Much of what we may expect for 2011 will be the natural progression and development of features introduced by search providers in 2010. Most notably, the competition and rising tensions between Google and Bing should provide for continued changes and updates this year. All ready as we have discussed in previous articles, Bing has raised the stakes on search relevancy by factoring Facebook activity into the equation. Although Google has made moves towards including social media within the SERPS, such as the recent and relevant Tweets, they continue to use Page Ranks as their core system to this end.

In 2011 we wont be seeing Google to scrap the Page Rank system. To scrap this at any stage would mean losing the one thing that has always set them apart from the other search engines. It is perhaps more likely that the Page Rank algorithm will continue to evolve and that Google will continue its quest to return only the highest quality content. Increasingly, as we see the shift towards mobile technology and social networking, ‘relevancy’ often implies ‘most recent’, we live in an ‘up to the minute’ era. As such there is little doubt that 2011 will see all the major search engines looking towards trending topics on the social networks to determine their own search results. The so-called ‘Relevancy War’ is likely to be the underlying theme for the key players. Twitter continues to seek better ways to monetise. Might we see a little more injection from Google in order to counteract the on-going relations seen by Facebook and Bing?

For the past 10 years or more Google has dominated the playing field. 2010 saw Bing take an unexpected leap and chunk out of the market share. As a business, Google may need to dedicate time and resources into assessing the actions of the competition closer and counteracting their moves, as opposed to truly focussing on their own steps forward. Potentially, there is more danger in 2011 than the course of the past 10 years for Google to make reactive changes as opposed to reasoned and considered ones that we have seen before.


2010 saw the rise in prominence of local businesses within Google results pages. This affected both the organic listings and the Adwords features to the top right hand side. Many companies have always optimised for the nearest town or city but do not operate from the centre. As such, they have lost some traffic due to the changes, which is discussed further in our previous article (Changes to Google Local and SERPS). The result across many industries in early to mid 2011 may be increased use of Adwords to bridge the gap in site traffic losses. In turn, the cost of Adwords will rise and those already reliant on the service will need to bid higher figures to maintain the space just below the local businesses map. As companies look towards new keywords and strategies for organic optimisation, the use of PPC could be a little crowded, even beyond the first half of 2011.

Web spam is currently a hot topic of conversation among online gurus and the search providers. It is a matter of improving the online experience for surfers by removing irrelevant pages and those that only exist as promotional tools to optimise another site. Some say that the majority of the web consists of spam pages. This year we will likely see search engines cutting out a little more of the web chaff. Domain name age has been an apparent factor in commanding a top 10 position for some years now. This virtual barrier to entry within the first page of results seems set to become an even more important factor in future. Perhaps though this is a slow burner that we will need to monitor over the next 4 or 5 years. The message today would be to get your domain names now and put the site live if you have the opportunity. Even if it remains relatively inactive you can revisit, rework and know that the credibility of the site rises with time. If you plan to do it one day then you might be wise to set the foundations sooner rather than later.

Blog/news based web sites are clearly favoured by Google. They say that this is not strictly the case and technically there is some truth in that. If we were to discuss programming for your next 10 mintues of reading time then that could be explained. The simple truth is that a non-blog can feature equally as well on page 1, but if you are looking for out of the box supremacy then blogs are the way to go. The results speak for themselves if you take some time to look around and run a few searches.