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SEO Industry Trends of 2009

Wednesday, 18 November 2009


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This may be a bit early but I was asked to write something of this nature for a client and thought it worth sharing with you all. I think the most significant trend of 2009 is the rise of Twitter, demonstrated by how I compiled this post - I didnt do endless Google searches, I asked leading SEO industry people on Twitter what they thought should be included. Many thanks to them, you should all follow them as they are ace:

SEO Highlights for 2009

Vince:

Vince was an update in Google results that affected results around March 2009. It is an update that was said to favour big brands in search results. Research into how Vince favours brands in the search results indicates that brand search volume and search refinement may play a big part, which can be encouraged via other marketing channels and PR
More info: A Comprehensive Guide to Google Vince by @jonaths

Caffeine:
Caffeine is an update to the technology behind Google. It should provide a faster experience and enable Google to update the search results with new features more smoothly. In theory, as it only affects the underlying technology, search results shouldnt be affected, however Google is rolling this update out after Christmas to make sure any anomalies wont hurt the Christmas period.
More info: Google Blogpost on Caffeine

Bing UK:
Bing is the relaunched Microsoft search engine, formally called Live. Bing is being marketed heavily in the US with a $100 million advertising campaign, pitching itself as a "Decision Engine". It has partnered with several vertical search engines such as Wolfram Alpha and Ciao to provide richer results than Google, the biggest partnerships include taking over Yahoo search technology and close Twitter integration.
More info: Bing UK Features

Google Webmaster Tool Updates:
Several improvements were made to Google Webmaster Tools to help with SEO without needing to change code on the website - along with HTML (cough SEO) suggestions, tools such as site migration notification and parameter handling were introduced to help a webmaster diagnose what they can do to improve the indexing of the site.
More info: Google Webmaster Tool Blog

Canonical Tag:

Along with the Google Webmaster Tool updates, Google also coordinated with other search engines to introduce a new meta tag. This can be inserted into a page to tell search engines which page should be regarded as the default and so avoiding duplicate content issues. The Canonical tag acts as a suggested 301 redirect, the traditional method of canonicalizing multiple URLs (such as example.com, www.example.com and www.example.com/index.php
More Info: Google Introduce Canonical Tag

Linking more important in SEO industry:
In 2009 more SEOs recognised the importance of linking to achieve results, with more sophisticated linking techniques being used. The reliance on link networks and paid links has in general trended downwards to more favour content creation. This can be observed in the increasing sophistication of competitor backlinks.

Google Search Wiki:

Google introduced more personalisation into Google search results, with options such as Search Wiki letting users literally blow up results they dont want for keyphrases when signed into their Google account. In general Google has been active in collecting more user data to help improve their search results, as can be seen in Google experiments such as social search.

More info: Googles Search Wiki Introduction


Google Sidewiki:

Sidewiki is a new addition that enables users with the Google Toolbar to comment on a website for other Google users to review. The commented on website can only control which results appear if they sign up to Google services themselves.
More info: Sidewiki abuse starts on UK papers by @malcomcoles,

Lead Generation:
Google are increasingly looking to provide comparison services on the search results - mortgage comparison was sighted being trailed in the UK and Google Product search was recently updated to feature comparisons between products.
More info: Google tests Mortgage Comparison Ads

Google Book Search:
Google has been through some political wrangling to allow it to publish books online worldwide - this has recently been restricted to only those areas were publishers have rights, at the moment only those in the US, Canada and the UK.
More Info: Google Books legal settlement sets geographic, business limits

Wolfram Alpha / Semantic:
Wolfram Alpha was launched to much hype early in the year, and whilst traffic levels are not significant, Bing signed up an exclusive deal with Wolfram technology to provide Wolfram Alphas content rich, supercomputer computed results into search results. Wolfram is an example of a semantic search engine, where output it guessed via the context of the query. The data is all curated in Wolframs own servers though, so is not a true semantic search engine that would recognise general user data as this would require non-standardised recognition of context. Google is also in this area with Google Squared

More Info: Tim Berners Lee TED talk on "The Next Web"

Social Media growth (Facebook/Twitter)
Social Media in general continued to grow, with Twitter becoming mainstream through highly publicised events, such as the Trafiga scandal. Facebook continued its staggering rate of growth, with now 1 in 7 pageviews in the UK belonging to Facebook.com.

