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2009: The Year in Review
Web Design For Usability and SEO
THE USUAL: Coverage of this month's
hot topics, shuffles, sound bytes, shindigs, attaboys and word on the wire.
  FEATURE: 2009: The Year in Review
Author: Virginia Nussey

As 2009 comes to a close, it's time to reflect back on the underlying trends of the year and look toward SEO lessons for the future. The United States entered the New Year knowing it was entrenched in an economic recession. Though the economy struggled, the number of Internet users continued to climb throughout the year, surpassing one billion worldwide. The year in search was marked by a shifting landscape of top-tier engines, the anticipated rise of the mobile platform, a broad expansion of personalization, the introduction of real-time results, and a growing acceptance of cloud computing.

  BACK TO BASICS: Web Design For Usability and SEO
Author: Paula Allen

Designing a great looking Web site with no thought to search engine optimization is like building a car and forgetting to put gas in it. It isn't going to go anywhere. However, search engine optimizers also need to know a thing or two about Web design, because unless you have a clean, well-maintained car to pump that gas into, you also won't get far. A truly successful Web design mixes good design principles with SEO savvy to create a site that's useful for people and search engine spiders, too.

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  Search Engine Optimization All-In-One for Dummies Now Available  
SEO For Dummies

Bruce Clay, Inc. partnered with For Dummies Publications to produce the all-in-one desk reference guide for SEO. The Search Engine Optimization All-In-One For Dummies by Bruce Clay and Susan Esparza is now available for $39.95 from major booksellers and comes with a free $25 AdWords coupon.

The all-in-one desk reference is intended for those wanting to do search engine optimization themselves, providing many tips and hints necessary to optimize and operate in today's online market.

But it is also a useful tool for any professional SEO out there needing any extra help. The Search Engine Optimization All-In-One For Dummies is currently available on, and, so be sure to grab a copy today.

Already have the book? Leave a review or drop us a line! We'd love to hear from you. Share your thoughts, comments, questions or critiques

  Hot Topics

Over the past month it seems Google has been keeping busier than even Santa's elves. Google has released no fewer than 38 updates in the last 70 days. Marissa Mayer, Google VP of search products and user experience, has overseen every change. Understandably, the deluge of new features has created what Mayer calls "user interface jazz" -- referring to the mishmash display of continuously diversifying search results. Google is said to be testing a new user interface that cohesively integrates all the new search features.

So what of the updates? What is changing at Google?

New Caffeine Indexing Infrastructure: After the holidays, Google will fully roll out its next-generation architecture aimed at improving index size, speed, accuracy and comprehensiveness. While Google reps say the switch will likely go unnoticed by the average searcher, the post-holiday timing was chosen to put business owners' minds at ease during the crucial retail season.

Personalized Search Results: Google began delivering personalized search results to non-logged-in searchers. Personalization has long occurred for logged-in users; however, now users who aren't signed in will receive custom search results based on the last 180 days of search activity collected through an anonymous browser cookie.

Scrolling Real-Time Search Results: Google introduced live updating real-time results. Included in real-time results is content from Facebook, MySpace, FriendFeed, Jaiku, and Twitter, as well as blogs, news sources, forums, images and videos. Online marketers have expressed concerns because the potential for abuse of the tool is high.

New Mobile Search Features: Finally, Google announced a number of new and upcoming features available for search on mobile devices. Additional language support has been added to search by voice, available through the Google Mobile App for iPhone, BlackBerry and Android devices. A new search by location feature on Google Maps for Android devices lets users find nearby businesses and reviews. And search by sight is available through the Google Goggles application for Android devices.

See last week's blog post All You Need to Know About Google's New Feature Updates for potential business implications of the changes.


Video site rankings had some shake-ups this month. Facebook vaulted up from tenth place in September to third in October for the number of total streams, placing it behind only video giants YouTube and Hulu. At the opposite end of the ranking scale, Joost met its official demise.

Late November saw AOL trying to reduce its workforce by asking for 2,500 of its employees to voluntarily quit. At least some of them have taken the offer.

As of December 10, AOL has spunoff from former parent company Time Warner. A rebranding campaign of the search engine has the company going by name "Aol." (and yes, the period is included in the official name).

MySpace acquired the music site Imeem this month, but apparently could have handled it better. Former Imeem users, artists awaiting payment and developers relying on Imeem's APIs were all cut off without warning.

Yahoo! has decided to shut down Right Media's DMX (Direct Media Exchange) platform effective January 31st, which can be seen as Yahoo! making good on its promise to go for quality over quantity in its ad networks. This move comes soon after news of Right Media's founder, Michael Walrath, stepping down.

HIRING! Bruce Clay, Inc. is looking for some great employees to work in our California and New York offices.

