Tag Archives: Search Engines

Domain & URL Strategies for Multilingual & Multinational Sites

One problem search engines face when indexing and ranking a website’s content is to identify the target geographic and linguistic market a particular website page is trying to reach. The world wide web is indeed that, and the issue is particularly complicated for websites in languages which have a broad geographic reach such as English and Spanish.

Fortunately for site owners, there are clues search engines use to match website content with searcher location. By understanding these clues and user behavior, site owners can choose a domain and URL strategy which best fits their needs.

I discussed domain and URL strategies at the SMX West 2010 Search Marketing Expo conference. For the benefit of those who couldn’t attend, the slides and a rough transcript follow. I’d strongly recommend that you attend a future SMX conference in person – from search marketing tips to great networking (and fine food), you won’t regret it.

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The real news behind the Google and Bing Twitter deals

Yesterday we saw a lot of press and blogosphere attention devoted to deals being made between the two leading search engines, Google and Bing, and leading social media services Twitter and Facebook.

Twitter search deals, while interesting, doesn’t yet merit much beyond a big yawn – we’ve already had decent, if imperfect, search via Summize, which became twitter search. Sure, both Google and Bing can improve this, but still, things like Google Squared are much more innovative.

What is really interesting about the search engine deals are the implications of the business details:

Is twitter being compensated for the indexing and retrieval attention Bing (and Google?) is giving them?

If so, that would seem to set a big precedent (the AP content hosting deal aside). Why shouldn’t other content rich sites not also receive payment from search engines? Newspapers worldwide have been making this point, to no avail, for several years now (The Italian Federation of News Publishers is pressing its case by arguing that Google has a monopoly position).

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Italian press to Google: you’re unfair (and we’re confused)

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.

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Bing – features and SEO recommendations, one month on

At the end of May Microsoft announced its new search engine, Bing. Microsoft justified many of Bing’s new features by noting that 50% of search queries are either abandoned or refined – users aren’t getting the right answer on the first try, citing studies by Jakob Nielsen, Enquiro and internal testing. Microsoft also said that searchers are becoming more focused more on tasks and decisions – consequently search engine sessions are becoming longer as users work their way through their decision making process.

As data from Bing’s first full month becomes available, I thought it would be interesting to take a quick look at what the Bing rollout means for search marketers and, in a separate article, current search engine market shares.

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Eying Search Engine Market Share in the era of Bing

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.

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Why SEO & Usability are like two peas in a pod

Good user experience is fundamental for the success of a website:

On the Internet, it’s survival of the easiest: If customers can’t find a product, they can’t buy it. Give users a good experience and they’re apt to turn into frequent and loyal customers. But the Web also offers low switching costs … Only if a site is extremely easy to use will anybody bother staying around. – Usability guru Jakob Nielsen1

While Nielsen probably had site design and information architecture in mind, his point also encompasses search engine visibility. Without search engine visibility a website is hidden away on a dead-end street instead of being front and center on main street2, where the people are.

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7 sources of link intelligence data and key link analysis considerations

It may seem like a cliché but on the web no website is an island. Any site worth its salt will have accumulated inbound links and will most certainly contain outbound links to other resources on the web. Indeed, one can easily say that without links to interconnect websites, there wouldn’t be a worldwide web.

For search engines, such as Google, incoming links provide a strong signal as to the authority of a website. If multiple websites link to a specific website for a given topic, there is a good chance the website cited by others is deemed to be highly relevant for a good reason. Google and other search engines identify the theme of a website page by analyzing a page’s content and the text of the incoming links – the underlined text you click on to arrive at a page. Links, especially inbound links, are thus one of the most significant in the over 200 factors Google considers in its ranking algorithms. Inbound links from related sites in a business’ sector are also an excellent source of highly qualified direct traffic.

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Google AJAX Search results, tracking in Google Analytics and, um, an API rant

As many may know by now, Google has been experimenting for a few months with Ajax (JavaScript) based search results. One problem with the initial trial was that no referrer information was passed when a user clicked on a search result, “breaking” the historic ability of Web Analytics systems to track search traffic from Google. Google has more than one service on each of it’s domains which may send traffic to a website, such as the Google Reader, so just knowing traffic is from Google isn’t so informative.

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.

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Simon Says… or is it Google Says?

The rel=”canonical” link duplicate content panacea

As many readers probably know, Google and other search engines recently announced support for a rel=”canonical” link attribute value. The new attribute value canonical (not a tag mind you, link is the html tag) can be used by website developers to specify which of essentially similar web pages is the definitive version.

A SEO problem known as duplicate content arises when websites use different URLs, generally through parameters, to provide slightly different versions of a page, such as a printer friendly version, or to support web analytics campaign tracking. In order to give search users unique choices, search engines tend to choose the “best” URL for a page, filtering out similar versions.

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Just Behave, A Look At Searcher Behavior

This SMX West 2009 session looks at how internet users interact with search engines and how that might influence search engine interface design and our SEO efforts.

Moderator: Gordon Hotchkiss, President and CEO, Enquiro

Speakers:

Some statistics to consider

Jenni Tafoya introduces comScore; notes they have a world-wide panel of 2 million people (as far as I know, no third party audit of their claims or methodology is available – Sean).

Jenni says U.S. search activity on engines and sites is up 38% – people are doing more searches and more people are online.

Search engine growth is driven by organic (SEO) clicks.

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