Google Instant Previews – Implications for SEO and Marketing

SEO Mastering Search Engine Optimisation

Google wasn’t satisfied with just having Instant Search, now it has introduced something called Instant Previews. Searchers and web users can now browse a large instant “preview” of a site’s content by placing the cursor over the small magnifying glass displayed beside each listing. These previews are large and Google sometimes highlights a major paragraph or quote from each displayed site.

Searchers can get a general look at the layout and design of a site, on page graphics and bold headlines can usually be seen from the preview. However, small print and the general content of the page can’t be read, so searchers will have to click through to your site if they want to read your information. Assuming of course, they don’t find what they’re looking for in the headlines or bold print.

Whether searchers will use this new feature remains to be seen, but these instant previews could have some ramifications on who gets the “click through” to their site. One would also reason that getting the top spot in the rankings have diminished somewhat, if searchers can quickly preview all of the top 10 listings and then make their decision. So they might not click the top listing, but decide one lower down is worth clicking. This could make any listing on the first page more worth having, not just the top one.

This doesn’t really affect any of your SEO strategies and you should be optimizing for the search engines as usual. After all, getting those top rankings for your targeted keywords in the major search engines is what brings in the quality traffic to your site. In this regard, it’s business as usual.

Google Mountain ViewHowever, Google’s Instant Previews does change the whole nature of SERPs or rather Google’s search results in that webmasters and marketers have another hurdle to get past before they get that final click. Searchers might click your top number one ranking preview and decide your page is not up to standard or it’s not what they’re looking for, and can quickly try out the other listings instead.

From Google’s perspective these previews could improve the “overall” quality of their results because searchers will come away happy, especially if they have not wasted their time clicking on a link, only to find it’s not what they’re looking for. Now they can easily find the right results more quickly and efficiently.

For the webmaster or online marketer, these new Instant Previews can be seen as another chance to get that all important click. They must make sure their page design is up to scratch and featuring a catchy headline which draws visitors to their page or site. Also, highlighting a well worded summary could help attract more of these visitors. So too, would placing your main keyword phrase in bold print so that it can be read from the preview.

Needless to say, webmasters/marketers must always keep their targeted keywords front and center. Highlighting them on your page in the main title is already a given, but now you should make sure they can be read from the preview. This could possibly give you an edge with it comes to getting that click from Google.

On a more general note, these previews also add to the time searchers will spend on Google’s results pages. Google has been steadily focusing on this factor in recent months. Why? One good reason – the longer a searcher stays on your page the more likely they are to click your paid ads. Stands to reason, if the searcher can’t find what they’re looking for in the so-called “free organic listings” (actually, truth be told, for very lucrative keyword phrases these are not free, nor organic) they will look to the paid AdWords listings.

Google Instant Previews and SEO

If you check out the average time spent on Google, according to Alexa, in 2009 it was around 7 minutes and now in 2010 that average has jumped to around 14 minutes. And that’s before both Google Instant Search and Google Instant Previews are fully rolled out and implemented. One would expect that number to go much higher. While this is nowhere near Facebook’s average time of 31 minutes, Google has still doubled the time it had only a year ago. No wonder, Google can afford to give their employees that 10% raise, they have probably earned it.

Nor should Google be criticized for doing all of this, they are a business and their goal is to bring in more revenue. Besides, these previews will no doubt improve the effectiveness of Google’s SERPs. Searchers can more quickly find what they’re searching for on Google and come away happy. A satisfied customer is the ultimate goal of any business, why should Google be judged any differently.

However, for the webmaster and online marketer, keeping Instant Previews in mind when creating web pages is a must. Here are some suggestions you can follow:

1. Improve Your Graphics

These can really grab the searcher’s attention in the preview so it’s vital to have eye-popping graphics right next to your important information.

2. Create Great Headlines

Good headlines quickly capture the searcher’s attention and draws him/her to your page; just make them bold enough to be seen in Google’s previews.

3. Write An Informative Summary

Place your important information in a short summary which also captures the viewer’s attention. Entice these viewers to visit your site or page.

4. Take A Multi-Layered Approach

Just don’t aim all your marketing towards free organic search, but try video listings, news listings, image listings… to get other ways onto Google’s first page.

5. Finally, PPC Advertising

This is probably not what you want to hear, but paid listings through Google Adwords is another option. Besides, for extremely lucrative keywords, as more and more major companies throw major funds into SEO and Keyword Link Buying, organic search is not really free or even available to everybody anymore. For the small-time webmaster or marketer, paid listings in Google may be your only option and that option is quickly becoming too costly for many.

