Bing Becomes Second Largest Search Engine in the US

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Bing is now the number two search engine in the U.S. after overtaking Yahoo in the latest search engine market share report from comScore.

More than 18.2 billion searches were completed in December, up 2 percent from November and Google continues to lead with 65.9 percent market share. Bing which launched in June 2009 now accounts for 15.1 percent of searches while Yahoo dropped to 14.5 percent from 15.1 percent in the December 2011 report.

Yahoo web search has been powered by Bing since 2009 when the Yahoo and Microsoft began a 10 year deal. Through this deal, Yahoo tried to cut its costs by allowing Microsoft to provide most of its search technology.

As a result, Microsoft gained more requests to process and analyze, so they better understand search preferences and trends. The two companies had hoped their deal would push Google out of total search dominance.

However, even with 12 billion total searches in December, Google isn’t peacefully sitting in number one.  The company may be in trouble because of its new initiative, “Search plus Your World”, which personalizes searches through integration with its Google + social network.

Critics state that Google unjustly gives preference to its results over those of its competitors. The Electronic Privacy Information Center has filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission, which could invite a probe into Google’s practices.

Our question of the day: Do you prefer using Google, Bing or Yahoo?


Google Gets Personal with Search Plus Your World

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Fahrenheit Marketing in Design

Google has revolutionized its search results, with the new “Search Plus Your World” format. Starting today a “Personal Results” view appears showing results based on the user’s behavior and social connections.

Private, Public & Social

After searching, a message may appear such as “50 personal results and 419,000 other results”. Some of those 50 results will be blended into the first page of results.

The biggest change is that previously hidden private or “limited” Google+ posts, photos or Google Picasa photos will be shared with the user.

Those with Google+ accounts are now more heavily highlighted in search results. If a user searched for a common name, a friend’s Google+ profile is shown, rather than someone else.

If users don’t like the personalized search they can opt-out permanently, or on a per-search basis through the search settings area on Google.

No Content From Facebook, Twitter

Search Plus Your World doesn’t cover content on Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, or any social network. Currently, “Search Plus Your World” only has access to personal Google+ content.

Facebook has not spent much time refining its own search results. The company has repeatedly said that most of the Facebook-based searches are to find people, not to find information about broad topics like Google.

Security

Google started secure search for signed-in users in October most likely to prepare security for Search Plus Your World. Mixing private content in with Google’s search results means anyone searching without a secure connection potentially exposes private content.

Secure search provides an encryption so that any private material mixed in with regular results is protected and seen only by the user’s browser and Google.


Top 10 Blog Posts of 2011

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Fahrenheit Marketing in Design

Over the past year, we’ve written more than 100 blog posts. It takes a lot of hard work to constantly create new content, and we want to thank everyone that read our posts over the last year.

We compiled a list of our top 10 blog posts based on the number of views and they represent a diverse group of topics ranging from HTML5 to analytics to ppc to web design.

10. Understanding the “People Are Talking About This” Metric

Publish Date: October 18, 2011 / Author: Robert Abasolo

Facebook made a number of changes to both profile and fan pages and one of the more interesting additions was the creation of a “People Are Talking About This” metric which measures your buzz level on the site. When it was first released people had a hard time understanding what it actually meant, so we created a post that explained how the metric worked. Essentially the number is determined by new likes, event RSVPs, wall posts and check-ins to the physical address.

9. Restaurant Websites: Hold the Flash

Publish Date: August 11, 2011 / Author: Natalie san Luis

Restaurant websites often suffer from serious design flaws whether they are a 4-star bistro or a hole in the wall pizza place. These flaws which often include flash, difficulty finding phone numbers and hours as well as other poor design choices make them some of the most frustrating to navigate. We looked at these common errors and put together some best practices.

8. The 20 Most Expensive PPC Segments

Publish Date: July 27, 2011 / Author: Will Gallahue

This post looked at the 20 most expensive PPC industries and not surprisingly financial and legal services dominated the list.

7. Are Search Engines Breaking State Law by Serving MDPV Ads?

Publish Date: April 19, 2011 / Author: Will Gallahue

MDPV is a chemical similar to methamphetamine that had flown under the radar since it was released as a bath salt type product. When it was discovered it was actually a drug legislators quickly moved to ban chemical but in the process, companies were still selling the chemical through Adwords and their ads were displaying in states that had outlawed the product. Despite fines in the hundreds of millions of dollars for previously allowing ads for foreign pharmacies, Google continued to let companies advertise on MDPV related keywords until late 2011.

I’m still surprised that this post didn’t generate more of an interest. Essentially Google allowed themselves to become a marketplace for narcotics which I thought was newsworthy but despite efforts to promote this piece it didn’t get as much traction as I would have wanted.

6. Selling SEO and Social Media to Baby Boomers and Generation X

Publish Date: February 21, 2011 / Author: Will Gallahue

I wrote this blog post from a point of frustration after looking at how unassuming business owners were being targeted with lies, false promises and distorted facts by SEO scams and how these scam companies changed their perception of legitimate agency services. I think that some of the skepticism regarding online marketing from older Americans is that they have a hard time spending money when there is no associated rate of return. An SEO campaign can take a few months before it starts to pay off and for older Americans it can be difficult to reconcile paying money with no physical or visible product in return beyond traffic and rankings. Thus when they are bombarded with emails promising page 1 rankings for $300/month they don’t understand why you want to charge $3000/month because they assume it’s the same service and an agency is just marking it up. The reality is that they recognize the importance of online marketing but marketers need to clearly explain the concepts and relationships of an online campaign.

