December 20, 2010

Are You The Industry's Biggest Search Geek?

By Li Evans

Biggest-search-geek-contest SMX is asking, "Are You the Biggest Search Geek?"

If you are, it could win you a trip for two to Search Marketing Expo in San Jose March 8-10, 2001.  The contest sponsored by Marin Software is in it's 3rd year and consists of 20 questions online marketing professionals need to answer to test their "search geekiness".  The winner will answer the most questions in the shortest amount of time.

It may seem easy, but how many of you know the answer to questions like "What was the name of Larry Page and Sergey Brin's 1996 research project that  laid the foundation for Google's search engine?"  without going to Wikipedia for the answer?  

And before you think that's one of this year's questions... think again! :)  That one was from a prior year.

So if you think you are up for it, go take the 20 question quiz and see if you can be crowned the industry's "Biggest Search Geek!"

 

July 29, 2009

Microsoft and Yahoo looking to team up and take on Google

By Chris Phillips

Microsoft and Yahoo! are looking to secure a 10 year deal where Microsoft’s Bing search technology would power the search and search advertising platform for all Yahoo! properties and Yahoo! would manage search advertising sales for both companies’ premium customers. If approved by regulators, the new joint effort would increase the efficiency of both companies, allow both Microsoft and Yahoo! to scale more effectively and give Google some serious competition.

From an organic search prospective, this deal could affect how websites currently rank and drive traffic in both Bing and Yahoo!. With the deal, Microsoft will acquire an exclusive 10 year license to Yahoo!’s core search technologies, which it could incorporate some of Yahoo!’s algorithm into Bing. According to the press release, full implementation is expected to occur 24 months after regulatory approval, so it could be quite some time until any changes occur. Once fully implemented, search engine ranking positions should be similar in both Bing and Yahoo!, but traffic volume from each will differ based on Yahoo!’s larger market share. Search marketers will need to be aware of how to segment traffic and rankings during this transitional period (especially if the Bing user agent is used for both Bing and Yahoo).

More information on the deal can be found at Microsoft and Yahoo!’s official joint website.

July 30, 2008

If Cuil Can't Find Itself, How's It Going to Kill Google?

By Li Evans

Cuil.com screenshot of a search for www.cuil.comSo like everyone else who has a blog and an email address in the search industry I got that press release about Cuil.com launching.  With all the fanfare and ballyhoo around it being started by ex-Google employees, one would think this search engine would kick some butt right?

My "non-search" friends all thought because it had an ex-Google in one of the driving seats, it certainly had to be a contender against Google.  I wasn't going to write anything, since it was covered by Simon, Danny and  a slew of other people, but then something my friend Dom said to me in an email really blew me away and felt I had to post about this.

Dom searched for "www.cuil.com" on Cuil, and guess what, it didn't even appear in its results!  How's that for relevance?!

Cuil.com search for 'liana evans'Lets not even talk about how slow it is, and poorly it performs with pulling up images with its listings.  I want to know where these images are coming from.  I did a search for "Liana Evans",  my lianaevans.com site comes up - great! right?  But who the heck is that dude in the picture listed with my site?  I have no clue, and that image is not on my site nor is it on ANY of the sites I'm affiliated with (SEM Clubhouse, Internet Marketers of the Delaware Valley or KeyRelevance).  This is just really bizarre!

Then I noticed that the same exact article appeared twice, but with different pictures attached to it.  I tripled checked this, but my eyes were not deceived, the same listing (same URL, same wording) and all was presented within my 11 results.  This is just really odd too!

Lastly I did a search for "keyrelevance", which is the company I work for.  When I first did the search when the new release came out, the logo for WAA came up with our listing, but I failed to get that screen shot. We are a member of the Web Analytics Association, but I just don't get why it chose that image to represent the company, when we have clearly tagged and marked what's KeyRelevance and what's not on the site.  All the other entries have bizarre images as well.

So until Cuil.com can find it'self relevant for a search on it's own domain name, and until it can pull images up for "liana evans" that are clearly marked "liana evans" I think I'm going to deem this search engine, non-relevant.  Folks, I'd use MSN before I use this, and that says a lot.  "Google killer", Cuil.com is not.

