A HIPPO Internet Marketing Training blog by Corey Creed

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2007 Predictions: Google, Yahoo, Microsoft, and the Next Big Thing

December 29th, 2006

Today is the last workday of 2006.

As such, there are a lot predictions in the news about what will happen in 2007. I’ll take a different angle and talk specifically about  the big three search engines.

GOOGLE

1. The reigning king. It’s safe to say that no one will knock them off their throne in 2007. Yet, being #1 means everyone is gunning for you.

2. The big G has a ton of extremely smart people working for them. Therefore, their search rankings will continue to be very good (not necessarily the best) throughout 2007.

3. Of course, every spammer is trying to get their lousy site at the top of the Google’s results. We’ve seen in 2006 that they succeed in this quite often. That will continue to be Google’s biggest problem, in my opinion.

4. One thing that Google did very well in 2006 (and 2005) is improve their brand. Everyone thinks that the smartest people use Google. Everyone thinks Big G is best. This will continue.

NOTE: Google’s results are truthfully not much better than Yahoo. But the branding works for them.

ALSO NOTE: What’s especially amazing is that this “Google is Best” branding happened with little effort by Google. (Marketers, take notice! Word of Mouth, right?)

5. What Google did best in 2006 is polish their ability to use linking (between sites) as a qualifier to determine which sites are “best” and therefore rank them well. This will also be their downfall in late 2007/2008. (Keep reading…)

YAHOO!

I’m going WAY OUT on a limb here. Yahoo is due for a “comeback” in 2007.!Why?

1. Yahoo is paying close attention to social marketing and the power of user involvement.

  • PICTURES: They bought Flickr (photo sharing and review)
  • MUSIC: They bought MusicMatch (personalized music) – now Yahoo Music.
  • BOOKMARKING: They bought del.icio.us (social tagging)
  • OTHERS: They are investing in and growing Local reviews, etc.

NOTE: The other search engines are making acquisitions also. But Google’s acquisitions tend to be technology. Yahoo’s tend to be social sharing and tagging. (See this cool site to see all the acquisitions by the big three.)

Yahoo’s expertise in this area is perfect timing. It’s the next big thing.

The public is contributing to the web like never before. That’s why Time Magazine called “you” the “Man of the Year”. That’s why You Tube is so popular.

How does this affect search engines? When you use linking to determine quality, you are taking into consideration other webmasters. When you use social commenting, you are taking into consideration the public. (Which do you think is easier to manipulate?)
Danny Sullivan got me thinking about this at Pubcon. Basically, there’s a new generation of search engines coming…

  • Generation 1 = Ranking via on-page factors (think AltaVista)
  • Generation 2 = Ranking includes linking factors (think Google)
  • Generation 3 = Ranking includes social reviews (Yahoo??)

2. Yahoo is a great portal. They have great information and a strong user base. Their users are more connected and I bet they contribute more. Pick a new movie and go check the user reviews on opening night. There are tons on Yahoo. Their users are active and informed.

3. Yahoo Search Marketing is cool. They finally got off the Overture (actually GoTo) platform. The new YSM platform is effective and works well so far. It has great new features.

4. Yahoo is staying under the radar. While Google’s stock is growing and everyone is singing their praises, Yahoo is staying quiet. They are releasing new features and making acquisitions that are not getting the press. I think this is intentional.

Mark my words – Watch Yahoo in 2007!

MICROSOFT

1. Sorry Bill, no hope for you. As big as Microsoft talks, I don’t see them catching up with the other two. Not only is their search not nearly as good, but they have little hope of hiring their way into success in search. If the real “thought leaders” and “geniuses” in search don’t go to Google, they will surely go to Yahoo. It’s not about money, so they can’t even lure them with money (which is the one thing Microsoft has – for now).

2. Stick to software, Microsoft. Be satisfied with being #3 in search and make Office 2007 awesome. (Please?!?)

THE NEXT BIG THING

This is the biggest unknown.

Who will come along and surprise us all? What will the next big innovation be in search? Who will come along and “You Tube” them all? Who knows.

Personally, I think the big three will still be here on December 31, 2007.

Those are my predictions for 2007.