers to complicated queries helps no one, and can actually hurt businesses by leaving them in limbo, losing money, for an even longer time.
  4. Network with colleagues when weird things come up. Ranking drops can be attributed to new Google updates, or bugs, or other factors you haven’t yet noticed but that a trusted peer may have encountered.
  5. Practice humility. 90% of what I know about Local SEO, I’ve learned from people coming to me with problems for which, at some point, I had to discover answers. Over time, the work put in builds up our store of ready knowledge, but we will never know it all, and that’s humbling in a very good way. Community members and clients are our teachers. Let’s be grateful for them, and treat them with respect.
  6. Finally, don’t stress about delivering “the bad news” when you see someone who is asking for help making a marketing mistake. In the long run, your honesty will be the best gift you could possibly have given.

Happy helping!

Sign up for The Moz Top 10, a semimonthly mailer updating you on the top ten hottest pieces of SEO news, tips, and rad links uncovered by the Moz team. Think of it as your exclusive digest of stuff you don’t have time to hunt down but want to read!

from Raymond Castleberry Blog http://raymondcastleberry.blogspot.com/2017/12/not-actually-best-local-seo-practices.html
via http://raymondcastleberry.blogspot.com

What Do Google’s New, Longer Snippets Mean for SEO? – Whiteboard Friday

Posted by randfish

Snippets and meta descriptions have brand-new character limits, and it’s a big change for Google and SEOs alike. Learn about what’s new, when it changed, and what it all means for SEO in this edition of Whiteboard Friday.

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What do Google's now, longer snippets mean for SEO?

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Howdy, Moz fans, and welcome to another edition of Whiteboard Friday. This week we’re chatting about Google’s big change to the snippet length.

This is the display length of the snippet for any given result in the search results that Google provides. This is on both mobile and desktop. It sort of impacts the meta description, which is how many snippets are written. They’re taken from the meta description tag of the web page. Google essentially said just last week, “Hey, we have officially increased the length, the recommended length, and the display length of what we will show in the text snippet of standard organic results.”

So I’m illustrating that for you here. I did a search for “net neutrality bill,” something that’s on the minds of a lot of Americans right now. You can see here that this article from The Hill, which is a recent article — it was two days ago — has a much longer text snippet than what we would normally expect to find. In fact, I went ahead and counted this one and then showed it here.

So basically, at the old 165-character limit, which is what you would have seen prior to the middle of December on most every search result, occasionally Google would have a longer one for very specific kinds of search results, but more than 90%, according to data from SISTRIX, which put out a great report and I’ll link to it here, more than 90% of search snippets were 165 characters or less prior to the middle of November. Then Google added basically a few more lines.

So now, on mobile and desktop, instead of an average of two or three lines, we’re talking three, four, five, sometimes even six lines of text. So this snippet here is 266 characters that Google is displaying. The next result, from Save the Internet, is 273 characters. Again, this might be because Google sort of realized, “Hey, we almost got all of this in here. Let’s just carry it through to the end rather than showing the ellipsis.” But you can see that 165 characters would cut off right here. This one actually does a good job of displaying things.

So imagine a searcher is querying for something in your field and they’re just looking for a basic understanding of what it is. So they’ve never heard of net neutrality. They’re not sure what it is. So they can read here, “Net neutrality is the basic principle that prohibits internet service providers like AT&T, Comcast, and Verizon from speeding up, slowing down, or blocking any . . .” And that’s where it would cut off. Or that’s where it would have cut off in November.

Now, if I got a snippet like that, I need to visit the site. I’ve got to click through in order to learn more. That doesn’t tell me enough to give me the data to go through. Now, Google has tackled this before with things, like a featured snippet, that sit at the top of the search results, that are a more expansive short answer. But in this case, I can get the rest of it because now, as of mid-November, Google has lengthened this. So now I can get, “Any content, applications, or websites you want to use. Net neutrality is the way that the Internet has always worked.”

Now, you might quibble and say this is not a full, thorough understanding of what net neutrality is, and I agree. But for a lot of searchers, this is good enough. They don’t need to click any more. This extension from 165 to 275 or 273, in this case, has really done the trick.

What changed?

So this can have a bunch of changes to SEO too. So the change that happened here is that Google updated basically two things. One, they updated the snippet length, and two, they updated their guidelines around it.

So Google’s had historic guidelines that said, well, you want to keep your meta description tag between about 160 and 180 characters. I think that was the number. They’ve updated that to where they say there’s no official meta description recommended length. But on Twitter, Danny Sullivan said that he would probably not make that greater than 320 characters. In fact, we and other data providers, that collect a lot of search results, didn’t find many that extended beyond 300. So I think that’s a reasonable thing.