Google Chrome
Google launched its own browser in competition with Firefox and Internet Explorer. The browser boasted Googles clean design and a new Javascript engine which at the time was at least 3 times as fast as its nearest rival.
More Info: Google Chrome Features

UK Serps:
At the same time as the Google Vince update, UK SEOs started to notice non-local results appearing in Google results. In some cases, searching for products only showed irrelevant foreign results, useless to the user (For example "tennis courts in exeter" bought back no UK results) This was posed as an unexpected by-product of the Vince update, and no clear answer or solution has been forthcoming from Google on when this problem is recognised or attempted to be fixed.
More Info: Matt Cutts responding to our very own @Guavarian about UK SERPs

Nofollow Pagerank sculpting:
Matt Cutts at an SEO conference shocked many SEOs by announcing that the practice of "PageRank Sculpting", specifically the technique of using "nofollow" to flow PageRank to a websites most important pages, will be of no benefit and may in fact be detrimental. Matt Cutts further rubbed salt in the wound by announcing "nofollow" PageRank sculpting had been like that for at least a year, but no one in the SEO industry had noticed.
More Info: Matt Cutts clarifies about PageRank Sculpting

Paid Links - Google Japan:
On the other foot, an embarrassing incident in Googles battle against webmasters using paid links to manipulate rankings was created by Google Japan admitting using pay-per-post schemes to help inflate its own website Yahoo Japan rankings, where Yahoo is the dominate player. Google responded by lowering the toolbar PageRank of the site to PR5, a move which was largely symbolic.
More Info: Google Japan Penalized for Paid Links

Javascript/Flash Indexing:
With increased reliance on non-HTML content on the web, such as Javascript AJAX and Flash, Google has been working to index more content of this nature to help with search relevancy. Whilst a Flash URL link is not thought to be of the same power as a standard HTML link, Google has been rolling out over the year improved handling of Flash and Javascript content.
More Info: Advances in Javascript/Flash indexing, but is it enough?

Meta Keywords Tag:
Google officially confirmed that the meta keyword tag has no affect on search position. Whilst known for many years in the SEO community that meta keywords had little or no effect, this confirmation put the final nail in the coffin for this early web meta tag, a victim of being too easy to spam to be of any use to search results.
More Info: Google does not use meta keywords tag

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All the fun of the SEO fair at @sharkseos SEO game. Give it a go!

Ive probably missed some, if so let me know via @GuavaUK or comment below and Ill add them in.

Looking ahead to 2010

So that was 2009, what can we expect to see in 2010?

Page Load times:
Google have recently announced that page load times will increasingly become a ranking signal in search results, with the aim of encouraging the general improvement of the WWW experience for the browser. This has been suspected to be the case for a few years, confirmed by Google.

Social Search:
Bing and Yahoo have recently announced integration with Twitter into their search results, in the first instance allowing relevant tweets in your network be displayed in your keyword searches, but moving forward we could see more search personalisation based on your activity on social media sites.

NewsGroup dropping Google:
2010 will be an interesting year to see how Googles relationship with online newspapers develops - NewsGroup are looking to go behind a paywall as soon as possible to try and halt the decline of online revenues, accusing Google of using NewsGroups own content for its own gain. Many publishers will be watching to see how successful the operation is.

Location based social media:
The rise of smart-phones with GPS and location aware browsers means more data can be used to help functionality of web applications, including local search results. Ideally in the future typing in "pizza" will give you the closest pizza shop to your location. Location based social media sites such as FourSquare may also gain popularity.

HTML 5:
HTML 5 was further specced out in 2009, with features such as semantic tagging implemented. This will be firmed up more in 2010, although HTML5s effect on SEO wont be noticed for a good few years until the majority of websites start using it as standard. Microformats and RDF will be coming a lot sooner.

