Posts

Mandela 2008

Nelson Mandela in 2008
Source: WikiMedia Commons

Not to be outdone by Bing, Google published their top ten lists of the year, centered around their list of global trending searches of 2013 and their annual “Year-End Zeitgeist” page. The list is dominated by public figures and huge events, but it also features a few entries from popular electronics released this year. However, unlike many other lists, the public figures are exclusively male, and mostly associated with tragedy.

Both Paul Walker and Cory Monteith, two star actors who passed at young ages, are on the list, and the highest ranked trending search of the year was awarded to Nelson Mandela, the recently deceased South African leader who has made such a huge impact on his home country and around the world. As Google says:

It’s perhaps unsurprising that the #1 trending search of 2013 was an international symbol of strength and peace: Nelson Mandela. Global search interest in the former President of South Africa was already high this year, and after his passing, people from around the world turned to Google to learn more about Madiba and his legacy.

Google’s Top 10 Trending Global Searches of 2013:

  • Nelson Mandela
  • Paul Walker
  • iPhone 5s
  • Cory Monteith
  • Harlem Shake
  • Boston Marathon
  • Royal Baby
  • Samsung Galaxy s4
  • PlayStation 4
  • North Korea

Along with their Trending Global Searches list, Google published their Year-End Zeitgeist page, which lists more than 1,000 top ten search lists from over 70 countries. It includes topics such as the most searched celebrity pregnancies (Kim Kardashian), most searched Fortune 500 (Google), most searched for movies (Man of Steel), and the most searched TV shows of the year (Breaking Bad).

Of course, Miley Cyrus made a serious impact in search after her notorious MTV VMA performance, by contributing to the most searched “What is…?” question, which was “What is twerking?” She also won the most searched person of the year, showing controversy always leads to a surge of interest.

To top it all of, Google released a video to spotlight all of the highlights of the year:

Google has been making a move towards providing searchers more lengthy and thorough content in recent history. They estimate that roughly 10 percent of all searches call for in-depth article information and they have been aiming to make those types of sources more available, especially when it may be more relevant for users.

The first big move came a couple months ago, back in August. The search engine launched an update to include in-depth articles for relevant searches, with a special block of articles at the bottom of the search results page.

Now, Google has expanded the in-depth articles section so that users can view even more comprehensive articles by adding a new link which reads “More in-depth articles” beneath the initial selection of sources. Clicking that link shows 10 more articles on the same page. A screenshot of the update is below:

In-Depth Article Update Screenshot

The latest update also implemented the ability to explore related topics with an explore section next to articles which may be connected to other keywords. Search Engine Land notes that you can also search exclusively for in-depth articles by adding &ida_m=1 to the end of your search URL.

Currently this new feature doesn’t have much impact on the content your brand creates, but the trend could have huge implications for the future of search and Google’s focus. For now the majority of searches call for less extensive results, but eventually longer and more detailed content could be hugely rewarding for those willing to put in the effort.

Beyonce in Montreal 2013

Source: WikiCommons

It’s that time of year yet again! Time for all the lists reflecting and analyzing the past year! This year Bing is one of the first sites to begin looking back at the past year, as it has released its most popular searches for 2013 lists. If you want to know who the most searched for sports stars, entertainment systems, or public personalities are, Bing has got you covered.

The big stand out this year is Beyoncé who topped two lists, winning the No. 1 position for most searched person of 2013 as well as the most searched musician. As usual, females dominated the list for most searched person, with the top five spots all going to women. The only men to make it onto the list were Justin Bieber (6) and President Barack Obama (10).

The more interesting information for marketers comes from the lists for the most searched for social media sites, most searched streaming sites, and the most searched entertainment electronics.

Facebook still has a strong grasp on the top spot on the most searched social media sites, but Pinterest has raised its profile considerably this year, making its debut on the Bing list in second place. The rest is as you would expect, with Twitter, Linkedin, and Instagram rounding out the top five. For social media marketers, this gives insight to where you should focus your energy, but remember that your marketing approach should always cater to the social platform you are engaging.

It is also notable that while the new iPhone has faced significant public criticism, it still came in second on the list for most searched entertainment electronics, falling behind the Xbox. Android was close behind, coming in third.

There are many more lists from Bing to look through, including the most searched for memes, foods, and travel destinations of the past year. While some of the lists are more anecdotally interesting than useful, you are sure to gain some insight into the public’s concerns and needs.

Bing Featured VideoOn Monday, Bing rolled out a brand new music video search results page. The new feature allows you to search for a music video by song title, artist, or album, and users will see a box at the top of the results that highlights the most popular music videos related to the search, and a list of “Top Songs” for the query.

Bing’s result page collects videos from “leading sites including YouTube, Vimeo, MTV, Artist Direct, and more.” The videos listed beneath the featured video are ranked based on relevancy to the search, so an artist’s name will only mostly show their videos, while a search for a specific song returns more covers and amateur music videos.

