Posts Tagged ‘google’

search engine movements : new and old

Wednesday, November 17th, 2010

It looks like the Search Engine battles and shake ups are never going to end. Earlier this week Ask announced that they were no longer going to be competing in the search engine market as they saw Google as being market leaders controlling the majority of the market and (Im guessing) they were not too keen on reinacting the David & Goliath story.

Rise up Blekko

As one falls though, another rises to takes its place. The latest search engine on the block is one called blekko. Now while they are definitely no Google; they are certainly putting a few interesting search query parameters to the table.

One of these is their “slashtags”; which appear to be ways of profiling your search queries. These slashtags can be created by users and then saved for future searches. Essentially its exacltly like a list in Twitter.

Other than this small “feature” their user GUI is very traditionally Google (if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it). What they currently don’t have is additional refined searches like image search, news, blogs and news.

What is painfully missing from the search results is a form of paid advertising. Whether this means that they are hoping to gain some traction before unleashing their advertising model on their users; or if they are not sure if monetising their site is right at the moment(sounds a lot like “the social network” that).

Google review

Whatever the case is; this will be an interesting search engine to keep an eye on. I’m under no illusions that they are going to topple the mightly Google; but competition is always healthy.

Interesting to watch though while we are back on familiar ground is the rumours starting to slowly turn around the rumour mill that Google may “influence” the search results when it is a Google property that needs to rank.

Or is this just the talk of disgruntled SEO “gurus” who can’t get it right or perhaps even other search engines trying to tarnish a still superior reputation?!

Only time will tell what will happen – but this is one we will be watching very closely!

Bing and Facebook’s Popularity Contest! And why Google will win

Thursday, October 14th, 2010

Bing and Facebook Social Search AnnouncementIt was announced last night that the social media giant Facebook, would be sharing the social context of its information database with the search under-dog, Bing. In other words, Bing will now know what every Facebook user “Likes”. Bing announced that it would be incorporating this information into its search algorithm to help increase the relevancy around its results.

An example of how this would work would be: if you search for hotels in Johannesburg, and your friend Jack has “Liked” the Nicol hotel in Bedfordview, Bing would give this more preference in the search engine results. Your friend’s name would also appear alongside the listing stating that he/she liked this hotel.

Popularity vs Relevance

While this does provide another level of intelligence to the search algorithm, is it not one that doesn’t really matter? Does this new addition not measure popularity over relevance?

Relevance: Relevance is a term used to describe how pertinent, connected, or applicable something is to a given matter.

Popularity: The quality or state of being popular; especially, the state of being esteemed by, or of being in favor with, the people at large

In short, are they not just making it more difficult for the potentially relevant under-dogs (less popular) businesses, ideals and people to be found high up in the search results pages? Just because I liked an article doesn’t necessarily mean I found it particularly useful or relevant. I could have just “Liked” that article as it was someone I admired who posted it. Once again, this proves that people with many connections and friends will have the upper hand in getting their content “Liked” and displayed higher up in the SERPS.

By using the “Like” button as a guide we are placing a lot of trust in our “circle of friends”. If I’m looking for something technical, who is to say my friends are well versed in the technology that I’m looking for.

Google has spent years refining its search algorithm and fine tuning it in to what is today, a highly relevant set of results. Granted, Google is going to have to find an answer to Bing’s heightened social search. But I highly doubt that Bing’s 10% market share of search is going to keep the developers and mathematicians at Google awake at night. Not to mention that in the announcement they said that 4% of their searches were of a social nature (searching for people). If this is their target market for this algorithm update is it really worth all the hype?

Next Step

If they are truly trying to measure relevance, then surely the next step would be to have the long awaited “Unlike” button. If we are just measuring what people like, as apposed to their likes and dislikes, are we not only looking at one side of the coin? Surely these results will be skewed as they are far more things in Facebook that have not been liked than the ones that have. Again this goes back to our initial thoughts on popularity versus relevance.

Irony

Ironically this article is highly relevant in terms of the Bing and Facebook announcement. Does that mean if no one “likes” this article, does that mean that it is not relevant in the eyes of Bing?

Written by: Nick Duncan and Jonathan Houston

SEO department qualifies as Google Advertising Professionals

Monday, October 26th, 2009

JD Internet Consulting and DiscoverSEO are proud to announce their latest achievement attained by the SEO department.

