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21 Dec

What to expect from the search engines in 2010?


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 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.

Real time search results for Santa Claus

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 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.

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.

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.

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.

Weather Search 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.

Conclusions about the Search Engines in 2010

It’s going to be an exciting year for search engine optimization. There are going to be a lot of changes and Google and Bing are both likely to attempt to win favour with the internet marketing community by implementing various changes that different people can get behind.

Bing offers a real competitor to Google for the first time in a long time and that can only benefit the search results in the long run, in the short term to medium term we are likely to see some shake up in the way we do things as SEO guys – with a greater return to our marketing roots – we’ll be talking far more about visibility rather than rankings as a measure of success.

2 Responses to “What to expect from the search engines in 2010?”

  1. Kate

    Looks like it’s going to be an exciting and challenging year in 2010 – I look forward to it!

  2. Simon Dalley

    Hi Kate,

    Long time no speak – it’s definitely going to be an interesting year for us seo / content geeks, things are certainly changing in 2010. Very exciting.


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