It turns out that consumers rely on images in search engine result pages more than Google and Microsoft execs thought. Knowing this can help SEO professionals better optimize sites, according to executives from both companies who spoke at the Search Engine Strategies conference last week in San Jose, Calif.
It also turns out that image search is very important. Todd Schwartz, group product manager of online services division for Bing at Microsoft, shed light on the types of queries that consumers search for on Bing, he says. Following “Web search” categorized as a “vertical,” images took the No. 2 spot.
Not surprisingly, R.J. Pitman, director of product management for global search properties at Google, believes that image search as a vertical sits at No. 1, rather than No. 2. The growth comes from the “more than 1 billion” camera phones being sold yearly, and the ability to share pictures. Google sees “hundreds of millions of searches daily across billions and billions of images,” he says. Images are no longer a “nice to have, but a must have” piece to promote businesses online.
Pitman says Google has begun to rank images based on the quality of the image. People need to stop thinking about the photos as images and look at them as digital bits of information, where pixels in the frame actually mean something. Google considers more than the sitemap feeds, title tags and attached metadata when ranking images. The search engine now looks at what’s in the image. It helps Google find and serve up similar images through object and facial recognition, according to Pitman, who says to consider these facts to better optimize “when building next-generation Web sites.”
Whether it’s office suites, browsers or webmail, wherever Microsoft goes, Google follows. Now the search giant is tackling the Windows behemoth head-on, with a fully fledged operating system (OS) for netbooks – and potentially desktop PCs.
July’s announcement of Chrome OS was one of those IT stories deemed significant enough to warrant attention in the national press and on TV. Experts from around the world were on hand to tell us that we’ll soon ditch desktop software and use computers running a slimmed-down OS that takes its power from applications stored online.
Since its inception the Internet has developed considerably, gone are the long pages of basic text and in its place what is called Web 2.0, an arena full of social media sites, networking, images and videos galore.
Now users from around the world can switch on their computers and access a wide variety of information in a selection of formats, including high quality images, videos, audio and text.
Many of the large online corporations are continuing to expand, making deals with firms that combined with their own expertise, could really enhance the face of the web. Google is one such company, they have just paid and estimated $100 million, purchasing On2, a video compression tool specialist.
They produce equipment that compresses video files to make them suitable for use on computers, mobile phones and other gadgets, without compromising the videos quality. Considering Google currently owns video sharing site, YouTube, this deal could vastly improve the service offered to Internet users.
In the taxi on the way to the airport yesterday, the driver made the sort of offhand, clichéd remark that nobody ever takes seriously: “What would we do without computers?” Always one to take things seriously, though, I jumped at the bait. What would I do without computers?
Everything about my life would be different. Obviously, I couldn’t do the work that I do — and that’s probably true for you too, otherwise you wouldn’t be reading this column. I would also need a replacement for my social media addictions.
Everything about my life would be different — and that’s true for most people. If we didn’t have cell phones, our lives would be dramatically different. If we didn’t have television, our lives would be dramatically different.
But now imagine that we didn’t have Google. Imagine a Terminator came back from the future to kill Google before it became self-aware. Imagine that it found the global jeadquarters in Mountain View and managed to destroy Google’s “brain.” (Don’t you love that no matter how distributed and redundant our actual technology gets, every artificially intelligent movie bad guy always has a single “brain” that can be destroyed in a shower of sparks and dramatic effects?) Or maybe the Terminator just unplugs it. Whatever. Bottom line, we wake up tomorrow and there’s no Google.
For purposes of this thought experiment, let’s actually restrict ourselves for a moment to the idea of a world without Google search. Relax — we’ve still got YouTube.
Here’s what I believe would happen from a consumer perspective: there would be a brief and reasonably harsh shudder — and then we would go on as normal. The hundreds of Lilliputian search engines nipping at Google’s heels would rush in to fill the vacuum. Searches from your address bar? No problem. SERPs with images? No problem. Mobile search? No problem.
The commercial ecosystem, of course, would be dramatically undermined. All of the entities that have built their businesses on the idea of an ever-dominant Google would have to quickly and accurately reallocate spending to the most dominant of the new pretenders. Publishers would have to switch networks. Sites using Google custom search would have to offer another way to navigate.
But here is where it gets interesting for me: the strategy wouldn’t really change.
A company investing in text ads would still invest in text ads, because text ads will still be an effective, measurable way to advertise. A publisher tapped into the Google network would tap into a different network — but it would still tap into a network. Keyword identification and SEO would go on as normal, just with different players.
As integrated as Google has become in our lives, its functions are still replaceable. That “competition’s only one click away” idea is actually true, in theory. We stick with Google because we love it, not because we can’t get satisfaction anywhere else.
