Search engines are always changing their algorithms, sometimes as often as twice per day, but lately there have been some major changes that will affect the way search engines produce results.
Recently, major engines like Google and Yahoo introduced a real-time search feature that scrolls recent Tweets from Twitter containing the searched keyword. With Twitter's explosive growth this year, this change now exposes the millions of conversations happening on Twitter, especially when it comes to a brand.
Facebook is now getting indexed more than ever, and we've been hearing for months about a major deal between search engine giants and the popular social network. This deal is said to bring in Facebook statuses and wall posts into the real-time search section of search results.
Major mobile apps like Foursquare are dominating the local directory market with technology that allows customers to read reviews, communicate with other customers and more all driven by the phone's GPS.
We've also seen some pretty hefty changes to the way local search ranks, and we're expecting more changes to come. Google has mailed 100,000 QR code stickers to local businesses around the nation to be placed on their front window or door. QR codes are square bar codes that can be scanned by camera phones to render the Google Local listing for that business, including reviews, menus, hours and more.
What does this all mean?
It means it's almost 2010 and great customer service is still important! The theme of 2010 for search engines will be transparency, making the theme of 2010 for businesses good online PR.
It also means Twitter, Facebook and local search tools will be more valuable in impacting your search engine rankings. We've already seen Facebook Fan Pages and Twitter lists showing up organically in searches, but in 2010 we will see faster results and more attention on real-time search. While using these social networks to your advantage will important, it's also equally important to monitor your online reputation. With real-time results and millions of customers unleashed onto the search engine results, keeping up a solid online reputation will be essential to your brand.
Local search will become king of the mobile search, meaning it will now be more important than ever to have a presence on the local results, but it will also be essential to monitor your customer reviews. With so much of mobile activity trending towards consumer generated content (ie. reviews), monitoring your brand online is a must.
With all that said, organic rankings are still important. Very important. The new year just means more thrown into the mix, making great customer service and a solid online reputation more important than ever.
Contact Sales & Marketing Technologies for more information on what your SEO strategy should be for the upcoming year.