Category > Search Engines

Google Starts Supporting Google+ Hashtags In Search Queries

admin » 25 September 2013 » In Google, Search Engines » 1 Comment

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Google+ started supporting hashtags in May, and today the company announced that Google Search will now allow you to search for Google+ posts by using these hashtags. Given that there’s a little bit of Google+ in every Google product now, it’s no surprise that these Google+ hashtags are now finding their way into other Google products.

This new search feature is now live for English language users in the U.S. and Canada on google.com and google.ca.

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In Google Search, users will now be able to search for hashtags like #AmericasCup and get a list of relevant Google+ posts in the right sidebar. Google won’t highlight posts from Twitter or Facebook in the sidebar, but it has put links to Twitter and Facebook right underneath the Google+ posts so users can search for these terms on those social networks, as well.

The links in these Google+ posts are all active and you can see how many +1s and comments a given post received. You can’t, however, interact with the post right on the search results page as there is no way to follow, +1 or comment on these search results without going to Google+ first.

It remains to be seen how popular this feature will be. Most users, I think, would probably prefer to see this feature work for Twitter hashtags. It’s doubtful that all that many Google users were clamoring for a better way to search for Google+ hashtags on Google Search, but maybe this will give this feature a bit more visibility.

For content owners, however, this feature definitely gives them an incentive to use hashtags in their Google+ posts (and to use Google+ in the first place). The top-right corner of the search results page, after all, is prime real estate, and getting your link to show up there could drive significant traffic for popular hashtags.

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10 Small Business Social Media Marketing Tips

admin » 11 April 2012 » In Google, Marketing, Search Engines, Social Media » No Comments

10 Small Business Social Media Marketing Tips

Capacity – especially to plan and execute effective marketing strategies – is a big challenge for every small business. In this post, I’ll offer 10 suggestions for how small businesses can supercharge their marketing efforts by leveraging social media. For each suggestion, I will discuss a basic strategy – for those who simply want to get their toes wet, as well as an advanced strategy – for those who want to spend a bit more time and go a bit deeper in their social media marketing efforts. These tips are based on my experience leveraging social media marketing for my company, crowdSPRING.

I suggest you begin by outlining clear goals for your social media marketing efforts and figuring out how you’ll measure success. Once you’ve outlined your goals, let’s look at 10 great ways you can begin to leverage social media for your marketing efforts.

1. Facebook

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Facebook offers exceptional, low cost marketing opportunities for small business. Facebook now has over 300 million users, and while that seems like an outrageous number for small businesses to be targeting, Facebook offers a very powerful platform on which to build a presence. If you’re not already active on Facebook; you should get started right away.

Basic Strategy: If you haven’t signed up for Facebook yet, you absolutely should as soon as possible. Once you’ve signed up, you should also consider securing your company’s username. Be aware, however, that if you reserve your company name for your personal account, you won’t be able to use it for your Business Fan Page (more on those in the Advanced Strategy), so you may want to create a Page before registering your company’s name. Fan Pages have special rules regarding usernames, which you can read here.

You should do one other thing: search for your competitors and evaluate their Facebook presence. What types of Pages have they built? How many fans or “friends” do they have? Spend 15 minutes (per competitor) looking at their posts, photos and/or videos to understand how they’re using Facebook.

Advanced Strategy: You may already have a personal Facebook account, but how do you extend that presence for your business? You have several options. You can register a Business Account – which is designed for a very simple presence on Facebook. There are many limitations on such accounts (read the FAQ here), however, so you’ll most likely prefer to have a Business Fan Page. A Business Fan Page lets you create a page where customers or fans of your business can register as a “fan” — expanding the presence of your business (because your updates will also flow to their pages). You might also want to consider running hyper-local ads on Facebook.

2. Twitter

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Twitter has grown tremendously over the past year. For some small businesses, it offers an incredible marketing platform. BusinessWeek’s recent profile of 20 ways businesses use Twitter might give you some ideas about how you can leverage Twitter for your business.

Basic Strategy: If you haven’t signed up on Twitter yet, you should sign up today and reserve an account in the name of your business. While you might ultimately tweet in your own name, you’ll want to have the option to tweet from a business account. More importantly, you don’t want your competitors to register your business name. Twitter has put together a simple guide to help you understand what Twitter can do for business. You can also check out Mashable’s Twitter Guide.

