On the web, there are billions upon billions of webpages and websites. Any topic or category you can think of, it exists online for you to read and learn about. Thankfully, we have search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo to name a couple, which can search, index, catalog and categorize all of these sites. Otherwise it would be like a giant pile of leaves, with little to differentiate them from one another.
And yet, as the world expands online, as information becomes more and more accessible, businesses and surfers are finding themselves pulled increasingly in a rather surprising direction. The more available the world has become, the closer to home users have gone. With the boom of social media, the world has started to realize just how small a place it really is. When with a few keystrokes, you can be browsing art galleries at the Louvre, or taking in the pyramids at Giza, the trend of online activity has been shifting more and more to a local focus. The search engines have noticed as well, and have begun to lend more importance to geo-targeting search results for terms. People post on Twitter and Facebook about which local pizza joint has the best crust, or look for a plumber from their friends referrals.
Smartphones, PDA’s laptops and netbooks. It’s getting easier to be online, and faster to navigate what you’re looking for. Social media brings the real time world to your finger tips, and the trend is getting ready to shift again. What’s the next big step?
Some relatively simple steps are often the best ones which make the most difference. Using the example of a long distance runner, you wouldn’t buy heavy clothing, or cheap shoes in order to be your best, you’d wear efficient clothing and lightweight, well balanced and cushioned shoes to be your best. Simple steps, yes, but necessary none the less to a runner. Keeping it simple is a key to any endeavor, no matter how large or small. With this principle in mind, a couple of simple, no nonsense tips to always bear in mind when it comes to your website.
What will people type to want to find your site-You have your website, and you want to be able to be found online. Try using the simplest terms in order to define your site, and it’s purpose, and you can go from there. You have a gardening shop? Use that on your site instead of calling yourself an arboretum and botanical garden store. It may sound large and spectacular, but it won’t help your being found any.
Title tags matter, description tag matters-The title of your pages does make a difference. It’s often your first impression to those who find your site through Google. The description tag is what provides the brief little blurb found underneath the link to your website on the SERPs.
Using Adwords doesn’t give you a better placement-Using a Google Adwords account does not give you any better ranking in the organic search listings; those in the center of the page. The Adwords which you purchase, have their own listing, to the right, or on top of the page. To be found highly placed in the organic listings, often requires the skills of an SEO expert.
Only a couple of very, very simple tips, but should be always in mind when building a new website for yourself, or your business.
There are certain myths associated with local search that many businesses unfortunately, get wrapped up in. Bruce Clay, the President and CEO of Bruce Clay, Inc., explains why these theories are false
First of all, small businesses do not always realize that they are competing with businesses with large budgets. Small businesses naturally have small budgets, but they need to provide the same level of optimization as their competition in order to adequately compete.
Secondly, small businesses think that they only need to do local search optimization. Clay points out that, just because a business is small and local, doesn’t mean that it doesn’t need to fix its entire website. He says:
“No matter what, the work is pretty much the same. No matter how you want to cut it, SEO is SEO.”
Small businesses still have to do technical work, build links, provide good and relevant content, and demonstrate that they are experts in their field. To help small businesses with their local efforts, the search engines offer many tools to assist them, such as maps.
At a local level, Clay says businesses need links from other people and businesses in their same region. In addition, the content should be specific and localized. However, if a business wants to rank internationally, then it needs to have links from other countries
The battle between Bing and Google has heated up with both sides agreeing to deals with micro-blogging site Twitter. In addition, Microsoft has reached a separate agreement with Facebook, while Google is launching its own, unique search tool for social networking sites.
User demand is behind decisions by Microsoft and Google to include social networking in search results. While both search sites update their index of web pages regularly, they still struggle to cope with very recent information such as current events. While both Google and Bing have dedicated searches of news websites, that doesn’t cover comments and reports by non-journalists, including those on hand during a major event — information which is available through social networks.
