Google announced the launch of Google Shopping in four new countries this week: Australia, Italy, Spain, and the Netherlands. Google Shopping is a comparison shopping engine delivering product results already in US and many other countries. Google includes products delivered to them via data feed.
Product results in US are shown directly on page one of standard search, with images, pricing, and customer ratings. This high visibility can be a large traffic force for any ecommerce business. But thus far the shopping results in the new countries are not displaying in the main results. The user must click the Shopping tab on the left to use the retail search engine, but we expect in due time Google will integrate products into page one as they have elsewhere.
This is basically free traffic and advertising, so any business shipping to these countries needs to take some action. If you already provide your data feed to Google, you just need to create a new feed and choose that country from the drop down. If you are not set up with Google Shopping yet in any country, visit the Merchant Center to open an account and set up your product feed.
With our strong presence in the Australian market, we are most excited to see this launch! We have been prepping our clients for this and ready to get them included immediately.
Also note that this makes it more important to use the hreview microformat for your customer reviews as we discussed last week.
Interesting discovery today, a search on www.google.com.au showed some different looking serps. I noticed Google has moved the location of the URL to the upper left hand side just below the title tag of the website before the description tag.
It used to be below the description tag on the lower left hand side.
It is quite interesting how different the SERP look by simply moving the placement of the URL. Not exactly sure why they would be making this move, but it is clear that having sitelinks, becomes more important that ever.
It appears about a year ago people at Webmasterworld had seen this within adwords. http://www.webmasterworld.com/google_adwords/4142468.htm
Baidu, a “local Chinese Google”, who leads the search engine market with over 75% share (Google only has 19 percent), is also one of the biggest and popular websites in the world. Alexa currently ranks it as the 6th popular in the world, just above Wikipedia and below Live. As do most big players in the SE industry, Baidu offers various services – such as video and image storage, website building platform, online encyclopedia, discussion forums, and more.
However, in today’s dynamic world, standing still and cherishing your achievements will very quickly lead to dethronement, at the very least. That’s why Baidu is looking to expand even further, especially when the number two Chinese website, Tencent, is also gaining ground, entering Alexa’s “world’s top 10” this month, after surpassing Twitter.
Tencent is largest internet company in China, and, with Facebook being unavailable to users, it is trying to utilize the social networking niche to compete with Baidu. The “satellite” services that are being offered by Tencent are very similar to the stated above Baidu products, making the clash between the two a “hot” battle for dominance. Baidu’s response, according to Robin Li, the CEO of the company, lies within expanding its own network of users and making it more “social”. In addition of fighting Tencent, this should also serve as additional income channel for the Chinese market leader.
In addition to bringing you the most relevant results, search engines are many times fighting over presenting the most up-to-date pages to the searcher. That’s why Google has those time-related filters in the left, just below the “type” filters. Although recent content might be well of importance only to news-seekers, Google thinks otherwise. Long before the recent “Panda” update to its indexing algorithm that is being talked about all over the world in during last week, Google has made numerous adjustments to its ranking rationale, with frequently updated websites getting “bonuses” in SE placements.
Yet another step in the same direction was done several days ago, although no official announcement has been made. It seems, Twitter is getting more credit within Google, which has decided to present recent tweets in the search results. In addition, the results also show user’s picture. But more important is the fact that the link is the tweet is included in the SERP’s, making it a valuable inbound link for the featured website.
It has to be noted, that the above only applies to recently posted tweets (the exact amount of time could not be determined, but from my testing it is probably several hours, and after that the results return to the usual “join twitter to follow”. If you want to see those results, by the way, it is very advisable to include the word “Twitter” in your search query.
One of the challenges in the recent Man vs Machine Jeopardy game, which was easily won by the computer, Watson, was coping with contextual questions. I was not only about facts, but understanding what the question is about.
Another fact is that people searches become more and more specific. Once, people would just type “cheese”. Today, as the number of webpages is immense, the search has to be more specific, stating what exactly you would like to know: “cheese vs cholesterol”, “where to buy cheese”, “how was the cheese invented” etc.
William Tunstall-Pedoe, co-founder of Trueknowledge.com, claims that his website is the future of search – at least for those who want to get answers to specific questions. Instead of typing search terms, you may just enter a question (“what is cheese”) and get a brief paragraph with an answer. Additionally, you will have some useful facts about the product and further at the page you could see related links (“external answers”) . There is also a possibility to add you answer, if you think you know better and want to contribute. To the right, you will see other sections, such as “other ways this question is asked” and related questions that are waiting to be answered (“Can you answer these questions?”).
My personal hope is that since Trueknowledge.com has been founded by scientists, it should present a viable alternative to the popular Wikipedia, which, unfortunately, has numerous incorrect facts in its articles…
While several companies established a Fairsearch.org group in order to try and prevent the Google-ITA deal, claiming that it is a yet another step of monopoly (by Google that is) of the airline ticket market, Bing has decided not to complain, but to fight. In addition to purchasing a predictive engine for flight costs, the Farecast, about a year ago, they now team up with one of the popular travel search engines, the KAYAK. It seems that the deal is beneficial for both sides – after all, KAYAK is probably also worried about Google acquiring ITA, despite their talks about “welcoming Google as a competitor”.
