Stephen Logan

What to Look Out For in the World of Search in 2010

11th Dec 2009 SEO Blog 6 minutes to read

After what has been another incredibly busy, and often turbulent year in search engine marketing, we look forward to some of the potential stories to break or be resolved in 2010.

Google, the omnipresent overseer of all things search have continued to develop their algorithm with Vince update and discussions about Caffeine. They’ve developed Streetview, explored freely available ebooks, rolled out Wave and updated their search options. In short, Google have been busy.

Yahoo and Microsoft have set aside their differences and shaken hands on a entente-cordiale agreement, combining their powers in an attempt to save off the threat of Google becoming a mononpolising search super power.

New search engines have sprouted up to take on the might of the ‘Power Three’ – soon to become two – although it would be safe to say that most, with the possible exception of Wolfram Alpha, failed to cause anything other than a minor ripple.

Social media and web 2.0 very much came to the fore. Twitter and Facebook have both seen exponential growth since the beginning of the year and have shown no signs of faltering as yet. In fact the social and search worlds finally collided in the dying embers of 2009, with Google, Bing and now Yahoo all integrating Twitter searches into their results.

So with this in mind, what can we look out for in 2010? Which stories are going to rumble on, which are going to reach their conclusions? Below I’ve put together a few things that we’ll be looking out for in the coming months:

Google Wave – The multi-faceted communication aggregator was released to a select band of enthusiasts, with more invitations distributed throughout the latter part of this year. With a global release imminent, it will be interesting to see how this grows – if indeed it does. Wave adopts a more inclusive conversation style of communication, integrating the elements of email and social media in one complete package; so it could become very much a part of the way we communicate in 2010 – or not. [See: Will Google’s Midas Touch Continue with Wave?]

YaBing Merger – Yahoo and Microsoft have already shaken hands in a deal to join forces in an effort to reel in the rampant Google. With Bing the search engine of choice and Yahoo controlling the advertising side of things, they are very much playing to their respective strengths. An announcement as to whether the merger will be approved, based on potential anti-competitive issues, is expected in early 2010; so, depending on the outcome, we will be able to see if two heads are better than one and YaBing can take the search fight to Google throughout the year.  [See: Can YaBing Really Oust Google?]

Mobile Search – Dedicated mobile search has been booming over the past couple of years. With the increase in Internet-ready devices, this growth looks set to grow and a new area of search competition could be opened. Google’s Android and the iPhone look set to be two of the major exponents of future mobile Internet search, with devices like Google Goggles looking set to revolutionise the way we look for information online.

Google Caffeine – Any major algorithm change within Google has to be taken seriously. With site load times and a whole host of other user experience based factors being integrated, SEO could look very different come this time next year. [See: Google to Get a Caffeine Boost…Soon]

Real-time Search – We’ve seen the first rollout of real-time search; with Twitter integration in the SERPs of Bing, Google and Yahoo. In 2010 Google and Bing will both also include Facebook messages, with the former also syndicating MySpace updates, so real-time search is going to be one of the big talking points and likely to be one of the areas that is developed most, as YaBing, Google, Facebook and Twitter all compete for searchers attention.  [See: Google Goes Real-time]

Twitter and Facebook Search – Both have integrated search elements over the past few months and both are clearly looking to become major aggregators of information, pooled from the wider world’s conversations. Can they hook into their huge membership and become competitive search engines in their own right in 2010? [See: New Twitter Home Page Incorporates Search]

Web 3.0 – Bona fide semantic search may still be some way off, but with Google’s development of personalised search, based on the activities of users – both signed in and not – we are edging towards the intelligence based search of web 3.0. Look out for more updates in the next 12 months.

Yahoo/Microsoft Paid Search – Google AdWords has been the default PPC option for most online marketers, with Yahoo and Microsoft often seen as an optional extra. With the likely collaboration of Yahoo and Bing, suddenly Yahoo Search Marketing or Microsoft’s adCenter will be used on search engines that control 10% of the UK market and the potential for greater growth. Without the dilution of paid search competition between Yahoo and Microsoft, their combined powers could make them a force to be reckoned with – attracting the attention of the wider marketing community.

Online News – The latest battleground in the search world is being pitted over the rights for showing news. With the Murdoch Empire choosing to move towards paid news and remove their publications from the pages of Google, Microsoft have snuck in and exclusively claimed them for their Bing engine. Subscription based news will either sink or swim in 2010 and the way in which it is presented within the SERPs of Google and YaBing could prove pivotal. News search will be big news once again.  [See: Is Rupert Murdoch Right to Charge for Online News?]

Google Vs Microsoft – They’ve been treading on each other’s toes for the past 12 months. Microsoft have been pushing their new search engine, Bing, to try to fell Google’s search superiority; in doing so they’ve arranged a merger with another rival, Yahoo. The one-upmanship continued with the announcement of the free Chrome operating system, around the same time as Windows 7 was gaining hype. The Chrome Internet browser has been cutting away at Microsoft’s IE domination too; so how will 2010 go for these two technology giants, and who will come out on top?

Google Vs Apple – Whilst the Microsoft war wages, Google also need to keep an eye on Apple. After dumping Google from their iPhone and Eric Schmidt (Google’s CEO) from their board of directors, 2009 set the benchmark for future mobile battle engagements. Google’s own phone is likely to get a launch in 2010, to rival the iPhone, whilst the Android OS will provide a stern test to Apple’s dominance. With mobile search becoming increasingly competitive and lucrative, this will rumble on and on.

Google Vs News Corp – Murdoch wants to charge for his numerous online publications, Google just want to proliferate the most relevant news headlines within their search results. News Corp are therefore removing their headlines from the search engine that is not only the most popular website in the world, but commands 90% of all the searches too. Microsoft have stepped in and taken on the News Corp titles, but with a big question mark hanging over the intelligence of charging for news that is available elsewhere for free, this looks like a mismatch from the outset. 2010 will give us a more definitive answer.

Google Vs Yahoo – Yahoo will become Google’s major paid search competitor in 2010. With the removal of the diluting effect of Microsoft from the world of PPC, Yahoo will be keen to capture a sizeable chunk of Google’s search profits. Will they succeed? Time will tell.

So there it is. The battle lines may have been drawn over the past 12 months, but the skirmishes and outcomes will only become clearer next year. The Internet is moving forward at apace, with search seemingly leading the way. The transitional period that was 2009 could well start to come to conclusions in 2010, so keep watching this space for the latest updates.

So what do you think will be the major stories in the world of 2010? Do you agree with the above list? Are there any things you’d add? As always, your comments are greatly appreciated.

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