Bing Videos Screenshot

Users are able to preview song’s without clicking by simply mousing over.

You will also notice a sidebar to the music video search results page which includes a related artist or related albums list so you can more easily find music in the same vein as you enjoy.

One nice little feature is that Bing has collected certain videos as they were originally ordered on an album. Search Engine Land reports a search for Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon results in Bing listing the songs in the original order along with the featured video.

Bing-music-video-Dark-side-of-the-moon-600x192

Last week some people began noticing that large banner ads were appearing on Google for a select few branded search results. This test of huge banner ads has caused quite a bit of a stir across the internet, especially because it seems to break a promise Google made all the way back in 2005.

When Google partnered with AOL eight years ago, Marissa Mayer, then Google VP of search products and user experience, issued a promise that users would never see banner ads on their results. She said:

“There will be no banner ads on the Google homepage or web search result pages. There will not be crazy, flashy, graphical doodads flying and popping all over the Google site. Ever.”

One could argue that some of the Google Doodle homepage logos commemorating special events would qualify as “crazy, flashy, graphical doodads”, those have never caused any worry because they are simply a flourish added to the homepage logo. However, it is indisputable that the new ad tests Google is running breaks their “no banner ads” promise outright. But, is it a bad thing?

The most notable aspect of the banner ads is that they only appear for branded searches. That means, if you search for Crate & Barrel, you might be shown the banner for Crate & Barrel. You won’t, however, be seeing any ads for random companies unrelated to your search, as you would normally associate with the term ‘banner ad’.

These ads are also linked to the brand’s website, providing users with an obvious, visually pleasing way to immediately find the business they are looking for. With careful moderation of banners, they could potentially allow businesses to essentially own their branded searches.

One of the biggest concerns for consumers regarding these ads is how they are used. Few users will be upset for the easily identifiable link with an aesthetically pleasing image showing when they search for a specific brand. However, if this test expands and advertisers are ever allowed to use these banners to advertise sales or other more advertising-styled banners, there may be a backlash.

Currently, it is estimated that 30 advertisers are currently being involved in the test, including Southwest Airlines, Virgin America, and Crate & Barrel. The test banner ads are also only being shown for 5 percent or less of search queries, so it is entirely possible you won’t run into one for quite a while.

Search Engine Land has created a FAQ for advertisers curious how this might affect the future of Google marketing, and Google released a statement on Friday, which read:

“We’re currently running a very limited, US-only test, in which advertisers can include an image as part of the search ads that show in response to certain branded queries. Advertisers have long been able to add informative visual elements to their search ads, with features like Media Ads, Product Listing Ads and Image Extensions.”

A couple weeks ago, Google released an update directly aimed at the “industry” of websites which host mugshots, which many aptly called The Mugshot Algorithm. It was one of the more specific updates to search in recent history, but was basically meant to target sides aiming to extort money out of those who had committed a crime. Google purposefully targeted those sites who were ranking well for names and displayed arrest photos, names, and details.

Seeing how a week went by without response, you wouldn’t be judged for thinking that was the end of the issue, but finally one of the biggest sites affected, Mugshots.com, publicly responded to Google’s update. Barry Schwartz reported Mugshot.com published a blog post, in which they claim Google is endangering the safety of Americans.

Mugshots was among three sites who suffered the most from the algorithm, the others including BustedMugshots and JustMugshots.

In their statement, they say, “Google’s decision puts every person potentially at risk who performs a Google search on someone.”

If Mugshots.com could tone down the theatrics, they might have been able to make a reasonable argument. However, they also ignore there are many other means for employers and even common citizens to find out arrest records and details in less humiliating and more contextualized means.

SpeedometerHave you noticed a difference using Google on your smartphone this past week? Last week Ilya Grigorik, a Google developer advocate, announced Google was making a tiny tweak which should speed up mobile search on both Safari and Chrome by 200-400 milliseconds.

The company implemented an attribute called <a ping>, which allows them to basically do the click tracking and redirect practically at the same time, as Barry Schwartz explained.

You might not actually be experiencing search with the change, since Google is “gradually rolling out this improvement to all browsers that support the <a ping> attribute.” Grigorik also took the time to explain exactly how the change works:

What’s the benefit? Whenever the user clicks on a result, typically they are first sent to a Google URL redirector and then to the target site. With <a ping>, the click is tracked using an asynchronous call, meaning that the user sees one less redirect and a faster overall experience!

Lily Collins

Source: Gage Skidmore

Every year innocent and not-so-innocent searchers end up getting infected or attacked by high risk malware attacks which can harm your computer or steal your personal information. How do these people get tricked? It seems innocuous, but searching for your favorite celebrity can put your computer at high risk for attack if you aren’t careful.

