This Week In Search and Social">no comments
Welcome to a new feature: This Week in Search & Social! Once a week we’ll look back and review the major stories and developments in SEO and social media.
Facebook introduces the Subscribe Button: On September 14th, Facebook publicly announced their new Subscribe button. It works essentially the same way as Twitter’s “follow”. It allows you to see all of the public updates of someone who is not your friend. This will be mostly interesting for brands and celebrities. Look for lots of small businesses and niche celebrities to abandon their fan pages in favour of subscribers. You can actually choose to migrate your fans to subscribers, just like Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has done.
In more Facebook news, Friend Lists are now getting easier to manage. This has probably been in the works for quite some time, but can also be seen as response to Circles in Google+. One interesting feature is Smart Lists, which create and update themselves based on profile information that you have in common with your friends… like where you work or go to school. This is a neat enhancement, and I’m looking forward to messing around with it. The truth is that social friend management sucks big time, and a certain degree of automation could be useful. It could also prove awkward.
Google+ officially opens its API (and a new blog for developers). The long awaited G+ API was announced on September 15th, giving developers access to the data on the young social network. For the moment the API is read-only, which means applications can only pull data out to a stream or reader but external apps can’t write new data in. This means that apps like HootSuite will have to continue to wait to add Google+ to their platform. My take on this is that Google+ is trying to avoid become filled with autoposted garbage like Twitter. This is especially important because links in Google+ are dofollow and are likely to feature heavily when Google’s realtime search results come back online.
Google has been on a patent buying spree recently, this week acquiring more than 1,000 patents from IBM. The patents cover everything from Java, to wireless to search. Bill Slawski has great run down of some of the more interesting titles over at SEO by The Sea.
Bing and Yahoo are (slowly) creeping up on Google. A comScore report issued this week shows that Google’s market share has dipped just below 65%, while Bing and Yahoo together hold about 31%. With all of the recent trouble at Yahoo, it remains to be seen if they will be able to stay competitve at all. Google is aggressively pushing out new features like Instant Pages, and Bing will have really step it up if they want to become a serious competitor. Which bring us to….
This week Bing launched it”s newest feature: Adaptive Search. Adaptive search brings personalization to Bing search results. The idea is that the search engine will use your search history to provide more search results that are better tailored to individuals. The video below shows how the technology will provide different results for similar (or identical) queries to different users based on their histoy. It’s not clear at this point (at least to me) if this will only be done by cookies or other tracking code, or if being logged in to your Windows Live account will have any impact. Either way, this is another nail in the coffin of traditional “rankings are everything” SEO.
As a citizen and media dork, this trend toward automatic (and therefore unnoticed) personalization always worries me. Check out this great TED talk by Eli Pariser about exactly this problem. Best quote:
A squirrel dying in front of your house may be more relevant to your interests right now than people dying in Africa.