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Google shoved the blade in, now Bing is twisting it. It seems apparent that SEO has suffered a horrible defeat at the hands of these two major search engines. With the adoption by Bing of Google’s strategy to localize and personalize search engine results pages (SERPs), we clearly see the victor planting its flag in the fertile soil of online marketing: all hail pay per click!
As the largest PPC business on the planet, Google AdWords stands ready to deliver those first page results you have spent so many months or years building through organic SEO. Delivered for a substantial price, of course. All the time and money spent on getting to page one organically is a sunk cost – it can’t be recovered or salvaged. The solemn promises of SEO consultants that high quality backlinks and first-class content are the roads to slot one ring a little hollow when you’re displaced by another listing solely due to geography or prior search experience.
That’s exactly what Bing implemented on February 9, following Google’s lead first begun in 2007 and accelerated in 2009. Bing will now rearrange “normal” SERP sequences to give weight to local choices. It’s not really a bad thing for consumers – if you live in Mobile, Alabama, you don’t care about pizza delivery centered in Memphis Tennessee. Oh mama, is this really the end of SEO?
Perhaps not completely, but it’s becoming increasing hard to fight the tide. Cookies stored on your machine tell the search engines about previous searches, and results are modified accordingly. Between personalization and geographic customization, what are “normal” results anyway? Actually, that’s easy; just check the bottom of the page:
Click “View customizations” and see where all that SEO money went.
Of course, not all searches have geographical or prior history factors, and those continue to benefit from SEO. No one can say for how long, however, because there are many more ways to slice and dice results. Let’s imagine that Bing had access to all sorts of “personal” information. Will Democrats get different results from Republicans? Church attendees vs. atheists, more taste vs. less filling – you get the picture. Would you bet the farm that (a) really personal information isn’t already floating around somewhere in cyberspace and (b) Microsoft and Google would never use it? I’ll take the other side of that bet.
Lucky for you, pay per click is always there, getting you back on top of the heap. We won’t know the bottom line for a while, but look for a jump in Microsoft’s adCenter revenues beginning in February 2011. Any predictions for Yahoo! Search Marketing?Click here for reuse options!
Copyright 2011 Eric Bank, Freelance Writer