Archive for the ‘Search’ Category

What does Google’s +1 button mean for brands?

Friday, June 3rd, 2011 by Jenny Mason

 

Google has got social, with the release of a button to allow its new +1 function to be added to websites.

Since its launch in March, +1 has let those signed into their Google profile endorse search results and share their recommendations with their social networks. Now, users will be able to recommend content directly from websites with the +1 button.

Google is billing +1 as a tool to help it provide more relevant results to its users. From a consumer viewpoint, its benefits are clear – but what does its launch mean for brands?

With +1 playing a role in determining organic rankings and users only likely to +1 something they feel is worth recommending, its launch will serve as a reminder to companies of the importance of maintaining a regular stream of engaging and relevant content on their websites.

The +1 button will also be a welcome addition to the measurement toolbox, serving as an up-to-the-minute barometer of a brand’s online reputation.

The function is, of course, not without its limitations. A user’s public Google profile is not always synonymous with its true social network and, as stressed on Social Media B2B, this is particularly the case for companies trying to communicate with a B2B audience. For these brands, the launch of other sharing buttons – such as LinkedIn’s last November – may have been a more significant development.

With +1 seen as a direct competitor to Facebook’s ‘Like’ button, it will be interesting to see which social networks users begin to favour when sharing content. +1 may offer a similar functionality to that of its rivals but, with its impact on search, it has the potential to be even more powerful.

About Jenny Mason

Jenny joined Staniforth in August 2007 and is now an Account Manager in the B2B team.

Google Analytics Data Goes Missing

Wednesday, November 3rd, 2010 by Rob Brown

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Web analysts pouring over on-line data from the US mid-term elections will be amongst the many people across the globe scratching their heads when they open their Google Analytics accounts.  Sites have been registering no visits at all for November 2nd.   A quick look at the hits for this site yesterday evening showed over 200 unique visitors but this morning Google Analytics, which tracks and reports on website visitor numbers for hundreds of thousands of organisations, showed zero.  Not even the people posting comments had visited the site according to the data.

Whilst this will be a major headache it looks likely that the issue lies with the web reporting rather than the data collection.  The fact that data was appearing yesterday and is now missing supports that theory and a look at the Google Analytics status dashboard shows that there have been already been two issues this week with web reporting.  The report on Monday’s bug says “Starting Oct 25th, a 24hr delay with processing in sampled reports was identified in some accounts. No data has been lost and a fix is in progress.”  It therefore looks likely that the data will be restored.  Today’s information appears to be displaying normally.

So far however there has been no word from Google on the latest issue and political analysts and businesses around the world will be in a state of some turmoil until Google’s Web Analytics software restores the data.

Update 12.15pm UTC

Google Analytics has resolved the issue.  The status dashboard now says “The problem with Web Report should be resolved. We apologize for the inconvenience and thank you for your patience and continued support.

About Rob Brown

Rob Brown has worked in PR for over 20 years and for over fifteen years held senior PR positions within three major global advertising networks; Euro RSCG, McCann and TBWA. He launched his own business ‘Rule 5’ in MediaCityUK, Manchester in November 2012. Rob is the author of ‘Public Relations and the Social Web’ (2009), blogs for The Huffington Post and is joint editor of ‘Share This Too’ (2013).

Google Instant, YouTube Instant and now Twitter Instant

Tuesday, September 14th, 2010 by Patrick Chester

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Following the launch of Google Instant, programmers are having a great time creating ‘Instant Search’ functions on their favourite social media. It can’t be long before someone creates a Facebook Instant to rival Kurrently.com.

For everyone tracking the Google Instant craze, you can check out YouTube Instant here, and now Twitter Instant (which the company may be officially launching later today).

About Patrick Chester

Patrick is an account executive at Staniforth. He also runs a book review site at www.Jungla.co.uk.

Google Buzz on Social Networking

Tuesday, February 9th, 2010 by Rob Brown

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In a live press conference broadcast through YouTube, Google today announced the launch of Google Buzz a social networking application built onto Google Mail.   Todd Jackson, Gmail Project Manager explained how it uses Gmail contacts to create a ready made friend list but then allows users to pull in contacts from other social networks.    

