Search News - 7/14 - Digital Marketing Agency

Google's Australia Day

By | Google News | No Comments

Not uniquely Australian, just summer-y, but when you are working on Australia Day in search marketing, it brings a tiny bit of cheer

I clicked the logo, then switched to image search, to see whether I could get some slightly more Aussie images.

This is an awesome shot, (note the actual website is down, but it is still number two in image search, interesting). Apparently this photo is from John White.

Then there is this from Australiaday.com.au

And finally, this, the most delicous of all Australian-ness

Happy Australia Day!

What People Search For Online (2010 Edition)

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Google Zeitgeist is an interactive product from Google, which attempts to capture the spirit of 2010 (or ‘zeitgeist’), by aggregating all the millions of searches performed, and trying to present it to us in a useful way.

For such a lot of data, they have actually done a fantastic job. They break it down by country, and by topic. In previous years, there have been lists of ‘top 10 searches’, but never anything as comprehensive as Google Zeitgeist. Rather than having the top 10 searches, this year they have the top 5 global events, which were (in no specific order)

1. The Icelandic Ash Cloud

2. The World Cup

3. Olympics (?)

4. Haiti Earth Quake

5. BP Oil Spill

The other search engines have been releasing their top searches lists, and I think this is a good way to compare the search engines, and understand what each of them is used for. Historically I have noted that Google searches are markedly different from Yahoo searches. Yahoo searches tended to be more about popular culture, whereas Google tended to be more about news and more ‘serious’ topics. I would assume that Bing would be more serious than Yahoo, and maybe even than Google. Here, lets take a look…

Bing top 10 searches 2010:

  1. Kim Kardashian
  2. Sandra Bullock
  3. Tiger Woods
  4. Lady Gaga
  5. Barack Obama
  6. Hairstyles
  7. Kate Gosselin
  8. Walmart
  9. Justin Bieber
  10. Free

Looks like Bing has taken a leaf out of Yahoo’s book, with the top searches being dominated by celebrities. So much for me assuming that Bing searchers might differ greatly from Yahoo. Searches like ‘free’ and ‘hairstyles’ are quite broad, so maybe this has been pared down from something more informative. The Bing blog explains ‘free’, by saying there is obviously widespread concern for the tough economy.

Yahoo top 10 searches 2010:

  1. BP Oil Spill
  2. World Cup
  3. Miley Cyrus
  4. Kim Kardashian
  5. Lady Gaga
  6. iPhone
  7. Megan Fox
  8. Justin Bieber
  9. American Idol
  10. Britney Spears

Yahoo searchers are actually seeming more well-rounded than Bing searchers, with the number 1 spot going to an actual current event, the BP Oil Spill, and number 2 to the World Cup. Searches for iPhone also come up, at number 6.

It is difficult to compare topics across the search engines this year, since Google isn’t letting us know how things like the Kardashians rate agains events like the Iceland Ash cloud.

And under the top food and drinks searches in Australia, it is no surprise to anyone that watched Masterchef this year that macaroons have been searched for a lot,  (number 2 most searched food or drink)…but this doesn’t explain why number 1 was Minestrone.

How Will Google Instant Affect Search

By | Google News | No Comments

What is Google Instant?
The aim of Google Instant as stated by Google is to ‘help you find things you want faster’, and they do this by showing results as soon as you start typing.
 
As soon as you start typing, Google is trying to interpret what you want to type and will start showing search results and PPC ads, straight away. As your query changes, so will the results which are displayed.

It is being rolled out over the next couple of days, but not, supposedly, in Australia yet.

What does Google Instant Mean For My Online Business?

In reality, we can’t tell what it means for each particular business until we see some analytics or Adwords data as to the effects. Many people are already saying that this will ruin SEO efforts, but obviously those people don’t understand what SEO is.

This change will not change the way results are ranked, only the search queries people end up typing in.

Some say this change is in favour of the big, strong, websites, who rank for generic terms, and will be bad for smaller, long-tail terms.

However, after using the new interface for a while, and getting only the big, generic sites, perhaps users will quickly learn to use longer, more specific terms again?

Also, depending on how fast you type, and how much you are looking around the screen as you type – maybe you won’t even look at the results until you have finished typing your query.

My Opinion

This change, to me, doesn’t seem to be contributing to a search engine’s goal of providing the most relevant results to a query. It has added a bell/whistle which wasn’t, in my opinion, ever required. I have never heard anyone complain that Google is too slow, or their typing is too slow.

I can’t see that dumbing down search in this way will benefit anyone.

What Will I Tell My Clients About Google Instant

Well – for my clients targetting Australia, I will say “This new functionality is coming out, lucky for you it is targetting foreign users first, so we can see what the results for them are first, and get in early with some preparation before it comes to Australia”.

For my international clients, I will be looking at their data to try and see what the effects actually are, before I recommend any changes to their SEO or PPC strategy.

I will check out;
– Search interface – how does searching for my clients products and particular keywords, appear now in Google? Are there any particular, unique challenges for them?
 – Webmaster tools – what search queries am I showing up more/less for?
 – Google Analytics – What is the difference between PPC and natural search traffic now? What keywords are standing out as being influenced by these changes. Compare to the previous day, the same day last week, the same day last year.
 – Google Adwords – How are impressions changing? What keywords are getting more/less impressions now? Are conversion rates changing or staying the same on them?

Once I know what effect the change is having on impressions and clicks I can start developing a strategy, and deciding whether I need to change my SEO focus to shorter terms (as everyone predicts, but not confirmed), or something totally unexpected.

Google Caffeine – Don't Panic

By | Google News | No Comments

Let me just say first out – don’t panic. Yes, Google launched a new index yesterday, but this doesn’t mean any major changes to your SEO strategy yet.

This is not a change to the algorithm (which is the way Google determines rankings), but just a change to the way they index pages. 
The new index will index pages much faster than the previous index, so the main change is that new pages of content  should be indexed a lot quicker. This doesn’t mean it will crawl your pages any faster, it just means it will find new pages faster.

We don’t believe this will mean that existing pages will be dropped and replaced by newer content. We think this means that more content will be able to be indexed, and it will be indexed faster. For this reason we don’t necessarily believe that blog posts and Tweets (for example), are going to make a massive change to the rankings, except for very relevant terms.

However, as this is all such a secret science, there are no guarantees, so we would recommend that you;
1. Make no major changes to your SEO strategy until the new index has had a chance to show its effects
2. Monitor your rankings very carefully, noting and analysing changes
3. Create and upload fresh and competitive content (as this never hurt any website), and see how it gets indexed
4. Put more thought into how you can incorporate real time results in a meaningful fashion (i.e. don’t just do it for SEO, do it for your users)

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