The best relationships are always those that exist out of continually renewed choice. Google has a lot of “habit capital” it would have to burn through before people started questioning that choice, but at the end of the day, it’s not really that hard to find another way to search.
If there were no Google? We’d simply have a different logo at the top of the page.
For years, Microsoft has been struggling to chip away at Google’s dominance in the search engine market. And for years, they have been largely unsuccessful, mainly because their own search engine, Microsoft Live Search, produced unwanted and often irrelevant results.
But a few weeks ago, Microsoft released Bing, an updated version of Live Search, in their newest attempt to knock Google off its pedestal.
Although Bing is partially a rebranding of Live Search, it does include new features like instant previews of Web sites and videos.
Microsoft is so committed to Bing’s success that it will launch an astronomical $80 million to $100 million advertising campaign. That’s more than four times Google’s entire advertising budget last year.
It’s been hard to determine how Microsoft’s newcomer is stacking up against its two greatest competitors, Google and Yahoo!. According to StatCounter, one of the world’s largest Web analytics companies, Bing temporarily overtook Yahoo! in terms of market share. Currently, however, Google has 81.5 percent of the search engine market, with Yahoo! at 9.39 percent and Bing at 4.82 percent.
But one Microsoft employee, Michael Kordahi, thinks that some users might be prejudiced against Bing because of Google’s perceived brand name superiority.
He created a blind search engine that shows the search results of Google, Yahoo! and Bing in three nondescript columns. The Web site then invites users to vote for the most relevant results.
Unfortunately, the results were too erratic to name any consistent winner, prompting Kordahi to conclude that “some douche is gaming the system.”
I must confess that, as someone who has had bad experiences with Live Search, I prefer Google. Before I could adequately review the usefulness of Bing, I thought I should first experiment with the blind search engine myself.
So, in completely unscientific fashion, I typed in ten random searches – five single words and five phrases – and picked the results I thought were most valuable and applicable.
And the results were somewhat surprising: While Google crushed the competition with six votes, Bing received a surprising three votes, and Yahoo! just one vote.
It seems I find Microsoft’s search engine a fairly legitimate contender in the battle for supremacy, although Google is still the undisputed champion.
But how do Bing’s other search capabilities like News and Maps compare against Google’s?
Well, I certainly found that the Bing homepage looks pretty. The search bar is superimposed on a beautiful panoramic stock photo that changes every day. Each picture is embedded with invisible squares about the picture that users can click on for more information.
But while this design is certainly unique, Bing’s hide-and-go-seek feature is basically self-promotion masquerading as helpful innovation.
Each square merely redirects users to a search through Bing. For example, clicking on “Learn more about Flag Day” directs the user to a Bing search of “Flag Day.”
But Bing does have some helpful, interesting features.
Unlike Google, Bing’s image search displays the results in one giant scrollable window, thereby eliminating the annoying need to click on multiple pages. And Bing Cashback offers buyers to receive a small percentage back of payments they have made on participating Web sites.
These are Bing’s best features, however, and ultimately Bing still plays second fiddle.
Bing News lacks all the customizability, readability and wealth of information that exists in Google News. Bing only features 14 translatable languages to Google’s 41.
And while Bing Maps is speckled with aesthetically pleasing mountains and forests, it cannot easily display directions and locations like Google Maps.
We must remember, though, while developers have made significant blunders along the way, Bing is still being improved.
They failed to realize, for example, that Bing can mean “sickness” in Chinese (the nationality of Bing’s biggest audience), prompted a name change to “Biying,” meaning “must respond,” which Microsoft is coyly marketing as a “decision engine.”
And they received criticism when Bing’s filtering mechanism could not adequately block porn in its parental settings, which was quickly rectified when the company consulted 25 security vendors for assistance.
Microsoft is certainly improving its image as a legitimate search engine competitor. But the company needs much more innovative firepower before successfully waging war against the Google Empire.
The UK’s search engine marketing spend grew 11% year on year during the fourth quarter of 2008, according to a report.
Search spend increased by 14% between the third quarter and fourth quarter of 2008, according to a Search Engine Performance Report.
This reflects the trend for consumers and marketers to increase online activity during the busy Christmas trading period.
Google grew its overall UK market share from 82.6% to 88.2% year on year, largely as a result of its Google Content network which grew by 300% year on year.
The increase in market share by Google was in part at Yahoo!’s expense. Its market share dropped from 13.9% to 8.4% year on year.
Microsoft Live Search was able to maintain its presence in the UK market at 3.4% market share.
The increased level of search spend during Q4 can be in large part attributed to the strength of the online retail channel in price comparison and shopping efficiency, particularly for more established online brands who increased spend to reach revenue goals.
