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A listing of the year’s most popular posts from an official company blog can say a lot about that company, the year it had, and what grabs the attention of its most-engaged users and followers. Over the past few days, both Microsoft and Google published their lists of top 10 blog posts for 2011.

Looking at the lists together makes for an interesting comparison. Here they are …

Official Google Blog: Top 10 Blog Posts of 2011

Official Microsoft Blog: Top 10 Blog Posts of 2011

A few observations …

  • In general, Google seems to have attracted lots of readership with specific product news (Google+, Google search, etc.).
  • Microsoft struck a chord with its “vision” pieces (future of the living room and productivity).
  • There is product news on the Microsoft list: Xbox entertainment expansion, Windows Azure toolkits and the Kinect for Windows SDK. But notably, two of those posts are targeted more to developers than to end users.
  • Google’s list demonstrates the ongoing power of the Google home page, which linked to the Sept. 11 anniversary post. The company’s top blog post in 2010, an April Fool’s joke about changing its name to Topeka, also benefitted from a ton of traffic from Google.com.
  • Big acquisitions made both lists — Motorola for Google, Skype for Microsoft.
  • Microsoft kept its readership numbers close to the vest, but Google said its blog attracted 19.9 million unique visitors. That was down from nearly 25 million in 2010, when the numbers were boosted significantly by the aforementioned April Fool’s joke.
  • Competitive defenses or jabs found a place on both top 10 lists. No. 3 on Google’s list is the post highlighting its allegations that Microsoft Bing was copying its search results, which Microsoft denied. No. 4 on Microsoft’s list was a post making a case for the continued role of the PC in the “Post-PC Era,” or the “PC Plus Era,” as the company calls it.
  • Official Microsoft Blog readers love to read about the company taking down botnets.
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