When?

When did this happen? It was starting at about mid-November. November 22nd is when SISTRIX’s dataset starts to notice the increase, and it was over 50%. Now it’s sitting at about 51% of search results that have these longer snippets in at least 1 of the top 10 as of December 2nd.

Here’s the amazing thing, though — 51% of search results have at least one. Many of those, because they’re still pulling old meta descriptions or meta descriptions that SEO has optimized for the 165-character limit, are still very short. So if you’re the person in your search results, especially it’s holiday time right now, lots of ecommerce action, if you’re the person to go update your important pages right now, you might be able to get more real estate in the search results than any of your competitors in the SERPs because they’re not updating theirs.

How will this affect SEO?

So how is this going to really change SEO? Well, three things:

A. It changes how marketers should write and optimize the meta description.

We’re going to be writing a little bit differently because we have more space. We’re going to be trying to entice people to click, but we’re going to be very conscientious that we want to try and answer a lot of this in the search result itself, because if we can, there’s a good chance that Google will rank us higher, even if we’re actually sort of sacrificing clicks by helping the searcher get the answer they need in the search result.

B. It may impact click-through rate.

We’ll be looking at Jumpshot data over the next few months and year ahead. We think that there are two likely ways they could do it. Probably negatively, meaning fewer clicks on less complex queries. But conversely, possible it will get more clicks on some more complex queries, because people are more enticed by the longer description. Fingers crossed, that’s kind of what you want to do as a marketer.

C. It may lead to lower click-through rate further down in the search results.

If you think about the fact that this is taking up the real estate that was taken up by three results with two, as of a month ago, well, maybe people won’t scroll as far down. Maybe the ones that are higher up will in fact draw more of the clicks, and thus being further down on page one will have less value than it used to.

What should SEOs do?

What are things that you should do right now? Number one, make a priority list — you should probably already have this — of your most important landing pages by search traffic, the ones that receive the most search traffic on your website, organic search. Then I would go and reoptimize those meta descriptions for the longer limits.

Now, you can judge as you will. My advice would be go to the SERPs that are sending you the most traffic, that you’re ranking for the most. Go check out the limits. They’re probably between about 250 and 300, and you can optimize somewhere in there.

The second thing I would do is if you have internal processes or your CMS has rules around how long you can make a meta description tag, you’re going to have to update those probably from the old limit of somewhere in the 160 to 180 range to the new 230 to 320 range. It doesn’t look like many are smaller than 230 now, at least limit-wise, and it doesn’t look like anything is particularly longer than 320. So somewhere in there is where you’re going to want to stay.

Good luck with your new meta descriptions and with your new snippet optimization. We’ll see you again next week for another edition of Whiteboard Friday. Take care.

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Sign up for The Moz Top 10, a semimonthly mailer updating you on the top ten hottest pieces of SEO news, tips, and rad links uncovered by the Moz team. Think of it as your exclusive digest of stuff you don’t have time to hunt down but want to read!

from Raymond Castleberry Blog http://raymondcastleberry.blogspot.com/2017/12/what-do-googles-new-longer-snippets.html
via http://raymondcastleberry.blogspot.com

IEA’s World Energy Outlook 2017 Foresees a Transformation of the Global Energy System

The International Energy Agency (IEA) released its World Energy Outlook 2017 in November, providing global energy market projections through 2040.[i] The outlook assumes that governments will stick to the pledges they made on energy, including India and China’s pledges to move away from fossil fuels and the United States’ to reduce its demand for oil through fuel economy improvements for cars and trucks. Despite the pledges, IEA predicts that global energy demand will increase by 30 percent by 2040, which is equivalent to adding another China and India to today’s global energy demand.[ii] It predicts that the global economy will grow at an annual average rate of 3.4 percent and that population will expand from 7.4 billion today to more than 9 billion in 2040.

The largest contribution to demand growth—almost 30 percent—comes from India, whose share of global energy use increases to 11 percent by 2040, but below its 18 percent share in the expected global population. Southeast Asia’s energy demand is expected to grow at twice the pace of China, resulting in Asia accounting for two-thirds of global energy growth. The Middle East, Africa and Latin America account for the other one-third.

Source: IEA

The IEA sees four major shifts in the global energy system: the rapid deployment and falling costs of clean energy technologies, the growing electrification of energy, the shift to a more services-oriented economy and a cleaner energy mix in China and the resilience of shale gas and tight oil in the United States.

