2010 has been a very big year for the internet particularly with Google and Facebook, and arguably, 2010 was the year of Facebook. Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg was named Time's Person of the Year, so perhaps this lends credence to this statement. I don’t believe any changes in the past 10 years of the internet come close to how the internet has evolved during the past 12 months. Changes within Google and Facebook have been occurring so quickly, that keeping up-to-date with all of these changes is a major task in itself. Most importantly, Google finally faces its first serious threat, and that is Facebook. Surprised that Facebook is a threat to Google? Many people (and businesses) still don’t realise the impact and importance Facebook is having on businesses. 12 months ago Facebook was certainly no competitor to Google, but Facebook is evolving, and at a very rapid rate.
So what does this mean to your business?
Having ‘the right’ social media strategy is essential in the current web environment, and still retaining a strong focus on Google. In fact with the constant changes to Google, more focus than ever is required. Google have also made changes to how they list social media results, and as such having synergy between social media and search engines is key to overall success. Contact us for more information.
So what have been the biggest changes of 2010?
Google has broadened its offerings, and considerably evolved from what it was even as a search engine. The whole interface, and the way search results are displayed is considerably different to what it was 12 – 18 months ago. Some of the important changes that affected search results were:
- Google Instant
- Google Image Search
- Social Signals incorporated in ranking algorithm
- Caffeine update
- Mayday Update
- Real-time Search
- Site Speed became a ranking factor
- Google Phone was released
- Google finally has a real threat on its hands with Facebook
Facebook (Business related changes)
- Facebook beat Google with the amount of traffic going through the site
- Facebook reached over half a billion users, and becomes an important business tool. Facebook is not going after the search market, and with a larger user base than Google, is a very serious threat to Google.
- Facebook made significant changes to business pages, and available features, including the ability to create your own custom designed landing pages.
- Facebook made a deal with Microsoft (Bing) with the information they share and the ‘social signals’, and in so doing started down the road of the first real threat to Google with Search.
- Facebook released facebook e-mail accounts (only in the USA, not yet in Australia)
- Facebook made significant changes to their privacy settings after coming under fire for their lack of privacy and controls.
- Facebook released Facebook Places, opening up a lot of opportunities for bricks-and-mortar businesses.
- The Open Graph and social plugins was announced. This would tie the (external) web to Facebook such as via
the ‘Like’ button so often seen these days on external websites, and various other ways for content publishers to draw traffic and encouage engagement from their users.
- ‘Social Signals’ were ‘born’. This is potentially the start of a new era of the web, and the search information people are provided with when searching the web.
- Smartphones usage have significantly increased, which has seen mobile web browsing as being an important part of a website strategy.
- Hackers have become very prevalent across the web, and even small business websites have become more of targets for hackers. This has led to increased security protocols with websites, web hosting companies, and for SSL Certificate encryption (the small padlock on shopping sites to protect credit card transactions). This has also brought in PCI Compliance with credit card companies which are regulations/standards of how you can accept credit cards through a website.
- The awareness of SEO (search engine optimisation) and the need to make a website perform well in Google has significantly increased, which has lead to much higher competion in going after top placements in Google.
Biggest Trends of 2010
- Mobile Usage/Browsing
- Local Search
- Social Media
- HTML5 – a new age for the web, and how websites will be built and the features they can more easily use.
2011 – The Year Ahead
So what is in store for us in 2011? I predict that Google will begin to lose considerable market share in ‘Search’ to Facebook, as Facebook continues to evolve. It will no longer be enough for a business to only focus on Google as part of their web marketing strategy, to achieve effective web marketing results. There is opportunity in this. It took many years for the general business community to understand the importance of search engine optimisation (SEO) and as a result, during that time many businesses had the opportunity to consolidate stronger positions within Google at a much lower cost than today. The same thing will apply to Social Media. So now is a great opportunity to get in early with an effective Facebook (and general social media) strategy, and consolidate your companies position and stay ahead of your competitors.