A Look Back at Search in 2010

2010 was a very busy year in all of digital with the changes in mobile and social marketing. But search wasn't left behind in the innovations. Google made a number of significant changes and we saw a major announcement between Yahoo! and Bing, and even Faceboook and Apple got into the act. Overall, I'd call the year of 2010 the sign of things to come in 2011. I'll look at things to look for in 2011 in another post. Let's review the major search news of 2010.

Google Expands Data in Webmaster Tool

Google expanded the amount of data it provided with its Webmaster tools. Some of the new data included a site's most linked pages, sites linking to yours, the site's search term performance including clickthrough rate and page shown for the search. This information is very helpful to a web marketer as it allows for some detailed review. The organic clickthrough rates by search term and web page shown allows for some very insightful analysis and adjustments to improve the performance of your organic clickthrough rates.

Places Meets Organic Search Results on Google

Just in the last quarter of 2010, Google started blending “local” or “places” along with and in a number of cases in favor over organic listings. These “place” listings include a revised conglomerate consumer review of the business, changing the landscape of search results for quite a few search terms. This has caused a greater focus by businesses on their online reviews and placed a greater pressure to earn praise from your customers. In searches where Google serves blended results, a number 1 search ranking is only as good as a site's online reviews.

Facebook and twitter Join the Party

Last year quite a bit of noise was made about reports that Google and Bing were taking twitter and Facebook linking and posting activities into consideration as a ranking factor, as well as the authority of the authors posting the links. While the impact of these “social signals” on organic search results is debatable, we now understand that the search engines are paying attention to them. Bing integrated with Facebook to provide unique search results on Bing based upon Facebook friends' Likes as well as to power Facebook with a Bing search. twitter also agreed to a deal with Google for Google to post live tweets for searches Google deemed relevant and time sensitive.

Apple Showed Signs it too May Become a Player

Not to be completely left out of the search engine mix, Apple received a patent on search technology very similar to Google Instant. The company made no move to discuss this patent or it's intended use, but the patent would seem to indicate that Apple is at least considering entering the search arena.

Bing is a Player

Bing made several splashes in 2010 including a major advertising campaign, changes to the content and delivery of search results to some acclaim, a working arrangement with Facebook, and its finalized partnership with Yahoo!, where Bing powers Yahoo! search results. While Yahoo!'s future seems unclear, Bing's seems to be bright. Do not turn a blind eye to Bing, who now has approximately 25% of all of the web searches in the USA.

2010 saw quite a few significant changes. It's hard to imagine that 2011 could top it, but I can guarantee you that there will be more changes. There always are. I'll take a look at what search may have in store for us in 2011 later on this month.