*postscript to this, I did this research when they first launched (7/28) and yesterday (7/29) after my conversations with Dom.  I wrote this very late last evening and put up the screenshots on flickr this afternoon (real work supercedes SMG writing!), it does seem as Dom comments, they fixed this issue (Cuil not ranking for www.cuil.com), and the image issue, but it's relevancy is still not "on".  I'm not really ready to give this a second try.... and I still don't believe this is a Google Killer.

July 01, 2008

Google Can Now Read Flash? Don't Jump for Joy Yet

By Li Evans

Adobe_flash_logo Last night the Official Google Blog, the Google Webmaster Central Blog, Adobe and even Matt Cutts all  announced that the Google's crawlers can now crawl and read the Adobe SWF files, just like it crawls and reads regular website pages.  Matt Cutt's talked about this a while back, but apparently the improvements announced are even better for flash sites.

I still raise my eyebrow though, call me a pessimist in this department.   Inherently Flash itself still has optimization drawbacks. So Google's saying they can crawl buttons, urls, etc. in Flash, but that doesn't mean that Flash offers the best way to be optimized for the content you are trying to present.  Some of the key indicators to what your page is about are still missing in Flash, especially for sites that are completely done in Flash.

URLs in Flash - Hashmarks?
I'm going to guess that the algorithm is going to make the assumption that each page in the flash file that is navigated to by a hash mark (#), as it's own page?   OK fine, but is that different than how it treats regular html pages who use the < a name="example" > and hash mark for easier pagination?

What About Title Tags and Descriptions?

Sites that run in entirely in Flash, every page has the same title tag.  That's because the SWF file sits within the "index" (or main loading URL page), and never moves.  Take a look at Nike.com if you want a perfect example of this.  Title tag never changes, each "page" is changed with the hash marks, it all runs off the index page that Nike has set aside for running the SWF file.

Along with the Title tag not changing, neither does the description.  We all know the description meta tag does nothing in the way of weighing a page's relevance, but it does factor in, in the presentation in the results.  Now, with flash sites, Google's going to take snippets of text from the "page" it sees within the SWF file and present that as a description.  How many Flash sites have you seen with optimized content - that made sense on its pages?

Hierarchical Tagging
Forget H1 through H6 tags to  structure your content on your web pages in Flash.  That's non-existent.  So how does Google know what you are really doing with your content on that page?  What's the most important?  Is there a general theme and components to that theme going on in the page?  Sure - visually you can probably tell that in Flash, but the spider can't see that you've got fonts bigger than the text to delineate the difference.

Forget About Movies & Images

Since Flash embeds them into playing in their own structure, Google can't read it.  So you've created this kick butt  product demonstration complete words that tell the consumer everything, right?  Think Google's going to find that now and put that into its index and rank it number 1 for whatever its demonstrating?  Think again, Google can only look at text that's in the SWF file.  Same goes for the images you embed in your SWF file, and while it can crawl buttons, it can read the button if its completely an image.

While, Google (and soon Yahoo! too) are going to be reading SWF files and incorporating them into their index, it doesn't mean you are going to rank any better than your competition who has an html page.  Why?  Because basically, you are just essentially handing Google a .txt file full of words and pointers to urls for those words. 

It's kind of like, showing someone a line drawing compared to a full color photograph of something you're trying to demonstrate, with the site being entirely done in Flash being the line drawing (ironic, no?). 

I don't know about you, but I'm still going to advise my clients to go with the "color photograph", that utilizes Flash elements, rather than the line drawing.

April 08, 2008

Flickr Video - Huh?! 90 Second Videos Can Be Added to Flickr

By Li Evans

Flickr_video_1 I just managed to catch this via a Tweet from @davewiner, did a quick search and found out that just today Flickr's added Video to its features.  I'm scratching my head here, literally in utter confusion!

Yahoo! owns Flickr.  But Yahoo! also owns its own video uploading service.  Also Yahoo! acquired Jumpcut well over a year ago.  I'm befuddled.... yet another identity crisis for another Yahoo owned property?  Guys, come on, stop confusing us!

