Google Search Heads Social

30 03 2011

Google has just released a new feature called Google +1.  This new feature gives users the ability to +1(Like) or add a tally to search results, which in turn will help add a socially shared relevancy measurement for search results.  Developers will also have the ability to add the +1 buttons to website pages which in turn will feed your pages overall tally.  Currently users will only be able to see the +1 tally’s from their contacts within their Gmail (or Google Talk) chat list, “My Contacts” group in Google Contacts and People they’re following in Google Reader and Google Buzz.

Google has hinted that they will monitor participation with +1, which in turn could affect its involvement in future search algorithm changes(Think Hotpot for organic).  This feature is being rolled out as I write this, so you will have to opt-in through Google Labs/Experiments if you currently aren’t seeing it.

Google Social Search Evolves Again

17 02 2011

The days where everyone using Google sees the same 10 search results for a particular keyword have slowly passed us by.  Google has managed to integrate video, image, and product information in the search engine results page (SERP) over the past few years. Local search results through Google Places and products like Google Boost have had a huge influence for our clients.  And in 2009, Google introduced Social Search to the world.  If you were logged in to your Google account and scrolled down to the bottom of the SERP, you would see how your social connections related to that search query, whether it be a shared link or blog post of theirs.

Well just this morning Google announced they are pushing the search results envelope even further.  Now, social search results will be mixed in the main organic section based on relevance.  These social results don’t just appear when you friend on Twitter coincidentally shared the same article that’s in the #1 spot.  According to Google’s Product Management Director of Search Mike Cassidy, these social connections may actually influence the rankings you see in Google.

Google Social Search

The other major difference was that with the old version of Social Search, you only saw results from your social network only when they created or shared something through their Google profile.  Now Google can match up information from your friends on Twitter, Flickr, Quora and potentially even more in the future.  This creates an even greater potentially for each and every Google user to have their own unique SERP.  Facebook is the one major platform that is not included in this announcement and Cassidy was a little more vague on. However, Facebook is Bing’s territory and search results there can be influenced by your Facebook friends.

So where does this leave small business and site owners?  We’ve always believed that social networks like Twitter and Facebook can be valuable tools when you listen to your audience and create genuine relationships, not spammy sales pitches every hour. Providing valuable content and interactions with your audience now have the greater potential to affect their search results.  Plus, it sounds like Google has algorithms for these search results to weed out overtly spam content too.  The news today reminds us that you shouldn’t obsess over being #1 for all your relevant keywords, as we all now know everyone’s search results can be drastically different.  Instead, try to focus on your bottom line – driving qualified traffic that will interact with your site and convert well.

Do you like what Google is doing with Social Search?  Tell us your thoughts below.

Sports and Search Engine Marketing

24 07 2009

Let’s face the facts, I LOVE sports.  I’ve been playfully teased in the past about my obsession for sports and certain sports teams.  You are probably wondering, “How does this relate to Search Engine Marketing?”  In fact, thank you for asking.  Both Bing and Yahoo have created sports shortcuts for search queries.  Bing was the lead-off hitter, creating an “Instant Answers” feature that has been increasingly expanded.  Type in the name of a team or player and you will get Instant Answers on all of their current stats.  Yahoo countered by quickly rolling out “search shortcuts for sports”.  Let’s take a closer look at these two search engines and their affinity for sports.

Bing Instant Answers

The Portland Trail Blazers are playing in game 5 of the playoffs and you do not have access to your television.  Don’t stress, has your back!  You can get an instant update about what is going on in the game via  Perhaps you are not away from your television, but you are curious how the Cavs versus Magic NBA playoffs game is going and the stats for a particular player.  Simply type in that player’s name into and get Instant Answers stats.  Let’s say that Lebron James recorded a triple double, and you found that out by typing in his last name into – amazing!  This is a great feature for sports junkies, including myself, who want to check the box score of a game or see a particular player’s stats on the fly.

Yahoo Search Shortcuts for Sports

It can be hectic at times to follow your favorite sports team(s); therefore Yahoo quickly launched a tool similar to Bing’s that is a “new sports team shortcut.”  When a user searches for a favorite major league or college sports team or player on Yahoo Search, a short cut appears with real, live data that includes the live score, the previous game’s score and the date and time of the next game.  A user will also find quick links to the team or player’s page, as well as stats, photos and schedules.  The sports team shortcut covers the NBA, NFL, MLB, NHL, NCAAF and NCAAB.

With all of this sports talk, I’d like to end this discussion with a list of my top 10 favorite sports websites (in no particular order).

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