To help warn searchers, McAfee puts out a list each year of the most dangerous celebrities to search for. Last year’s ‘winner’ was Emma Watson, but this year earns the designation, likely thanks to her starring role in this years fantasy film adaptation The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones. Watson, on the other hand, has fallen off the list.

McAfee’s announcement read:

Cybercriminals consistently take advantage of consumer interest around award shows, new movies and TV shows as well as the latest cultural trends driven by celebrities. These criminals capitalize on the public’s fascination with celebrity to lure them to sites laden with malware that enables them to steal passwords and personal information. This year, searching for a celebrity name coupled with the search terms “free app download” and “nude pictures” resulted in the highest instances of malware-laden sites.

Avril Lavigne and Sandra Bullock took the second and third spots this year, respectively. Women regularly make up the majority of the list, though some men manage to break into the ranks. This year, Jon Hamm was the only male coming in at number eight. McAfee also said the some of the most dangerous types of searches included:

  • “Lily Collins and free downloads”
  • “Lily Collins and nude pictures”
  • “Lily Collins and fakes”

McAfee also offered some tips for staying safe, especially if you’re going to be looking at this type of content.

Beware of content that prompts you to download anything before providing you the content. You may want to opt to watch streaming videos or download content from official websites of content providers.

“Free downloads” are significantly the highest virus-prone search term. Anyone searching for videos or files to download should be careful as not to unleash malware on their computer.

Always use password protection on your phone and other mobile devices. If your phone is lost or stolen, anyone who picks up the device could publish your information online.

Established news sites may not entice you with exclusives for one solid reason: there usually aren’t any. Try to stick to official news sites that you trust for breaking news. However, trusted sites can also fall prey to hackers. Make sure to use a safe search tool that will notify you of risky sites or links before you visit them.

Don’t download videos from suspect sites. This should be common sense, but it bears repeating: don’t download anything from a website you don’t trust — especially video. Most news clips you’d want to see can easily be found on official video sites, and don’t require you to download anything. If a website offers an exclusive video for you to download, don’t.

Don’t “log in” or provide other information: If you receive a message, text or email or visit a third-party website that asks for your information—credit card, email, home address, Facebook login, or other information—for access to an exclusive story, don’t give it out. Such requests are a common tactic for phishing that could lead to identity theft.

Today is April Fool’s Day, and of course that means every major company has unveiled a new fake product. Google, for example, announced Google Nose, which would let you smell your results, if it worked. That’s the type of prank you normally expect to see from big companies. They’re all in good fun.

Well, Bing decided to make their April Fool’s Day prank a fake new product and a slam directed obviously at Google all in one. They announced, through a blog post, Bing Basic, a redesign of their front page, only accessible through a special “telltale query”, “you’ll get something a little more bland” than their front page.

If you guessed the “telltale query” was “Google” and that Bing Basic removes the big pictures from their front page in favor of a colorful logo, white space, and a simple search box, you’d be correct.

bing-april-fools-2013

Of course, this Google bashing is far from new for Bing, but it is kind of odd to see a company take a day normally full of nonsensical and sometimes wonderful fake ads, webpages, redesigns, and other fun little jokes and turn it into a swipe at the competition. It certainly isn’t the first time though.
In the meantime, I’ll be dreaming of the day Google Treasure Maps is a real thing.

Some companies can afford to just throw money at their online marketing campaigns and get results, but if you run a small business with an equally small advertising budget, you’ll want to look into these tips from Business2Community.

1. Google Search

Surprisingly, they suggest those with a limited budget limiting their options to search only. While it is likely the most efficient platform, I would argue that, depending on your business, you could yield great results with other options as well. But, it is a great place to start and if your budget is extremely limited, maybe also a great place to stop.

2. Keywords

You get a high conversion rate at a low cost-per-click. Keywords are a huge money saver and hone in on the users who are most likely to be looking for you. Also, be sure to learn about “long tail keywords” to get the most out of your ads.

3. Geotargeting

Chances are, if you have a small business and limited budget, you are only interested in those consumers living in your area. Use Google’s tools to only show ads to those in your vicinity. You can set parameters by city, zip code or even a mile radius around your physical address.

4. Day Parting

This one requires some legwork on your part. Check into your campaigns and find out when the peak hours are for conversions. You can then choose to either turn ads off during down times, or turn ads off during some of these peak hours when costs are at their highest. Either way, it is an opportunity to save some coin.

I do not endorse turning off ads simply because your business is closed for the day, however. Many consumers do conduct searches outside of normal business hours, which means you could be missing out on a large part of the market.

5. Device Targeting

The main reason to use this tool is to ensure ads ideal for mobile devices are shown only on mobile devices, while ads ideal for laptops, or not ideal for mobile, are only shown to laptops and tablets.