This week in internet marketing news, many seemed to eagerly anticipate the conclusions to Google stories that hit the web last week, as well as insight on trends for 2011. […]

This week in internet marketing news, many seemed to eagerly anticipate the conclusions to Google stories that hit the web last week, as well as insight on trends for 2011. Here's Brafton's take on the top internet marketing headlines for the week ending December 10.

On Monday, news broke that the business owner whose site rankings caused a scandal for Google was arrested. As the Los Angeles Times reported, he was charged with cyber-stalking and making interstate threats. It seems the alleged criminal does not get the last laugh after bragging about finding a glitch in Google's ranking system.

Another Google development that caught a lot of clicks was the search giant's unsuccessful attempts to purchase Groupon. As Brafton reported, the local deal finder turned down an offer of approximately $6 billion from Google. Google was also blocked from a section of the local business market, as Trip Advisor confirmed to that it has limited the pages that will be available on Google.

These developments do not seem to be deterring Google in its efforts to move into the local market. As Brafton reported, the company announced that local advertising is its top priority for 2011 – and the search giant is not alone in emphasizing local search's value. Yahoo made its hyperlocal search site available to mobile users this week, and the company also announced a new Restaurant Comparison Quick App that will help on-the-go consumers decide which neighborhood eateries to try.

It seems these local search tools will be put to good use, as a new survey reveals that 79 percent of U.S. consumers have used search to find local businesses. Marketers may consider developing locally targeted SEO campaigns and paid search ads of their own – especially if Google delivers on its goal to create a business-friendly local ad platform.

In addition to Google's quest to get into the local market, headlines this week confirm that it wants to get into the social market. The company made updates to Google Groups to facilitate social content sharing among users. Plus, Google announced social sitelinks within search results are now available to users who create a Google profile. Users can see friends' content posted on Twitter in search results.

This might be of interest to marketers, as there is an increasingly broad audience of Twitter users. As Brafton reported, a Pew study released this week reveals that 6 percent of the entire U.S. population – 8 percent of internet users – use Twitter. Nonetheless, Google may be mourning the fact that Facebook data is still not available on the search giant.

A widely circulated World Map of Social Networks shows that Facebook is the globally dominant social site. Mark Zuckerberg's social network was also a top searched phrase this week, thanks to the redesign of profiles, which may help marketers better target users with relevant content.

Facebook also proved to be a top searched phrase for the year, according to Google's annual zeitgeist of the top searched terms for 2010. The buzz about Google's fastest-rising search queries may be linked to marketers' anticipated SEO campaigns for 2011 – as Brafton reported, headlines this week announced that content marketing will be a top priority for businesses next year.

Perhaps anticipating more branded content on the web, Google unveiled a Reading Level filter to let users select results according to basic, intermediate or advanced content. As Search Engine Land reported, this enables more tailored content refinements. Marketers should make it a point to target their internet audiences accordingly.

Another internet marketing report that dominated social conversations this week revolved around what devices will be used to conduct searches in 2011. An IDC report, covered by Brafton, reveals that smartphone and tablet shipments are anticipated to eclipse shipments of PCs within 18 months.

Still, there may be a number of people searching from desktops in light of the new Chrome notebooks launched by Google. The notebooks seem to be catching consumers' interest, with Realtime results showing minute-by-minute updates about the devices.

While the notebook may help Google advance its web browser, Internet Explorer is still the No. 1 web browser in America. This may present some problems for marketers, as Microsoft is adding a tracking protection tool to the latest model of IE. As Brafton reported, this could interfere with the online data marketers depend on to assess the efficacy of campaigns.

Looking ahead to next week, internet marketers will want to look out for more news about Microsoft's tracking protection tools, as well as anti-tracking policies from the FTC. Additionally, it will be interesting to see what new local ad developments emerge in light of this week's local frenzy. Stay tuned! 

Katherine Griwert is Brafton's Marketing Director. She's practiced content marketing, SEO and social marketing for over five years, and her enthusiasm for new media has even deeper roots. Katherine holds a degree in American Studies from Boston College, and her writing is featured in a number of web publications.