Next, you should spend 15-30 minutes on Twitter’s homepage, doing basic searches to become familiar with the type of content available on the service. For example, if you are operating a small gift basket business, do some searches for various terms and phrases such as “gift basket,” “gifts,” “gift basket business,” etc. You should also search for the names of your competitors to see whether they’re on Twitter and if they are, how they’re using it. And don’t forget to search for your small business name – your customers may already be talking about you! Once you become comfortable with the content that’s already available and how your competitors are using Twitter, you can begin thinking about a strategy for how you’ll leverage Twitter for your business.

Advanced Strategy: To truly leverage Twitter, you’ll want to learn and use a few more advanced tools. This includes desktop and mobile Twitter clients like TweetDeck, Seesmic, and Tweetie. Desktop clients give you more flexibility and more control over your Twitter strategy than you’ll have on the Twitter website. Among other things, you’ll be able to pre-define searches (so that you can monitor certain keywords, including your business name) and group people you follow so that you can minimize the noise and focus on the real content. You might also consider using a web tool like Twitterfall, which will allow you to define (and color-code) various custom searches that you can review from time to time, and also to follow trending topics. For example, I use Twitterfall to identify helpful graphic design and industrial design resources to share with the crowdSPRING community.

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Facebook VS Google

admin » 31 December 2011 » In Google, Internet, Search Engines, Social Media, Tech News » No Comments

Facebook VS Google

facebook vs google

For the past couple of years, one meme has grown ever louder:

Facebook is killing Google.

Facebook is taking over the Internet, this story goes. Facebook now has ~800 million global users, half of whom log in every day. Facebook now accounts for something like a third of all pageviews in the U.S. Google is miles behind in social, despite the huge numbers for Google +. Facebook consumes an astonishing percentage of time spent online.

And so on.

And most importantly for the Facebook-is-killing-Google meme:

Facebook (and Twitter) are now the means by which many people share content online.

And all of that is true.

But none of it means that Facebook is killing Google.

To get a quick reality check on whether Facebook is killing Google, all you need to do is glance at these two numbers:

$40 Billion
$4 Billion

What are those two numbers?

Those are the approximate revenue numbers for 2011 for Google and Facebook respectively.

Google’s 2011 revenue will be about $40 billion, Facebook’s will be about $4 billion. Google, in other words, is 10-times Facebook’s size.

But, but, but, you say…

Google is still 10-times Facebook’s size because Facebook is just in the early stages of generating revenue. When Facebook gets its revenue engines really cranking, it will blow past Google in no time.

No, it won’t. Not unless it figures out a way to insert itself between consumers who want to buy specific products and companies that make and sell those specific products, the way Google has.

If Facebook builds a products and services search engine, for example, and somehow captures a huge amount of Google’s global search share then, yes, Facebook will in fact be “killing” Google.

Until then, all the “time spent” and “pageviews” and “users” metrics are pretty much irrelevant.

Why?

Because as the current revenue levels for both companies are demonstrating, search is a vastly better advertising product than social networking.

Vastly better.

So much better, in fact, that, when it comes to head-to-head business competition, the two companies aren’t yet even in the same league.

And why is search such a better business than social networking?

Because search is the best advertising product in the history of the world.

Social networking, meanwhile, is a relatively lousy advertising product (relatively).

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Google: More Tweaks Coming To Panda 2.5 Update

admin » 18 October 2011 » In Google, Internet, Search Engines, Tech News » No Comments

Google: More Tweaks Coming To Panda 2.5 Update

Middle of last week, Google pushed out an update to Panda, the Panda 2.5 update.

DaniWeb, one of the loudest and most vocal sites hit by Panda early on, which recovered, got hit by Panda 2.5. So she got vocal again and yesterday they recovered. Dani said in all caps yesterday afternoon, “WE HAVE JUST RECOVERED.”

She later on explained, “No, today is our busiest time of the year. Traffic literally went down by 50% on Wednesday and went back up by 50% today.”

Danny Sullivan has been pressuring Google behind the scenes to give us more on what is going on with Panda. I think, not certain, it lead to Google’s Matt Cutts to tweet a “weather report” (Yahoo first named search updates weather reports back in the day), on Panda:

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Where’s Google making its money?

admin » 19 July 2011 » In Google, Internet, Marketing, Search Engines » No Comments

Where’s Google making its money?