Twin Tie-Ups For Twitter
Twitter appears to have pulled off a smart marketing move by having deals with both search giants announced within hours of one another. Bing has already released a beta edition of its Twitter search which, unlike the facility on Twitter’s own site, includes a list of the web pages which receive the most links in Twitter posts. That’s a useful way of finding the latest talking points.
There must be a new search engine monster out there. In regards to the recent search merger with Yahoo and Microsoft, the following statements were uttered by the respective CEO’s.
Carol Bartz “Competition equals innovation. But with one player dominating 70 percent of search, that field has been pretty lopsided. This transaction will create a healthy competitor that’ll keep everyone on their toes.”
Steve Ballmer “Right now, there’s one company that really dominates the worldwide market for search and online advertising. The partnership we are announcing today will help to create a stronger No. 2 and increase competition in the search area.”
And yet, neither of them actually menioned who this juggernaut is. It’s like not talking about the elephant in the corner maybe? Don’t talk about it and maybe it’s not there?
I’d be more inclined to go with tread softly, lest you wake the sleeping giant. Who really knows what could happen if “it” were to go into a rage.
For years, Microsoft has been struggling to chip away at Google’s dominance in the search engine market. And for years, they have been largely unsuccessful, mainly because their own search engine, Microsoft Live Search, produced unwanted and often irrelevant results.
But a few weeks ago, Microsoft released Bing, an updated version of Live Search, in their newest attempt to knock Google off its pedestal.
Although Bing is partially a rebranding of Live Search, it does include new features like instant previews of Web sites and videos.
Microsoft is so committed to Bing’s success that it will launch an astronomical $80 million to $100 million advertising campaign. That’s more than four times Google’s entire advertising budget last year.
It’s been hard to determine how Microsoft’s newcomer is stacking up against its two greatest competitors, Google and Yahoo!. According to StatCounter, one of the world’s largest Web analytics companies, Bing temporarily overtook Yahoo! in terms of market share. Currently, however, Google has 81.5 percent of the search engine market, with Yahoo! at 9.39 percent and Bing at 4.82 percent.
But one Microsoft employee, Michael Kordahi, thinks that some users might be prejudiced against Bing because of Google’s perceived brand name superiority.
He created a blind search engine that shows the search results of Google, Yahoo! and Bing in three nondescript columns. The Web site then invites users to vote for the most relevant results.
Unfortunately, the results were too erratic to name any consistent winner, prompting Kordahi to conclude that “some douche is gaming the system.”
I must confess that, as someone who has had bad experiences with Live Search, I prefer Google. Before I could adequately review the usefulness of Bing, I thought I should first experiment with the blind search engine myself.
So, in completely unscientific fashion, I typed in ten random searches – five single words and five phrases – and picked the results I thought were most valuable and applicable.
And the results were somewhat surprising: While Google crushed the competition with six votes, Bing received a surprising three votes, and Yahoo! just one vote.
It seems I find Microsoft’s search engine a fairly legitimate contender in the battle for supremacy, although Google is still the undisputed champion.
But how do Bing’s other search capabilities like News and Maps compare against Google’s?
Well, I certainly found that the Bing homepage looks pretty. The search bar is superimposed on a beautiful panoramic stock photo that changes every day. Each picture is embedded with invisible squares about the picture that users can click on for more information.
But while this design is certainly unique, Bing’s hide-and-go-seek feature is basically self-promotion masquerading as helpful innovation.
Each square merely redirects users to a search through Bing. For example, clicking on “Learn more about Flag Day” directs the user to a Bing search of “Flag Day.”
But Bing does have some helpful, interesting features.
Unlike Google, Bing’s image search displays the results in one giant scrollable window, thereby eliminating the annoying need to click on multiple pages. And Bing Cashback offers buyers to receive a small percentage back of payments they have made on participating Web sites.
These are Bing’s best features, however, and ultimately Bing still plays second fiddle.
Bing News lacks all the customizability, readability and wealth of information that exists in Google News. Bing only features 14 translatable languages to Google’s 41.
And while Bing Maps is speckled with aesthetically pleasing mountains and forests, it cannot easily display directions and locations like Google Maps.
