Posts Tagged 'search engine'

Bing is at the top.

Bing-is-at-the-top

And they have a photo to prove it!

Microsoft employee Kunal Das recently traveled to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro – the world’s highest free-standing mountain – and left a Bing sticker at the top (see it on the sign right after “Africa’s Highest Point”).

Unfortunately for Bing though, Google is still the king of the search engine mountain with 64.7% of core searches according to comScore‘s July 2009 US. Search Engine rankings report. The good news for Bing is that the new and improved search engine did continue its upward trend with an increase of 5% for it’s number of searches. It’s just going to be a long trek to try to dethrone Google!

comScore-core-July2009

comScore-expanded-July2009

Ask May Be the Engine that Could

comScore released its February 2009 Search Engine report and to the surprise of no one, Google maintains its dominance with 63.3% market share among the top five search engines. Yahoo! comes in second with 20.6% share, followed by Microsoft with 8.2% of the search market. Ask.com is the “also ran” engine with a mere 4.1% share of the core search market.

comScore February 2009 Core Search Engine Volume

However, what I found interesting is that when comparing the search volume from January to February, Ask.com shows an unusually high jump of 21% more search queries — despite February’s three fewer days.

comScore February 2009 Full Search Volume Report

Looking back at previous months, Ask.com has not experienced an increase nearly as big as this…not even double digits. So why this increase now?

Obviously I’m not privy to everything going on at Ask.com. But, I have seen television ads for Ask.com lately. With a little digging, I found that Ask has in fact been aggressively using offline advertising to promote its online search engine.

Ask Climbs on Board with NASCAR

In January, Ask.com inked a deal to become the Official Search Engine of NASCAR. According to Ask’s CEO Jim Safka,

Our goal is to win over the millions of loyal fans by providing them with the best NASCAR search experience on the Web, and introduce them to all of Ask’s capabilities when they come.

The advertising campaign features slices of life of a “typical NASCAR-loving family” as they follow racing.

Airing approximately 4-5 times during each of the 36 NASCAR race broadcasts, the :15 and :30 Ask.com spots feature content tied to that particular race broadcast. And, Ask.com is running television spots during non-NASCAR related programming.

Ask.com Ad Crawler During Television ProgramAsk.com also has begun running a series of crawler ads on the bottom of the screen during some cable shows. The ads pose queries to viewers, who can then find the answers by using the search engine. The questions, which are tied to show content or subject matter, are appearing on 18 channels, including AMC, FX, National Geographic Channel, MLB Network and NFL Network.

Keep an Eye on the Little Engine

Of course, one month does not establish a trend. But it is a start. And with aggressive offline advertising and promotions, this may be the beginning of the long haul towards the top of the search. I’ll keep an eye on the comScore monthly search reports to see if Ask.com sustains this growth. I’m sure that Ask is saying, “I think I can, I think I can!

Train on Railroad Tracks



6 Ways Organic Search Results are Like Superbowl Ads

When it comes to advertising, the Superbowl is the granddaddy of them all. During this one football game, viewership is huge. Advertisers shell out millions of dollars to run just one thirty-second spot and agencies vie to produce THE spot that will have everyone talking, blogging and tweeting long after the MVP’s trip to Disneyland.

It occurred to me as I reviewed the January search stats that organic search is the superbowl of online marketing; here are six ways:

  1. A very large number of people tune in.
  2. Nielsen Media Research reported that Super Bowl XLIII, which aired on February 1, 2009, drew an average of 98.7 million U.S. viewers. By comparison, the highest rated broadcast television show last week was Fox’s American Idol which drew 24.8 million viewers.

    According to monthly search engine tracking by comScore, Inc., there were 13.496 million searches on the five major search engines during January.

    comScore January 2009 Search Report

  3. Audience size is on the rise.
  4. Below is a chart from tvbytheNumbers.com showing Nielsen Media Research’s data for the number of viewers of the Superbowl each year, beginning with Superbowl I in 1967 through Superbowl XLIII in 2009. Although there are some years that were flat or even dipped in total viewers, the overall trend is up.

    superbowlthrough2009-550x383

    I charted comScore’s monthly search engine ranking data for the past twelve months. Like the Superbowl viewership, some months remained flat, others actually decreased, but the overall trend is up.

    ussearchvolume1

  5. Placement is everything!
  6. Superbowl XLIII began at 6:18pm eastern on Fox. Nielsen Media Research reported that the most-watched quarter hour of the game was the 9:45-10:00pm ET spot, with an average audience of more than 106 million viewers. The most-watched minute was 10:07pm ET, which amassed 111.6 million viewers. Advertisers were fortunate that this superbowl game was competitive up to the last play of the game. It’s been more common in previous years that one team dominated the game, dropping viewers as the game progressed.

