Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Deepa’s example of a “previous query” application by Google is a good one. If you first search “Chicago” and then follow that with “hotels”, Google might now automatically assume you are looking for “Chicago hotels” and provide search results accordingly by default. I say “might” because Google doesn’t always apply the previous query modification but when it does, if that was not your intention, you have to tell Google to ignore previous searches and redo the search to get the results you wanted in the first place.
Is it me, or do others cringe at the idea of an assuming algorithm? Or should I say presuming algorithm? Does Google really think it’s better to automatically generate an interpretation of my intention because I must be too stupid or lazy to string a two-word query myself?
Don’t get me wrong. I appreciate the power of the algorithm to deliver relevant results based on my intention as expressed through my keyword queries. And when Google asks did I really mean something else when I mistyped the keyword, I say, “Thank you.” But assuming I really meant something else when I correctly type the keyword(s) I want to search, I say, “No thank you.”
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
“During these difficult times, I need a lot more ‘we’ and a lot less ‘me.’”
Looking at our team, I’m proud to say that DBE tries every day to focus on the “we”. Whether that means stepping up when a coworker needs a helping hand, posting a public ‘thank you’ or ‘congratulations’ on our message board in the lobby, or just getting together to catch up on a personal level. Much like Captain Planet and the Planeteers, Voltron, or the Super Friends, we’re happier and more successful when our powers combine.
In the broader sense, DBE focuses on the “we” both by treating our clients as partners and by giving back to the community. Our team members and DBE as a company are active supporters of a variety of national and regional charities.
This spirit carries over into our annual Secret Santa exchange. Each year, the DBE team contributes to charities that are important to our team members instead of buying gifts for each other. We start by each making a list of our 3 favorite charities and/or causes and putting our lists into a box. Each person chooses a Secret Santa recipient from the box and makes a financial contribution to one of the organizations listed.
At our holiday lunch last week, we shared with each other which organizations we donated to and taught each other a little about their charitable missions. Some of the organizations we contributed to include:
- The Bridge School
- UCP of Philadelphia & Vicinity
- American Diabetes Association
- National Center for Missing & Exploited Children
- Womanspace, Inc.
- My Stuff Bags Foundation
- Catholic Charities, Diocese of Metuchen
- Asha for Education
- Direct Relief International
We hope you will join us this holiday season by supporting your favorite charity.
To all our blog readers, DBE wishes you the very best during the holidays and throughout the New Year. See you in 2009!
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
Starting in February 2007, Google begin personalizing its search results for users who entered a search query while logged into their Google accounts. We wrote our take on Google’s personalized search and its impact on SEO in our blog.However, that’s not the only way that Google adjusts its search results to fit the individual user. Do you know Google changes your search results even when you are not signed into the account?
Google personalizes your search results by using two additional parameters, your geographic location and your recent search history, when applicable.
For some queries, Google may try to alter your results based on your geographic location. Google identifies your approximate city location based on your computer's IP address and uses it to customize your search results. When Google does this, you will see a note on the top right hand side of your search results that Google has customized your results.
In cases when Google doesn’t get it right, or if you’re looking for local information but outside the area you’re interested in, you might want to override Google’s customization. If so, then you need to click on the “More details” link and click to run the search without the customization.
On a side note, if you are logged in to your Google account, Google will use the location you’ve saved as your default in Google Maps. (By default, Google automatically saves the last 100 addresses you search for into a "Saved Locations" list)
Called Previous Query, it’s where Google might see that you first searched for [hotels] then did another search for [Chicago] and so will effectively combine the first search to the second to make [Chicago hotels]. You’re searching for all two words even though you only put in one — hotels — on your most current query. Another example is, a search for [jordan] showing Jordan’s furniture store rather than Michael Jordan if the immediately preceding search was for [ethan allen].If Previous Query kicks in, a message saying "Customized based on recent search activity" will appear at the top right of the results. Clicking on "More Details" link from that message will take you to the search customizations page, where you can then discover what previous query was used. Via that page, you can also reissue the query without the previous query being involved.
Despite some privacy concerns and the fact that customized searches may not always generate the results the user wanted, Google stands by personalization as the future of search. Since personalized search is here to stay, let us focus on how this Google customization affects SEO.
As we said before, if you have a website with good content, your site is not going to be negatively impacted by these changes. As a matter of fact, you’ll benefit as people who are looking for your service will be able to more easily find you. The key, as always, is to ensure that your website is optimized for relevant keywords and, if applicable, for your business’ geographic location.
The only place where personalized search impacts the SEO world is the metrics. Since these personalized searches do not yield the same search results for all users, you can’t rely on your site’s rankings alone to measure your SEO success. You will need to use additional measures, such as the search engines’ traffic delivery to your site, to measure your optimization results. Also, while the rankings you see may not be same as other users the differences in ranking will not be that great.
So, focus on having compelling and interesting content on your site – it will please both your users and the search engines, and you will have a Win-Win scenario irrespective of these personalization changes.
Friday, December 12, 2008
These sites do what is called “Domain Parking” – site owners simply register these domain names which are often misspellings of other popular domain names, and work with intermediate companies such as Traffic parking and sedo. These intermediate companies in turn partner with Google to run AdSense ads on those sites. When people visit the pages with the ads and click on those ads, site owners get a share of that revenue.
There has already been a lot of griping about this service in the industry because these sites offer a poor search experience to the searcher, and the quality of the traffic that comes from these sites is very poor and doesn’t give good ROI to those who advertise with Google’s content network. Mind you, to avoid this kind of low quality traffic, DBE recommends targeting your content network advertising, rather than haphazardly running content match ads.
But yesterday, Google has announced that it is extending AdSense of Domains to all publishers! Now, more and more publishers will try to take advantage of this offer. Search advertisers who opt in for “content network” will get even more of the lower quality traffic. And the searchers, who believe Google’s mission of presenting the world's information in a useful way, will find more garbage results because some of these domains will get indexed by Google and will end up in Google’s organic search results.
This and Google’s recent announcement on allowing bidding on hard liquor and beer show that Google is preparing well to capitalize on this poor economy. Google, please don’t pollute the Internet and at least prevent these Made for AdSense domains from appearing in search results!
The evening certainly delivered resonant messages but it was also the way these were presented that made them all the more powerful. With Charles Osgood as Master of Ceremonies, opening entertainment by the Pilobolus Dance Company, video segments, lively speakers and honorees, and a compelling death and life story from parent spokesperson Gary Neal, the event was in a word – engaging. And, in that sense, it perfectly captured how The Partnership has integrated today’s Web 2.0 world with its traditional media outlets to get the word out about the wealth of resources it offers to families in need.
Sitting there with our client, The Partnership’s head of Digital Product Development, and the President of their interactive agency Something Digital, it was personally rewarding to hear and see the acknowledgement of the numerous engagement assets they have deployed with our two agency’s help – blogs, videos, stand-alone digital outposts, community outreach, parent tool kits, etc. We look forward to working with The Partnership in 2009 and continuing to help more people find the answers they are searching for related to prevention and intervention with drug and alcohol abuse.
Monday, December 01, 2008
It also struck me that DBE “rings the bell” every day for our clients as we deliver quantifiable results in all forms of search marketing – optimization, paid search, reputation management and social media management. This, plus the 100% Client Satisfaction rating we received is testament to the team at DBE not just ringing the bell, but answering it as well.
Finally, on a more personal note, the streets of New York chimed this morning with the sound of Salvation Army volunteers ringing their bells. It was a pleasant reminder of the holiday season that I also heard as a call to action. And so I pass on to you the idea that we can all be bell-ringers in our own way this year and every year.