Get ready SEOs… in 2009, it’s not all about search engine webpage rankings anymore! According to Google, they will officially be launching their Universal Search model in early 2009 to make users’ search experience as simple and straightforward as possible.
So what does that mean for the SEO world? The search game is not all about ranking #1 in the results anymore. Considering that there could be 2 videos, a series of images, and a map of local businesses ABOVE your top (SERP) webpage ranking, it’s time to turn those optimization efforts to new fields.
As Google incorporates Universal Search into its results in 2009, all types of web content will begin to appear on page one – not just web pages. Before you know it, whitepapers, images, news stories, products, and videos will permanently infiltrate search results.
Pope Benedict XVI can look forward to engaging himself in new age media technology. The Vatican is all set to announce the details of the venture, as Google and the Pope have now come together in order to create a new channel for Pope Benedict XVI, which he will call his own.
This channel will be used for the direct posting of all the texts and videos of the Pope and his speeches as recorded by The Vatican television and radio. The head of the Vatican department of Social Communications, Claudio Maria Celli has organised a news conference referred to as “New Technologies, New Relationships: Promoting a Culture of Respect, Dialogue and Friendship”, on Friday. The Managing Director of Media Solutions for Google, Henrique de Castro will also be present at the conference to give out more details on the venture of the Pope.
The Vatican has long since entered the world of technological media and been a part of it. In 1995, the late John Paul II worked towards the launch of The Vatican’s own website. This website was powered by three computers that were named after the archangels. Both The Vatican newspaper and radio have their own website, even though some do believe that the internet is a bad influence.
It must be Winnipeg, Manitoba’s best kept secret having a former Google Director here in the city. While company’s struggle with the economic downturn to keep their businesses afloat, others are flourishing with there online presence. While a recession looms, online sales were at a all time high in December in Canada.
According to Forbes magazine, a Page 1 ranking with Google is the holy grail for any business.
So why then isn’t every business in Winnipeg knocking down the doors of the offices of the Google Guy here?
He has made millions of dollars online for companies worldwide, helped governments get elected and made millionaires out of one man band businesses.
What was he thinking setting up a head office in Winnipeg?
I spoke with the Ex Google Guy who sold out in 2004 to the search engine. I asked what he saw in Winnipeg to make him move here.
Opportunity he tells me and lots of it, but the people here don’t realize it yet. You have large, well-respected corporations here with very limited web presence, websites that could be monetized in abundance, all with low overheads.
So why aren’t people knocking down your door?
I think they are a little backwards when it comes to the Internet. They are stuck in there old fashion ways and traditional media, with like minded people that have no expertize apart from what they read about on forums or books. Google doesn’t tell you how it works in books or forums, that’s why there are very few REAL experts out there.
We only take one client in each niche market and we don’t advertise that much, the people that know KNOW.
Everywhere web designers, students, copy writers, guys who have been on a 3 day SEO course are jumping on the gravy train because they can see big bucks to be made. All of a sudden all these firms are experts on the Internet, but do they have the client’s best interest in mind. It’s a joke really but that’s life.
Winnipeg is the jewel in the crown. Cream always rises to the top:-)
A College internship at an interactive marketing company ended up the ticket to a promising career for one of its 22 year old students. During the internship, he learned a skill known as search engine optimization In August, he was snapped up by a public relations and advertising agency in Denver, and given the title of search engine optimization director.
This was a story in the New York Times
The birth of the Internet gave rise to jobs in areas like Web development and design. And as companies and consumers flocked to the Web, jobs in Internet marketing soon followed. Search engine optimization, part of Internet marketing, is what companies use to drive traffic to Web sites in the hope that consumers will buy a product or service, for example, or subscribe to a publication.
This is a question I ask myself on a regular basis, Why is everyone all of a sudden an SEO Expert, they read a few blogs, go on day course somewhere and all of a sudden they know all there is know about search engine optimization.
If only it was that easy,.
All the SEO’s I know personally, most are well known and documented on the web who have been doing this for the last 10 years, long before it had a name.
They all earn in excess of $1million a year, admittedly some write there own books, some write get rich marketing schemes that plays to peoples greed, are they bothered when earning $10 million a year, probably not.
The question I ask myself is this, if it was you earning this kind of money on an annual basis, would you tell everyone how it was really done?
I didn’t think so, You have your answer.
You can learn good practices by reading forums and blogs, you can read the guidelines set out by Google, Yahoo etc, learn about social media and even web designing, but I have yet to read the full story on how it is done by anybody.
The big hitters will always be the big hitters, WHY, money in the bank baby.