Welcome to day 23 of the bigmouthmedia SEO Advent Calendar. You can read day 22 here.
Search Updates In 2011 And Their Potential For 2012
The year 2011 has been an interesting one for search engine marketers with many changes brought about not least by the three major search engines Google, Yahoo and Bing.
Here are the highlights of 2011:
Our favourite search engine surprised us with its second attempt of going social – with Google+! There has been more buzz around G+ than the search engine’s previous venture into the social sphere. How does G+ benefit SEO? Quite simply, +1’s help your site in the SERP rankings. Google + is now also open to brands, so get out there and create your G+ page! How successful will G+ be? Well, it’s hard to predict the future, but it’s definitely something to keep your eyes on. It’s all about diversifying your portfolio.
Other Google highlights in 2011 include:
- Real-time results disappeared
- Instant preview appeared
- Google flight search available – how are comparison sites copying?
- Google supports video feeds for TV
- Expanded site links: The SERP pages in Google change constantly and one of the 2011 features was expanded site links. PS: You can request undesirable pages not to appear in the site links.
- More data available in Google Analytics and integration of Google Webmaster Tools data in Analytics.
- SSL search: we no longer see that nice list of keywords by users who are signed-in on any analytics platform.
- Quality Deserves Freshness: Fresh content will be rewarded with Google predicting this algorithm change to affect about 30% of all searches.
- And, of course, our favourite: PANDA! Much has been written about it over the year, so I’ll keep it short and sweet: watch that content!
The two have joined forces and since August 2011 Yahoo! search has been powered by Bing and Microsoft’s search market share has increased. Remember don’t forget about Bing.
Also a word of note to Yahoo! Site Explorer: RIP.
2011 has clearly shown the importance of social in search and it will gain further significance in 2012. Bing integrated Facebook likes into search results, Foursquare hit 10 million users, Spotify has over 4 million users since joining force with Facebook, Instagram reports to have 14 million users worldwide, Twitter is testing a more interactive design, Facebook Timeline will be available …
- Privacy concerns: Germany repeatedly expressed privacy concerns over Google Analytics. Both parties seem to have come to an agreement with Google that includes some concessions by the search engine although Google don’t agree that analytics has breached privacy protection in its previous form. The EU also passed legislation, the Cookie Law, which requires webmasters to present users with an opt-in option to their data being stored. It will come into force in the UK in May 2012.
- Yandex.com launched in 2011. The most popular search engine in Russia is venturing into the Google dominated, English speaking market. A global player that you should watch!
- Microsoft is powering English-language search results in Baidu (main Chinese search engine).
Trends for 2012:
Looking at the search updates and changes in 2011, the next year in search will be focussing much on
SOCIAL, MOBILE & CONTENT
Search will also become more personal, just think of Google Circles and author mark-up. With users expressing privacy concerns over the big players, niche sites and platforms can emerge and cater for a specific audience. All in all – exiting times ahead! And I’m sure we won’t be spared the odd surprise either.