Mobile marketing has closely followed the fast ascent of smartphone penetration around the globe. Developed markets like that of the US, UK, much of Europe, several countries in Africa, and across Asia and the Pacific have seen marked growth in the use of smartphones. What is most relevant to SEO companies and social media marketing professionals, however, is the fact that search behavior has grown along with the adoption of the smartphone. People are using them to conduct their internet searchers more and more thus opening up the opportunity for businesses to conduct paid search and SEO campaigns to target the mobile searchers. Now Google is looking to the developing markets in Latin America as regions ripe for Android predicting them to take off in the coming years.

Latin America in Focus
There are currently more than 600 million mobiles in Latin America, and although only 1% of the 200 million devices sold in the region as a whole in 2011 were smartphones, the rate is expected to climb. Google estimates for the smartphone adoption are highest in Chile at 25%, Argentina with 24%, and 13% in Brazil. Google sees special opportunity in the Brazilian market because it is largely a blank canvas without any trending devices or popular customer manufacture preferences, and Google wants to assert themselves in that position. This notion is echoed by the fact that Google Play, their market for digital content, will offer e-books and music in the Brazilian market very soon.

Businesses should look to the Latin American markets for opportunity more as they develop their smartphone capabilities. As adoption increases, there are simply going to be more customers for products and services, and businesses will have greater access to them through increased internet access and mobile web access. Coordinated social media and SEO campaigns can take a business to the next level and gain an increased foothold in such new markets.

Reach out to me directly at rbuddenhagen(at)webimax.com and @ryanwbudd for more information about the Latin American markets and the opportunity that exist there.

Google has been no stranger to legal issues with investigations being conducted into privacy and antitrust matters among others for a considerable period now in all corners of the word. In France, Google has been fined €100,000 for collecting data from wireless networks with their Latitude Program and Street view, had a privacy dispute with the embarrassing Frenchman picture/Street View case, and was taken to court by a map-making company who filed an unfair competition complaint against Google for providing a service for free that they charge for – Google was fined €500,000.

In Germany, the Street View was received with great skepticism and concern over privacy before it was eventually accepted, and across the EU as well as in the US, the company is being investigated for antitrust concern. We have written about these various cases and will continue to do so because as Google is the undisputed leader in the search industry, what they are dealing with matters for SEO companies and the industry at large.

Now, the company has officially acknowledged two other inquiries that are currently ongoing in two other countries, Argentina and South Korea. Google has had its share of issues already in South Korea, as last year government officials searched the company’s office as part of an investigation into Street View data collection. Now, the Korea Fair Trade Commission has an inquiry that began last year on the business practices of the company. In South America, the Argentinian Competition Commission is conducting a preliminary investigation into the company’s search and advertising, and Google is cooperating fully in the inquiry.

According to The Washington Post, Argentina’s antitrust agency began their investigation in November of 2010 to establish if their presumably dominant position in the search and ad industries precludes other players from gaining any relevant market share. Additionally, the El Cronista newspaper made a report last year the agency was investigating whether or not Google accepted money in return for increasing certain website rankings. This last speculation is a hefty one and it is unclear if the agency is actually investigating such an issue.

Businesses looking to optimize their websites and additional properties in social media and other areas need to keep an eye on Google and understand how the latest legal dealings could impact search going forward. To a large extent, Google is bearing the brunt of legal ramifications that come from being the industry leader in a constantly evolving industry. As I have written before, the company’s technologies are challenging legal frameworks in new ways and not until the new applications of existing laws to all of the internet’s activities have been worked out, will Google settle in and be moving forward without such constant litigation. In the meantime, search engine optimization consultants and others in the industry are evaluating how legal decisions and pressure impact their services for the businesses that use them.

For more information on how search engine optimization consultants can assist your business in tracking industry changes and optimize accordingly, reach out to me directly at rbuddenhagen@webimax and @ryanwbudd.