    For search engine results pages, Cornell University conducted eye tracking studies for users’ behavior, including click distribution as well as the time spent looking at each result. As the following image shows, the top three positions on page one received almost 80% of the clicks, with the number one position receiving a whopping 56% of the clicks!

    click-distribution-serp

  7. The ad must stand out.
  8. For several years, Master Lock devoted its entire annual advertising budget to the Super Bowl in the form of one :30 spot. You may recall the spot from the 1970’s that even today is considered to be one of the best Superbowl ads of all time.

    Many point to this Master Lock spot as the beginning of the big Superbowl ad hype that exists today.

    When it comes to a search engine results page (SERP), there are three key components: the headline, the snippet and the URL. The more specific to the keyword and the more descriptive, the better – which is to say in the world of SERPs, the more likely the searcher is to click on your link. In the SERP example below for “supebowl XLII,” look at the headline and snippet for the second result; this result is so vague that I doubt it would get very many clicks.

    googlesuperbowlserp

  9. There are no guarantees for the effectiveness of your placement.
  10. superbowl43logo1Although advertisers purchase an ad during a specific time period of the superbowl game, there are many uncontrollable factors that contribute to the viewership of the ad:

    • all NFL teams do not enjoy the same popularity
    • the teams competing in the superbowl are not determined until two weeks prior to the event
    • audience size varies from year to year
    • the competitive nature of the game is not predictable

    In the world of organic search, you don’t buy your placement, but rather are at the mercy of the search engines’ double-top-secret algorithm to determine your SERP ranking. All you can do is follow SEO best practices and hope for the best:

    • write quality content
    • limit keywords to one “theme” per page
    • link to related content
    • include keywords in your headline (h1) and early in your first paragraph
    • use bold to emphasize keywords
  11. Anyone can do it!
  12. Every year, superbowl advertisers range from the companies who are there every year, like Budweiser, to first-time superbowl advertisers like Go Daddy. There are big budget spots like Audi and even Doritos spots produced by amateurs in a contest. It’s an example of a medium that anyone (with the $3 million+ dollars for airtime) can participate in.

    Likewise, organic search is now a medium for everyone. It’s not just for web developers and SEO consultants anymore! New online services — like the SEO platform from Lead Maverick — and optimized social media sites, like YouTube, enable advertising, public relations, and marketing consulting agencies, in addition to web developers, interactive agencies, and SEO consultants, to publish optimized content that appears at the top of organic search.

Get in the Game!

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These are the days when agencies are beginning to figure out how huge search marketing is — in audience size, in ad spending, in measurable ROI. Those who engage now will no doubt be the winners.

White PaperHow to Grow Your Agency in the Downturn: SEO Answers the SOS

Search Engines on Twitter

The top search engines are on Twitter.  Are you following their tweets?

search-engines-on-twittergoogle_icon@InsideGoogle

yahooicon1@Yahoo

livesearchicon@Live_Search

askicon@AskDotCom (UK)

And one of my personal favorites:

viewziicon1@Viewzi

Google is the most represented of the companies, with many more accounts set up for various products: news, apps, etc. Here is a link that lists all Twitter accounts with Google in the name; just beware of  immitators!

Top 5 Superbowl Ads According to Google

googlesearchtermsSuperbowl XLIII is over. NBC, advertisers and their agencies are surely pleased that the victor was not determined until the last play of the game. Congratulations go to the Pittsburgh Steelers for a hard-fought victory and the Arizona Cardinals for providing one of the more entertaining Superbowl games in years.

Even before the confetti flew to signal the end of the game, the internet was all a-twitter with people casting their votes for their favorite Superbowl Ads. Here are the top 5 Superbowl Ads as determined by search volume on Google, reported by Google Trends:

  1. Jack in the Box – Hang in there Jack
  2. Denny’s – Free Grand Slam
  3. Vizio
  4. Go Daddy
  5. Hulu

This list definitely does not match my top five Superbowl ads. These may not have been your favorite ads either, but advertising really isn’t a popularity contest or a beauty pageant. The true measures of a successful ad are that it is memorable and it moves the viewer to action. In the absence of sales figures and primary research, Google search engine queries are a pretty good barometer.

