Posts Tagged Search Engines

Advertising? Just Google ‘Advertising’

You gotta love the way some companies advertise their business online. I love seeing a quirky ad that urges people to visit a website that promotes a brand or product. But there is one thing that we’d always recommend steering clear of when promoting a business online, that is relying on search results. Whether it’s the organic search results or even paid listings, basing an advertising campaign on the search results is such a bad idea.

Not so long ago I wrote about how Imagine were playing a dangerous and costly game with their ad ” WiMax, Google It”. The fact that Google Adwords is a pay per click system, means that you are ultimately paying for traffic that is pretty much useless. I guess you could easily say the same about TV adverts, but this is the web and one of the major benefits of it is that it’s quantifiable.

On my way home in the car this evening, I heard another advert that uses the Google verb. Yes, a company called “First Advertising” are running adverts on TodayFM and Newstalk in which the great employee suggests his boss should Google ‘Advertising’ and choose the first company that appears on the list.

Now for me, that is just suicidal! Nevermind that fact that no-one is in control of the search results other than Google, if I were in direct competition with First Advertising, I could easily turn on a Google Advertisement and be number 1 within minutes.

The other obvious scenario that they have clearly overlooked is the fact that if you do perform a search in Google (.ie) – it is Wikipedia that is actually the first result, in fact it’s not even in second place. Not until you choose “pages from Ireland” on the left hand side of the screen (which is harder to see with the new Google layout) do you actually see this company’s listing. Worse still, if you search on Google.com, they don’t appear on the first page at all!

On their website they state they are running these ads to celebrate their “clear dominance” of the Google search results. Dominance in a search results page that has no more than 2 other real competitors (pages from Ireland search).

I’m sure First Advertising are a great company, but they are just leaving so much open to chance that for me it’s a complete waste of money.  I wish them great success with the campaign and I really can’t wait to see how many of the top SEOs will try knock them from their perch!

Oh and of course…. If you want someone to look after your Google Advertising campaign, you could always contact me! 😛

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Google gets new look, it’s nice but there are somethings I just don’t get!

Google rolled out their new look to the Google.ie website this morning and it’s fair to say that most people probably didn’t even notice.

Google have decided to add a bit of life and colour to their much loved search engine, which makes it a little easier to spot some of the really cool features they added a little while ago. Things like the ability to search news, blogs, books and videos are now pretty much in your face and hard to miss, unlike the “show options” link they had in the past.

They’ve also decided to style the old looking “search” button and joined it with the actual search box on the inside pages. The logo is a lot more striking and clear than it has been in the past. Overall, they are pretty much subtle changes, but they have a nice fresh feeling effect to it.

There is one change that I really don’t get the concept behind and it’s this… If you visit the homepage of Google, e.g. www.google.ie and don’t move or click your mouse OR enter a search term, all you see on this page is the logo, the search box and the search buttons (as per image below).

However, when you do interact in some way with page, whether that be a mouse over, a click or enter a search term, the other elements fade (yes fade) in (as per image below)…

For the life of me, I just don’t understand why they’ve done this. Is it someone thinking it’s funky and cool??

This is appears to be a feature that is in complete contrast to the reasons given by Marissa Mayer as to why they value their copyright notice so much… Read why Google value their copyright notice so much

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It’s not all about your homepage!

Are Your Landing Page Forms Naughty or Nice?
Image by HubSpot via Flickr

In trying times, many businesses rightly try to save money where they can. One of the areas that possibly suffers most in a downturn, is the company website.

This is a real shame (of course I’d say that right), especially since your website is possibly the most cost effective tool that you have at your disposal to help promote your business.  And of course, if you decided to invest in a content management system, updating your website shouldn’t be too much hassle!

But what if you don’t have a CMS or you think your website is starting to look a little dated? A lot of companies think that by making “a few amendments” of their homepage will suffice. Generally they don’t understand the amount of work involved and they certainly don’t know how useful it will be when it’s all done. Unfortunately, making even the smallest amendments aren’t that straight forward. In fact, it can sometimes take longer to create a new homepage design with your additions than it was to create your homepage design in the first place!

Regardless of this, it must be noted that improving your website is not all about your homepage. We see this question on a regular basis:

“why does Google show my inside page when I search for X and not my homepage”

The simple answer is that Google will show the most relevant result to the search query performed. So therefore, if your contact page has more relevant information to the query, it will display this page above your homepage (in the majority of cases). For this reason, it is essential that you treat EVERY page as a landing page and not just your homepage.

If you thought you were doing an excellent job by creating many strong call to actions on your homepage, think again. You must include these call to actions on your inside pages too. You simply can’t tell where the user will land on your website after finding your website in the search engines. Of course, by studying your website statistics, you can see where people are coming from and what pages they are landing on after they have found you for a particular search. You should use these statistics to improve your call to actions on those landing pages.