Granted, Flickr videos are only limited to 90 seconds, when Yahoo Video can upload a lot more, and Jumpcut allows you to mix and mashup videos, it all just really seems a little confusing, doesn't it?  It definitely is tough to keep track of, that's for sure.  While I love Yahoo's dedication to pushing forward in social media, sometimes I wish it would have all of its ducks in a row and utilize services and cross promote a little more, it would lead to a lot less general confusion.

Flickr_video_2 Perhaps taking Jumpcut and combining it with Flickr wouldn't be such a bad idea.  You could mashup your photos into neat videos with sound, or combine them with videos.  That's the really neat thing about Jumpcut.

Regardless - it is aimed at a particular market.  Cellphones and smaller digital cameras that take short clips.  Uploading these straight from the devices just like you can with photos with your Flickr account is who this is aimed at, and with how devoted Flickr users are, it won't take much time to catch on like wildfire.  Right now its just for pro account users, so unless you've upgraded to the pro account, you won't have the unlimited video feature.

Definitely something I'll be using!  Kudos Flickr!  Yahoo .. could you just make up your mind, already? LOL

April 05, 2008

Microsoft to Yahoo - 3 Weeks and Counting....

By Li Evans

Microhoo Apparently the line has been drawn in the sand by Microsoft's Steve Balmer in a letter sent to Yahoo (YHOO) today.  That line is three weeks to see some kind of progress in Microsoft's (MSFT) bid to take over Yahoo!

"...If we have not concluded an agreement within the next three weeks, we will be compelled to take our case directly to your shareholders, including the initiation of a proxy contest to elect an alternative slate of directors for the Yahoo! board."

It seems that Balmer's become a bit impatient, feeling that they've gotten no where in the past two month's since hostile bid of $44.6 billion wasn't recieved with joyous shouts from the board of Yahoo!  But who can blame Yahoo! for dragging their feet.  Really now, would you want to see your search engine company swallowed whole by a mega-corporation who can't get their own search engine right?  A company who can't make an operating system that doesn't make people's face contort in all sorts of odd ways when they realize they have no choice but to "upgrade".  I know I'd be putting off having to deal with it.

Crazy_steve_ballmer I've had a few discussions with colleagues in the industry about the "impending" Micro-hoo merger.  Honestly - this whole subject makes me sad.  Microsoft has a really tough time getting anything right, and they constantly stumble when it comes to buying companies and incorporating them into the behemoth that is Microsoft.  Yahoo's done some awesome things in the social media space in the past 12 months, it makes things feel exciting for the future, however, I'm afraid that once Microsoft comes in it'll be bye bye social media.

Wish there was a different "suitor" for Yahoo!, then there wouldn't be this big black pit of despair feeling in my stomach when I think about Yahoo!

February 20, 2008

SES London 08: The Changing World of Search, Keynote Roundtable

By Li Evans

            
Introduction by: Nick Carr, Author of The Big Switch, Rewiring the World, From Edison to Google
 
Speakers:
Dsc_3180Nick actually isn't here, but recorded a video for the audience.  Nick fell and broke his ribs and has a collapsed lung and was advised not to fly.

Kevin is showing a couple of headlines - "Microsoft vs. Google".  "Google weighs in against Microsoft".  "Microsoft to Target Yahoo! Investors".  "News Corp Joins the Yahoo! Battle".  "Yahoo Tells Shareholders They are Better Off With Current Managers".

Video from Nick Carr: 
It is a very important time in computing and history of communication.  Everyone in Search Marketing is playing a crucial role in this change.  He thinks one of the clearest indications something is going on is MS's bid to purchase Yahoo!

On one hand MS's motivation is tactical because of its lack of success in Search, and Yahoo! offers a quick fix.  Bigger story though is the change in the way computing and content is being delivered to our homes.  It use to be decentralized mode of supply, where we produced ourselves to centralized where there's a central place its made and supplied from. 

Up until the end of the 19th century, if you wanted to run a machine, you had to build your own electricity generator.  As soon as the electric grid was made, suddenly we had a new option, efficient supply at great distances.  We are seeing a similar thing happening in computing.  The world wide web is turning into the world wide computer. 

We are seeing this change quite quickly in the home and small business area.  Young people are running most of their software online, they aren't buying their own software in the store and installing it on their computers.  They are going to sites like Wikipedia, Flickr, MySpace - everything is happening online.

