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Top 20 Search Engine Stories First Half of 2009
Tuesday, June 30, 2009
Can you believe that 2009 is half over? Where does the time go? We though that it would be fun to compile some of the most memorable search stories for the first half of 2009. There has been a lot movement in the Search industry (as there always is), so it was difficult to narrow it down to just 20.

We factored in the "top newsmaker" stories as well as stories that we thought would have the largest impact on where Search is going.

Top 20 Search Engine Stores: First Half of 2009

#20. Google Penalizes Google Japan for Buying Links - still trying to artificially build your link inventory? In February of this year, Matt Cutts from Google reported that Google had penalized Google Japan for purchasing links. This is interesting as Google is still trying to work to address this issue. We think that is why we are seeing some of the recent tweaks to their algorithm in that we may be in for a major Google update similar to the Florida update of November 2003.

#19. The Obama Effect on Search - January 2009 - with the inauguration of Barack Obama, various web properties experience traffic spikes as the world goes online to learn more about the 44th President of the United States.

#18. Mobile is Coming! Mobile is coming! - In February, Yahoo announced that they were reorganizing and rebranding their mobile offering with the release of Yahoo Mobile. Yahoo, realizing the popularity of smartphones is looking to capitalize on things such as mobile widgets, a new mobile website and applications. http://searchengineland.com/yahoo-reorganizes-rebrands-mobile-offerings-as-yahoo-mobile-16598. ComScore has released reports that there are 63 million mobile users in the US with 35% online via their phones daily.

#17. Even the Search Engines are on Twitter - Twitter is all of the rage. In February, Search Engine Land posted about notable employees of the major search engines that are on Twitter.

#16. ASK Brings Back Jeeves in the UK - April 2009 - Ask tries to reinvent their brand by bringing back their retired butler Jeeves for their UK market. http://searchengineland.com/welcome-back-jeeves-17737

#15. Google AdWords Updates URL Policy - February 2009. Google announced the policy change regarding multiple display URL domains per ad group. According to Google, "... This will not only provide a better user experience for your potential customers, but will also allow you to better organize and track the various domains within your AdWords account."

#14. SEMPO Release State of the Search Engine Marketing Survey - April 2009 - There were some interesting findings from the SEMPO report including that 40% of advertiser respondents reported that they are actively promoting their brand on social media. SEMPO Releases State of Search Market 2008 Survey Results

#13. Microsoft Looks to Spend $100 Million to gain Market Share - in early April, reports started to come out that Microsoft would be spending $100 million to try and gain market share in the Search industry.

#12. Yahoo Releases Yahoo Web Analytics - April 2009. A couple years after Google released Google Analytics, Yahoo followed it up by making Yahoo Analytics available to search and display advertisers. Yahoo announced the release in late April. http://web.analytics.yahoo.com

#11. YouTube is now the second largest Search Engine - March 2009. Being communicated at SES NY in March, it was announced that You Tube is now the second largest search engine behind Google. This does in fact make sense with over 15 hours of video being submitted to You Tube every hour.

#10. Even the Search Engines fall prey to the Recession - various reports suggest that Yahoo. Microsoft and yes even Google will be having layoffs proving that the explosive growth experienced by these companies is slowing down as the economy and the recession impact the Search industry as well.

#9. Wolfram Alpha Search Engine Gains Momentum - April 2009 - an interesting and innovative approach to search with the Wolfram Alpha Search Engine. The goal of the project is to take any information that can be computed and combine and package it so that people can access this knowledge from a single source or search

#8. Google Updates Algorithm: Places more weight on brands - March 2009. Google who, in the previous year, claimed to make over 415 changes to their algorithm updated their algorithm one more time as they placed some emphasis on brands for given search queries. Call it relevancy (if you can call the brands relevant) but realistically if you do a search for say "car insurance" you do expect to see the Geico's and Progressive's of the world.

#7. Google holds their second annual Searchology Event – May 12. Google conducts their second ever Searchology day where they discussed Universal Search, new navigation and talked about Google Search Options. A full recap is available here.

#6. The increasing popularity of Twitter - March 2009 - I'm not sure if you can say that Twitter is the flavor of the week. Twitter is popular. The microblogging service continues to gain in popularity and now even Oprah and Perez Hilton are on Twitter. It's gone mainstream. As a result it is only a matter of time until we see a flood of advertising on Twitter. 140 characters... brilliant, who would have thought this would become the phenomenon that it has? http://twitter.com/marketing_jive

#5. The major search engines release the canonical tag for addressing duplicate content concerns - February 2009. This is a big story from a Webmaster and SEO point of view as the canonical tag is a great way to identify canonical tags and communicate which pages you want to be the authority for the Search engines, thereby directing them to your canonical URLs and not duplicate versions.

#4. Yahoo Announces Carol Bartz as New CEO - January 2009. In mid January, Yahoo announced the replacement for Jerry Yang as former Executive Chairman of Autodesk Carol Bartz was announced as the new CEO for Yahoo (YHOO). Since then there have been a few moments of improvement, but overall it has been pretty quiet from the Yahoo camp.

#3. Michael Jackson's Death breaks on Twitter, cripples Google News and Freezes Wikipedia - June 25, 2009. When the news broke that the King of Pop has passed away, the Internet was buzzing with people trying to confirm the story. There was so much traffic that Google News was returning an "404 error type page" for 25 minutes thinking that the story was part of an automated attack. On Wikipedia, after an explosion of edits to Jackson's Wikipedia article, editors take the step of locking it down in "protective status". Yahoo reported that its Yahoo News property set an all-time record for traffic, registering 16.4 million unique visitors. That beats out election day, where site saw 15.1 million visitors. Complete timeline of events following the death of Michael Jackson.

#2. The world welcomes Microsoft Bing - June 3, 2009 saw the full release of Microsoft's latest attempt at Search with Bing. Ridiculed by some and tried out by many, the verdict is still out on Bing. Reports suggest that Bing has captured some initial market share in the Search industry but whether this will be permanent only time will tell. New features include a list of related searches ("Explorer pane") which is not really new in the world of Search, but new for Microsoft. Bing is dubbed "the search engine that finds and organizes the answers you need so you can make faster, more informed decisions." You can take a tour of Bing here.

#1. Apple Releases iPhone 3Gs - June 2009 - while this is not Search specific, it does have a direct impact on Search. Simply put, it’s a phone, an iPod, and an Internet device in one. It gives you access to thousands of applications. And it’s built on technology that’s years ahead of its time. The iPhone phenomenon is just starting. With over 60,000 apps and with over 40,000 iPods and iPhones sold, the way people search for information and when they search for information has changed greatly with smartphones such as Apple's iPhone. Now you can pretty much search anywhere, anytime with a phone.

Wow, we continue to see a number of changes in the Search industry. We do expect some interesting happenings to finish out the year including some major index updates from Google and Yahoo. We can expect that the second half of 2009 will be as busy as the first half.


posted by Jody @ Tuesday, June 30, 2009  
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About Me
Name: Jody
Home: Kelowna, BC, Canada
About Me: SEO guy by day, family man 24/7.
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