It's widely assumed that search engines are incorporating signals from popular social networking hubs into their algorithms. After all, millions upon millions of links are shared every day on sites like Facebook and Twitter. It would be somewhat surprising if search engines like Google and Bing were ignoring these links, particularly given the fact that the largest search engines all have data deals in place with Twitter and/or Facebook.
But which signals are being used, and what sort of weight are they being given? Thanks to interviews Search Engine Land's Danny Sullivan conducted with both Google and Bing representatives, we now have a better idea.
Will any company ever be able to compete effectively against Google in the search market? Microsoft is trying, and spending a lot of money in doing so.
But Steve Ballmer might want to have a chat with IAC's Barry Diller. That's because Diller, who spent close to $2bn buying Ask.com in the belief that it might one day compete with Google, has come to the conclusion that Google just can't be beat in search.
Few search experts doubt that social media will have some impact on the SERPs in the future, but up until now, it hasn't been very clear that search engines like Google and Bing quite know the best way to integrate social content and signals into their algorithms and UIs.
But if several changes spotted in the wild on Google News results are any indication, they're increasing their rates of experimentation.
Google Instant certainly ranks as one of the biggest user experience
changes Google has implemented since it launched Google search more than
a decade ago. And for that reason, it has attracted a lot of press attention,
and sparked a significant amount of conversation among search experts.
But is Google Instant really little more than a convenient distraction
that masks Google's flaws? Some are essentially arguing just that.
The data collected on Twitter may create interesting new opportunities for search engines, and that's why the major search engines, including Google, Yahoo and Bing, have done deals to gain access to Twitter's firehose.
But applying Twitter data to search in a meaningful way has proven to be a bit tough. Although there's the potential to use Twitter data as a signal for traditional SERPs, or to display 'real-time' results within the SERPS, search engines are also interested in providing consumers with search experiences explicitly built around real-time information.
Microsoft's new search engine Bing has been making waves in the search market, adding new features and slowly chipping away at Google's established search dominance. But smaller search engines have an uphill battle when it comes to toppling Google in search.
As Ask.com's Barry Diller pointed out today, innovation in search often works toward Google's advantage. Regardless of whether Google does the innovating.
Is Foursquare about to go 'mainstream' like Twitter before it? The Telegraph thinks so.
In terms of size, Foursquare is still just a baby. Its growth is impressive and it just surpassed 2m registered users, but in the overall scheme of things, that's still a relatively small number. But soon, Foursquare and Twitter may share a potentially important business accomplishment: deals with major search engines.
Microsoft has been pouring a lot of time and attention into its new search engine Bing. At first, Bing's gains in marketshare came at the expense of smaller search engines — like Microsoft partner Yahoo. But that is changing. According to comScore, Bing bit further into Google's marketshare in June.
More important for the state of online advertising — paid search
spending is on the rise.
Bing may not have a large share of the search market, but Microsoft's search engine has been quietly picking up useful features in small verticals to pick up new users. Starting this week, the engine has new features that make it easier for users to find entertainment information online.
The "Entertainment" section on Bing now provides additional gaming, video streaming and film information. These are smart little tricks that could help create repeat visitors to Bing. And don't be surprised if you see Google taking notice.
If you're a local merchant with a bricks-and-mortar presence, it's time to kiss the yellow pages goodbye. There's no longer any excuse for not having a web presence or for ignoring digital marketing. Eighty-two percent of people use search engines to find information about local businesses - more than any other media. Even if you don't have a website (you should, but that's another story), there are six sites no local business can afford to ignore.
Not only is getting listed dead simple, it's a great leveler. If you own a pizza place, you can compete head-to-head with national chains like Dominos. Hardware? Go up against Home Depot and Lowes. You get the idea.
Claiming your business and getting listed and on all five of the Big Six should only take an hour or so (though most require you wait for a postcard or phone call o verify that you are who you say you are). Once you've enlisted, and taken advantage of some of the special features these sites offer (mostly for free), you'll reap many advantages. You'll have a presence in organic search results, not only on the web, but also on mobile platforms.
You can offer special deals and inducements to lure new business, you can encourage positive reviews and, to a degree, manage your online reputation. You can precisely map your location and help people to find it, and broadcast your hours of operation. And you'll have access to analytics that can inform you of the keywords used to find your business, the time of day people search for you and other data that can help improve your online presence, offers and advertising and promotional campaigns.
With a near-zero investment of time and money, there's absolutely no excuse to not get started with The Big Six.