the latest from 2am Media

20 Dec

How did we do when predicting search engine developments in 2010?


Back at the end of 2009 2am made some predictions about what to expect from the search engines in 2010. Before making some more predictions for 2011 let’s review the last set of predictions and see how close they came.

Is the search market a two horse race?


It will be by the end of 2010 after Yahoo starts using Bing as its search engine provider.

The split is likely to be about 80 / 20 in favour of Google, however it’s likely that Bing will become far more important in the search marketing field as the two search engines generate some real market competition.

How did we do:

Well in reality the search market is still dominated by Google, however they have been the most innovative this year than they have been in recent years which suggests that they have been investing in keeping themselves in that dominant position.

How will real time search affect the search marketing sector?


When Bing announced that it was going to include a real time element to its search results Google took up the challenge and worked out a way to incorporate real time search results into their SERPs.

By all accounts it’s a bit of a hash job at the moment and it’s likely that the people in Google’s quality control departments are going to be spitting feathers about the click through rates and abandonment rates off the back of Twitter posts.

At the moment you don’t have to worry about the quality of your content or other SEO elements you just have to Twitter loads about it and you’ll get to the top of the listings for those search terms. This is especially true of bigger brands at the moment.

There’s no doubt that Google will come up with a better solution for this aspect of their algorithm in 2010.

Bing will have to do something much more special to beat this.

How did we do:

All in all it seems to have worked quite well, Google’s trending is still very similar to the way it was when it was first launched and it’s now a very familiar and welcome addition to Google’s search results. They’ve certainly improved the design of it if nothing else!

How will search engines cope with links in real time search results?


The thing about social media such as Twitter, Facebook and Digg etc is that the post streams can carry links, because of this there has been change in the way the web is referencing itself.

Referencing or link popularity being the way the search engines work out how popular a page is and rank it accordingly. With Tweets, retweets etc it’s important that the algorithms such as PageRank and Trust Rank are adjusted to take this growing linkscape into account.

Google and Bing will both be developing their search engines to deliver the best results whilst incorporating this factor, this will probably be one of the major battle grounds in the coming year in terms of displayed results.

How did we do:

Well there has been stability and predictability throughout the search results which is great and makes my life a lot easier as a SEO – I suppose we shouldn’t really have worried about this search engines need to deliver stable results.

Will personalization of SERPs lead to the end of search engine optimisation?


Google announced that it was extending it’s personalised search factors in search results, previously only logged in accounts delivered personalised results, however now results are personalised to user behaviour irrespective of whether you’re logged in or not. This data will be used to improve the search results, meaning higher bounce rates, lower click through rates will be increasingly important. Many people have predicted this is the end of SEO as we know it.

In fact it’s more the start of a new chapter in SEO, that sees a return to the notion that content is king, and that places a greater emphasis on the user getting what they want, it will mean we have to be smarter marketers, which at the end of the day is what SEO has always been about.

The implications of this are:

  • Startups are going to find it harder to get to the top of the SERPs as the top spots naturally get more clicks, impressions, click through rates.
  • Rankings Reports will become less important as we turn towards percentage increase and decrease in Organic Clicks compared to similar historic periods.

How did we do:

Personalisation has definitely had an impact and has taken us further down the road of brand dominance, however it’s not been taken as far as it could have been, ranking reports are still a SEO’s essential tool.

What effect would News Corp signing an exclusivity contract with Bing have?


News Corp fired a warning shot over the bow of Google by suggesting that it may go into an exclusivity contract with Bing for the delivery of its news content.

If this where to happen it would be the first time that major news providers would be available exclusively in one listing and not the other, if enough news organizations went down this route there could be serious implications for Google’s domination of the online news listing sector, it’s not likely to happen as the drop in impressions for the news organizations would have a dramatic impact on the amount they can charge for advertising – as the search market becomes more competitive and the duopoly of Google and Bing gets going it’s likely that we’ll see more of these kind of “what if” threats and discussions.

How did we do:

This failed to come to pass, however many news outlets have gone down the road of putting up paywalls which has changed the news dynamic significantly.

Google Weather? How come Google isn’t sending me to the Met Office anymore?


If you carry out a search for the weather in your local area you’ll see that Google is including the weather results at the top of the page, this is a strategy that is gaining prominence in many of Google’s search results – they don’t actually want you to leave the SERPs, this applies to all kind of results from the weather to the Football results.

This works for Google because the longer they can keep you on their user interface the more searches you are likely to make, and the more searches you are the likely to make, the more opportunities they have to display advertising.

We do expect the search market to grow in 2010 as the Internet becomes even more integrated into our lives, however don’t expect the click throughs to your website to increase proportionately, 2010 is going to see Google and Bing keeping its users on the SERPs for as long as possible by providing as much information as they can before sending people away.

How did we do:

Spot on with this one, Google is working harder to keep us on their pages. I’ll drill into this in the 2011 predictions blog.

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