Open positions in California:

  • Client Liaison
  • SEM Analyst
  • Web Analytics Analyst
  • SEO Analyst
  • Content Writer
  • Web Developer
  • Sales Executive

Open position in New York:

  • Sales Executive

All employees must work from the respective office locations. Please send resumes to

  Sound Bytes

If you like what you've read in the SEO Newsletter, there's more Internet marketing expertise where that came from. Check out SEM Synergy every Wednesday at 3:00 p.m. Eastern and noon Pacific on

Bruce Clay and the other hosts discuss industry news, SEO tactics and marketing trends, while expert guests share their insights on methods, best practices and upcoming events. Check out the show schedule below for a look at recent shows and upcoming topics.

Air Date

Segment One

Segment Two

Segment Three

December 2
(Listen Now) Answers Search Q'A

Doug Leeds

Microformats Today

December 9
(Listen Now)

SEOToolSet Tools

Free SEO Tools Demo

SEOToolSet Training

December 16
(Coming Soon)

PPC News Update

Tactics for Broad Match

PPC Revenue Per Click

December 23
(Coming Soon)

Google Expands Personalization

David Harry

Real-Time Search

December 30
(Coming Soon)

Search 2009 Reviewed

Jim Hedger

Online Coupon Trends

Got something to say? Contact the SEM Synergy team and share your thoughts, comments and questions. You might even hear your question answered on the show.


Affiliate Summit West is taking place January 17-19 in Las Vegas. Other January events include the LinkShare Symposium West in San Francisco on January 28, and Social Media Conference East occurring January 27-29 in Miami.

The educational conference Online Marketing Summit takes place February 22-25 in San Diego, California. Bruce Clay will present one-day SEO Training on February 26. (Tip: Use discount code BRUCE30 for 25 percent off registration.)

SMX West is coming to Santa Clara, California on March 2-4. Following this, the Bruce Clay, Inc. SEO Training Course will be offered on March 5. Use code smx10bruceclay when registering.

The next Search Engine Strategies Conference, SES New York, occurs March 22-26 in New York City. Bruce Clay, Inc. will provide a one-day SEO Training Course in partnership with the conference on March 26. Get a discount on your conference pass with code 20BRU.

Here's our upcoming schedule for SEOToolSet® training and certification courses:

  • January 11-15 in Simi Valley, California (standard and advanced)
  • February 15-19 in Simi Valley, California (standard and advanced)
  • March 15-19 in Simi Valley, California (standard and advanced)

Google introduced a cross-domain rel="canonical" link element to help webmasters manage duplicate content produced on separate domains.

Automatic captions powered by Google's voice recognition algorithms are now available on YouTube and Google Video. Google has also simplified the process for users to create captions manually. Captioning makes video more accessible to hearing impaired users, to users who speak other languages, and to search.

Advanced reports and segmentation functions have been added to Google AdWords campaign management. AdWords will also be engaged in more aggressive banning of advertisers in an attempt to curtail frauds and scams on the platform.

Professional social network LinkedIn has released an API, allowing developers to integrate LinkedIn to business applications and sites. As the largest global professional network, the LinkedIn platform has been a launching point for partnerships with Microsoft, TweetDeck and BlackBerry.

As part of its latest branding campaign, Yahoo! has launched a site meant to encourage giving around the world. The "You In?" kindness campaign asks people to post updates of good deeds to

  Word on the Wire

Microsoft entered the cloud computing arena with its Windows Azure cloud computing service, scheduled for launch January 1. properties revealed telling information about Internet users' interests with the annual list of most searched words of the year and the list of most asked questions of the year.

News Corp. media mogul Rupert Murdoch again bemoaned Google's use of news content. Reports followed that Microsoft offered to pay News Corp. to de-list their sites from Google's search index. Google then announced a way for publishers to limit the number of free news articles read by an individual on a site to five articles a day. Google also made it easier for news publishers to give robots.txt directives to a news-content-specific user agent, Googlebot-News.

Google has launched a URL shortener in response to the growing use of microblogging services like Twitter.

AdMob, Google's recently acquired mobile ad network, published data about the distribution of mobile devices that use the Android mobile operating system. Meanwhile, rumors spread about a Google-branded smartphone.

Google has suspended its Local Listing Ads program in the Local Business Center in order to evaluate feedback and make improvements before a product release in 2010.

The Google browser, Chrome, has launched an extension gallery in beta. The company also open-sourced its upcoming Google Chrome Web-based operating system and named the project Chromium OS.

Yahoo! became the last of the big three search engines to integrate Twitter updates into news results. Twitter announced a fire hose API that will be available to developers early next year.

Bing released a mobile search app for iPhone and iPod devices, adding to its mobile search apps already available for BlackBerry and Windows Mobile devices. Bing Maps is now enhanced by Streetside and birds-eye views as well as local search integration, among other new features.

In weird news from the future, Intel Corp. predicts that by the year 2020, computer users will be able to replace a keyboard and mouse with a chip installed in the brain.


If you have any questions or comments on any of the above Internet marketing news items or if you would like to suggest topics for future search engine optimization articles, please contact us at Bruce Clay, Inc.

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