All Articles Tagged "search engines"
If you are like 300 million other people, you use Google daily. So you have probably by now noticed the search engine’s new design.
The tweaking done by Google might hurt your business, reports Inc. Many businesses count on search engines to help drive traffic to the websites. But with the new design, the search toolbar is now at the top of the screen. It used to be on the left side.
“With the new design, there’s a bit more breathing room, and more focus on the answers you’re looking for, whether from web results or from a feature like the Knowledge Graph, “ according to Google. Though the Knowledge Graph element was launched in May, it now has more visibility. “Search for a movie star, for instance, and you’ll see an info box on the right with the actor’s birth date, picture, relationships, biographical information, filmography and related people,” explains Time magazine. Google’s iPhone app allows you to ask a question by voice, and a computerized voice reads back information from Knowledge Graph.
With the new layout, paid search ads are also more prominent. “Those ads now appear more prominently and closer to the left side of the page where the average user tends to look first,” reports Inc., with more attention drawn to the paid ads. Larry Kim, founder and CTO of WordStream, a PPC technology and search engine marketing software company, tells Inc. there is a reason why Google made the changes now. “I believe the decision to make Product Listing Ads even more prominent right before the holiday shopping season is no coincidence,” he says, “particularly after a disappointing Q3 2012 earnings report.”
Google says the new design is more adaptable for other digital devices such as smartphones, tablets and desktop web browsers.
Had you noticed the new Google layout? Does it bother you?
Websites are great to promote yourself or your company. But a website done wrong could cost you work. According to Inc.com there are common mistakes that people make when designing their websites.
In this age of smartphones, you have to take into consideration if your site looks good on a cell phone screen. “Mobile now accounts for 12 percent of global Internet traffic, and it’s scaling faster than the desktop did,” reports the site. “If your website is not mobile enabled, you’re going to miss out on a growing population of users.”
Keywords are a great way to optimize your site in search engines, but too many keywords are just overload. “It may be a natural impulse to load up your website with keywords and keyword hyperlinks, but what you’ll probably create is an SEO nightmare,” says the article. Speaking of search engines, don’t forget to register with the local search engines. “If you do the majority of your business locally and you’re not taking advantage of free listings in important go-to local resource directories such as Google+ Local, Yahoo Local, Yelp, or others, you’ll have to pay for better visibility through advertising,” advises the article.
Keep your designs simple; skip using too much flash. “Flash is really cool for visuals, but it doesn’t work well with search or Apple devices,” advises Inc.com. Tech expert Toi Barnhardt, associate publisher of the Women of Color in Technology STEM Conference agrees that visuals are very important. “Unless your site is about ‘The Team of Me,’” jokes Barnhardt, referencing Welcome Home Roscoe Jenkins. “[B]e sure not to inundate it with too many pictures of yourself. Stick to content relevant pictures.”
Another major mistake is burying or omitting contact information. “How many times do you visit a website and want to call the company, only to find the only option you have is to complete a form? Do you become suspicious of the company’s legitimacy or interest in helping you? Make all contact information–including social-media icons–readily and repeatedly accessible,” says Inc.com.
It is also equally important, adds Barnhardt, to have user-friendly payment options. “PayPal and anything backed by Verisign are normally trustworthy methods of payment,” she tells Madame Noire.
And it may sound basic, but decide what type of site you want to have. “Be sure to know the differences between the needs of a products site and a services site,” says Barnhardt. “Products sites should always should always be updated to reflect true inventory. Services sites should thoroughly list descriptions of services and when they are offered.”
Once your site is up and running, make sure to keep up with your maintenance fees. “The biggest mistake I find that small business owners make is not preparing for the monthly maintenance fees that come with site hosting. If you don’t have the payment set up to recur permanently, your site host will absolutely pull it down,” Barnhardt says. “There is nothing worse than going to a business site only to get an error message regarding the domain.”
