Google Suggest, the feature in Google search that suggests search queries based on what has been typed into the search box, now displays localized search results in the US. The results will be localized by region, Country specific localization was introduced last year.
Google has significantly increased the amount and depth of the data they provide for in the Top Search Queries feature in their Webmaster Tools. The data was previously limited to the top 100 queries, it now displays a much larger sampling of queries. The data previously only provided the percentage of impressions and clicks that each query had. The data now includes the number of impressions and clicks broken down by the position of the query in the search results. The data shown can now be restricted to specified periods of time instead of set intervals set by Google. Finally, they have also added a chart that displays impressions and click for the currently active data set.
Google today announced that several weeks ago they began factor the speed that a website responds to web requests into search rankings. Site speed is not currently a significant factor with “fewer than 1% of search queries are affected by the site speed signal” according to Google. Site speed is also only currently factored in searches preformed on Google.com in English. Google did not say exactly how they determine page speed, only saying that they use a “variety of sources to determine the speed of a site relative to other sites.”
According to Nielsen’s US search share data for February, Microsoft’s Bing search engine gained 1.6 point of search share during the month. Bing gained a point of market share in the previous and their market share reached 12.5 percent this month. Google’s share was 65.2 percent, 1.1 points of search share less than the previous month. Yahoo’s share was 14.1 percent, a decrease of .4 points from the previous month.
According to Nielsen’s US search share data for January Microsoft’s Bing search engine gained a point of search share in January, increasing its share to 10.9 percent. Google’s share was 66.3 percent, a point of search share less than the previous month. Yahoo’s share was 14.5 percent, an increase of a tenth of point over the previous month.
Yahoo and Microsoft announced today that they had received regulatory clearance from US and European regulators. Under the pact Microsoft’s Bing search engine will power Yahoo Search and Microsoft’s AdCenter search advertising service will provide search ads to Yahoo Search. The companies had announced the pact in late July and reached a finalized agreement in December. The companies have set a goal of serving results from Bing in Yahoo Search in “at least the United States by the end of 2010”. The transition to serving ads from Microsoft’s advertising service in Yahoo Search is planned to occur “prior to the 2010 holiday season, but may wait until 2011 if they determine that the transition will be more effective after the holiday season”. They expect a full transition by early 2012. According to the companies, Yahoo will build its own “search experience” on top of Bing’s search results by “integrating rich Yahoo! content, enhanced listings with conveniently organized information about key topics, and tools to tailor the experience for Yahoo! users”
According to Nielsen’s December data Google share of US searches was 67.3 percent, an increase of 1.9 percent from the previous month. Yahoo’s share dropped .9 percent to 14.4 percent and Bing’s share dropped .8 percent to 9.9 percent. Nielsen also reported that there were 9.9 billion searches performed during the month.
For several years Google has provided users signed into a Google account the option of receiving search results that have customized based on their previous search queries. On Friday Google announced that it will expand Personalized Search to all users. With Personalized Search, Google customizes search results in attempt to show results that are the most relevant to a user’s query when there query has multiple meanings. It will also show websites that the user frequently clicks on in search result higher in the search results. For users not signed into a Google account the customized results will be based on the searches linked with a web browser cookie. This means that a multiple users using the same web browser will receive customized results based on a combination of all users’ searches and users using multiple devices will receive different customized results on each device. The customization is based on up to the last 180 days of searches.
Yahoo and Microsoft have finalized their agreement that will have Microsoft provide the search results and advertising for Yahoo Search. The definitive agreement was originally scheduled to be completed in late October and was delayed while details were worked out. The pact will still need to receive regulatory approval before it can begin which the companies said that they hope will occur in early 2010.
Google has announced that they have begun to incorporate website’s breadcrumb links into some search results. Breadcrumbs links are used to aid users in navigating the hierarchy of a website. For a small number of websites, Google will trim the URL shown under a search results snippet to just the domain name and then display breadcrumb links. Depending on how many how many and how long the breadcrumbs are they may exclude some of them. Google said that the intent of the feature was to provide “useful information about the page” and to allow users to “easily access information on broader topics”. They also said that they hope to expand the feature use in the future.