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New research from Yext and Forbes reinforces just how important it is to keep the information on search engine results relevant to your business accurate and up-to-date. 

The findings from more than 500 US consumers indicates that people automatically assume only half of the information they see in search results is accurate. Additionally, those consumers then hold the brands responsible for any inaccurate information about them, even when it appears outside of your official channels.

The study also revealed a few more bits of interesting information:

  • 57% of respondents say they bypass search and visit a brand’s official website first because they believe the information there will be more complete and accurate.
  • 50% of consumers regularly turn to third-party sites and apps to find information about brands.
  • 48% of those surveyed said a brand’s website is their most trusted source of information.
  • 47% say they are more likely to trust a third-party site over a brand’s website.
  • 20% of current and new customers trust social media to deliver accurate brand information.
  • 28% of consumers avoid buying a brand’s product after seeing inaccurate information.

Marc Ferrentino, Chief Strategy Officer of Yext elaborated on the findings, saying:

”Our research shows that regardless of where they search for information, people expect the answers they find to be consistent and accurate — and they hold brands responsible to ensure this is the case.

… there is a significant opportunity for businesses to differentiate themselves from their competition through verification on and off of their own websites.”

You can download the full report here.

bing-predictions-lentucky-ncaa

The first round of March Madness games begin in earnest tomorrow and Bing is helping you get prepared for the big NCAA tournament. The search engine is offering predictions and tournament brackets so you can gauge the best picks for each match-up and even get in on the action by submitting brackets to the official contest on NCAA.com.

Anyone searching for terms such as “NCAA,” “March Madness,” or “college basketball” will immediately see the entire tournament bracket, as well as Bing’s predictions for every one of the 69 games.

The responsive search features are the result of a partnership between Bing and NCAA announced last week, which allowed Bing greater access to stats and data. According to Bing, the wealth of data took over seven hours of data crunching Sunday evening to prepare their predictions this soon.

In a blog post, Bing Predicts chief Dr. Walter Sun claims there are more than 9.2 permutations involved in the tournament bracket, and explains how Bing used over 10 years of data to inform its predictions.

This includes offensive and defensive statistics, conference success in previous tournaments, the proximity of tournaments to each team’s home campus, the style of each team, their individual strengths and weaknesses, and many other factors which might result in them favoring certain match-ups over others. After ingesting these initial data sets, we applied our analysis of web and social sentiment to tune our predictions, resulting in projected outcomes for each of the 67 games of the tournament, including both predicted winner and probability of the team winning. We then present to you the 1 bracket which we think is the most likely to transpire.

Bing has pegged the Kentucky Wildcats as the team who will take the championship this year, which isn’t exactly a daring prediction given the team’s perfect 34-0 record. Bing’s team of statisticians are not the only team thinking the win streak will leak the Wildcats to win it all. The analysts from Nate Silver’s fivethirtyeight.com give Kentucky a 41 percent chance of winning. For comparison, the second most likely team, Villanova, only received an 11 percent chance.

Bing’s special results page for the tournament also includes game schedules as well as team breakdowns similar to what the search engine showed during last year’s World Cup.

Bing’s partnership with the NCAA has most likely given the search engine a lead on preparing this search feature. Currently searching for anything similar doesn’t show anything special on Google, but that will most likely change before the opening games tomorrow.

By now you’ve probably noticed your search results don’t look like they used to. Google told the public their new look was just an experiment earlier this week, but now everyone is getting to see Google’s search results pages with the new design.

Jon Wiley, Google’s lead designer for Google Search basically made the announcement the new style was rolling outto desktop when he said on Google+. “you may have noticed that Google Search on desktop looks a little different today.” He specifies desktop users because the style was showing up much more prominently on mobile before the full roll-out.

As many have noted, the new SERPs have much larger titles and the underlines have been removed. Jon also notes that Google “evened out all the line heights,” which he claims “improves readibility and creates an overall cleaner look.”

Most of those changes won’t have a huge impact on the usability of the search engine, but visitors will have to become accustomed to a different way of marking ads. Google has used smaller yellow tags to pinpoint which results were part of ads on mobile, but desktop users have still been relying on the lightly colored boxes Google has relied on for years to mark ads. Google says the change is intended to unify the mobile and desktop search experience. Jon explained:

Improving consistency in design across platforms makes it easier for people to use Google Search across devices and it makes it easier for us to develop and ship improvements across the board.

There are bound to be plenty of complaints about the redesign. I personally don’t enjoy it as much as the old style, but most will acclimate to it fairly quickly. But, it isn’t a high-profile site redesign unless people initially throw a small tantrum in the meantime.

You can compare the old and new designs below.

Google Search Results New Design

 

Just a quick update for the news on Google’s real-time search results.  They released a video to show exactly how it works.  And it looks pretty good!  Like it won’t interfere too much with other results, but will give people updated information on what they want.

Here’s the video:

Google is in the process of launching their latest search engine update/upgrade.  With it comes a real-time update capability.  You will actually see relevant information feeding into your search results as you watch.

This is expected to roll out over the next few days, so keep an eye out for differences in the Google results.  If you want to see all the information about this update, check out the article Danny Sullivan wrote about it on Search Engine Land.

Most people nowadays use Google as their primary search engine.  Well, something not everyone realizes is that when you’re logged into your Google account, Google keeps track of all searches you do with their search engine.

What this is intended to do is to enhance your experience with Google (although many people have conspiracy theories as to what their purpose really is).  The results are varied, but Google will keep track of every site you visit and display that on their search results, in addition to adjusting the order of the search results for you based on which sites you showed a preference for.

So that means if you visit one site several times while logged in and found them through Google, the next time you do the same search that site will be quite a bit higher on the results pages.

For any SEOs, this means it will not show accurate search results for keywords you do searches on.  Which is not something SEOs want to happen, if they’re looking for accurate results.

To get around this, you want to use Google when you are not logged in to your Google account.  Only then will it show unadjusted search results, which may still vary based on which server serves up your own results.  But it will not be affected by Google’s personalization of your own search results.

Whether or not they still track you based on IP address is something I’ll leave up to the conspiracy theorists, but for those of you who want a more objective search result, I recommend staying logged out of Google unless you need one of their services at that time.  Or else use a different computer/browser to do your Google searches that you want raw unaltered search results with.