We must remember, though, while developers have made significant blunders along the way, Bing is still being improved.
They failed to realize, for example, that Bing can mean “sickness” in Chinese (the nationality of Bing’s biggest audience), prompted a name change to “Biying,” meaning “must respond,” which Microsoft is coyly marketing as a “decision engine.”
And they received criticism when Bing’s filtering mechanism could not adequately block porn in its parental settings, which was quickly rectified when the company consulted 25 security vendors for assistance.
Microsoft is certainly improving its image as a legitimate search engine competitor. But the company needs much more innovative firepower before successfully waging war against the Google Empire.
Get ready SEOs… in 2009, it’s not all about search engine webpage rankings anymore! According to Google, they will officially be launching their Universal Search model in early 2009 to make users’ search experience as simple and straightforward as possible.
So what does that mean for the SEO world? The search game is not all about ranking #1 in the results anymore. Considering that there could be 2 videos, a series of images, and a map of local businesses ABOVE your top (SERP) webpage ranking, it’s time to turn those optimization efforts to new fields.
As Google incorporates Universal Search into its results in 2009, all types of web content will begin to appear on page one – not just web pages. Before you know it, whitepapers, images, news stories, products, and videos will permanently infiltrate search results.
Winnipeg Company helps Obama’s Campaign for the Presidency, this was the latest story to hit the net on top of numerous others the last 6 months.
Today the U.S. Internet titan will take the wraps off its first-ever Google Canada Zeitgeist, a yearly ranking of the most common Web queries made by Canadians through the company’s search engine.
The results are as surprising as they are curious.
The most common keyword Canadians punched into Google this year was “Facebook,” the popular social-networking site. Google’s own video-sharing site YouTube came in at No. 2, and music-loving Canucks pushed “lyrics” into the No. 3 slot. The Top 10 also contained more mundane terms such as “map” and “weather.”
Until this year, the list only included U.S. search data, but for 2008, Google is taking the Zeitgeist international for the first time by publishing the top queries from 36 countries, including Canada.
If the federal election were to be decided on the basis of which party Canadians spent the most time Googling in 2008, then prime minister Elizabeth May would be unpacking at 24 Sussex Dr.
“Obama” was the keyword that saw the greatest increase in Canadian search queries between 2007 and 2008.
But on a global basis, no search keyword showed greater growth than “Sarah Palin.”
TOP POLITICAL PARTIES
1. Green Party
2. Liberal Party
3. Conservative Party
5. Bloc Québécois
1. Britney Spears
2. Jessica Alba
3. Heath Ledger
4. Lindsay Lohan
5. Angelina Jolie
6. Kim Kardashian
7. Megan Fox
8. Tila Tequila
9. Zac Efron
10. Pamela Anderson
TOP PERSONAL ELECTRONICS
1. Palm Treo
4. HP iPAQ
Zeitgeist Canada 2008
The names of three banks and the word “stocks” beat “sex” to become four of the most Googled words in China last year, according to a Google China list seen on Thursday.
China Merchants Bank, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China and China Construction Bank ranked second, third and sixth, according to a list supplied by Google China on its website (www.google.cn).
“On the Chinese mainland, it was money and technology that took the honors last year,” the China Daily said, pointing out that “sex” was the most popular keyword for Google users in some other countries.
Fourth on the list was “stock,” not surprising with Shanghai shares having risen 97 percent last year. At number 1 was “QQ,” a Chinese instant message service and a brand of car.
China’s Central Bank, the Ministry of Finance and Banking Regulatory Commission ranked first, third and fifth in the “Most Popular Departments” list, the Web site said.
In another list named “qiu zhi,” or “seeking knowledge,” “what is a blue chip” and “how to invest in the stock market” were the most searched questions on Google in China, while “what is love” and “how to kiss” ranked top of the global list.
China keeps a tight rein on Internet content and has launched several campaigns to root out online pornography, perhaps one reason why “sex” did not score so well.