Google’s “Mayday” Update
Depending on your website, it was either the best of times or the worst of times. Either way, Google’s Mayday updated occurred. The update happened between April 28th and May 3rd, and business started feeling the effects in their search engine optimization shortly after. The shift occurred due to an algorithmic change in Google, a move Google defends because of what they say is an effort to create the best matches for long tail queries. This forced a lot of sites to reevaluate their keyword assignments and make them more specific and better support their keyword hub structure. This algorithmic change isn’t going anywhere anytime soon so expect to keep refining your long tail keywords into 2011.
Allowing an Average Joe the ability to query like an SEO expert is quite the accomplishment. Google managed to bestow us with such powers with the introduction of Google Instant, a faster way to search. How fast? Results show that 2-5 seconds are shaved off from a typical Google search. Maybe this doesn’t seem like an astronomical number to you, but where you take into account the millions of users cutting down on their search times it amounts to 3.5 billion seconds a day! Check it out, all you have to do is begin typing into the search bar, and before you know it, Google Instant has filled out the search query for you and corresponding results, almost like it’s reading your mind. Imagine all the searching possibilities in 2011. Chances are, Google Instant already has.
Social Media Links Recognized in Webmaster Tools
This year links from social media posts began registering in Webmaster tools and thus positively benefiting search results. That’s right, Webmaster tools acknowledge all of that seemingly meaningless rel= “no follow” links posted on your Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn accounts as external links. So gather round all of your co-workers and have a real heart-to-heart. Ask each of them to open social media accounts and pass ranking power to your company website.
Bing/Yahoo Have 24% Off the Market
That’s right, Bing and Yahoo now account for 24% of the online search space. This can only mean good things for everyone (other than Google, of course). It’s the age-old economic philosophy that competition breeds innovation. The competition also helps to weed out unfavorable changes. So if the innovation Google added to the search algorithm this year was not well received more people will flock to Yahoo and Bing. It’s a win-win situation. This new shift in market shares will have us seeing the search engines fighting for our search queries.
Facebook Reaches over 500 Million Users
Facebook reported that over 500 million individuals are utilizing Facebook. The numbers that follow the 500 million statistics are even more staggering: cumulatively users spend over 700 billion minutes on Facebook per month, there are over 30 billion pieces of content shared each month (blogs, links, notes, photos, news stories, etc.), and the United States accounts for only 30% of Facebook users – so that means, Facebook is global. This makes the premise of companies using Facebook to market themselves that much more enticing. Think of all the people that can reach your brand and your company when you add a profile to this site. If you don’t have a Facebook account as of yet, chances are you will by this year.
“Google Me” Delayed… Again
Google Me is an attempt to get into the social media game beyond Google Buzz. The dubbed “Facebook Killer” was set to release this year before Google backtracked and offered an estimated time of release for Spring 2011. Disagreements about the design and execution of the site have slowed down progress. So, what’s Google Me bringing to the table that Facebook isn’t? That’s the question. I have no answer nor does anyone outside of the Google offices. We have all been left out in the dark. I’ll let you know how it all turns out in April of 2011, that is unless Google decides to push back the release date another six months.
Bing’s Integration with Facebook
Have you ever wanted to see what websites your friends like integrated with your search results? Maybe not, but now that Bing has integrated with Facebook, just the fact that the option is available makes it somewhat enticing. Think about it: you type a query in the search bar and right next to the results is a photograph of your old friend Bob. If Bob liked the article, then you will too. In all seriousness, this is a great strategy to lure in more traffic to your web pages. The most like your pages have the better. This way whenever someone is in need of a product/service that you offer, your website is more likely to be referenced because a familiar face will appear next to your link. I’m sure search engines will get more creative with this concept as this year progresses.
Twitter Launches Analytics and Ads
There’s nothing more that businesses like than statistics. Marketing is a numbers game, after all, and Twitter has long been privy to this. So it wasn’t surprising that this year Twitter launched an analytics and an advertising platform. A bonus: the analytics platform is FREE!! Twitter analytics tracks followers’ locations (both in the United States and Globally), their gender, and the percentage of followers engaged/disengaged in Twitter. They even provide you with a graph that breaks down the time of day that you tweet and the time of day you get retweeted.
Twitter ads consist of promoted Tweets and Hash Tags. Of course, there are also other means of advertising, such as.
Location Based Social Media
Location Based Social Media sites have taken on a steady stride this year. From places like Loopt that allows users the ability to, “Find out who’s around, what to do, and where to go.” To business-friendly Foursquare, that allows companies the chance to market to a local clientele. And for the foodies in your life direct them over to Foodspotting, a site that’ll display all of the eating destinations in your area with reviews and pictures to boot! Location-based sites are hitting the spot with the modern-day consumers’ urge to know what’s going on at all times. And with sales of cell phones and portable miniature laptops on the rise, Location Based sites have nowhere to go but up.
Mobile Search Engine Optimization
Ever since we left the 90’s and decided to enter the world of cell phones that fit into our pockets, the technologies associated with said cell phones have continuously been evolving. And now that more than 1/3 of Americans browse the internet on their pocket-sized cell phones, mobile search engine optimization has become the way of the future. While creating sites for mobile searches may be a bit daunting (buttons must be more extensive and the overall appearance of the site should remain simple to appear the same on various brands of phones) it is a most fulfilling task. Not taking the time to optimize a mobile site in the same manner as a regular website is a costly mistake. In 2011 reap the benefits of a mobile searching population because it’s only going to get bigger.