The software industry is starting to look like the media.  They don't make money from directly selling the software, they make it indirectly.  They have to figure out how to act like media companies, by supplying advertising to support the software development. 

On the business side, things move more slowly because of the investment into the data centers.  Also no one knows if this data model will work there or not.  However we will likely see it rise on a subscription model rather than what happens on home side.

Microsoft is still making money on the "old" side, however they are seeing this switch happening and if it wants to keep making money, they have to move to this new model.  Yahoo! gives to MS the ability to support this model.  It doesn't say it's going to happen (the merger), it says MS sees this and recognizes this and it's a world that Google is dominating this arena.

This is going to change a great deal about economics and society.  We've seen the rise of effecient companies such as Craig's List, Skype - these employ a small work forces, but serve more people than big companies that aren't on the web right now such as British Telecom. 

Search Marketers play a crucial role in privacy.  As more and more comes online by people and their personal data, the danger comes from data mining and SEO techniques.  It will eventually bring about the ability to monitor people and what they are doing online.  The challenge to Search Marketers is to figure out the standards and the ethics of what we offer up information wise while still giving people all the information they need. 

Panel Discussion:
Dsc_3182 Kevin points out Google is the clear leader, Microsoft is clearly behind.  Yahoo! dominates email and news.  Now asks the panel to introduce themselves.

Paul: He's spent 8 years at MS, 20 years in technology management.  He's currently CTO of iCrossing.  When he first heard the news he thought "at last", he doesn't think its competition for Google.  When Yahoo! and Microsoft work together, amazing things happen, he points to Flickr.  Its a small incremental growth, nothing of significance.

Erica: Global Director of Search for Isobar.  Her first reaction was "excellent". In the US its a "search game"  MS has not been able to get their game together on search.  Yahoo! has missed out too.  These two can align and maybe give Google a run for their money.  Who knows if they can actually merge these two distinct companies together.  As consumers it's good as well.

Bryan:  Co-Founder of Future Now, Inc.  His view is different.  MS has come to the realization of duality.  They know they are loosing it to Yahoo!, with Yahoo! they could be a solid "2" instead of "3".  It will be fun to watch if they can come together

Steve:  His first reaction was "wow".  How is this going to affect the search world.  Much bigger deal than search.  There's a lot of moving pieces to what each brings to the table.  It's not an easy thing to make this happen if it does because both companies are about culture.

Mike:  He thinks it would be best for humanity if he ran search so he's going to buy them both - crowd laughs.  What does it mean to the consume.  Google's like a utility, they are a technology company that can provide this easily.  Yahoo! and MS are more like media company.  If you think about Yahoo went on a spending spreee bought AltaVista,etc.  Pulling these two together culture wise is tough, but if its about search, its easy they did it before.

Kevin:  Do you think that Yahoo!'s has conceded Defeat?

Bryan:  Defeat no, that they ever will regain dominance, yes.  Their focus is on everything else but search.
Steve:  I agree, and Jerry came and spoke to us when we were there.  Yahoo! has the largest display advertising server on the planet. 
Bryan:  They are a media company not a search company
Mike:  If you take a look at Yahoo! land they are focising on social media and media, its not just about search.

Kevin:  Analyst are so ill informed.  As we look at search, Yahoo! should just outsouce search and call it a day do you agree?
Paul:  No, they should focus on giving the consumer the best experience they can.  Things can grow and form very quickly.  They can't really do it with search, maybe more with social, "web 3.0"
Erica:  Google doesn't have this ability.  If Yahoo! and MS can come together on this, they can give Google a run for their money
Bryan:  There's never been a business that has the scale like Yahoo!  There's been other leaders in the past that have come and gone.   What we're going to see in search in the future is getting on the phone and "saying" i want this and getting it.  That's an open ball game no one has captured yet.

Quetions from Audience:
Yahoo! seems like the unwilling prom date.  What about the other potential partners?
Paul:  The Fox move is interesting.  Appears to be a good fit.  But I get nervous about Murdoch.  But it's a very good fit between them
Bryan:  Interesting, but a so-so combination.  They are talking about swapping Myspace - that's a waste.
Kevin: Why?
Bryan:  Its like the old Geocities, its dying a slow death.

