|Welcome to the latest edition of the Submit Express newsletter, where you can find the latest news about our company and the ever-changing worlds of search engine optimization (SEO) and social media. 2009 was one of the most exciting years in Submit Express history: we were honored to be named the Top Search Optimization Firm in 2009 by Website Magazine along with repeat appearances in the Inc. 5,000 and the Deloitte Technology Fast 500. We also became increasingly active in the world of social media through our new iClimber social media service as more companies saw the potential of sites like Facebook and Twitter to connect with prospective customers and clients.
One of our main tasks in 2009 was staying ahead of the changes in the industry. The emergence of Microsoft's Bing search engine and the changes Google made to its Personalized Search function will significantly affect how search engine results are generated and used. As we look ahead to 2010, it's also important to reflect on some of the top search engine-related news stories of the past year and the impact they will have moving forward.
In this issue read about:
Top Search Stories of 2009
June 2009: Microsoft Launches New Bing Search Engine
Microsoft launched its new Bing search engine in June 2009 on the heels of a PR and advertising campaign featuring high-profile TV spots. Microsoft attempted to differentiate Bing from industry giant Google by calling it a "decision engine" rather than a search engine, returning results that were more detailed and precise than Google and therefore providing information to help people make real-world decisions.
According to the official press release, Microsoft focused on three design goals when creating Bing: "deliver great results; deliver a more organized experience; and simplify tasks and provide insight, leading to faster, more confident decisions." Bing offers several features that are unique from Google or Yahoo! search engines, including Related Searches and Quick Tabs, a table of contents for different categories of search results.
While Google remained the dominant search engine, Bing was able to grow its market share throughout 2009, ending the year with more than 1.3 million searches a month.
October 2009: Search Engines Add Real-Time Search Functionality
The increasing popularity of social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook forced search engines to have to address the challenge of real-time searches in 2009. In fact, in the span of one day in October, two of the major search engines announced plans to integrate real-time content from social media sites into their search results.
Bing was the first search engine to announce the integration of Twitter content into its search engine. Google followed up with a similar announcement later that day, adding the rollout of a new Google Labs experiment called Social Search. Through this feature, people conducting Web searches on Google can see results for queries specifically from people in their social network.
December 2009: Google Updates Personalized Search Function
In December 2009, Google released a new version of Personalized Search designed to deliver individual, customized results based on a person's search history. Personalized Search uses information from past searches to deliver results targeted to be the best fit for each individual user. According to a post on the Official Google Blog, one example would be that if a person visits a particular food site frequently, it would be ranked higher in the future when that person does a Google search for recipes.
Previously, Personalized Search had only been available to people who were signed in and had Web History enabled on their Google Accounts. The newest version of Personalized Search extended that feature to all users (even if they were not logged into Google) through their anonymous cookies from the past 180 days.
The announcement caused speculation within the industry about what impact this will have on search engine rankings and the process of optimization. While it is possible that there may be some volatility in search engine rankings in 2010 as the effects of Personalized Search are seen, Chris Boggs of Search Engine Watch feels that basic SEO best practices will still be necessary to ensure a proper search engine ranking.
December 2009: Microsoft and Yahoo! Finalize Partnership
In December 2009 Microsoft and Yahoo! finalized a partnership deal that had been rumored for several months, with Yahoo! using Microsoft's Bing technology to power its search engine in exchange for providing Microsoft with its online ad sales expertise. The two sides reached an agreement in principle in July and later reached out to European Union regulators for permission to combine forces.
Media reports put the deal at ten years, with an expected rollout date for the combined effort in early 2010. According to a joint statement released by the company:
"Microsoft and Yahoo! believe that this deal will create a sustainable and more compelling alternative in search that can provide consumers, advertisers and publishers real choice, better value, and more innovation. Yahoo! and Microsoft welcome the broad support the deal has received from key players in the advertising industry and remain hopeful that the closing of the transaction can occur in early 2010."
Our CEO, Pierre Zarokian, writes about Top 10 Twitter Tools for Visibility Magazine
Submit Express CEO Pierre Zarokian shared some of his formidable knowledge with the world last month, as he laid out his Top 10 Twitter Tools in a guest article for Visibility Magazine. From tools to automate posting to finding relevant keywords, the tools highlighted in the article will help social media beginners and experts alike improve their outreach and get the most out of their Twitter experience.
Click here to read the article and take advantage of these amazing Twitter tips.
Google Threatening to Stop Operations in China
Google is threatening to leave China after a dispute revolving around a cyber attack the search giant says "resulted in the theft of intellectual property from Google." According to DailyFinance.com, Google is vowing to end its censorship of its Chinese language search site, a move that would be seen as thumbing its nose at the communist Chinese government.
In a post on the official Google Blog, Google SVP of Corporate Development and Chief Legal Officer David Drummond said that Google had been the victim of a cyber attack that originated from inside of China. However, Drummond also said that Google's intellectual property wasn't the main target of the attack; rather, the hackers appeared to be interested in accessing the Gmail accounts of human rights activists in China. While the attack only compromised two accounts on a limited basis, the subsequent investigation showed that "the accounts of dozens of U.S.-, China- and Europe-based Gmail users who are advocates of human rights in China appear to have been routinely accessed by third parties."
According to Drummond, the attacks -- combined with China's efforts to curtail free speech online in the past year -- has led Google to "conclude that we should review the feasibility of our business operations in China."
"We have decided we are no longer willing to continue censoring our results on Google.cn," he said, "and so over the next few weeks we will be discussing with the Chinese government the basis on which we could operate an unfiltered search engine within the law, if at all. We recognize that this may well mean having to shut down Google.cn, and potentially our offices in China."
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