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Are Social Signals the New PageRank?
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Microsoft  partners with Facebook to bring social relevance to its Bing search engine. This is a huge announcement  with deep implications for the future of search and whether Bing can make gains on Google. Microsoft is leveraging it’s ownership stake in Facebook to strike an exclusive relationship that can’t be matched by Google. In essence, Bing is betting that social signals are better than link signals in determining search relevance. 

Google Talks More About Keeping Ranking Factors Secret
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Yesterday, we looked at a video Danny Sullivan posted at Search Engine Land, in which he grilled Google CEO Eric Schmidt about listing Google’s 200 ranking signals. 

Eric Schmidt Tired of Being Asked About Google’s Ranking Factors
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Danny Sullivan has posted a few videos from Google’s Zeitgeist event, and one of them is a fairly entertaining banter between Sullivan and Google CEO Eric Schmidt.  Sullivan  asks why Google doesn’t list its 200 ranking factors. Schmidt’s response:

Bing Takes Advantage of IE9′s Capabilities
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As you probably know, Microsoft launched the Internet Explorer 9 (beta) publicly today. It can be downloaded here

Bing Takes #2 Spot in Search, Even Without Yahoo’s Help
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Nielsen shared some new search market findings, indicating that Bing has overtaken Yahoo as the number two search engine in the U.S. for the first time. That’s MSN/Windows Live/Bing, to be more precise, which holds 13.9% of the market (as of August), according to the firm.

Yahoo holds a 13.1% share, a decline from 14.6% in July. Google saw little change, but accounted for 65% of all U.S. searches. 

Does Google Instant Mark the End of SEO?
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A reporter (I believe she was from AdAge) attending Google’s Q&A about Google Instant pointed out that the new search feature tends to favor big brands. This isn’t really surprising, as it is these brands that are more likely to be searched for most often. After all, they’re big because people know them. 

Is Google About to Give Results While You Type Your Query?
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Google is holding an even later today in which it is expected to unveil some new search-related product. Yesterday’s highly publicized Google doodle, which had the Google logo turning into a bunch of balls flying around as your mouse got closer to it, is presumed to be a clue to the new product launch. 

Why Are People Searching Less Than They Were a Year Ago?
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Nielsen released its version of the U.S. search market rankings for July this week. Google is of course on top with 3 out of 5 searches (64.2%). Yahoo came in second with 14.3%, leaving Microsoft in third at 13.6%.

Yahoo and Microsoft both gained in month-over-month share (2% and 4%, respectively). This is all good for Microsoft, as Bing has now completely overtaken Yahoo’s organic results in the U.S. and Canada. We’ll see our first glimpse of how this is working out next month.

Google Gives Realtime Search a Homepage
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Google has given its realtime search feature its own homepage at google.com/realtime. Searches from this destination still take you to the updates section of a regular Google search.

While realtime search on Google itself isn’t new, there are still some new features Google has revealed along with the homepage. Product Manager Dylan Casey writes:

Google Activity That May Have an Impact on Rankings
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There are currently some interesting happenings with Google search that webmasters may want to pay attention to. The company, which is always busy, has been making moves, which may greatly affect its flagship product – search. This is all in addition to everything the company is doing in social media, mobile, gaming, advertising and everything else (which all may have their own separate impacts on search).

Google Tweaks Algorithm to Show More Results from a Domain
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Gooogle announced today that it has made a change to its algorithm that is supposed to make it easier to find multiple pages from a single site.

The Search Market Isn’t Always What it Seems to Be
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Like most studies, surveys, and stat counts related to Internet user behavior, search market stats should generally be taken with a grain of salt. While they can give us a general idea of which search engines users flock to, there are too many variables to paint a completely accurate picture.

What’s your search engine of choice? Why? Let us know.

Yahoo Completes Bing Transition for Organic Results (in US and Canada)
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Last week, Yahoo announced that it had begun transitioning Bing results into Yahoo results – a product of the Search Alliance between Yahoo and Microsoft. Now, the companies have announced that the transition of organic results in the U.S. and Canada is complete.

This applies to web, image, and video search on Yahoo for both the desktop and mobile experiences of Yahoo Search.

Bing Finally Comes to Yahoo

Yahoo users (in the U.S. and Canada) will start seeing Bing results for organic searches this week. Yahoo and Microsoft announced that the transition is starting, and that the paid search transition is in the middle of testing.

Yahoo’s Organic Results Will Be Bing-Powered By Late August
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Yahoo and Microsoft have provided an update on advertisers’ transition to adCenter as the Search Alliance gets underway.

Yahoo advertisers will soon either have to create a new adCenter account or link their Yahoo account to an existing adCenter account. Later this month, Yahoo advertisers will see an "adCenter" tab in their Yahoo Search Marketing account. This will take advertisers to the beginning of the account transition process where they’ll be walked through the steps.

How Facebook Handles Questions Could Play Key Role in Future Search Habits
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Facebook’s new Questions product, launched in beta earlier this week, has a great deal of potential for answering the questions of half a billion people (the most recent number of Facebook users reported by the company).

Microsoft Doesn’t Plan to Let Yahoo and Google Do Their Thing in Japan
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Microsoft is pissed that Yahoo Japan is going with Google rather than Bing. In fact, the company is reportedly moving to block the deal from going through.

Yahoo Goes Google Instead of Bing in Japan

Yahoo Japan is turning to Google to power its paid and organic search engine listings. This comes as something of a surprise as Yahoo has a huge deal in place with Bing that is just getting started, but Yahoo doesn’t actually own the majority of Yahoo Japan, so that version of Yahoo gets to do its own thing.

Google Indexes Over 10 Billion Images
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Google launched a new version of its image search today (as well as a new ad format) and in the announcement, Google dropped a few interesting stats about its image search growth.

Google Image Search first came out in 2001. Back then, Google says it indexed around 250 million images. By 2005, the company says it indexed over a billion. As of today, it’s over 10 billion.

Google Launches New Image Search Ads

Google began rolling out a new design for its image search today, and along with that came a new ad format. The format is called (appropriately) Image Search Ads.

Foursquare Coming to a Search Engine Near You?

Foursquare co-founder Dennis Crowley says the company is in talks with "everyone" in the search space including Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo, according to a report from the UK-based Telegraph.