Tag Archives: Search

Goggley Eyes

I was trying to explain to someone new to search engines (yes these people do, apparently, still exist) how the various tools across Google work; predictive search, social, geo-targeted and so on.

This led into chats about Google Goggles at which point, his eyes glazed over and he seemed to stare through me. This reaction led me to believe it would be a great topic for my fellow geek readers.

Google Goggles is a downloadable image recognition application meaning through us, Google has eyes in every orifice and intimate corner we search for and from.

Snap happy researchers using the app send a collectively huge bank of images to a series of backend engines coordinated by Google’s Superroot Server which, identifies the source as either; text, geographic location, QR codes, corporate identities, products… you get the idea. All similar images are tagged and confidence scored* for future use.

As the database of images builds so will the use and accuracy of the app, making it easier to search for things that are difficult to summarise in text through traditional keyword search (wow, keyword search has been around so long now it feels normal to call it traditional- in web life anyway).

So the next time you’re out and about and you take a picture of a restaurant you want to dine in, you’ll know what happens behind the scenes to serve you the results that appear.

Simple really, thanks Google!

*Confidence scoring considers various weighted validation parameters such as quality and source, to determine the accuracy of the data held in the image.

Advertisements
Tagged , , , ,

Google’s going places

Following the recent rebrand of Google’s Local Business Center to ‘Google Places’ (initially developed to help local businesses gain more visibility in search engine marketing through free listings) the search engine is now adding in over 50 million locations in order to expand their database further.

This means that when you search for something fairly generic such as ‘Indian Restaurant’ it will return local place page listings for you (which will be plentiful for that term as I’m writing this from Brick lane).

This added feature is built into the existing Google search functionality and listings will now pull in groups of relevant links and information such as; reviews, hints and tips, travel and so on. This development dynamically links millions of websites and ‘real-world’ locations, so numbered are the days of ‘+ Shoreditch’, another great step forwards for predictive search.

I wonder how long it will be before Yelp, Google and Foursquare get together…

Tagged , , , ,

Google Social Search

One of the latest developments I’ve been exploring is Google’s Social Search feature designed to aid quick searches from within your online social circle.

The theory behind Social Search is that your online connections will likely be talking about topics more relevant to you because you’re connected with them due to shared work life or interests.

So how does it work?

Well if you’re logged in to Google, as you search for something you should see an additional search result pop up at the bottom of your results page “Results from people in your social circle.” The results will consist of things like blogs from your friends and colleagues, their website feeds, tweets and status updates.

Who’s in your circle?

At the moment Google Social Search is just that, a social search within all linked Google assets e.g. Gmail, Google chat, people in your contacts list or following you on buzz and so on. It’s not known at this stage whether it will branch out to the likes of Facebook but in theory this is great if you want to see what your friends are saying about a film you want to see or a new restaurant you want to check out.

I’d much rather take their word for it, wouldn’t you?

Tagged , , , ,

Google is ACE

Google are Beta testing their latest tool in the US at the moment which allows you to test and measure amends to keyword campaigns and the relative effect of that change in real-time.

AdWords Campaign Experiments (ACE) will mean we will no longer have to rely on pre and post campaign analysis to measure the effectiveness of optimisation tactics or second guess effects of any external factors e.g. demand for the bid subject.

ACE means you can compare your optimised test campaign directly to your original campaign at the same time otherwise known as A/B testing. This means we will have a clear correlation telling us whether the changes made have had a direct impact.

You can watch the demo video here if you’d like more information.

I can’t wait for this to come to the UK, what a brilliant way of ensuring that we are doing everything we can to optimise a campaign and having sound evidence to back it up.

Thank you Google.

Tagged , , , , ,

Search Marketing explained

Last year the search marketing industry was worth £2.15 billion.

That sounds like quite a bit of money doesn’t it, especially if you don’t really understand what it is and why it’s an integral part of your marketing mix.

Most brands/ businesses have now understood that the internet is here to stay and that if they are going to survive they need to have a presence in front of their consumers online. So, let’s take a quick look at what it’s all about and how to get the most out of search for your objectives.

So what is search media?

Search is not just about SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) and PPC (Pay Per Click), in fact there are many aspects to a search campaign which, could further include; Google content placement targeting (otherwise known as GDN – Google Display Networks), Search Affiliates (networks of websites that you can place media on through a partner), Universal Search (which includes news feeds, video and images), Search re-targeting (specifically targeting those that have already engaged with one of your ads), Social Search, Mobile search, Live search… the list goes on.

That sounds interesting I hear you say but what does that actually mean? The bottom line is by adding search to your marketing mix YOU WILL strengthen your online presence, increase your visibility and in turn increase your business revenue.

And what makes a good plan?

At the offset you need to have a clear objective, do you want to increase awareness or generate sales leads for example. Quite often the conversion is the most important aspect of a plan but also the part that is given least attention. If you have a search plan that doesn’t complete the whole journey then you will likely end up spending money on traffic but losing money on conversions.

Ensure that your plan includes detailed cost breakdown and an attribution of value to each stage of clicks along the user journey. It should have detailed audience demographics and targeting information. If you have an agency doing the plan, interrogate the drop off rates and conversion rates for each stage of the journey, challenge how they will maintain visibility against competitors and ask about their management and optimisation. It’s all very well getting a campaign up and running but the internet bidding world is fierce and you need to stay on top of it.

It’s also a good idea to test your creative whether Ad copy, display or further along the user journey on your landing pages. Try a couple of versions; this is known as A/B or multivariate testing. Which creative performs better? You may find one gets higher CTR but the other drives more actions, work to get the message right for your user.

How do you maximise on your return.

Businesses are shifting their spend to be more weighted towards digital with a focus on PPC and SEO but most are still keen to see more spent on search media in general. Feedback shows that they feel they have an at least adequate return for spend due to its track-ability and therefore accountability.

But is adequate enough? Hardly, continually challenge the cost to conversion, what are you paying per click and how many clicks are you getting (CPC to CTR), are you scaling the spend in line with the reach, unlike some traditional media planning models, online search is very manageable and controllable so take advantage. Always remember to review against your original objectives; what did you decide was going to deem this campaign successful? Is it?

Is that it?

Hopefully that gives you a basic understanding of what search marketing is about but remember it’s a constant cycle:

Plan, Challenge, Review, Optimise, Plan, Challenge, Review, Optimise, Plan, Challenge… you get the idea.

Tagged , , , , , , , ,

What is Google AdWords?

Google run a suite of tools and my clients are forever flummoxed as to what they are, recently I’ve been asked a lot about Google AdWords so I felt it only appropriate to outline exactly what Google AdWords is in a couple of simple sentences.

Firstly, by using Google AdWords, you can create display and text ads which then run across Google, it’s quick and easy (even for me). There’s no minimum budget (there is a small set up charge though) and as with Pay Per Click (PPC) you only pay when someone clicks on one of your ads.

Secondly, once up and running the AdWords ads are displayed within search results or you can choose to display your ads on content sites in the ever-expanding Google Content Network (GCN).

That’s it (honestly), plus when you are happy with the campaign you can use Google Analytics to look at how your campaign is performing and identify areas that might need optimising.

See, simple!

Tagged , , , , , ,