Latest Developments in Search – 21st November


It’s time for the weekly round up of search news – let’s see what’s been going on this week!

I think in terms of potential impact the biggest story this week is the new deal between Yahoo! and Mozilla that changes the default search engine in Firefox for certain territories. Russia will continue to have Yandex and China will continue to have Baidu as their defaults, whilst its reported that despite there being no new deal Google will continue to be the default across Europe.

Previously Google supplied the vast majority of Mozilla’s operating budget in an agreement that set Google as the default search engine. There always were – and continue to be- other search engines available, but we’re now wondering if this will have a large effect on Yahoo’s search volumes. Maybe many people won’t care or know how to get Google back. It’s quite likely, however, that there could be an uptick in searches largely from people trying to find out how to get Google back!

As Search Engine Watch reports, we’re starting to see Google rolling out its preferred style for indicating a mobile friendly website. This follows on from the recent addition to Google Webmaster Tools of the Mobile Usability report and looks for the same criteria – avoids Flash, appropriate font sizes, sizes to the screen, spaces tap targets appropriately etc. It underlines the continuing rise in the importance of a mobile friendly browsing experience. We’re sure as this rolls out globally over the next few weeks we’ll start to see studies come in about the effect on click through rates. Stay tuned!

Over in PPC-land Google has announced the addition of conversion estimates to the Keyword Planner tool. This should allow you to test the effect of bid changes over several important conversion metrics. This is done by using the account’s historical data. Therefore if you have a new campaign or one run on a low budget it may not be as useful. Still, as a free addition it’s worth experimenting with to see how well it works for you.

In lighter news we have a pair of new Google Easter Eggs. Search Engine Round Table reports on them here – you can now ask Google to roll a die or flip a coin. Now unfortunately for the office game of Monopoly it doesn’t seem to be live in the UK just yet. We’ll have to carry on trusting people to roll correctly – if it goes off the board it doesn’t count!


What’s caught your attention in the world of search this week? Let us know in the comments!