(Wall Street Journal) — Burned by Google Inc.’s recent changes to its search formula, small businesses are experimenting with strategies to recover lost Web traffic while seeking out new ways to generate sales—some even scaling back daily operations. Seeing a 40% decline in sales since Google adjusted its algorithm, online ergonomic-products retailer Ergo In Demand Inc. in Central Point, Ore., reduced its 17-person staff to five, moved to a 4,500-square-foot office space from one more than double in size and cut $4,000 in monthly software subscriptions. With the savings, owner Peter Scholom hired a search-engine optimization firm to do an audit of the 11-year-old company’s website, ergoindemand.com. He hopes to learn how to regain the site’s previously high Google rankings for search terms like “keyboard trays” and “TV mounts.” ”We are fishing for any straw,” Mr. Scholom says, whose business had $6 million in sales in 2010. Many small but growing Web retailers say they have been punished since Google, which handles nearly two-thirds of all Web searches, moved in late February to weed out “content farms,” or sites that post information without attention to quality or by copying text from other sources such as government websites.
(Fast Company) — Microsoft is reportedly spending about $100 million (a low estimate, an industry source tells me) marketing Bing, the only formidable competitor to Google left in the search-engine game. Loads of that cash is heading toward the myriad “search overload” commercials you’ve likely seen. The company also invested tons in a generous cashback rewards program. It launched innovative advertising partnerships with Jay-Z and theSundance Film Festival. And on Monday, Microsoft announced that it’s teaming with ESPN for a feature football series leading up to the Super Bowl.
(Businessweek) — Today people are more connected to the Internet than ever before. That may sound obvious, but the numbers are truly staggering. Every day, Google receives around 500 million search requests. Approximately 110 million unique websites are in operation—and more than 1 trillion URLs. The challenge for owners of businesses big and small is to be found in this enormous haystack, and the solution is search engine optimization, or SEO. An effective SEO campaign puts a website at the top of a search engine’s results, ensuring that it is seen and visited by a large audience.
(New York Times) — A year ago, Google introduced a smartphone application that lets users take photos of objects and get search results in return. On Tuesday, the company will take that capability into the world of marketing with an experiment allowing five national brands to use the application in their promotional materials. In the early days of smartphones, users could find out about a movie by entering its title in Google’s browser and searching. Then Google introduced the ability to use voice to make a query. Now, the Google Goggles visual search app, available in iPhones and Android phones, allows users to take photos of an object, say a movie poster, and find out more about it in search results.
(PR Web) — Tired of struggling to find unique African, African American, Afro European and Caribbean blogs and websites online, Obi Linton, founder of the Annual Black Web Awards developed GatewayBlack.com, the global Black search engine. After viewing several lists of top 1,000 websites and not seeing any sites with Black content, Linton suspected that others worldwide also had similar challenges. He knew he was on to something after reviewing the daily results in his new engine’s crawlers, which turned up thousands of Black sites worldwide that he would never have found through a search in a major search engine.
(Wall Street Journal) — Several popular online travel companies are joining forces to oppose Google Inc.’s proposed $700 million purchase of ITA Software Inc., the leading provider of flight data, saying the deal would give it too much sway over the travel sector. Expedia Inc., Kayak.com, Sabre Holdings and Farelogix Inc.—which operate half-a-dozen leading online travel sites—are forming a coalition called FairSearch.org to persuade the Justice Department to block Google’s latest deal. The companies are also launching a lobbying blitz on Capitol Hill, making the case to members of Congress that the deal would allow Google to dominate the online air-travel market by giving it control over the software that powers many of its rivals in the travel search business.
(Businessweek) — If you’ve ever thought to yourself, “Why is Angelina Jolie famous if all of her movies are just O.K.?” you’re in luck: Forty-two people have weighed in with an answer at Fluther.com. Fluther is one of a dozen or so sites that have sprung up in the past two years aiming to tap the wisdom of crowds and supply human answers to questions search engines don’t handle well. Such “social search” accounts for about 4 percent of the total search market, according to Matt Booth, an Internet analyst with market research firm Kelsey Group. And it’s growing fast. “It’s going to be worth a ton of money in the long run,” Booth says.
(Fast Company) — Ask.com was a major success back in the late ’90s, with its excellent (for the time) retrieval of answers and its cute butler logo, Jeeves. But times changed, and in 1998, those Californian nerds at Google began the keyword revolution. No longer were search queries executed in complete sentences, and Ask.com fell by the wayside. It attempted to follow in Google’s footsteps but never quite took off in the same way.