Over the past couple of weeks, the SEO department consisting of Jonathan Houston (Online Marketing Manager), Megan Trow (SEO Specialist) and Nick Duncan (SEO Specialist), have been hard at work preparing for the Google AdWords Professional Qualification by engaging in the online tutorials, group discussions and working with client accounts.

Recently, the team then completed the GAP exam individually online and qualified with the following results:

Jonothan Houston 92.27%
Nick Duncan 90.91%
Megan Trow 90.61%

Congratulations!

For more information on how JD Internet Consulting can assist your business in extracting maximum value out of your web solution, contact us TODAY – (011) 807 6149, business@jdconsulting.co.za or online at www.jdconsulting.co.za.

Canonical Links – Specifying duplicate pages

Monday, October 26th, 2009

If you don’t already know, duplicate content can have a hazardous effect on your SEO efforts, and we were lucky enough for Google to tell us about it in February this year. Google released an article hinting that you should specify your preferred version of your page(s). And when Google “hints” something, you’d be stupid not to make it a standard in your procedures! By using canonical links, you are telling Google which page is the “original” or “preferred” page, of a page that can have multiple variations that are identical or very similar.

What is a canonical link?

A canonical link is a <link> element specified in the <head> section of your duplicate page(s).

<link rel=”canonical” href=”http://www.example.com/products.php?prod=tyres” />

Give me an example!

If you have a page listing all the tyres you are selling, such as:

http://www.example.com/products.php?prod=tyres

and another page listing the same information, but sorted differently, such as:

http://www.example.com/products.php?prod=tyres&sortedby=brand

You would need to specify your preferred version of the URL on the duplicate page. Therefore, if you would like the first URL to be your preferred page, insert the canonical link pointing to that page into the duplicate page. When I mention the term “preferred page”, this indicates the page that you would want Google to list in the SERPs.

What most don’t understand.

This works perfectly well for the example mentioned above, but did you realise that even if you dont have an e-commerce site and you believe that you do not have any sort of duplicate content on your site. Chances are, you do! The URLs below are all different in the eyes of a Google bot.

http://www.example.co.za

http://example.co.za

http://www.example.co.za/

http://example.co.za/

http://www.example.co.za/index.html

http://example.co.za/index.html

And did you realise, your PageRank™ is probably being spread between some of them? This is due to the fact that others link to you differently. Its a given that you cannot control how others link back to your site, but you need to let Google know what your preferred URL is so they can transfer the properties accordingly. Inserting some code into your .htaccess file to accomplish this is a very good idea. You should also keep in mind not to have contradicting URLs in your sitemap.xml, and using Google Webmaster Tools to specify between “www” and “non www” is another must do.

Conclusion

Google is not the only search engine using this standard, Yahoo! and Bing have both incorporated this into their algorithms and you can read their press releases here and here. So in the hope of increasing the efficacy of your SEO knowledge, keep this listed at the top of your “SEO to do” list.

Google Caffeine – Be Prepared

Monday, August 17th, 2009

If you’re in the online marketing industry, be prepared for some big changes. Google recently announced their latest project – Google Caffeine, which is set to change the search world. In essence, Google is rewriting the way they index sites and for the first time, we have a sneak preview of how this will affect our rankings.

For those that think this wont be a big change, think again. Matt Cutts has mentioned that this could compare to the Big Daddy update in late 2005. If you’re wondering how this is going to affect you, take a look at this comparative tool from Sembience which checks your current ranking of a keyword vs the Google Caffeine rank.

Here is a simple example of how rankings are already changing:

Google vs Google Caffeine

Google vs Google Caffeine

One of the most talked about changes with Google Caffeine is the way that Google gives preference to real time events and news and a lot of people are wondering if this is going to sacrifice the relevancy of the results. I’m not convinced about this. I believe that these change are needed to filter out all the irrelevant information that has built up along the years within the Google index. From now on, a lot more work will be needed to maintain your current rankings, meaning that all those untouched, forgotten websites with useless information will be thrown to the bottom of the ranks if it hasn’t been done so already.

In order to maintain a good ranking and keep your business alive you will now have to put as much time into your business online as you are offline.

Visit the Google Caffeine site and start getting prepared for what’s going to be a big change in the online marketing world.