Of course, how Instant Search and Instant Previews play out in the near future is still open to wide speculation. Will searchers even use those added features in their daily searches? Or will users opt–out and go back to a more gentle, less hurried Google? One thing that all of us can be sure of, Google will be constantly rolling out new features and innovations just to make all our lives a little more interesting.

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Google Place Search Changes How Local Searches are Displayed

Google Place

Today, November 8, 2010

Businesses will now have to have a visible and physical location if they want to be listed in a local search.

Google Local and Map have become a big influence on how people search and get results. We can demonstrate this by searching for ‘accountant’ and the search result returns a broad list of ‘accountants’, but perhaps too broad so we tend to search again by narrowing the result – adding a location to the search – ‘accountant in city’ and the results we see are now closer to home.

So it’s no surprise that Google should be taking a closer look at how we search and attempt to refine the process and provide a more meaningful search result by changing the Google Local search algorithm to make it easier for us to find what or who we are searching for locally.

Today, November 8, 2010 we see searches that reference local business and all the relevant places in that location in a new clustered visual display located in the upper right corner of a search result page. The now familiar map displays each business with red lettered pins, and links to each business. And as you scroll down the page the Google Places Map will scroll with the page so that it is always visible.

In addition to the way we see businesses displayed on Google Places, a new product is being launched – Google Boost.

Google Boost is a Google AdWords product that allows local businesses to feature more prominently in local searches. It allows small to medium size businesses the ability to feature more highly in searches, and concentrates much more on the relevance and location of that business than ever before. Now searchers will see sponsored location searches appear on the Google Places map as blue lettered pins and in search results with the blue marker pin next to the content description.

Search results for the ‘accountant in city’ will now appear first below sponsored listings and above organic listings. What this means is that results for a business in a location will now appear grouped with the other search results, making it much easier for searchers to find what they are looking for in a local area.

Google reports that Place Search results will begin appearing automatically when Google determines that you are looking for a ‘business in location’ search result.

Google-MapsGoogle also says “We’ve made results like this possible by developing technology to better understand places. With Google Place Search, we’re dynamically connecting hundreds of millions of websites with more than 50 million real-world locations. We automatically identify when sites are talking about physical places and cluster links even when they don’t provide addresses and use different names.”

Google Places is being rolled out across the world and will be available everywhere, in 40 languages once complete. Google is hoping to provide a better, local search to users, while exploiting a different revenue stream. It’s also competing with Facebook Places which was launched a while ago. Facebook was able to use very targeted advertising to provide a similar service to its users.

Google should have the advantage here though, as most Facebook advertising is passive, appearing alongside the primary content. Google’s Place Search is active and should have the advantage when it comes to conversion.

Location-based services are seen as a growing market, with Facebook Places and location aware services like Foursquare enjoying significant growth since their inception. Placing Google Place Search alongside search results, Google can hedge its bets while not detracting from its standard offering.

From an SEO perspective Peter Bowen at First One On says, “One of the downsides to this new display of results is how it will affect businesses that previously enjoyed number one placements for ‘business in location’ or featured well alongside the old Google Map.”

“Now with the introduction of Google Place Search in results it is quite possible that businesses that had worked hard to get top placements on page one now find themselves listed on page two! Other businesses that did not even have a listing on the old Google Map are now being brought to the top of the search results based on the location of their business and business listing in Google Places.”

What this means is that in the long run it will be more difficult for businesses to rank at the top of a local search unless they realize that they will have to spend much more time and effort on local search engine optimization. Businesses that had previously enjoyed a prominent position on the old Google Map without a website, which was possible before, will now find it almost impossible to maintain a listing without a well developed and locally optimized website.

Businesses will now have to have a visible and physical location if they want to be listed in a local search. In the past, businesses could hide their physical location and yet still be found locally through their websites, but now consumers searching for a business in a location will be able to determine if they contact that business or not based on their location. So as Google exposes competitors in searches, it is now revealing where those businesses are located – hopefully providing the consumer with more information before making a purchase decision.

Full Article: http://www.sitepronews.com/archives/2010/nov/10prt.html

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What is Google Chrome OS? Video :)

 

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The Google Story.

 

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How Many Links Does It Take to Get to the Middle of Google Page One?

inbound-links-googleEveryday it seems, people are asking me about the optimum number of inbound links they need to acquire for their website in order to rank well in Google.