Erica:  Privacy issues that Nick pointed out in the video, people are hesitant to give to Google, but Yahoo! is more trusting.  People are bashing Google for privacy.
Mike:  But Google isn't evil - I saw it on their homepage!   Google can crawl a lot of different types of documents types.  Do a search for "business plan" find type .xls.  We're feeding all of this to Google.
Steve:  There's a lot of education that needs to take place.  Data isn't being used for "evil" it is fore relevancy
Bryan:  At the end of the day people just want good content
Paul:  I want to control my information, and be able to release it to the right people.  My medical records, my personal information, my shopping behavior etc.  Yahoo! has been looking at this.
Bryan:  Its all about transparency.  Lets not just focus on search, old media is looking at this too. Its across everything that touches you every day.

Greg Jarboe:  Stock market has weighed in.  MS's shareprice when down.  If MS would have taken that money and bought different companies rather than all their eggs in the Yahoo basket, what would you ahve advised?

Bryan:  Market is very reactive.  As far as buying 44 different companies you still have that culture issue of combining.  But investing it into the companies, yes.
Kevin:  Erica you are integrating companies very well.  Do you think these companies will have the wear with all to put a series of teams in place to orchestrate a change like this.
Erica:  Could they do it?  MS is the dinasour when compared to Yahoo!, AOL, they are very young companies.  My concern there's a culture class.  Management style - Balmer vs. Yang - completely opposite.  Yang is "one of the guys" they are pioneers of the web.  MS is an old company when you compare it to Google and Yahoo!.  They seem to try, but just can't "get" it.  They respond it's a 10 year game, but they aren't moving quickly enough and that's the issue.  That's the nice thing about Google, they buy companies and integrate them quite rapidly.  MS & Yahoo! trememdous amount of issues to get their.
Mike:  Neither one is a stranger to acquisition.  Depends on what you want to integrate first.  But going back to Greg's question, that would be a good idea.

Kevin:  Google is delving into media acquisitions.  What happens when the ad exchanges are open.  How much of the money for advertising is going to Google?

Steve:  I think the offline media doesn't have a lot of scale yet.  Its a tough sell to our clients. You get some early market learning.  No scale, but it will continue to grow.  Advertisers want to know where their brands are going to show up.  Clients aren't willing to put ads and logos where they don't have control.

Does the panel have any thoughts on if the deal went through, what would happen over the next year, would the engines remain separte?
Mike:  One of the strongest points of the deal.  Yahoo! has the bigger subscriber data - Google has users base that is higher.  Yahoo! and MS could do a good job of integrating
Paul:  MS and Yahoo! are doing it alrady with the messenger clients.

Can Search be Too Personal?

Paul:  I'm with you.  I like to search and discover new things.  But why should just one company own that shopping data?  Why can't I own it and give it to who I want too.
Bryan:  If you think there is such a thing as privacy, think again.  Credit bureaus know everything.  There are disadvantages.  They'll sacrifice convenience to not give up some privacy.  Its all about a balance.

If not Yahoo! who?
Mike:  It's just another change the industry is just evolving
Steve:  Google's not conceding any time soon
Bryan:  Who know what will be in 10 years, we don't know, roll with the punches today.
Erica:  Baidu.  We need to keep their eyes on Baidu.  They can move quickly and cheaply.
Paul:  Obama, Hillary or ... everyone just laughs now.  :)

February 19, 2008

SES London 08: Impact of Universal Search, Orion Panel

By Li Evans

Dsc_3157 Kevin Ryan opens up the panel showing how universal search is affecting the way the world searches.  Value propositions of search improving, re-trained on how to view search.  All of us on the web search at least 1 time during a month but most on average search 74 times.

From a marketers perspective universal search is doing some pretty interesting things.  Users are now clicking on the ads more in universal search.  Search results pages as destinations how do you measure success.  More creative options in search marketing, more view-thru value to search marketing, today's engines raising barriers to entry.  Consumers are warming up to universal search.

Mike Grehan showing how maps were integrated with a search for "Seattle airport".  Local results are being blended in.  Then show "dove beauty workshop", shows the video and how everything else is also commercial.  If there's video, and other interesting things, less click the paid.  Now shows Bourne ultimatum videos.  This is a really exciting time for us as marketers.