Where Does Google Make Its Money? [ infographic ]

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Google Panda Has Changed SEO Forever

admin » 05 July 2011 » In Google, Internet, Marketing, Search Engines » No Comments

Google-Panda

Google Panda Has Changed SEO Forever

SEO (search engine optimization) has been one of the most important buzz words for web publishers over the past 10 years. Getting ranked in Google means free traffic for web publishers, so improving and optimizing a given website for the search engines was essential. However, Google Panda is here to stay, and it has forever changed the rules of SEO.

For the past 10+ years, Google utilized its PageRank methodology to rank websites. If you had a website about basketball, and you got a link from ESPN.com – Google would notice that your site is a quality site about basketball. It was similar to a voting system, when a relevant and high authority site linked to you, it would count as a vote. And the more votes your website received, the better your website would rank. Of course relevance played a roll, as Google gave more value to sites linking to you which were about a similar topic as yours. In addition, authority mattered, so one link from ESPN.com may hold more value than 5 links from sports related blogs which weren’t as popular.

Two other major factors that Google considered were unique content and the “Title Tag”. Google wanted content that was unique and not displayed on other web pages across the internet. If duplicate content was found, Google would determine which site was the original author of the content, and it would penalize the other sites which had scraped the content.

Google also factored the “Title Tag” as it was a way for web publishers to tell users and Google what the given webpage was about. This helped Google to organize and rank web pages for given keyword searches.

This methodology for ranking web pages worked, and Google utilized the above methods in addition to several others to display highly relevant search results. For years, Google results were of a higher quality than all other search engines, which is why Google continued to command over a 65% market share. However, over the past few years, other search engines such as Bing caught up, and Google wasn’t so special anymore. At the same time, web publishers became savvy and they figured out ways to sneak into Google ahead of more relevant results. For example, earlier this year, JC Penny was accused of purchasing links on websites across the web to make Google think that these links were natural and thus a vote for JC Penny’s websites.

As more and more users complained about search results, Google realized it needed to shift, and in came Google Panda. Google Panda is an entirely new way for Google to evaluate websites. And while Google will still factor in many of the same criteria it has in the past, Google Panda adds an entirely new element to Google’s ranking methodology.

Panda wants better quality websites in its results. It is less concerned with signals that other websites give it and more concerned with what the actual users think about the website. Think of Google Panda as an automated way for Google to have users power its search results. The brilliant part is that it is user powered without the user having to do anything different. Panda is not only genius, but it makes sense as it should prevent lower quality sites from tricking Google into thinking they are of higher quality.

Panda factors in a wide variety of user signals to help Google determine the quality of a website. It looks at “Time on Site” as a way to determine how quality of an experience the user is having on a given site. It looks at the bounce rate, which is a measure of the percentage of people that leave a site without doing anything. It looks at social signals such as shares and +1’s as a way to see if people are recommending a given webpage. It looks at page views per visit as a way to see how people are navigating through a given site.

Google also looks at Branded Search traffic which is the amount of people that are specifically looking for a given site. So, if your basketball site is called “Fun Basketball Dude” – and Google notices that an increasing amount of people are searching for “Fun Basketball Dude” as a way to get to your website, that is a way for Google to recognize that your site is enjoyed by users.

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Google Gives Authors Greater Recognition in Search Results

admin » 28 June 2011 » In Google, Internet, Search Engines » No Comments

Google Gives Authors Greater Recognition in Search Results

In an attempt to improve the quality of Google’s Search results, the company is rolling out a new feature that will prominently display the authors of certain articles within search results.

“Authorship is a great way to identify and highlight high-quality content,” Google Product Manager Sagar Kamdar said in a company blog post. “Plus, the web is centered around people. People discovering content on the web often want to learn more about its author, see other content by that author, and even interact with the author.”

The new highlighting places a picture of an author to the right of an article he or she has written, along with a link to his or her Google Profile. In the example included above, my photo and name appear to the right of a recent review I wrote about the Jawbone Era.

The program will launch with a small subset of authors, but will roll out to more authors over time. It’s powered by Google’s new authorship markup, which adds new code to distinguish when a link is pointing to the author of an article.

Our bet is that Google hopes that author profiles in search results will encourage higher quality content, which isn’t always found in content farms.

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Web Words That Lure the Readers

admin » 12 April 2011 » In Google, Marketing, Search Engines, Social Media » No Comments

Web Words That Lure the Readers

The Huffington Post has hired veteran journalists to beef up its news coverage. But a significant chunk of its readers come instead for articles like one published this week: “Chelsy Davy & Prince Harry: So Happy Together?”