5. SEO Tools Review: Optimize Content with InboundWriter

Publish Date: June 8, 2011 / Author: Will Gallahue

In this post we looked at InboundWriter, a tool which scores your content in real time based keywords, keyword density and other factors. We did a test run of the trial version then wrote a review of the software. The post got a comment from one of their team members and was re-tweeted as well.

4. HTML5 and the Evolution of Web Design and Development

Publish Date: March 18, 2011 / Author: N. Biles

This post looked at some of the new tags and standards introduced in HTML5 and how they would change the current web design system. HTML5 is a tremendous and powerful platform for page creation and we look forward to the day when it is the standard.

3. How Long do Google Penalties Last?

Publish Date: February 15, 2011 / Author: Will Gallahue

This post was written after Matt Cutt’s posted a video explaining the different types of penalties (manual, algorithmic) and how long they last. Amazingly this post is ranked number one for “how long do Google penalties last” and we continue to get traffic each month from webmasters looking for answers. One thing to remember is that a sudden drop in rankings does not necessarily indicate a penalty and in fact it could be on-page, site architecture or link related problems.

2. Google Penalizes JC Penney for Using Link Farms

Publish Date: February 14, 2011 / Author: Will Gallahue

This post covered JC Penney’s unprecedented site-wide penalty for using link farms to boost rankings for product pages. While Google had given big penalties to retailers in the past, a penalty of this magnitude for such a well known retailer was something completely unexpected. I personally believed Google wouldn’t touch a big brand site because of possible legal action but in the span of a month JC Penney, Overstock and Forbes received penalties for various infractions. Their rankings were later restored but it serves as a reminder that no one is immune to penalties.

1. Google’s Big Lie About the Impact of Keyword Data

Publish Date: November 3, 2011 / Author: Will Gallahue

In late October Google began to roll out a new user privacy system where searches conducted by people signed into a Google account would have their referring data blocked. Matt Cutts, the head of Google’s search quality team, originally stated that the new controls would only have an affect in the single digits. However as the system was rolled out, the number of visits with (not provided) keyword data quickly shot up to around 30 percent for the main Fahrenheit Marketing site. We noticed similar increases from 5 to 20 percent on client sites and decided to voice our anger with this post. The post was shared on Reddit and received comments and mentions on other blogs.

Looking back, it may have been impulsive but marketing agencies like Fahrenheit live on the availability of data to make decisions and without that data it is difficult to make changes, recommendations and assessments for client campaigns. I think that Google will not reverse their decision but it is important to speak up when you feel you are being treated unfairly.


Google Receives 44% of Global Ad Spend

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According to data released by communications firm ZenithOptimedia, Google now owns 44% of the global advertising market. This is up nearly 10% over the past five years, solidifying Google’s dominance in online advertising. Google has continued to gain market share at an impressive rate, largely due to acquisitions such as YouTube.

Facebook is also gaining market share of global ad spend, though not at the expense of Google. It seems that Facebook is instead taking the revenue from Microsoft and AOL, and will likely pass Microsoft in global ad revenue by the end of the year.

Despite recent economic instability, ZenithOptimedia predicts continued growth in global ad spend through 2014. They credit much of the growth to the quadrennial effect – events occurring every four years. These events include the summer Olympics, Presidential elections, European Football Championship, and a handful of other major events. Japan’s continued recovery from the 2011 earthquake and tsunami will also continue to improve the advertising spend. ZenithOptimedia believes that these two events will contribute an additional $7 billion into global ad spend.

It is expected that 48% of all growth in global ad spend will come from ten developing markets. Of these ten, Brazil, Russia, India, and China are expected to account for 33% of the growth. ZenithOptimedia also expects Internet advertising to become a greater piece of total global ad spend increasing to 21.2%.


Google+ Pages Growing at a Slow but Steady Rate

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BrightEdge recently released data comparing brand adoption among Facebook and Google+. BrightEdge found that of the top 100 brands in the United States, 61% of them have created Google+ pages in the short amount of time they have been available. Facebook currently has a large lead on Google+, with 93% of the top 100 brands having Facebook pages.

Regardless, the adoption rate of Google+ pages is a notable achievement. With the possibility that Google+ could become one of the leading social media vehicles, many brands are lining up to establish themselves on the site. BrightEdge reported that Google currently has the largest fan following on Google+ Pages, with 65,000 fans. This number pales in comparison to the dozens of brands on Facebook with over 1 million fans. Many brands on Google+ Pages are having a difficult time accruing large numbers of fans. A great example of this is the Ford company. Although Ford currently has roughly 5 million fans on Facebook, the company only has around 27,000 fans on Google+.

The future of Google+ is still uncertain. As of now, it is difficult to say whether this new social platform will continue gaining momentum. Hitwise recently reported that Google+ had its third largest week since the launch of the website. This data indicates that perhaps Google+ growth has just begun.