Category Archives: search

The Web’s Best 404 Error Pages

On Average, About 1.1% Of A Website’s Traffic Reaches An Error Page Due To Bad Links, Pulled Content, Etc. The 404 Error Page Provides An Often Overlooked Opportunity To Impact SEO, Minimize Exits, Improve User Experience, And Reinforce A Brand’s Image (And Quirkiness). Here Are Some Of The Best 404 Pages On The Internet:

SEO In A Nutshell – Yeah Right

Google’s 200 Ranking Factors: The complete list
Google's 200 Ranking Factors
Or, you could just write good content…

Explaining Google Goggles – What Does It Mean for the Future of Search?

In early December, Google Goggles, a visual search app was launched for phones running on the Android mobile operation system. Goggles refers to the process of searching visually, by taking a picture of an object with your camera phone, rather than typing (or speaking) a search query using words. Google then attempts to recognize the object in the picture and return relevant search results about it as well as other information about other local businesses in the area.

Like many new features that are first released in beta, or to selected users at first (as is the case here with Goggles being offered initially only for Android phones), there are questions about what it is and how useful it ultimately will prove to be.

Visual search has tremendous potential to influence everyday life. Consider, for example, tourism. When visiting a new place you can take a picture of an object or landmark, such as a picture in a museum, and instantly receive back information about its title, who painted, what it is about, its history, significance, etc.

Another useful application is capturing and organizing information from business cards. I speak here from personal experience as one who has a collection of business cards still waiting to be organized, scanned, and indexed. Visual search recognizes text, thus it is able to scan a business card and add the captured information into your contacts. There are other tools and apps that offer to aide with capturing and scanning business card information already offered in the market, but most of them have not amassed large user bases.

Visual search technology is still in its infancy and works today on relatively well known or easy to discern objects, but not so well yet on things like food, plants, or animals. I see a future in which visual search will be capable of helping determine appropriate next moves (such as in a chess game), identifying plant species you encounter while hiking (stay away from poison ivy!), and making tourism even more enlightening.

Posted via email from David Alpern’s Perspectives

Search Rankings: Here Today, Elsewhere Tomorrow

To the casual user it may look like search engines are slowly evolving over time, most visibly when Yahoo! launches a redesign or when the much publicized transformation of Live Search into Bing occurs. However, the reality is that underneath the hood, Google is constantly tweaking its rankings formula. A website’s ranking and position within the Google search results can and often does change before the day is out. As Marissa Mayer, Google’s vice president of Search Products & User Experience explains, the company is continuously tweaking and refining its formula “algorithm” in a race against spammers and others who attempt to game its system, all the while also working to create the perfect search engine for its users.

“We have two, three, five changes every week that are visible to the end-user in the user interface. We don’t [publicize] the ranking changes. We are making changes to our ranking algorithm at the rate of two per day…Search needs to evolve: the user interface, the ranking function. It’s a process of making lots of small changes all the time and to constantly make things better”.

The most notable innovation of the last three years was Universal Search in May 2007, which added news articles, images, videos, books, and maps into the search results. An even bigger change to the search landscape is the increasing availability of personalization features that allow registered users to customize their search results options. Moreover, search behavior is changing over time as people are using more words per query and it is not unfathomable that SEO in its present form could become extinct. For example, the meta keywords tag was once, but no longer is, an important ingredient in SEO.

Words per Search Query

Deeper Engagement: Search

What this all means is that search engine algorithms are extremely sophisticated and are being tweaked and updated, often daily. As sophisticated as search may seem to have already become, it is indisputable that these algorithms will be continue to be refined and overhauled in both the near and long term.

The Coming Real-Time Search Earthquake

If you’ve ever done a search online for information about a breaking news story, you’ve come close to experiencing real-time search. We’re about to see the inclusion of content into search engines in near real-time, meaning that once content is authored, be it tweets in Twitter, status updates in Facebook, or pictures pushed to Twitpic, that content will virtually instantly be available in a search engine’s results.

Push-Pull Marketing

Push Marketing vs. Pull Marketing

Real-time, especially as it relates to news events, is best served in a push rather than a pull approach to information:

  • Push – information is “pushed” toward the prospective and often passive buyer
  • Pull – the consumer actively requests the product / information and “pulls” it through the delivery channel

In media and advertising there is a groundswell of movement switching to pull and away from push, and is often viewed as a shift in power to the consumer away from advertisers. The music industry is one of the first to see its platform co-opted as consumers are increasingly customizing music tools to better suit their individual needs.

The search industry is an excellent application of pull marketing. Yet, until now there was a lag between content’s publication and its inclusion in search results. With the advent of real-time search, there is a new approach to thinking about search – and how to supply (“push”) that real-time content out as soon as it arrives.

Applications like Twitterfall have already begun to address this for Twitter’s fire hose of data, and new players like Collecta are trying to find and display real-time content across the web on news sites, popular blogs, and social media.

An Advertising Shake-Up

Google and Bing have now announced their intentions to enter the fray, and have inked deals with Twitter and Facebook to access their real-time data. Imagine the possibilities for an advertiser to frame a specific message in paid search as the web explodes with content about a major event or a competitor’s problem. Similarly, it’s an excellent way for a company in crisis to launch some immediate damage control with its advertising mouthpiece, and ramp up its customer service apparatus as it begins to learn of its developing predicament.

These kinds of marketing opportunities will develop as real-time search matures. The earthquake is not here yet, but the seismographs that monitor the interactive advertising landscape certainly sense the rumblings already occurring in advance of its pending arrival.