The two-sentence article was just a vehicle for a slide show of photographs of the couple and included no actual news. But “Chelsy Davy” was one of the top searches on Google that day, and soon after the article was published it became one of the first links that popped up in Google’s search results.

It was an example of an art and science at which The Huffington Post excels: search engine optimization, or S.E.O. The term covers a wide range of behind-the-scenes tactics for getting search engine users to visit a Web site, like choosing story topics based on popular searches.

Because Google is many Internet users’ front door to the Web, S.E.O. has become an obsession for many Web publishers, and successful ones use the strategies to varying degrees. But as newspapers, magazines, blogs and online-only news sites increasingly compete for readers, they are making it more of a priority than ever and adopting new techniques, like trying to maximize pass-alongs on social networks.

The Huffington Post’s skill at using these tactics to increase readership and revenue was one of the ways it made itself worth $315 million to AOL, which acquired it this week. And Demand Media, which runs sites like eHow and Answerbag.com and values search engine optimization perhaps more than any other publisher, raised $151 million in a public offering in January.

Models like these could pave the route toward profitable journalism in a postprint world, some analysts say — or, others worry, drive online media to publish low-quality articles that are written to appeal to search engines instead of people.

S.E.O. is “absolutely essential,” said Rich Skrenta, chief executive of the search engine Blekko. Still, he said, it can turn into a “heroin drip” for publishers: “They had this really good content at the beginning, but they realize the more S.E.O. they do, the more money they make, and the pressure really pushes down the quality on their sites.”

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Pete Cashmore: The ‘Facebook killer’ won’t look like Facebook

admin » 02 December 2010 » In Marketing, Search Engines, Social Media » No Comments

Pete Cashmore: The ‘Facebook killer’ won’t look like Facebook

In the spring of this year, the “Facebook alternative” Diaspora achieved extensive media coverage — including an article in the New York Times — and raised tens of thousands of dollars in funding from online donors.

The pitch was an appealing one: In the midst of a privacy backlash at Facebook, Diaspora proposed a more private alternative to the leading social network.

But Diaspora is no Facebook rival, and history tells us it won’t make a dent in Facebook’s success.

A focus on privacy

Diaspora, which began sending out invites this week, attempts to outclass Facebook in privacy features and user freedom. Features include granular control over who sees your information, the ability to download your photos and the option to delete your account without any hassle.

With $200,000 now raised for the project, you’d think Diaspora was off to a great start. In reality, its impact on Facebook will be minimal.

There are plenty of ways for a social network to fail; the fact that your friends are already on Facebook and not Diaspora is the most obvious issue. But when it comes to toppling web giants, one factor is frequently overlooked: The replacement is usually radically different from its predecessor.
In other words: If Facebook is ever beaten, it won’t be by a site that tries to be “Facebook, but better.”

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Baidu & Yahoo! Fight for Market Share as Advertising Budgets Continue Shift to the Internet

admin » 15 November 2010 » In Search Engines, Tech News » No Comments

Baidu & Yahoo! Fight for Market Share as Advertising Budgets Continue Shift to the Internet

With the global economy beginning to show some signs of stability, analysts are anticipating an increase in advertising spending. Corporations are committing more and more of their advertising budgets to the Internet, as internet marketing offers notable targeting and data-focused return-on-investment capabilities. In order to gain market share, internet information providers continue to develop new capabilities. The Bedford Report examines the outlook for companies in the Internet Information Providers Industry and provides research reports on Baidu, Inc. (NASDAQ:BIDU – News) and Yahoo! Inc. (NASDAQ:YHOO – News). Access to the full company reports can be found at:

http://www.bedfordreport.com/2010-11-BIDU

Market share is a stat that gets a lot of publicity in the search engine industry. While Google is the clear cut leader in North America — presently Google has 66.1% of US market share — it is a different story in China. iResearch recently released reports claiming that Google accounted for 24.6 percent of China’s Internet search-engine market in the third-quarter, dropping from 26.8 percent in the previous quarter. Baidu remains the dominant search engine leader in China, accounting for nearly 73% of Chinese market share according to iResearch. Recently Alibaba — which is 40% owned my Microsoft and Yahoo — made a move to challenge Baidu for more market share. Alibaba launched a new Chinese search website aimed at driving traffic to Alibaba’s retail website, Taobao.com.

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