Jeff Revoy from Yahoo, Mike Grehan, Andrew Goodman from Page Zero, and Adam Lasnik from Google are on this panel. 

Kevin asks Adam what a search evangelist does.  His focus is on webmaster communications.  He takes what he learns from all of us back to the engineers.

Kevin:  Where are we headed with universal search?

Mike:  Ten blue links have to go, there's so much more you can do.  The world of web 2.0 the broadband era, there's so much more going on.  You can produce richer content.  There is all this interactivity going on.

Adam:    How do we decide what videos to show and from what sites.  It's primarily a technical consideration.  We can trust YouTube because we own it.  They chose MetaCafe because they know they could support it.  It's got to work so the experience is good for the user.

Jeff:  First off we know our own properties can handle it and its a starting point.  We're trying put relevant results out there for the user.

Mike:  More people are paying attention that they can provide this interactive material for their customers.

Andrew:  You are lucky if you find a company who already have this content readily available.  But most of the sites are still broken.  The challenge is to be visible in search.  There's 8 or 10 places now, not just 1 or 2.

Kevin:What percentage of results are universal/blended?

Adam:  All queries are going through universal.  It's still a small percentage that are showing universal, and it depends.  Esoteric concepts are much less likely to show universal results.

Jeff:  Yahoo is trying to understand intent.  They want to get where there destination is.  Giving users the information they need/want, and varies with query class.

Kevin:  What are the top considerations when it comes to considering what countries this should be rolled out to?

Adam:  It has been rolled out over globally.  One good rule of thumb to keep in mind is that as the indexes for each country get larger, more universal search results will appear.

Mike:  I see a lot more of it in the U.S.

Jeff:  Search assist is global.  Varies by market and language but it is all about relevance, markets & experience.

Kevin:  Mike what do you expect to see by 2010?

Mike:  If your listed in the results as just a "blue link" and your competitor is listed with rich media, everyone is going to want the rich media.

Andrew:  Advertisers want rich media results

Adam:  I can imagine the folks who work on adwords want to make their results to be most relevant.  Just as the natural search folks want theirs to be relevant, so these efforts will definitely remain separate.  Also, for clarification, no one pays for google local listing (natural ones that appear in the top 5 or 10 listed next to a map)

Jeff:  No doubt advertisers want it.  It comes down to relevance for the user.

Kevin:  Lets talk about social components and how they affect search?

Mike:  Has created a new breed of spam.  However, these social components are now becoming more relevant.

Andrew:  How do you measure converstaion? It can be taken to far, but it needs to be managed.  Its discounted until you can find a measurement.  It's fuzz but companies need to be on top of it, especially to respond to issues.

Kevin:  How do you filter out the garbage?

Jeff:  Social search adds tremendous value.  Yahoo! uses FUSE (Fine, Use, Share, Expand) to help w/ filtering out the garbage.

Adam:  When you give people the opportunity to contribute you get a lot of junk.  However, you also get diamonds and nuggets of gold.  There's a lot to be said about the wisdom of crowds, what are they most interested in?   Google will use any means necessary to protect the quality of search results.  They also send out experiments to understand what users say is "good".

Jeff:  There's no secret sauce, but they put a lot of value on the "reputation" of the user.

Kevin:  Still a lot of testing going on, what do you see with the next generation of how to filter these results?

Mike:  Search Engines have to provide the most relevant results.  Google and Yahoo! will need to support showing results that use multiple platforms.

Andrew:  I hope they don't become too internal (i.e. Google only displaying Google Video and YouTube videos)

Adam:  We are going to do what we can to keep the results relevant, however they want to be open to multiple platforms.

Jeff:  Yahoo! is all about openness.

The session then opened up to questions from the audience.  Overall this was a great discussion hearing from both sides of the industry, people doing the work and the search engines.

SES London 08: Frederick Marckini Opening Keynote

By Li Evans

Dsc_3153 Fred Marckini is the chief search officer of Isobar he's traveled the world.  Erica Schmidt is his partner in crime.

When you stop doing paid search and optimization nothing happens.  Frederick shows the old Reebok commercials.  Then shows the effect that YouTube has.

