For years, Google’s simple, uncluttered layout has been appealing feature for searchers. Yesterday, Google revealed that they are evolving from their traditional search results page to a more advanced display. The Google search toolbar located at the top of the screen has been moved to the left-hand side. Soon searchers will be able to refine their searches by news, updates through social media channels, blogs and much more all from one place. Google has also given searchers the option to define a specific timeframe of their search results.
This new overhaul has many critics scratching their heads and noticing glaring similarities between Bing’s display results and Google’s proposed layout. Many Googlers aren’t particularly thrilled with the transition from Google’s simplistic organization to the more advanced format. However, industry experts feel Google’s improvements were only a matter of time. With the upcoming Bing (MSN) and Yahoo merger; MSN will be taking up a larger percentage of the search market. According to the latest Hitwise results; Yahoo occupies approximately 14.9 percent of the search market and Bing roughly 9.43 percent.
Love or hate the new layout, one thing is clear; the competition between Google and MSN is becoming more intense. I have a feeling that Google’s recent makeover is only the first of many changes searchers will see in the near future.
According to a recent Hitwise tweet, something unprecedented happened on December 25th, 2009. For the first time ever, Facebook topped Google as the most visited site on Christmas day. While you can argue that this means nothing other than that people are spending more time uploading pictures and updating their status, and less time browsing or shopping online, it is still a testament to the power of the ever-growing giant that is Facebook. Hitwise also claims that the term “Facebook” was the most searched term on Google in 2009.
This yuletide news is a great distraction from Facebook’s recent negative headlines regarding their new privacy settings. Facebook users were concerned when, earlier this month, after logging in were directed to a “transition tool” asking them to review their personal settings. While Facebook assures their users that this only gives everyone more personal control, some argue that all these changes are an attempt to get more Facebook content in the search engines.
In the end, it doesn’t appear that these recent updates are enough to cause any affect on the site’s ever-growing appeal.
For many clients who participate in pay per click (ppc) advertising, the one engine that seems to get the most attention is Google. Clients want to concentrate most, if not all, of their budget on Google AdWords. While advertising on Google is important, there are many other search engines that deliver qualified customers to your site, sometimes for a lower cost per click. According to HitWise, as of February 2009, Google accounted for 72.11% of the search engine market share, which still leaves a huge amount of advertising opportunities in other search engines.
Engines such as Yahoo have modified and improved their demographic targeting functionality, to not only attract more advertisers, but to deliver more qualified customers. Yahoo’s improved targeting tools now allow advertisers to focus on their core customer base by selecting age, gender, location and time of day.
Bing is another search engine that everyone is talking about. MSN launched Bing just over a month ago and the buzz surrounding Bing continues to grow. MSN’s reinvention of their search engine has many advertisers questioning what demographic they expect to reach with this new makeover. Wister Walcott of Search Engine Land says ‘Bing is a blend of the old and the new, and best-practices in search marketing still apply. If you are managing very large search marketing programs, Bing probably won’t be the main focus of your job, but it was and is still a great place to pick up some incremental traffic.’
When creating your search engine marketing (SEM) campaign don’t discount the amount of traffic that lies just beyond the threshold of Google. Just because a search engine is smaller, does not mean that the traffic should be disregarded completely; not every search engine will perform the same. Each campaign will need to be fine tuned, according to the search engine, but by proactively managing and monitoring your campaign, you can make smaller search engines work for you.