Microsoft’s New Search Engine “Bing” – Cuts Down Users Search Time

Keyword Intent Pty Ltd

Originally named Kumo, Microsoft’s new search engine is now rebranded to Bing and is about to be revealed.  Microsoft is rolling out a TV, radio, Internet and newspaper brand campaign to convince people to “use today’s search engine”. 

Microsoft believes that 42% of all first query searches need to be refined which presents a huge opportunity. The goal of Bing is to reduce the time involved with searching by providing better results the first time round. They will do this by displaying related categories to help provide a better user search experience.   For example, Bing will provide related categories such as Reviews and Prices for product related searches.  Finding exactly what you are looking for within a shorter amount of time is quite compelling if Microsoft can pull it off. 

The question remains, since Google provides a great search experience and is adequate, will users switch to a better engine?  Is a better search experience on another engine just frills that the masses won’t switch for?

In any case, the web needs Microsoft’s Bing to succeed.  Even though Google is not technically a monopoly, it dominates most markets around the world and is certainly beginning to feel like one.  Google still demonstrates its ability to innovate, specifcally with its recent Rich Snippets release and support of RDFa and Microformats.  However, we need competition in the search industry as it provides choice for users and stimulates innovation.  It is obvious that Google’s new use of data was spurred on by competitive moves by Wolfram Alpha.   These new services by Google is proof that competition ensures that the encumbent keeps on innovating.

Can Microsoft innovate to a level that keeps Google on its toes?  I hope so.  There are plenty of smart people who work for Microsoft.  Contrary to popular belief, the brightest people in the world do not all work for Google. Let’s hope that the Microsoft Bing team have the ability to experiment and develop search technologies that can make a difference.

Google Biased Towards Mobile Websites

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Mobile web usage including mobile search is growing faster than for the desktop counterpart.  Users’ expectations are that the mobile search experience should be equivalent to the same performance that Google provides for the web.  People expect fast, relevant, comprehensive and fresh results.

There are huge challenges being faced with the mobile web in general, little alone mobile search.  Hundreds of devices with widely varying capabilities and that do not follow any set standards makes it difficult for websites owners and search providers to provide simple, easy to use web services.  On top of this, the mobile web is inventing itself at the same time that people are discovering these new devices and providing feedback.

Google knows that search needs to be easy and effortless to get answers on a mobile device.  It is their objective to provide “all of Google” on mobile.

The cornerstone of mobile web usage is that mobile is inherently local.  The mobile phone is where the user is and that specific location can provide results based upon locality.  No longer do you need to type in the city or suburb of where you are.  Your mobile phone and Google already knows this.

Google Mobile Search

Usability of Google’s mobile search product is incredibly important.  For example, when you click to search, the search field zooms to the top of the screen.  When you start typing, Google Suggest provides recommended relevant results to explore that matches your search query.  This is more than displaying another suggested search term query, but rather actual local search results including business name, address, phone, post code and link to map.  The most relevant results are displayed that are closet to the user’s current location.

Beside individual search listings, Google displays buttons to “click to call” and “get directions”.

With image search, depending on the device you are using, the user is able to slide from one picture to the next with ease.

Product Search for mobile provides nice rendering of images with an application type feel.  The user is able to go down several layers in order to gain further details such as detailed reviews or technical specs.

Mobile web is a subset of the wider Web of which Google searches both to return suitable results to the user’s search query.

Search Mobile Web

Some websites do not have a mobile purpose built website, but rather apply CSS as a way to render the site for mobile devices.  An example of this is CNN.com.

However, for some website owners, and particularly those in Japan and China, they build websites specifically for the mobile web.

Even though Google blends mobile rankings with websites from both the mobile web and the wider web, there is a bias towards the former.  If your website is built specifically for the mobile web it is likely to rank higher than a “CSS rendered mobile site”, even if both are equally relevant to the user’s search query.

Source: Mobile Search Quality, Searchology Presentation, Scott Huffman, Engineering Director, Google.

Google Search Options Supports RDFa And Microformats Including hReview, hCard And hProduct

Keyword Intent Pty Ltd

I viewed Google’s last Searchology event a couple of years ago when they launched Universal Search.  That single event was a game changer in the search industry.  Vertical searches by media type (video, images, maps, books, web pages, etc) were blended together within main search results.

Well, Google has done it again!  Yesterday at the second Searchology event, Google announced the adoption of Microformats and RDFa, a structured format of data.  This is another game changer that search marketers need to be aware of.

Similar to Yahoo’s Search Monkey, website owners who use microformats or RDFa to format their content may have it displayed within Google search results. Google has a never ending quest of delivering results that are the closest match to the intent of the user’s search query and to offer other relevant results that could benefit their search further.

Google has enhanced search result snippets by adding content from website pages such as Reviews, People Contact Information, Business and Organization Information and Products.  Let’s take a closer look at what data types are supported for each of these and how they can be implemented. Read the rest of this entry »

How Many Back Links Is Enough?

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Dee Barizo poses the question, “how many links is enough?”  This is a very good question as most clients when they learn about link building want to quantify the effort involved with undertaking such a task.  Usually SEO professionals answer, “it depends”.

