Several items have come across my radar recently in search that I think will be of more than a passing interest to Receptional's friends, so I have summarized them in to a short Search News Briefing article for ease of digest.
Changes to Google's Quality Score system. When Google displays an advert (PPC or otherwise) one of the decisions it has to make as to which advert to display is to decide on the "Quality" of the advert that we - as ad managers - provide to Google and there have been a few changes to the way this is done recently. One is that the "score" will be decided by Google, depending on the factors surrounding the nature of the search. Some analysts have predicted that this will have an inflationary effect on costs per click, which is something that we need to watch. One of the other recent changes is that "Quality Score" now includes taking into account the time it takes to load a web page. In other words, pages that load quickly are better than pages that take a long time to load. You can test your page load time free online. If you are a client of ours, simply ask your account manager and they can do this for you and give you some feedback on your site load time.
A significant upgrade to our analytics system will mean clients need to upgrade the code in 2009. Our clients almost all have IndexTools on their sites. If you haven't - we can give it to you. This has now been taken over by Yahoo and they are in the process of rebranding. However, we have been advised that in 2009 all clients will need to upgrade the snippet of code they have on their websites to be able to continue using the system. This is clearly an inconvenience but Yahoo insist that the benefits will be profound for clients going through this process. I know that IndexTools have some exciting developments in the pipeline which may help to change the way in which all of us look at measuring online marketing.
Google Chrome enters the web browser market: Google have announced that they are to enter the web browser market, with a browser called "Google Chrome". Analysts are saying, however, that this may also start to undermine Microsoft's monopoly of the operating system at the same time. This is because the browser will be cross-platform (working on Apple machines, Linux machines and Windows as well as other operating systems). In addition, their browser plans to bring in some of the functionality currently associated with Windows. If this takes hold, then there analysts are suggesting that there will be a move towards "slimmed down" operating systems - which would strike at the heart of Microsoft's business.