Is Twitter the Next Big Search Engine?

twitter_through_glass

With 4-5+ million users, and new accounts added at an estimated 5-10,000 daily, and mentions on traditional media, Twitter (website) seems to have become mainstream. It’s one of those simple internet ideas that has taken on a life of its own. And spawned countless complementary applications.

One such application, Summize, was purchased by Twitter last year and, apparently is soon to be integrated into the Twitter user’s interface. Appropriately renamed Twitter Search, this app is available at http://search.twitter.com.

Twitter Search enables a search of all tweets–not just those of people you follow–in real time based on a keyword or keyword phrase.  Unlike Google, Yahoo! or other search engines, Twitter Search returns relevant tweets based on recency. There is also an advanced search to filter your Twitter search results by names, locations, hashtags (info), attitude, or the inclusion of links.

At any given time, there is bound to be someone tweeting about whatever is going on in the world–whether it’s a sporting event, a television show, an earthquake, or a conference. People are also tweeting opinions, reviews, interesting articles, new product announcements, events, and much, much more. I searched for “twitter search” and found this tweeted 22 minutes prior to my search:

twitter-search-tweet1

From the searcher’s perspective, the great value of tweets is that they are 100% user generated–it’s the equivalent of word-of-mouth marketing. And since each post is limited to 140 characters, a Twitter Search results page is a very quick read.

I can’t tell you how many searches are conducted on Twitter Search each month because I couldn’t find the data anywhere. But my assumption is that it is growing…and fast. ComScore (website) tracks search engine volume each month, but does not include Twitter Search data. It is unclear if this is due to a low volume on Twitter Search or just a lack of tracking on the part of ComScore.

What we do know is the websites on the low end of the December search volumes were:

  • Facebook with 161 million searches
  • Amazon properties with 204 million searches
  • Craigslist with387 million searches

Time will tell whether Twitter Search will become as mainstream as Twitter itself–or even the traditional search engines. Integration with the user’s Twitter interface should help increase its use exponentially. In the meantime, I’ll continue to add to it’s search volume. How about you?

Related Articles

Twitter Officially Goes Mainstream

HubSpot’s “State of the Twittersphere” Report

Does Twitter Represent the Future of Search? Or is it The Other Way Around?

Should Twitter Add Authority-based Search?

Is Twitter a Viable Conversation Platform?

When it Comes to SEO, the Color of your Hat Matters

SEO White Hat

SEO White Hat

In movies set in the wild west, the good guys always wore white and the bad guys donned black. The same is true in the world of search engine optimization (SEO).

“Black hat SEO” is a term referring to unethical techniques employed to “trick” the search engines to rank a web page in a top spot of its organic search, despite its true relevance – or lack thereof. Examples of black hat techniques include:

  • doorway pages — website entry pages filled with keywords that are crawled by the search engine bots, but visitors are immediately redirected to the “real” entry page.
  • keyword stuffing — placing a lot of keywords on a web page rather than quality content.
  • invisible text — placing keywords on a page in the same color as the background so that the human visitor doesn’t see them, but the search engine bots do.

Although black hat SEO techniques may deliver top rankings in the short run, sites employing these run the risk of being penalized — or even banned — from the search engines.

“White hat SEO” refers to techniques used to aid search engines in understanding and ranking content based on adhering to SEO best practices. There are numerous things a website owner may do to improve a site’s SEO, but it all amounts to one thing: build a site that is very rich with quality content and people and the search engines will find the site. Google provides a lot of information about SEO best practices. Give it a read for an even better understanding of white hat SEO and you’ll be sure to have happy trails.

Happy Trails for the White Hat SEO

Happy Trails for the White Hat SEO


Welcome

There are approximately 12 billion searches conducted on the internet each month. And that number continues to grow. As more companies look for ways to gain an advantage in an increasingly competitive environment, marketers seek to integrate search engine optimization (SEO) into their marketing communications. And with the advancement in non-technical online tools, SEO is not just for programmers and search marketers anymore. Search Matters is specifically for marketers who want to learn about organic search and how to integrate SEO into their integrated marketing communications programs.

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