YouTube - 200 million clips watched daily - 31 million users in the EU.  10 billion online videos watched in December.

Search Marketing Trends and Best Practices for 2008
Where is the money going in EU & Search.  Even split of SEO/PPC in the US.  In Europe 75% is PPC.  In Europe they did a test, 72% of the people clicked the natural results.  "It's kind of like kissing but only  using your bottom lip".

Frederick shows an example - "Yankee Candle"  asks how would people search for a candle.  Shows how people people really search for their products.  He then shows a few more examples of how companies brand with their language but how people are really searching for products.

Fundamentals are still important.  He shows an example of an optimized page.  Then shows baseline figures, and then the companies figures out  250,000,000 pounds tied to SEO, but only paid 17,500.  SEO isn't dead, its just changing.

Shows another example of a competitor took advantage of a TV advertisers.  The competitor did search optimization.  They basically "stole" the clients.  They had to stop because they had too much business.  They did a study with Jupiter - 40% of people who see offline advertising and go online with it purchase.

Take your PPC campaigns global where your competitors are not.
Invisible tabs - use meta searches.  Basically universal search, showing how maps, news, local results are all pre-empting regular search results.  Position #1 are the "Holy Grail" position 2-3 aren't bad.  If you can move your position to the front page you can increase your traffic by 4x's.  But now, what is #1 with universal search.  Not every query has universal search.

Image the possibility of owning more of the "real estate". 
Shows an example.  Skeptical Bob - shampoo customers.  Highly saturated market for product keywords.  Nobody looks at you and says "hey nice shampoo".  They say "hair styles".  They looked at their videos the client had.  They optimized and uploaded the videos to YouTube.  The video #2 in Google, 70% organic page real estate, over 400,000 streams. 

Search is now Search Leveraged public relations.

1 million people read/subscribe to NY Times.  Google's News Tab has 10.3 million searches a month, 6.6 in the UK.  Yahoo news tab 33.7 million searches a month, 6.6. million in the UK.  98% go online daily, 92% for article research, 72% search for press release.  Simple - you need to optimize your press release for keywords (after doing research).  Google news has less competition.    Entire opportunity last 30 days in Google news.  Then it can move over regular search.  Public relations press releases are now expressed in search results.

Greg Jarboe is the pioneer in optimizing the press release, he also looks like Socrates.

Longtail is powerful, optimizing for is essential.  Shows how products are suggested.  This is powerful.  When you leverage your business' longtail content overtime you will benefit from the multiplier effect of recommendation engines and collaborative filter.  A collaborative filter is the beginning of social search.

Algorithmic relevancy has hit a wall, but will vertical search they can get better.  Amazon is a book search engine, WebMD is a medical search engine.  In the future marketers will have to not only research how people search, but where they search.  Social Media are affecting this.

Myspace, YouTube, Facebook, Flickr, Yahoo Answer, Yelp, Furl, Angie's List, Reddit..... and he keeps going.  Every search engine has put a stake in Social Media - Yahoo has delicious, flickr, etc.  The big sites who get is, integrate this into their sites.  Major brands are being encourage to join the conversation.

Sense of compressed time.  We crave safety and security.   We are faced with they tyranny of overwhelming choice.  Because of the growing influence of communities, brands need to participate in the community.  The brands who win, will be the customers who tell the best stories about them.  Your customers are already talking and telling stories about you and your brand.  They share these stories.

Strategy suggestion - invite your customers to photograph your product or brand.  Invite them to share.  Sheraton is using this and it is blowing out their numbers for bookings on the hotels that are participating in the sharing.

Separation. We are moving to a self service on demand society. Decoupling of content of from place.  Decoupling from platform.  The medium just doesn't matter anymore.  80% of all content will be digital by 2010.  If all content is digital, all content is searchable.  Everyone will be a searcher from anywhere.

In the new marketing world a small investment it can grow exponentially.

New marketing model.  Awareness engagement purchase   - future of marketing is search centric.

Summary:

  • Frederick is younger than Mike,
  • optimize your press release,
  • connect your offline advertising to search
  • go global to increase efficiency,
  • experiment with optimizing your content of social media
  • recognize and plan for the future,
  • SEO is the heart of rock and roll.

