This past year the search industry went through some major transformations that will cause some challenges for internet marketing in 2010. Part of what makes internet marketing a fascinating industry is that it is always changing, which forces people to constantly keep up with current trends. Most of the internet marketing changes originate from two sources; the new FTC regulations regarding testimonials and endorsements online; and all the recent developments within Google.

It will be interesting to see how the new FTC regulations play out in 2010. How will these rules be enforced and regulated? If you haven’t heard, these new rules require disclosure and transparency regarding testimonials and endorsements when a product or service is being offered for sale. Any business relationship between the endorsers and the company must be made known to the potential buyer. If these rules are strictly enforced, this could have a major impact on affiliate or online marketing.

People in the search industry are on both sides of the issue. Some believe the FTC regulations will create a more honest environment online, if everyone is forced to disclose, while others believe it will be too difficult to hold everyone to the same standards. Only time will tell how this will affect internet marketing in 2010, but I am sure it will continue to be major topic.

There is no doubt, Google will have a tremendous effect on Internet Marketing in 2010. With their recent developments and upcoming changes, it is critical to keep up-to-date with what is happening with Google in order to stay ahead of the game. The list below highlights the key events that have been discussed this year.

1. Google Caffeine – One of most popular topics of 2009 were the discussions of Google launching a new search algorithm, Caffeine. In the past, Google updates have had a dramatic affect on search engine rankings, which is why there is cause for concern. It has been announced that this new algorithm will take affect early next year, and no one knows for certain what the kind of affect it will have on the industry. Google has stressed Caffeine should not cause major panic, but that it is intended to enhance the user experience. At this point, we must wait to see what happens when Google Caffeine is officially launched.

2. “Real Time” Search – Another big topic discussed in 2009 was the introduction of “Real Time” search featured in Google’s SERPs. This new development will make social media outlets like Facebook, Twitter, and MySpace more significant and will definitely change the game for SEO, since there is now a new route to getting on top of Google. How much of an affect is yet to be determined, but it will be interesting to see the impact real time search will have on the industry in 2010.

3. Site Loading Times – Matt Cutts recently announced that website loading times will be a ranking factor in the new Google. If your site takes too long to load, then you can bet you will slip down on the rankings.

4. Visual Search – Recently we have seen Google move more towards visual search with their introduction of Google Goggles for mobile phones. You simply just take a picture and you get Google results instantly – no typing. This could be a new avenue for internet marketers and could definitely be a game changer in the industry.

5. Personalized Search – Google is moving towards personalized search which make the jobs of SEOs and Internet Marketers a lot more challenging. If everyone can chose their own results, it will become difficult, to get in their top results.

With all of these new changes in the search industry, it will be fascinating to see how they will unravel in 2010. Will Yahoo/Bing be able to give Google a run for their money? Can big-name key worded domains start directly pulling in web traffic?

The new FTC regulations and the new Google developments will definitely make Internet Marketing more important than ever before. TM plans on embracing these changes and continuing to enhance the online presence of our clients, but it’s important to be aware of what the changes were over this past year and how to best prepare for them in 2010. Contact TM today to learn more about Internet Marketing.

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