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Tags: Google, google what do you love, what do you love
Categories : Google
While the introduction of Google+ took center stage this week, Google was quietly rolling out a new product, What Do You Love? (WDYL) behind the scenes. Its clean and aesthetically pleasing design delivers a useful conglomeration of a number of their products. Appealing to people’s sense of fun and personal interests, WDYL lets people search for things they “love”, while showcasing a wide array of Google’s lesser known (and well known) products in one centralized dashboard. A brilliant stab at marketing, really. It delivers as a dashboard mash-up of Google’s products (potentially disguised as a marketing vehicle). However, the results are nonetheless intriguing and an interesting tool for some off the cuff competitive research.
What is WDYL? – Initial Thoughts
With no formal announcement regarding the new WDYL service by Google, the intended purpose and functionality has yet to go public. WDYL allows users to search for something you love (bonus points for the cute heart “search button”) and serves a dashboard of results containing the thing you love, conveniently placed in a “call to action” for one of Google’s many products.
- The merging of people’s “loves” (similar to “likes” as Facebook provides) with each product is a clever way of utilizing things people are passionate about and associating those things with a Google product.
- Each Google product module headline on the dashboard contains a “call to action” to use that Google product to find out more about what it is the user loves. A few of these include (using an example search for “mac and cheese”):
- Google Maps: “Find mac and cheese nearby”
- Google Image Search: “See pictures of mac and cheese”
- Google Earth: “Scour the earth for mac and cheese”
- Google Alerts: “Alert me about mac and cheese”
- Google SketchUp: “Explore mac and cheese in 3D”
- YouTube: “Watch videos of mac and cheese”
- To do any of the above actions requires that the user actually use the Google product.
- Google has done a good job of integrating familiar products (Maps, YouTube) with the unfamiliar (SketchUp, Moderator) which may be a good long-term strategy for keeping users interested long enough to gain visibility for their other more obscure products.
- Additionally, with each search a new order and placement of each of Google’s product modules is displayed. So users are not always seeing Images or News at the top of their dashboard. Patent Search or Moderator may secure the top of the dashboard, high visibility location.
So, if WDYL is successful at promoting some of these lesser known products and gaining users, would Google failures like Wave (among others) have had a chance to shine? Or, is this just a fun exploration tool to use on rainy days? Bigfoot followers might be interested to see the Google Earth result that implores them to “Scour the earth for bigfoot”.
There are definitely kinks to work out, as many searches miss the mark. The templatized style of WDYL doesn’t meld together well with every single search, or fit into the same warm and fuzzy “what do you love?” category. With relevancy being at the core of Google’s mission, I’m surprised that they haven’t found a clever way to combat more negative searches such as “suicide”, which returns a Google calendar result with a “Plan your suicide events” headline. These types of unintelligent results could be a turnoff for searchers.
It will be interesting to see how these standalone products can work together and how successful or unsuccessful WDYL is in the coming months. It’s too soon to tell if WDYL has staying power, or if it fade eventually fade into obscurity. In the meantime, how do you plan to use Google’s “What Do You Love” service?
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Tags: Google Places, local business, local search, local search marketing, Local SEO
Categories : Local SEO
If you’re a local business, you want to know where people go to find your business and other businesses like yours online. According to a research study conducted by CityGrid Media and Harris Interactive, Google continues to be the top place on the web that US consumers look to find local business information. In fact, 43% of US consumers turn to local search to find local businesses, while BrightLocal found that a staggering 59% of internet users in general search on Google at least once a month to find a business.
eMarketer, March 2011
In addition, the study found that:
- At 43%, Google Places beat out Yellow Pages (30%), Review Sites (13%), Facebook (12%) and Twitter (2%) as the top online source US consumers check before visiting a business.
- A recommendation from a friend influenced 52% of US consumers to try a local business.
- The location of the business was a factor for 10% of US consumers in deciding whether or not to visit a business, while 8% said that a deal influenced their decision.
eMarketer, March 2011
What this means for Local Businesses
While Google Places is a hugely important place for local businesses to be in order to be found online, it’s the word-of-mouth (friend) recommendations that have the ability to influence 52% of US consumers to visit a particular business. First, in order to be found on Google, a business needs to address local SEO opportunities such as claiming and optimizing their Google Place Page, and a myriad of other items which this local SEO presentation outlines.
Secondarily, a local business needs to focus their attention on creating and retaining happy, loyal customers, who will become word-of-mouth marketers for the company (and pass along their recommendation to a friend). And, if you take leaf out of this business’s book, as noted in Andy Sernovitz’s blog, they actually educate their customers on how to become word-of-mouth marketers for the company. Either way, it’s a process that should become a core piece of any local business’s online strategy – the numbers speak for themselves.
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Tags: adcenter, PPC, quality score
Categories : adCenter, PPC
Microsoft adCenter announced news last week of the arrival of the adCenter Quality Score, reportedly set to launch this spring. With much speculation surrounding when this would eventually take place; it is surprising that it took approximately five and a half years for adCenter to publicly release a Microsoft counterpart to Google’s AdWords Quality Score. Not to belabor the point, but AdWords released their first generation Quality Score in August of 2005. Two-Thousand-Five.
