Archive for Search Engine Optimisation

Calm down Google!

Google personalised search results

Ever since the announcement of Search Plus Your World I have been excited, it pulls in social data and gives the user the results that can suit what they are looking for on a deeper level than the simplistic keywords. But wait, that is what I would love to say, however after a few weeks of playing around with the personalised search, I have to admit, I hate it with a fiery passion.

I love social media; it’s no secret. I love the fast paced style that means when people I follow make terrible content posting decisions; I never have to see them again. Google has just taken that away from the average user completely; we now have to wade past the posts that we didn’t care about 4 months ago that are now top of our search results.

You may think it is as simple as removing these users from circles, but let’s be honest here, that is highly impractical and what’s more, why should we need to do that?

I do think what Google are trying to do is great, but they are not going about it in the right way. I used to be a big fan of the real-time twitter integration to results and was very disappointed when it was removed, one of the best things was that it had a its own segment in the search results but by no means took up the entire first page.

I think we can all agree personalisation is great, we all like a service that feels like it was designed for us and us alone, but is the motive far removed from great customer service and only designed to boost user numbers and to try and make themselves more relevant?

I think we are all beginning to lose trust in the overlords of the internet, for example, is there any need at all for them to leave out Twitter? If there is I would love to know what it is, yes I know that they have given the “reason” but does anybody buy it? Nope, I didn’t think so.

It has been shown by the introduction of the “don’t be evil” button released  that it is an unnecessary act, so why did they? I think we can put it down to simple self promotion. Google want their $500m to pay off and although there is a strong level of user adoption (apparently), I don’t think it has made the splash that they were expecting.

We have all seen the quote “there are lies, damned lies and statistics”. If you don’t look deeper than what you are told then you are never going to get the full picture and with that, you are never going to be able to make informed and sensible decisions as marketers but even as users.

Google claims to have over 90 million users. Well fantastic, that is a huge number to gain in such a short space of time. I am a cynic but 90 million seems so over inflated, yes, there may be 90 million user accounts but are we going to call an inactive user account a user? We are lacking the relevant figures like, how many people use the service daily.

We have seen in the past couple of weeks that Pinterest has just tipped the 10m users mark but for any of you on both platforms (and I am sure many of you are) there is just so much more quality interaction on Pinterest. How is that possible with such a small amount of users in comparison to Google+? Simple, people are coming to take a look and sticking around because they enjoy it! Where as I am assuming a lot of people take a look at Google+ and don’t see where it fits into their day-to-day internet routine.

OK so that may have looked like a tangent but I really think Google are panicking, they just don’t seem to have a grip on their own platform or any of their users and are simply shooting from the hip, guessing what their users want without any idea whatsoever.

Google are letting themselves and their users down, Google+ is currently at best mediocre, if they improve the platform and then focus on the complementary features, they will achieve so much more.

I understand that there has been a lot of pressure on them to have a fully functioning network that can rival Facebook. But how is that supposed to happen in 7 months? Forget what the sensationalists are saying, Google has the potential to get there.

If Google reduce the amount of social clutter and find a far better way to include social sharing into search then I’m all ears, but until that point, I am happy to steer very clear of Search Plus Your World.

I would love to know what you think about it all and what you would like to see in the future of direct social integration to search?

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UK Search Awards – We have been shortlisted!

Well today is a great day for us here at Upstream Connections. We have been shortlisted in the Best SEO Campaign category for the UK Search Awards. We are extremely proud of being shortlisted for “Recognition of a campaign that has achieved outstanding results in search engines in natural, free or organic listings”.

Some of the biggest names in search are on the judging panel which makes being shortlisted even more prestigious.

  • Bas van den Beld, Founder, State of Search
  • Dave Coplin, Director of Search, Consumer and Online UK, Microsoft
  • Nick Garner, Head of Search, Unibet
  • Richard Gregory, Chief Operations Officer, Latitude & UK Chair, SEMPO
  • Neil Hardy, Head of e-commerce, Midcounties Co-operative
  • Peter Jordan, Strategic Search Manager, government Digital Service
  • Judith Lewis, Head of Search, Beyond
  • Philip Miles, UK Director for Agencies, Google UK
  • James Murray, Marketing and Research Analyst, Hitwise UK
  • Jon Myers, Director, Account Management UK and Ireland, Yahoo!
  • Peter Young, Head of SEO, Brilliant Media

The awards will be presented at an awards dinner at the Emirate Stadium, on the evening of Thursday 3 November 2011, so fingers crossed until then!

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Google+ API launch

So yesterday Google began to open up the real potential of Google+ with a newly released API allowing third party development. This is Google stepping it up a gear and now the real development can begin!

For those of you who don’t know what an API is, it is short for Application Programming Interface. Basically it allows third parties to develop programmes that can interact with the host, in this case Google+. Some you may be familiar with are Klout for twitter and Farmville on Facebook, these are developed by separate companies but use the information from the host.

The Google+ API opens the door for initial development for companies such as Hootsuite and Sprout Social. They rely on the API for their product and it will become a race to see who can get the best Google+ integration.

This is great for anyone who uses any kind of social media engagement tool.

However it is not as great as it sounds. Yet. Currently the API is limited to basic user information and does not include circles. The other main drawback is that it is a read only API which means that it is not possible to post from any third party app yet. It has been announced by Google on their blog that there will be further developments and I would speculate that the inclusion of circles will come alongside the ability to post as it is the next logical step.

We are all familiar with third party applications whether you know it or not. The authorisation process is the same as on every other network that is out there. See below for an example of an authorisation notification:

googleplus-explorer

How does this affect you business?

Well currently it doesn’t really, but it is a great sign that after only 3 months of limited release there is an API out there. Google mean business this time and are doing everything they can to keep the buzz alive. That’s THE buzz not Buzz, because we all know how well that went. The developers are the best people to keep interested and an API is basically cat nip for them.

It will be great if there is a solid base of apps that can be used with Google+ when the business pages are finally released, it will make the platform far easier to capitalise on.

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