It their announcement, Bing flatters KAYAK, calling its new partner “a leading innovator in travel search”, and talks about “more comprehensive travel search experience”. The deal should benefit those people who want to plan and book via Bing. Although this looks like trying to stop people from leaving Bing, the move is actually a counter-step to Google entering the travel search. Of course, although “Google is not wining every niche it enters” as said KAYAK CTO and co-founder Paul English, it can affect the market heavily.
So, there is nothing left but to wish good luck to both Bing and KAYAK in their struggle.
With the recent Goolge’s algorithm update (which was quickly called “Farmer’s Update”, as it seriously affects the so-called “content farms”) and Blekko’s removal of twenty famous websites from its results, it seems that fighting spam is the hottest issue in the search engine market.
Indeed, when we face certain enemy, it is very advisable to know about him as much as you can. So, what is this “spam”? The answer is clear – something annoying and useless. The first occurrence of spam is said to happen in the 19th century, when many honorable English gentlemen received an urgent telegram with an advertising content.
When we are talking about search results, however, spam is not easily defined. Usually, it means irrelevant pages that happen to have a keyword in them. But this has been handled a while ago. The search algorithms are far more advanced than 10 years ago, when one could fill the page with meaningless phrases and get a high SE ranking.
The problem has switched to using a good-written content (grammatically that is), which provides little useful information. It keeps repeating the same things again and again, so while looking “normal article” for the bot/spider, for the human being it is simply a waste of time. That’s what “content farm” means – a website that has constantly generated and frequently updated content, which has little value in it. That’s what Blekko and Google are fighting. The problem is that technically it is very hard to distinguish between “useful” and “useless” content – even for a human, let alone an indexing bot…
According to latest StatCounter data, Goolge has dropped below 90% of search engine market share – for the first time since July 2009. The presented figure of 89.94%, though is still a major headache for its competitors, Yahoo and Bing that combine to just over 8% of global search… In the European market the domination is even greater – Google has about 94% of market share.
Although Bing has surpassed Yahoo globally in January, in the US market Yahoo! is still a number two search engine, with 9.74% share compared to Bing’s 9.03%. Google has dropped below 80% once again, with 79.63%.
In Asia, Baidu has once again beaten Bing for the number three spot (Yahoo! is second). It must be noted however, that StatCounter only considers English searches so the results have to be viewed with care. For example, in Russia Google is reported as the market leader with 52% with Yandex having a figure of 46%, and in Czech Republic the picture looks even brighter for Google, which beats local Seznam 79% to 19%. Of course, when native language searches are considered, both Yandex and Seznam are more popular than Google in their local market.
But even so, in China, Baidu is a clear number one, with almost 70% of the market (compared to Google’s 29%) and in South Korea Naver is back to absolute majority (55.15%), with both Google and recently launched Daum both loosing ground (31.7% and 7.85% respectively).
It was always believed that “word-to-mouth” is the best form of advertising. Before buying certain product, one would generally consult with those who already bought it, asking their opinion as well as the observed pros and cons. Advertising could make the product recognizable, but it were always the reviews that could make it a really popular hit.
With the introduction and development of the internet and the so-called “global village”, the importance of the reviews has escalated even further. When considering certain product, most of us would check what the others said about it, reasonably assuming that an unbiased opinion of the real user is more valuable than the presented specs and even professional opinions. Reading reviews before buying a product has become a mandatory (and quite easy) stage of the research.
Recently, another step in promoting this “what-do-the-users-say-about-it” way of buying has been made. A new site has been launched, called “SearchReviews”. The idea is simple – it is an Search Index (or as we call it “search engine”) that gathers reviews of various products form different online retailers (amazon, ebay etc.) and presents them as the answer to user query. The search can be a very specific (such as Nokia N95 8g) as well as fairy general (apple iPad). Currently, reviews only exist for products, but in the future SearchReviews.com owners plan to include services as well, integrating local reviews into the index.
Russian top search engine, Yandex, which was founded in 1997, has made an outstanding progress in recent years. Despite constantly growing competition from both the local Rambler and the “global” Google, it has succeeded to increase its market share in 2010. According to Yandex report, for the first time in four years the engine’s share of the Russian search market exceeded 60 percent, reaching the 64% mark. Yandex has also launched its English version, officially “going global”, possibly intending to fight Google at its own ground.
Despite speculations about going public in 2008, Yandex cancelled the move at the last minute – possibly due to fluctuating economic conditions in both Russia, the US and Europe. Thus, the company is still privately owned, with about 24% being owned by the founders and workers (another 10% held by former employees) and over 60% owned by various funds (including the initial major investor, ruNet Holdings).
After reporting a year-to-year increase of 43% in revenue, which was over 400 million dollars, the company now plans to attract more investors. The IPO (initial public offering) is expected to take place in the early summer and will be managed by Morgan Stanley and the Deutsche Bank. According to various reports, Yandex’s target is raising 1 billion dollars with this move.