It depends on what words you want to rank for and how competitive those words are.

In Dee’s article, he makes a very good point that most other sites were not actively building links.  It was a surprise to him that SEO is not as competitive as he first thought simply because most sites aren’t doing it.  This in turn made it much easier to rank for competitive terms through the use of link building, although Dee’s client had a head start by being on page 2 or 3 of search engine results for specifc terms.

This reinforces my observations that many marketing managers and website owners are not committed to a long term SEO strategy.  Most people see SEO as a tactical implementation, rather than an ongoing program of work that realizes the full benefits. This is largely due to, in my mind at least, marketing managers being focused on “campaigns”.  Once a campaign is completed, the microsite or content is thrown away, until the agency comes up with the next brilliant idea.

SEO is more than a one-off project to tick off on the to-do list. It is a foundation or a philosophy in which all online activities are carried out.  Campaigns should revolve around a “SEO’d platform” that can leverage efforts and results of previous implemented tasks.

During such times as a recession, SEO is a reliable and low cost way of generating qualified traffic to any website.  All it takes is a committment to see the strategy through.

So, how many links is enough?  There is no magic answer here, but I do recommend that website owners should seek at least one backlink per day.  Soon enough, your online presence will be a force to be recokoned with.

Twitter Search Becomes A Search Engine – Add To Your SEO To Do List

Keyword Intent Pty Ltd

Twitter Search Becomes A Search EngineWho says that Twitter and SEO do not go together?  Wednesday night, Santosh Jayaram, the Vice President of Twitter Operations stated that Twitter Search will begin to crawl links submitted to its application and will index the content of those pages.

It will also incorporate a reputation ranking system based upon the reputation of the person submitting the article.  When a topic is gaining popularity within Twitter it will insert it within the Twitter Sidebar.

The reputation system will certainly improve the quality of search results that Twitter Search provides, which currently displays low-value content and plenty of re-tweets.

Hopefully these changes will influence Twitters to add more meaningful content to their tweets.  Still, there will be those who will always want to manipulate the ranking system so let’s hope Twitter Search has a few tricks up their sleeves to combat this.

For SEO professionals and their clients, Twitter Search has just become an essential item on our To Do lists.

Source: CNET News

Mozilla Creates Weave – A New Single Login Experience Plugin

Keyword Intent Pty Ltd

Mozilla Labs has been working on a new plug-in called “Weave” for Firefox that allows users to log into any website account that supports OpenID.  Users don’t even have to have an existing account with the website, thus making it easier for site owners to increase sign-ups.

Mozilla Creates Weave Plugin For Firefox

From a users’ perspective, it makes the logging in or signing up process much easier than ever before.

To enable this function, the user simply logs into their browser so that Weave will know who you are.

Weave also supports normal username and password logins to create a single login experience.  It allows the user to select whether they want to be automatically logged in next time when they click the login button on the related website.

Love the work you are doing Mozilla – keep up the excellent work!

Find PageRank Score For Your Website And Competitor Sites

Keyword Intent Pty Ltd

I recently conducted a website review and wrote the resulting report for an old manager to help him provide consultation to his newly acquired client.  He found the information quite useful and wanted to know where I got some of the competitor benchmark statistics from.

One of which was PageRank score.  For those of you who are new to SEO, PageRank is a score given by Google to every web page on the planet.  It provides an indication of the level of authority the site has compared with other websites.  It is one indicator among hundreds of others that helps Google to determine what pages should rank within their search results.

Find Google PageRank - Explained Read the rest of this entry »

Google Keyword Tool Adds Local Search Volume

Keyword Intent Pty Ltd

SiteVisibility discovered on 22nd April that Google added local search volume to the Google AdWords Keyword Tool.  When you tailor your results to a specific region around the world, Google Keyword Tool displays local search volume for the previous month.

local-search-volume-us
This is essentially the same as what it was before.  The earlier version of Google Keyword Tool provided Search Volume for the previous month which one presumes was displaying number of searches based upon the region you had tailored results to.  One can now be sure with Local Search Volume that this is the case. Read the rest of this entry »

Altwebmedia – Is Social Media Beating SEO In Online Branding?

Keyword Intent Pty Ltd

Altwebmedia poses the question on Twitter:  Social Media seems to be beating SEO in online branding??

Personally, I think that social media is a form of organic link building.  Whether you are a business or an individual, when you socialize online you spread the word about your cause.  If the subject matter that you’re talking about generates a stir, other people in turn will talk about you and many will link to your website or comments.

If social media is considered “online branding” and is a type of link building; and link building is a main part of SEO; then SEO is certainly online branding.  Social Media and SEO are not at odds with each other.  They compliment and support one another. Read the rest of this entry »

Google Changes Search Referrer Strings – Possible Issues For Analytics Providers

Keyword Intent Pty Ltd

This week (14th Tuesday  2009), Google announced upcoming changes to the search referrer strings they display when people conduct a search.  This new referring url format will not affect Google Analytics, but other analytic software packages due to the way they record referral data.

You need to be aware of this in case your analytics vendor has not made the appropriate changes to their software which means that referral data will not be reported upon correctly. Read the rest of this entry »