Bing and Yahoo have both recently released the list of top searches for 2009. . .
1. Michael Jackson 2. Twilight 3. WWE 4. Megan Fox 5. Britney Spears 6. Naruto 7. American Idol 8. Kim Kardashian 9. NASCAR 10. Runescape
1. Michael Jackson 2. Twitter 3. Swine Flu 4. Stock Market 5. Farrah Fawcett 6. Patrick Swayze 7. Cash for Clunkers 8. Jon and Kate Gosselin 9. Billy Mays 10. Jaycee Dugard
It appears that Yahoo users are much more concerned about movies, cartoons and celebrities than trivial matters such as swine flu and the economy.
For a while now Google have offered personalised search which provides a custom ordering of search results based on your previous search behaviour. If you clicked on a particular site lots in the past and were signed in to Google.com, Google would remember the action and rank that site higher for you in future searches when you searched whilst signed in to the same account.
This personalised ordering can be a useful feature if you are trying to find a particular site which may not be ranking on the first page of the search results, however some SEO ‘professionals’ have made mistakes in the past where they have reported a site as ranking at number 1, only to be embarrassed when realised it was only ranking high in their personalised search results! Doh! Smart SEO people learned to make sure they were signed out of Google when tracking search results positions.
Yesterday Google announced that they will expand the personalised search functionality to offer custom ordering of search results even when NOT signed in to Google.com. This will work by storing an anonymous cookie on the client computer.
So if you are checking rankings of your pages and do not want to be embarrassed when you announced your site is ranking at number 1, only to realised that it is not for any of your colleagues, make sure you clear out your cookies first. Alternatively, you can turn off custom search results by following these instructions.
I have recently been partnering with a lots of international site managers in Microsoft on various global SEO initiatives. I had interesting discussion with one of our Spanish site managers this week, which reminded me how critical it is to work with someone who understands the local language AND the local culture when tackling SEO internationally.
We were discussing optimisation for various pages on Microsoft.com, many of which were targeting search strings containing ‘computer’. We have a lot of content on our websites which is shared across regions with common languages, so websites in Spain often share content with Latin America Spanish speaking countries (e.g. Mexico). My assumption before my meeting was that we could have a single piece of Spanish content which would capture any Spanish searches from Spain, Mexico and any other Spanish speaking country. I was quickly convinced otherwise.
We were trying to optimise a bunch of pages for ‘computer’ related search terms (e.g. ‘computer not working’, ‘pc sound not working’, ‘computer problems’, etc…). My assumption was that one of most popular words for computer in Spain (ordenador), would also be one of the most popular in Mexico, however my Spanish contacts corrected me. A quick search in Google Adwords illustrates this fact. . .
Whilst ‘ordenador’ is one of the most popular related words in Spain (after ‘PC’), in Mexico ‘computadoras’ is the second most popular related keyword and is in fact used nearly twice as much as Spain’s number 2. So if we are trying to target the number 2 terms for each region (which we were) we need to think about creating 2 separate pages (or at least 2 separate linking strategies), one targeting ‘ordenador’ and the other targeting ‘computadoras’.
A golden rule of international SEO is that you cannot just translate keywords, the content must be regionalised for the local market. Hopefully this post makes it clear that this also applies even if you are working across multiple regions in the same language.