My answer is going to seem a little flip, but it is the honest, best answer.
Answer: You need more inbound links – of equal or higher quality – than what your competitors have.

Albert Einstein argued that any mathematical formula that required pages of calculations did not contain within it “the mind of God“.

So when Albert Einstein developed E=mc2, then Einstein had fulfilled the promise of a simple formula that could encompass the brilliance of God.

When people wonder how many inbound links they need to acquire to rank in the Top 4 of Google’s search results or even the Top 10 of Google’s SERPs, they are generally hoping that someone will be able to give them a numeric answer, so that they know whether they can afford to undertake the process or not.

I understand the WHY of the question, but there is no canned answer that will work for everyone. Remember, your competitor may be asking the same question and undertaking the same processes as you are, trying to accomplish the same goal.

You can’t truly begin to understand the answer to this question, until you have taken the time to do an Inbound Link Comparison Analysis of all of your competitors in the Top 10 spots of Google’s SERPs.

• You need to look at the Top 10 listings in Google for a particular keyword.

• You need to do backlink checks for all ten URLs in Google’s search listings, and you need to check those numbers across a variety of sources, including Google, Yahoo and any other tool you can find to do a check. (Google and Yahoo both tend to understate the actual link counts. While Yahoo will show you more than what Google does, they also show a number of “no consequence” links in their results.)

• You need to look at the quality of a few of the pages that provide links to the URLs in the search results.

site-back-linksThis is not an easy process to undertake. I have done it before, but the best you can hope for is a “snapshot” of what is out there, and therefore, what you need to accomplish.

Note: If Wikipedia turns up in your search query, few people with small budgets will ever be able to dislodge Wikipedia in the search results. What they make up for in a small number of inbound links, they more than make up for with links from dozens or hundreds of PR4, PR5 and PR6 pages. Wikipedia is the king of Internal Linking, and they use that to a great degree to rank extraordinarily high in Google’s search listings.

Your analysis should seek to uncover how many links a page has to it.

As a general rule of thumb, Google will show you less than 1% of the existing number of links for a web page. Yahoo will sometimes show closer to 5% of the existing number of links for a web page, but they will not show you the highest quality of those links.

So, as you strive to gain a “snapshot” picture of the playing field, you want to take Google’s Inbound Links number and multiply that by at least 100. Then you want to take Yahoo’s Inbound Links number and multiply that by at least 20, then cut the number in half to acknowledge the number of worthless crap links they have in their database. Once you have achieved these two numbers, then I tend to call the truth “somewhere in the middle”.

With your “somewhere in the middle” number in hand, you then need to look at the quality of links to a few of those search listings, to get an idea of whether those links exist on higher quality pages or simply junk pages.

google-rankings-linksIf those links are on junk pages, then the goal could be achieved by just working the numbers. But if there are a lot of high PageRank pages in the mix, then whatever number is in your hand, should be multiplied, perhaps 100-fold, to overcome the quality of pages that link to your competitors.

If you get the idea that my simple formula leads to a complicated answer, then you are right.

All of the numbers that I have included in my sample formula are based on rough speculation, as the “snapshot” offers you your best hope of understanding the challenge in front of you.

While the number of inbound links may be relatively easy to determine, the link quality is a factor that is really hard to pin down.

• If you determine that you only need 300 inbound links to rank with the big boys, you may be right.

• Your 300 inbound links number should also be quantified against the number of links that Google will count worthy, so you may need 1200 links to get 300 links that Google will deem worthy. This calculation depends more on the “quality of your content”, rather than the “quantity of your content”.

• When all is said and done and your 300 Google-worthy links have not yet put you on page one, then you know that the quality of the links pointing at your competitors is greater than the quality of the links pointing to you.

link-rankingIf you were hoping for an easy answer, I am sorry that I could not help you with that.

But with this explanation of the challenge, you may be better prepared to answer the big question, the question that is really on your mind:

Are my hopes of achieving good rankings in Google within my reach?

I tend to throw “worry” to the wind and just start working. I don’t worry if I can afford to do it or not. I simply start doing, and I know that in one month, one year or five, I will have built enough value in my website that my competitors are going to be the ones who are trying to figure out if they can unseat me!

By Anitha

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How Google Analytics just got a lot more powerful

Google Analytics got a lot more powerful. Its new features are explained here. Who cares about Google Wave—give me more GA! Here’s one video. Click through to see more.

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