Category Archives: Search Engines
Many companies face a delicate challenge in keeping their passionate users happy while insuring the company is profitable enough to pay the bills and invest in the future, objectives which often enter it conflict with one another. It isn’t rare that this conflict becomes a significant PR issue, as Facebook, through its management of Instagram, is experiencing first hand.
A New York Times article which appeared front and center on the first page of last Sunday’s business section illustrated clearly how clients expect their PR firms to actively manage search engine reputation issues as well:
“Think about what it’s like for my dating life when the first picture that comes up is me as the Devil,” says Mr. Kotick [...] “You see all this chatter and you realize that they game the search results. These super-sophisticated 19-year-olds are smarter than our expensive P.R. firm.” (His publicist, Steven Rubenstein, shrugs sheepishly.)
A year has already passed since search engine blekko launched and while Google and Bing aren’t trembling yet, others have shown significant confidence in blekko’s prospects. For marketers who keep an eye on keyword driven web traffic, a significant question arises: where’s the blekko keyword data?
By default, web analytics measurement systems like Google Analytics aren’t able to correctly recognize blekko as a search engine, but it is possible to configure digital media measurement tools to properly attribute site visitors to the keyword searches they performed using blekko. My new Search Engine Land article shows how and explains why the data isn’t available by default. Happy measuring!
With the approval of the Microsoft-Yahoo search deal by EU regulators, search engine marketers will soon be working in a new landscape. In western Europe where Google dominates with about 90% of the market, it’s tempting to react to the deal with a big yawn.
Yet Yahoo! often has a bigger impact on our search marking than we might like to acknowledge. For many, Yahoo, through its Site Explorer and the Yahoo Search Boss / Site Explorer APIs , is a primary source of competitive backlink data. And who among us doesn’t perform a few searches in Yahoo to benchmark the quality of Google’s results?
For paid search practitioners, the consolidation of three PPC / Keyword Advertising platforms down to two (Google & Bing) will certainly reduce operational and training costs. In some countries it will make the choice to expand beyond just Google much easier to justify. Yet Bing’s adCenter PPC service is currently limited to the US, Canada, the UK& France. What will happen to the other 30 countries served by Yahoo today?
Google’s very undiplomatic announcement that it is going to stop censoring its search results in China doesn’t leave much face-saving wiggle room for the Chinese government – a big no-no in Asian culture. Significant blocking of Google in China seems imminent – you don’t go to great lengths to build the great firewall of China for nothing. Google, a data-driven company, knows full well that Chinese users will be discouraged from using a search engine if it is slow or worse, unreachable. Game over as they say.
While it is easy to applaud Google for taking the moral high ground, you almost get the feeling that something else is happening: Google has given up its battle for search engine supremacy in China. Perhaps Google is giving up the fight because China is one of the few markets where local players, like Baidu, command more market share, regardless of who is doing the counting.
This past week the Italian antitrust authority (Autorità Garante della Concorrenza e del Mercato) conducted a search of Google’s Italian office and announced it was beginning an investigation into Google’s possible abuse of its dominant position in the Italian search engine market. The case was triggered by a complaint from the Italian Federation of News Publishers, FIEG (Federazione Italiana Editori Giornali). FIEG represents publishers of newspapers and magazines, together with press agencies.
So what’s the problem?
The news industry has struggled since the mid 1990s to figure out a profitable internet strategy. “Free” content needs to be supported by advertising revenue, yet poorly targeted banners and the like don’t pay much. Google’s indisputable success as an advertising powerhouse1 has captured the press’ attention.
At the end of May Microsoft announced its new search engine, Bing. As data from Bing’s first full month becomes available, I thought it would be interesting to take a quick look at the current market share enjoyed by the major search engines in the US and a “typical” European market, Italy. The real test of Bing’s success will to be to check back in a few months to see if Bing has picked up traction with users or not. As the folks from Cuil can attest, a burst of publicity doesn’t necessary translate into loyal search users.
Search Engine statistics, USA vs. Italy
Most web intelligence services are currently US centric with very little worldwide reach. Unless stated otherwise, the data which follows is for the US market. Where available, I’ve also provided data for the Italian market, which for search engine usage is rather typical of most west European markets.
Keyword information from search referrers is in particular very important as we want to know not only where our visitors came from, but what was their intent, intent indicated though the keywords they use to express their need or desire while searching.
It was bound to happen. In an economic climate of belt tightening, Microsoft has finally done the unthinkable. First there were those 5,000 layoffs. Then there was the abandonment of adCenter Analytics, Microsoft’s web analytics solution. Yesterday Microsoft announced it was discontinuing Encarta, tacit acknowledgment that it has been trumped by Wikipedia.
So perhaps I should have seen the writing on the wall. Yet today’s announcement that Microsoft is abandoning it’s Live Search took me by surprise. Is Yahoo! next? Will we soon be looking at a Google only world?