U.S. Tight Oil and Shale Gas

IEA believes that the United States will provide 80 percent of the increase in global oil production in the next ten years, producing 30 percent more than Russia, due to U.S. shale oil production increasing by 8 million barrels a day between 2010 and 2025. That increase “would match the highest sustained period of oil output growth by a single country in the history of oil markets,” rivaling the massive increase by Saudi Arabia between 1966 and 1981. According to the IEA, “A remarkable ability to unlock new resources cost-effectively pushes combined United States oil and gas output to a level 50 percent higher than any other country has ever managed.” The oil price collapse in 2016 left many oil producers unprofitable and provided for a wave of innovation that has improved U.S. shale producers’ productivity and efficiency.[iii]

As a result, the IEA believes that by the late 2020s, the United States will export more oil than it imports. The United States will still import heavy crude oil to support its refineries while exporting light oil.

By 2025, increases in U.S. gas and oil production will turn the country into a net exporter of fossil fuels for the first time since 1948. Hydraulic fracturing technology has made the United States the undisputed leader of oil and gas production worldwide, [iv] transforming the United States from an energy importer into a major player in global markets capable of producing 30 million barrels of oil and gas equivalency per day by 2025, up from 24 million barrels per day today.

IEA also predicts that the United States will become the world’s largest exporter of liquefied natural gas by the mid-2020s,[v] surpassing Qatar, and helping to supply a natural gas demand increase of 45 percent by 2040. The United States is expected to become a net natural gas exporter this year.

IEA’s predictions are derived in part from its calculation of recoverable reserves in the United States, which IEA increased by about 30 percent to 105 billion barrels.[vi]

Coal

Since 2000, world coal-fired power generating capacity has grown by nearly 900 gigawatts, but IEA expects net additions from today to 2040 to be half that amount—400 gigawatts—with many of these plants currently under construction. In India, IEA expects the share of coal in the power mix to drop from three-quarters in 2016 to less than half in 2040. In the absence of large-scale carbon capture and storage, IEA forecasts global coal consumption to be flat.

Renewable Energy

IEA expects renewable sources of energy to meet 40 percent of the increase in primary demand and provide 40 percent of total power generation in 2040, capturing two-thirds of global investment in power plants.

 

IEA assumes that policies continue to support renewable electricity worldwide, increasingly through competitive auctions rather than feed-in tariffs, and the transformation of the power sector is amplified by millions of households, communities and businesses investing directly in distributed solar photovoltaics (PV). China and India are expected to rapidly deploy solar PV, helping to make solar energy the largest source of low-carbon capacity by 2040.

In the European Union (EU), renewable energy accounts for 80 percent of new capacity additions. Wind power in the EU will become the leading source of electricity soon after 2030, due to strong growth of onshore and offshore wind.

According to IEA, growth in renewable energy is not confined to the power sector. IEA expects that the direct use of renewables to provide heat and mobility worldwide will double. In Brazil, IEA sees the share of direct and indirect renewable use in final energy consumption increasing from 39 percent today to 45 percent in 2040, compared with a worldwide increase from 9 percent today to 16 percent in 2040.

China

China’s demand growth slowed markedly from an average of 8 percent annually from 2000 to 2012 to less than 2 percent per year since 2012. IEA expects it to slow to an average of 1 percent per year to 2040 in part due to energy efficiency regulation. By 2040, however, per-capita energy consumption in China is expected to exceed that of the European Union. Without new efficiency measures, China’s end-use consumption in 2040 would be 40 percent higher.

In the IEA projections, China overtakes the United States as the largest oil consumer around 2030 and its net imports reach 13 million barrels per day in 2040. IEA sees the main driving force behind global oil growth, however, shifting to India post 2025 due to stringent fuel-efficiency measures for cars and trucks and a shift in car purchases to electric vehicles in China. China accounts for over 40 percent of global investment in electric vehicles, and has 25 percent of its market electric by 2040.

Installed capacity by technology in China in the NPS. Source: IEA 

IEA sees China accounting for a quarter of the projected increase in global gas demand with projected imports of 280 billion cubic meters in 2040, which is second only to those of the European Union.

In electricity markets, IEA expects one-third of the world’s new wind power and solar PV to be constructed in China and China continues to lead a gradual increase in nuclear energy, overtaking the United States by 2030 to become the largest producer of nuclear-based electricity.

Though still a major consumer of coal, China’s coal use peaked in 2013 and IEA expects it to decrease by almost 15 percent by 2040.