January 07, 2008

Wikia Search - Google Killer....Hardly

By Li Evans

Wikiasearchlogo It really seems like only yesterday when the whole Wikiasari and Wikia Search debacle of information hit the blogosphere.  However, here we are a year later that the anointed "Google Killer", Wikia Search has launched.

Wikia Search has a very, very long way to go.  Maybe one day it will become this sleeping giant, but with the way it is now, Dear Lord, I really wonder who other than the Wikipedia faithful would use it?  Yes, I know it does not have an article about SEO, but seriously, lets look at some everyday examples to judge it a little better.

Wikia Search for GreyhoundsI first took a look at a search on "Greyhounds".  I looked at Wikia Search, and just was like "HUH"?  Seriously a great big "HUH"?  The very first entry, other than noticing no article about Greyhounds - even though Wikipedia has an extensive one, was a site who happens to sell 4 pieces of glass works featuring Greyhounds.  Now, how does that help me find out information about Greyhounds?  Nice glass work, but most people searching for information on Greyhounds are looking to Rescue them or find out information about the Greyhound Racing Industry.  When you look at a search for "Greyhounds" in Google, Yahoo, Ask and Live, these are the relevant search results people are looking for.  And hey guess what?  Wikipedia's article on Greyhounds ranks in the top 5 in every single one of those engines (Ask has there's on the side).

Wikia Search for Ansel AdamsOk, ok so that's just one.  I was fair, I did three - so next we have "Ansel Adams".  For those who don't know Ansel Adams was one of America's legendary photographers, primarily using black and white.  Wikipedia has a pretty darn extensive article on him, too.  Think Wikia Search is using it?  Not a chance.  The results are a little better than for Greyhounds, but not by much.  At least they have the Ansel Adams official website #1, unlike with the Greyhound search, the Greyhound League's website was #2.  There's also no links or displays of works by Ansel Adams, which every other major search engine has (Google, Yahoo, Ask & Live).

Wikia Search for Barack ObamaFinally I looked at a rather timely and probably really popular search term "Barack Obama".  Wikipedia has a great amount of information on him, but they have only 3 sentences in the article on him in Wikia Search, and if I were the Barack Obama campaign I'd be on that fast - like today.  Do you think the Wikipedia entry shows up at all in a search for "Barack Obama" in Wikia Search?  Sadly again it does not. 
The even bigger let down?  Barack Obama's 2008 Presidential Campaign site is no where to be found in the top 10 listings.  Now how's that for relevancy?  His senate page on the .gov site is there (and it's only #3), but as of this writing, it is just not there.  Google, Yahoo, Ask and Live all have his presidential campaign website in the top 10 if not at #1.

Sure Wikia Search is just starting out, but honestly, in today's search industry - you need to come out of the gate with a heck of a lot more than this to get people to notice.  The one thing that they could leverage in a big way isn't even being utilized in "every day" type of searches - Wikipedia. 

There's no links to news pieces, images or even videos in the results like all the other major search engines have - so why would I want to go back to user interface from "2005" (or later)?  There's no real relevancy either, it's not giving me viable results when you compare it to the other major search engines.  And honestly - I give this less than a month before the spammers have it filled with utter crap and totally abusing the articles section.

I ask you these questions:

  • Why would someone want to use a search engine that doesn't display the way Ask, Google or Yahoo does?
  • Why would I use Wikia Search over Wikipedia when Wikipedia gives me more relevant information than the search results at Wikia Search?
  • Why would I use a search engine who doesn't display it's own relevant articles at the top, when it's got total access to them because they are part of the Wikia Universe?
  • Why would I use a search engine who (again) has access to Wikipedia articles that all 4 major search engines deem highly relevant, and doesn't even list them in their own results?

I won't be using Wikia Search nor suggesting anyone does till they figure out this isn't 2005.  Until I hear they are incorporating Wikipedia's articles into the articles section, I won't be taking a 2nd look either.  Heck Mahalo and Squiddo give you a heck of a lot more than this.

And just a footnote to this review, I didn't know that Ask had this really funky "dog breed" pull down feature.  When I did the search of Greyhounds on Ask, I was presented with a section at the top all about the Greyhound breed, and could search for other breeds just by using the pull down.  Pretty darn neat Ask! :)

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