So the next time you plan to make a “few small amendments”, try thinking of the bigger picture and how very likely it will be that you will have to make a lot more than just changes to your homepage!

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Mugurdy – The New Irish (made) Search Engine

I always love to see new indigenous Irish companies getting a break. But when I read a newspaper article about an Irish company who were about to launch a new visual search engine, I thought to myself “oh no, someone else has been duped into parting with their hard earned cash!”.

A “visual search engine” is nothing new by any stretch of the imagination. There are a number of high profile visual search engines already up and running on the web for some time. In fact one of the leading visual search engines (searchme.com) has recently shut its doors. Their once innovative website sits looking deserted, with what can only be described as a desperate plea to raise cash by selling their IP to anyone who will take it off their hands! In the company press release, they stated that they needed to raise at LEAST $100 million to compete with the likes of Google, Bing or Yahoo!. This should be a stark reality check for Mugurdy, since it’s straight from a company that had already pumped $44m into their doomed idea.

But who cares huh?
We’re Irish after all and we all love the under dog… Surely Mugurdy can pull this one out of the bag with their Irish fighting spirit!

Wrong…

I stumbled across the sites release after reading a post on Boards.ie which said:

“I just thought I’d drop in a link to http://www.mugurdy.com which is a search engine we’ve been working on for a while now. It’s not finished, is basically still in beta, but I’d be interested to hear any feedback on it!”

I’m not entirely sure what Mugurdy’s strategy is here. If this is their plan for promoting the website, they really need a reality check. Remember, Microsoft pumped $1 billion into the marketing of their new Bing search engine to try compete with Google. If Mugurdy think that posting a link on one of Ireland’s most popular web properties is the way forward, they should really think again. I do hope they have a better strategy for promoting their site than this.

Anyway, I decided to play around with the search itself, to see if I would ever use a search like this. Now I know from using other visual search engines, that they just don’t give me what I expect from a search engine that I would be someone hard to please. Let’s face it, I search for information, not for pictures. I can see a use for a visual search engine for certain things, like looking for the prettiest website in a particular sector or to find a website that I a visual memory of what the website looked like. But for finding specific information, visual search just doesn’t cut it.

The first thing I noticed when I visited mugurdy.com was the homepage… They obviously went for the simplistic look made famous by Google. But they left out one key element of the Google homepage that Google value so much, their copyright notice. I’ve spoke before about why Google value their copyright notice (click here to read) and if Mugurdy want to compete with the big boys, they need to start researching in depth why things work so well for Google. There is plenty of free material available out there with studies on how people interact with Google.

As I continued on, it was clear that Mugurdy simply didn’t have the quality results that Google would have. I don’t knock them for that, we’ve seen how hard it has been for every other search engine on the web to come up with the quality of results that Google possess.

It didn’t take me long to realise (again) that visual search just isn’t for me, and never will be. For me, it’s much quicker and easier to hold my ctrl key and click each link on Google results to open a new tab. I can click 4 or 5 that interest me and by the time I’ve clicked the fifth result, the other 3/4 before that will have loaded into a full browser window in a new tab. You just can’t beat that simplicity.

It really makes you think about how companies are getting investment in Ireland. In the past year or two I’ve seen a lot of good start up businesses with great web ideas struggling to raise investment. Then you see companies like Mugurdy being invested in when they clearly have little chance of success. If our investors keep investing in ideas like this, we’ll have no money left to put behind really high potential start ups.

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Google local business search – how important is it?

I had a conversation recently with a respected SEO expert, that shall remain nameless for the moment in relation to Google‘s local business search. I told him how I felt that I had yet to fully crack how results appeared at the top of these search results. Of course I’d read a lot about how in theory it worked, but hadn’t yet (with my own tests) seen examples of it actually working. For

Something he said to me triggered my thought process and I made a few changes to 2bscene’s listing to see how it affected it. Within days I was ranking in the top local business search results for “online marketing dublin“, “internet marketing dublin” and a phrase we hadn’t ever ranked for before, “web design dublin“. We’ve been there for the past week now and have had time to assess the value of it to our business.

The reason this SEO guy brought up the local business search with me was to see if I was getting any business or even traffic from it. During our conversation, I obvioulsy couldn’t help, but now with some statistics behind me I can give some indication of its use in terms of traffic and business development for people visiting our own website.

In the past week – we’ve seen an obvious increase in visits from people finding us through Google local search. I can only truly say that one of the 10 odd visits from these searches has turned into business. This isn’t bad considering we weren’t appearing for that search phrase until last week.

I know this is very little to go on so we will be working with many other clients to help them get to the top of the local business search on Google, as I do and get more meaningful data, I will let you know how important we feel it is for your business.

If you need help getting found in Google’s Local Business Search results – contact us @ www.2bscene.ie

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