IEA expects China’s carbon dioxide emissions to plateau by 2030 at a level slightly higher than today and then to start to decline. IEA believes China’s carbon dioxide emissions peaked in 2013.

Conclusion

IEA sees the world’s energy system in transformation: China takes a back seat to India in energy growth, the United States becomes a major oil and gas producer and exporter and renewable energy continues to make major in-roads into energy markets driven by government policies.


[i] International Energy Agency, World Energy Outlook 2017, November 2017, http://www.iea.org/weo2017/

[ii] BBC, US leads world in oil and gas production, IEA says, November 14, 2017, http://www.bbc.com/news/business-41988095

[iii] CNN Money, America’s oil and gas output could soar 25% by 2025, November 14, 2017, http://money.cnn.com/2017/11/14/news/economy/us-oil-gas-shale-iea/index.html

[iv] Reuters, U.S. to account for most world oil output growth over 10 years: IEA, November 16, 2017, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-oil-iea-birol/u-s-to-account-for-most-world-oil-output-growth-over-10-years-iea-idUSKBN1DG1XP?il=0

[v] CNN Money, America’s oil and gas output could soar 25% by 2025, November 14, 2017, http://money.cnn.com/2017/11/14/news/economy/us-oil-gas-shale-iea/index.html

[vi] USA Today, Analysis: Why Saudi Arabia should fear U.S. oil dominance, November 18, 2017, https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/energy/2017/11/18/analysis-why-saudi-arabia-should-fear-u-s-oil-dominance/868990001/

The post IEA’s World Energy Outlook 2017 Foresees a Transformation of the Global Energy System appeared first on IER.

from Raymond Castleberry Blog http://raymondcastleberry.blogspot.com/2017/12/ieas-world-energy-outlook-2017-foresees.html
via http://raymondcastleberry.blogspot.com

IEA’s World Energy Outlook 2017 Foresees a Transformation of the Global Energy System

The International Energy Agency (IEA) released its World Energy Outlook 2017 in November, providing global energy market projections through 2040.[i] The outlook assumes that governments will stick to the pledges they made on energy, including India and China’s pledges to move away from fossil fuels and the United States’ to reduce its demand for oil through fuel economy improvements for cars and trucks. Despite the pledges, IEA predicts that global energy demand will increase by 30 percent by 2040, which is equivalent to adding another China and India to today’s global energy demand.[ii] It predicts that the global economy will grow at an annual average rate of 3.4 percent and that population will expand from 7.4 billion today to more than 9 billion in 2040.

The largest contribution to demand growth—almost 30 percent—comes from India, whose share of global energy use increases to 11 percent by 2040, but below its 18 percent share in the expected global population. Southeast Asia’s energy demand is expected to grow at twice the pace of China, resulting in Asia accounting for two-thirds of global energy growth. The Middle East, Africa and Latin America account for the other one-third.

Source: IEA

The IEA sees four major shifts in the global energy system: the rapid deployment and falling costs of clean energy technologies, the growing electrification of energy, the shift to a more services-oriented economy and a cleaner energy mix in China and the resilience of shale gas and tight oil in the United States.

U.S. Tight Oil and Shale Gas

IEA believes that the United States will provide 80 percent of the increase in global oil production in the next ten years, producing 30 percent more than Russia, due to U.S. shale oil production increasing by 8 million barrels a day between 2010 and 2025. That increase “would match the highest sustained period of oil output growth by a single country in the history of oil markets,” rivaling the massive increase by Saudi Arabia between 1966 and 1981. According to the IEA, “A remarkable ability to unlock new resources cost-effectively pushes combined United States oil and gas output to a level 50 percent higher than any other country has ever managed.” The oil price collapse in 2016 left many oil producers unprofitable and provided for a wave of innovation that has improved U.S. shale producers’ productivity and efficiency.[iii]

As a result, the IEA believes that by the late 2020s, the United States will export more oil than it imports. The United States will still import heavy crude oil to support its refineries while exporting light oil.

By 2025, increases in U.S. gas and oil production will turn the country into a net exporter of fossil fuels for the first time since 1948. Hydraulic fracturing technology has made the United States the undisputed leader of oil and gas production worldwide, [iv] transforming the United States from an energy importer into a major player in global markets capable of producing 30 million barrels of oil and gas equivalency per day by 2025, up from 24 million barrels per day today.

IEA also predicts that the United States will become the world’s largest exporter of liquefied natural gas by the mid-2020s,[v] surpassing Qatar, and helping to supply a natural gas demand increase of 45 percent by 2040. The United States is expected to become a net natural gas exporter this year.

