An often-overlooked metric is the time taken from the first click on an ad to the final conversion of the keyword. That is, the total conversion time for a keyword in a given campaign. While this metric may seem relatively unimportant to ROI (for instance), it can help you understand your clients and also help you better manage your campaigns. In this article, I’ll demonstrate a few ways in which conversion time can be very useful.
In the past few months, I’ve been the technical SEO consultant to 6 companies who have been in the process of redesigning their websites. The companies range in size from a one-person show to a world-reknowned Boston hospital, and everything in between. All of the companies were smart enough to know they needed expert SEO eyes as they developed their new websites—which is more than I can say for most companies who embark on a website redesign. Typically, we get the dreaded “my search engine traffic has tanked since our new site went live” call.
Not to beat a dead horse, but as I said in my last column, I think 2009 was truly a watershed year for local search. Between Google’s introduction of the generic 10-pack, its beta test of local listing ads, dramatic improvements to Bing’s Local Listing Center, and numerous partnerships throughout the industry— all of these developments and more have placed increased focus on local search and its integration into organic search results.
When the Fort Worth, Texas shooting rampage hit the news, a small staff of news folks were trying to determine which words to use for their online news stories on the topic. The goal was to get Google News to find and rank their article higher than their competition.
They struggled with the difference of the impact on web site readers for words like “hurt” vs. “injured,” “shot” vs. “shooting,” “deaths vs. “fatalities,” “Fort Worth” vs. “Ft. Worth” and “Texas” vs. “TX”. Would the Google News search engine agree with their choices? What might the reader response be to the words they used to describe the event?
The Google Mobile Blog announced that Google has added to their images home page on Android, iPhone, Palm and other smart phone devices a new user interface. When you visit Google Images on those devices, you now see “popular images” and a link to browse more popular images.
Here is the home page:
After clicking on the link, you get popular images broken down by category. The categories include trends, movies, sports, cars & bikes, television, cartoons and music.
Here is a picture of the images currently in the popular trends category:
I received a screenshot in email of an AdWords ad for a San Diego auto repair shop that featured Yelp ratings in the AdWords copy. Here’s a screen of the ad:
Google has been making AdWords richer, with product images and maps (and so on) in the ad copy:
However the star ratings in the ad above is something new. When I sought to reproduce the search result yesterday I could not.
Today Google is formally launching functionality that enables a “clickable local phone number” to appear in mobile ads. In other words a phone number appears as part of the ad copy and consumer-users can simply tap the number to initiate a call (see image below). It’s a call for the price of a click on mobile handsets.
Not available on PC AdWords campaigns, it’s only available on “high-end” mobile handsets with full HTML browsers. We wrote about this initially when an email went out to AdWords advertisers notifying them that Google was introducing click to call in mobile ads.
In October 2009, Google proposed a new standard for implementing AJAX on web sites that would help search engines extract the content. Now, there’s evidence this proposal is either live or is about to be. Read on for more details on the proposal, how it works, and why it might be past the proposal stage.
The Trouble With AJAX
VANCOUVER — Apple’s new iPad is a game changer for publishing, education and other sectors, including Canada’s wireless carriers that could find consumers snapping up the device that Apple is selling without having it locked into any network service.
The improvements include:
- You can now scroll through categories of books and magazines
- The My Library feature is now on the home page
- My Library selections can be kept private now
- You can now add one or more books to more bookshelves.
Credits to: Barry Schwartz
Google has announced that it’s now personalizing search suggestions that appear on Google Maps. It’s an odd announcement to me, because I’m almost sure my maps search suggestions have been personalized for some time now. One thing that I haven’t seen before, though, is the explicit notice beneath the suggestions that things have been personalized.
You have to be signed in to your Google account and have Web History enabled for this to work.
Mike Blumenthal raises the good point that having actual personalization in Google Maps would be a bigger improvement.
Credits to: Matt McGee
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Google has begun the rollout of its Social Search product, a way of seeing customized search results based upon the people in your social network. Social Search has been an opt-in Google Labs experiment since its debut in October, but will be available as a beta product in the “next few days” to all users on Google.com.
Our article on the initial debut, Google Social Search Launches, Gives Results From Your Trusted “Social Circle,” provides an in-depth guide to how Google Social Search, including:
- how to access Social Search (reminder: it’s under the “Show Options” link on the search results page)
Although the phrase “Google yourself” has become part of our culture, a new survey suggests that less than half of Americans have actually done it.
The numbers come from a December survey commissioned by Microsoft on the subject of online reputations. The survey polled about 2,500 consumers and recruiting personnel in the US, UK, Germany and France, and was just released to coincide with today’s International Data Privacy Day.
According to the survey, only 42% of US consumers have used a search engine to find information posted about them. That’s slightly higher than the 36% of UK consumers who’ve done so, but far less than in Germany (59%) and France (56%).
Forbes covers AT&T’s forthcoming local recommendations site Buzz.com. It aims to be a place where people can get and share recommendations about local businesses. Despite my headline and that of the Forbes article it’s not going to be a reviews and social networking site like Yelp. Rather it may be more analogous to AlikeList or Q&A efforts such as Aardvark (or Yahoo Answers, in some ways).
Here’s how the Forbes article says it would work potentially:
Canonical, the company behind the popular Ubuntu Linux distribution, revealed today that it has established a revenue sharing agreement with Yahoo. As part of the deal, the Firefox Web browser that is shipped in Ubuntu will be configured to use Yahoo as the default search engine . . .
Yahoo announced their fourth quarter 2009 earnings just minutes ago. They reported better than expected earnings, with a decline in revenue of only 4%, year over year. Most of that decline came from a 15% drop in search ad revenue from Q4 2008 compared to Q4 2009. But Yahoo’s search ad dollars increased from Q3 2009 to Q4 2009 by 4%.
“The fourth quarter marked a strong finish to 2009, which was a transformative year for Yahoo!,” said Yahoo! Chief Executive Officer Carol Bartz. “We beat the high end of our revenue guidance, saw demand for premium display advertising improve significantly, and grew Owned & Operated search advertising revenue sequentially for the first time since the third quarter of 2008.
Bill Gates doesn’t get the fuss everyone’s making over Google’s recent threat to stop censoring search results in China.
“They’ve done nothing and gotten a lot of credit for it,” Gates said Monday during a visit at The New York Times.
“What point are they making?” Mr. Gates asked. “Now, if Google ever chooses to pull out of the United States, then I’d give them credit.”
Gates’ comments come just days after current Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer was also critical of Google’s stance. Both Gates and Ballmer pointed out that many countries have questionable laws and policies.
Last week on Google’s Q4 earnings call Google CEO Eric Schmidt seemed to “walk back” some of Google’s prior strong statements about leaving China if it cannot operate in an unfiltered way there. In response to a financial analyst question he said the following:
We have made a strong statement we wish to remain in China. We like the Chinese people. We like our Chinese employees. We like the business opportunities there and we would like to do that on somewhat different terms than we have. But we remain quite committed to being there.
Ben Edelman uncovered evidence that even if you disable the Google Toolbar, Google may still be tracking your web browsing behavior.
Edelman documents how he disabled the Google Toolbar within the preference, then visited a web page and captured how Google was sending browsing data from the toolbar to Google’s servers. Edelman first clicked the “X” icon at the top left of the Google Toolbar. Then he selected “Disable Google Toolbar only for this window,” and clicked “okay.” While in the same window, requested the Whitehouse.gov site. He noticed that his network monitor showing that the Google Toolbar continued to transmit his browsing to its toolbarqueries.google.com server.