Microsoft has also chosen to use Google’s “Quality Score” nomenclature for their new feature, raising speculation that it took adCenter this much time to develop a worthy equivalent. And, perhaps they tried for several years to create a bigger and better version of Google’s Quality Score and just couldn’t come up with anything better (or with a better name) than a score ranked on a 1-10 scale. In any case, the similarities between the AdWords Quality Score and to-be-released adCenter Quality Score should make it easier for advertisers to translate what they already know about Quality Score (helping gauge, improve and determine campaign, keyword, and landing page relevance) to adCenter.
Here are the details that Microsoft adCenter has released about their Quality Score:
- Quality Score will be on a 1-10 scale, and be calculated at the keyword level for each match-type being purchased.
- Scores are designed to represent how competitive your keyword is within the marketplace, with three sub-scores for keyword relevance, landing page relevance, and landing page user experience.
- Actionable guidance will be provided to optimize and improve your quality score.
- At launch, scores will be visible and exportable from the adCenter Web UI, and accessible through adCenter Reporting and Reporting APIs.
Additional Sub-Factors include:
- Keyword Relevance – assessed on a scale of (Poor, No Problem, Good) and how well your keyword competes against others buying the same keyword.
- Landing Page Relevance – assessed on a scale of (Poor, No Problem) and how relevant your ad and landing page is to the search query.
- Landing Page User Experience – assessed on a scale of (Poor, No Problem) and whether your site meets adCenter editorial relevance and quality guidelines.
A notable difference between the two Quality Scores is how Microsoft is positioning their score as a “competitive feedback tool”, instead of being an actual score that helps determine ad rank and performance. adCenter has officially noted that their Quality Score will NOT directly affect how ads rank and I’m guessing (because of that detail) won’t affect keyword bid estimates or the actual CPC, as AdWords’ does. adCenter’s Quality Score is designed to tell advertisers how competitive their keywords are in the marketplace, whether or not they are positioned for success and how an advertiser can optimize appropriately to improve their Quality Score.
AdWords Quality Score on the other hand, does affect ad performance and influences how an ad ranks, the actual CPC an advertiser will pay and first page bid estimates. Both scores are determined based on historical performance data. While Microsoft has yet to be as transparent about what this historical performance data will be, advertisers familiar with AdWords Quality Score guidelines and formulas can guess that historical keyword CTR and historical account CTR will likely be determining factors.
As a PPC advertiser, I’m looking forward to seeing how adCenter’s new Quality Score will have an effect on ad performance for advertisers, since the score (at this point) does not influence how adCenter ads will rank or the actual CPC an advertiser will pay. Here’s to hoping this tool will be used effectively by adCenter advertisers to better understand how to optimize and improve campaigns – resulting in improved performance!
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Tags: pay per click, PPC, ppc advertising, PPC Small Business
Categories : pay per click, PPC
A common question that arises while working with and managing a company’s PPC efforts is whether or not they should be bidding on branded keywords if they are already ranking number #1 organically (for their company name). Logically, it doesn’t seem to make sense to pay for keywords your website is already ranking #1 for in the search engine results, for free. However, it’s important to consider some of the reasons why a company should enhance their online presence with the help of a branded PPC campaign.
- Own the search engine results page (SERP) – Bidding on branded keywords can help your listings (paid and organic) own the first page of results for your company name. Not only do multiple listings help to reinforce your company’s presence, but in some cases it can help simulate brand authority and credibility when a user sees your brand all over the first page of search results; also helping to increase organic click through rate.
- Protect your brand from competitors – Consider a branded campaign as an online reputation management (ORM) tactic, particularly if you’re in a competitive market space – but even if you’re not. Branded keywords are often considerably cheaper in comparison to a company’s top, general keywords and can help ensure that you are preventing competitors from appearing above your #1 organic listing for your company name. Even if competitors are not bidding on your company name now, proactive ORM can ensure your company is being perceived accurately; and keep those pesky competitors from appearing above you.
- Not all users click on the organic listings – For savvy web users who typically click on organic results over paid results, it’s important to realize that although approximately 70% of users click on organic results, the other 30% or so click on the paid results, not realizing there’s a difference. It’s critical for your company to be visible to 100% of searchers, not just the 70% that click on the organic results. With sponsored listings (especially those with ad extensions such as sitelinks or location extensions) taking up a significant portion of top of the page real estate above organic listings, it’s important for your company to be visible in this space too.
- PPC ads allow you to control your messaging – While you do have control over your organic listing’s title and meta descriptions, PPC ads give you the ability to nimbly change messaging to highlight offers, competitive factors, and different value propositions within minutes.
- PPC ads allow you to control your targeting – Unlike organic search, PPC ads allow you to control where and when your ads are shown, which keeps your audience targeted, relevant and costs down.
- Milk that good quality score – Branded keywords often secure the highest click-through rate (CTR), the best quality score and overall performance history, which can help improve account quality score, boosting your overall PPC account history, performance and potential.
In any case, before you rule out bidding on branded keywords, consider the above benefits and conduct a test. By testing and analyzing the results, it’s undoubtedly a win-win situation, as the proof will be within the data (one way or the other). If branded keywords are driving up your paid search cost, lowering ROI, or affecting your other traffic sources negatively, then you can decisively rule a branded campaign out of your paid search mix for the time being and not second guess whether you’re missing out on traffic, conversions or revenue – win. Moreover, if branded keywords help improve your online visibility, traffic, ROI, or conversion activity – another win!