Comments

Anthony Kenny

Great post! It's quite nice to look back and see how much things have changed in only one year. I totally agree with what we can expect next year and I have a feeling that mobile search is going to become even bigger in 2010 also. Good times ahead methinks!

MarkeD

Yep its an exciting field to work in as things do move on so quickly, I am really looking forward to how it all develops in 2010. Will mobile search finally break? Will Bing do well? Will all the publishers stick two fingers up at Google and go paid? How will Augmented reality pan out?

Victor Aroma

Nice read on SEO!! I may not have included the release of Chrome as it's been out since before 2009 and doesnt pertain to search. However it does show Google's dominance.

MarkeD

@Victor True, Chrome isn't directly an SEO factor, although it does enable Google to collect more user data on which websites are being visited even if not visited via Google search, which can all be used to determine website value.

Everytime I check this post I think of a few more things to add, but had to stop somewhere :) Thats what comments are for :)

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well google has a lot advantage over there own browser, they could a lot more data and learn the browsers visited sites or favorable sites.

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Hello. I bumped into a very easy to use and free link exchange system http://forozik.com/. It is worth noting where your page if you want to be in Google top 10

henrylow

Affiliate Marketing is a performance based sales technique used by companies to expand their reach into the internet at low costs. This commission based program allows affiliate marketers to place ads on their websites or other advertising efforts such as email distribution in exchange for payment of a small commission when a sale results.

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Nice to have a quick recap of the trends of the SEO industry as they will help to formulate website's strategy according to this strategy for improved performance.

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Thanks for the share

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I hope to be spread thoroughly seo

Thanks for the share

Los Angeles SEO

Nice to have a quick recap of the trends of the SEO industry as they will help to formulate website's strategy according to this strategy for improved performance.

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sikis izle nice ppst thx

henry

Having been a part of the Online Universal Work Marketing team for 4 months now, I’m thankful for my fellow team members who have patiently shown me the ropes along the way and made me feel welcome

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henrylow

Having been a part of the Online Universal Work Marketing team for 4 months now, I’m thankful for my fellow team members who have patiently shown me the ropes along the way and made me feel welcome

www.onlineuniversalwork.com

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Google to update the search results with new features more smoothly. In theory, as it only affects the underlying technology, search results shouldn't be affected, however Google is rolling this update out after Christmas to make sure any anomalies won't hurt the Christmas period.

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Google to update the search results with new features more smoothly. In theory, as it only affects the underlying technology, search results shouldn't be affected, however Google is rolling this update out after Christmas to make sure any anomalies won't hurt the Christmas period.

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Thank’s very good

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Social bookmarking feeds is good, i think. And that article is amazing! Very thanks. İf you want to make your web site useble you must follow these steps

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I totally agree with what we can expect next year and I have a feeling that mobile search is going to become even bigger in 2010 also. Good times ahead methinks!

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Thanks for sharing such a nice post.It's quite nice to look back and see how much things have changed in only one year. I totally agree with what we can expect next year and I have a feeling that mobile search is going to become even bigger in 2010 also. Regards

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Thanks.Nice to have a quick recap of the trends of the SEO industry as they will help to formulate website's strategy according to this strategy for improved performance.

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Chrome isn't directly an SEO factor, although it does enable Google to collect more user data on which websites are being visited even if not visited via Google search, which can all be used to determine website value.

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Well.. By the way, Google launched its own browser in competition with Firefox and Internet Explorer. The browser boasted Google's clean design and a new JavaScript engine which at the time was at least 3 times as fast as its nearest rival.CHEERs

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Lot of things at one place. This is a article where you can learn many things like Google Caffeine, Vince, Canonical Tag etc. These are all new topic for me. I really enjoy to read this article.

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In 2009 more SEO's recognised the importance of linking to achieve results, with more sophisticated linking techniques being used. The reliance on link networks and paid links has in general trended downwards to more favour content creation. This can be observed in the increasing sophistication of competitor backlinks.Thanks

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