IEA’s predictions are derived in part from its calculation of recoverable reserves in the United States, which IEA increased by about 30 percent to 105 billion barrels.[vi]

Coal

Since 2000, world coal-fired power generating capacity has grown by nearly 900 gigawatts, but IEA expects net additions from today to 2040 to be half that amount—400 gigawatts—with many of these plants currently under construction. In India, IEA expects the share of coal in the power mix to drop from three-quarters in 2016 to less than half in 2040. In the absence of large-scale carbon capture and storage, IEA forecasts global coal consumption to be flat.

Renewable Energy

IEA expects renewable sources of energy to meet 40 percent of the increase in primary demand and provide 40 percent of total power generation in 2040, capturing two-thirds of global investment in power plants.

 

IEA assumes that policies continue to support renewable electricity worldwide, increasingly through competitive auctions rather than feed-in tariffs, and the transformation of the power sector is amplified by millions of households, communities and businesses investing directly in distributed solar photovoltaics (PV). China and India are expected to rapidly deploy solar PV, helping to make solar energy the largest source of low-carbon capacity by 2040.

In the European Union (EU), renewable energy accounts for 80 percent of new capacity additions. Wind power in the EU will become the leading source of electricity soon after 2030, due to strong growth of onshore and offshore wind.

According to IEA, growth in renewable energy is not confined to the power sector. IEA expects that the direct use of renewables to provide heat and mobility worldwide will double. In Brazil, IEA sees the share of direct and indirect renewable use in final energy consumption increasing from 39 percent today to 45 percent in 2040, compared with a worldwide increase from 9 percent today to 16 percent in 2040.

China

China’s demand growth slowed markedly from an average of 8 percent annually from 2000 to 2012 to less than 2 percent per year since 2012. IEA expects it to slow to an average of 1 percent per year to 2040 in part due to energy efficiency regulation. By 2040, however, per-capita energy consumption in China is expected to exceed that of the European Union. Without new efficiency measures, China’s end-use consumption in 2040 would be 40 percent higher.

In the IEA projections, China overtakes the United States as the largest oil consumer around 2030 and its net imports reach 13 million barrels per day in 2040. IEA sees the main driving force behind global oil growth, however, shifting to India post 2025 due to stringent fuel-efficiency measures for cars and trucks and a shift in car purchases to electric vehicles in China. China accounts for over 40 percent of global investment in electric vehicles, and has 25 percent of its market electric by 2040.

Installed capacity by technology in China in the NPS. Source: IEA 

IEA sees China accounting for a quarter of the projected increase in global gas demand with projected imports of 280 billion cubic meters in 2040, which is second only to those of the European Union.

In electricity markets, IEA expects one-third of the world’s new wind power and solar PV to be constructed in China and China continues to lead a gradual increase in nuclear energy, overtaking the United States by 2030 to become the largest producer of nuclear-based electricity.

Though still a major consumer of coal, China’s coal use peaked in 2013 and IEA expects it to decrease by almost 15 percent by 2040.

IEA expects China’s carbon dioxide emissions to plateau by 2030 at a level slightly higher than today and then to start to decline. IEA believes China’s carbon dioxide emissions peaked in 2013.

Conclusion

IEA sees the world’s energy system in transformation: China takes a back seat to India in energy growth, the United States becomes a major oil and gas producer and exporter and renewable energy continues to make major in-roads into energy markets driven by government policies.


[i] International Energy Agency, World Energy Outlook 2017, November 2017, http://www.iea.org/weo2017/

[ii] BBC, US leads world in oil and gas production, IEA says, November 14, 2017, http://www.bbc.com/news/business-41988095

[iii] CNN Money, America’s oil and gas output could soar 25% by 2025, November 14, 2017, http://money.cnn.com/2017/11/14/news/economy/us-oil-gas-shale-iea/index.html

[iv] Reuters, U.S. to account for most world oil output growth over 10 years: IEA, November 16, 2017, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-oil-iea-birol/u-s-to-account-for-most-world-oil-output-growth-over-10-years-iea-idUSKBN1DG1XP?il=0

[v] CNN Money, America’s oil and gas output could soar 25% by 2025, November 14, 2017, http://money.cnn.com/2017/11/14/news/economy/us-oil-gas-shale-iea/index.html

[vi] USA Today, Analysis: Why Saudi Arabia should fear U.S. oil dominance, November 18, 2017, https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/energy/2017/11/18/analysis-why-saudi-arabia-should-fear-u-s-oil-dominance/868990001/

The post IEA’s World Energy Outlook 2017 Foresees a Transformation of the Global Energy System appeared first on IER.