It borrows a lot of the ideas born out of twitter but adds a new level of sophistication.  For example the recommendation engine will over time filter ‘good buzz’ from ‘bad buzz’ – if you like an intelligent retweet system.

Google Buzz has some stunning features that set it apart from other social platforms, particular when it comes to smartphones.  It uses GPS to locate where you are and integrates with a new version of Google mobile maps.  Posts from mobiles including pictures will be automatically geo-tagged (or located to place) which will allow you to broadcast and recieve the buzz around shops, restaurants or visitor attractions, nearby.

Perhaps the biggest new feature is the inclusion of voice to text.  This means that you can speak directly into your mobile phone and it will appear automatically as a text in your Buzz profile.   In one fell swoop Google is taking on Friendfeed, Twitter, Foursquare, Gowalla, Facebook and, oh yes, the iPhone.  The mobile features of Buzz will be available on the Google Nexus One and other Android handsets but not (at least for now) on Apple’s market leading smartphone.  When will Buzz be available?  It launches now.

About Rob Brown

Rob Brown has worked in PR for over 20 years and for over fifteen years held senior PR positions within three major global advertising networks; Euro RSCG, McCann and TBWA. He launched his own business ‘Rule 5’ in MediaCityUK, Manchester in November 2012. Rob is the author of ‘Public Relations and the Social Web’ (2009), blogs for The Huffington Post and is joint editor of ‘Share This Too’ (2013).

SERM: removing negative listings from Google

Thursday, October 8th, 2009 by Louis Venter

Louis Venter, CEO at Media Vision, a London/Cape Town based search marketing company, shares his thoughts about search engine reputation management in our latest guest blog post.

With branded search increasing, search engine reputation management (SERM) is getting more and more important. There have been several recent crises that have affected some big brands but I’m going to focus on the current PC World crisis and illustrate what could be done to counter their current SERM crisis. 

It’s important to realise that Google isn’t going to remove negative press from its listings. Your only option for removal would be to legally instruct the offending website to remove it and then to submit a Google manual removal once they have complied. This is clearly only for serious cases where you have that legal option. For the most part, this option is not open to you so you will need to be content with promoting positive content above the negative, thereby displacing it. This is in essence what Search Engine Reputation Management is all about, controlling the entire front page for a brand’s search results.

If you Google “PC World” you’ll quickly see the offending item, a piece in the Guardian covering a PC World employee’s Facebook group that mocked customer’s stupidity. The piece clearly impacted them in the mainstream press for that week and must have had an effect on their reputation and sales. The crucial bit, however, is it continues to affect them online and with a poor SERM strategy in place it is not likely to go away any time soon.

The potential cost of this crisis is not insignificant. With close on 3 million people Googling “PC world” a month to purchase their products, it will have a serious effect on click through and conversion rate. A conservative estimate would result in a loss of around £1.5 million a month. This doesn’t take into account the valued customers that were previously loyal to the brand.

They have several web assets that aren’t optimised that well. The first step would be to optimise these better to create a hedge that would be difficult for these news articles to penetrate. They also do not have a separate press centre or recruitment website that is optimised for the brand. They are currently under the DSGi banner but could be optimised to appear for the “PC World” search.

Their online PR strategy could also do with some more attention as there are legacy stories sitting on page 2 which would indicate very little is being done to promote the positive pieces online.

An example of a “best practice” strategy would be Apple. The controlled hedge dominates most of the front page for their branded search. ASDA also does well and wasn’t affected by the “employee licking chicken” crisis on the search engines. This is also owing to the correct optimisation of all web assets.

Search engine reputation management is becoming a key part of online reputation management and a few simple techniques will go a long way in preventing crises affecting your branded search results for months to come.

Google gets the vote in Indian elections

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009 by Jon Clements

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Google may be wondering what it did to upset the digital apple cart.

Since last week’s stand-off between the residents of leafy Broughton and the Google Street View van made national news, esteemed commentators have weighed in to the debate over Google’s hegemony.

The Observer’s Henry Porter – very much an enemy of the all-powerful and all-seeing State – is equally no great fan of Google, describing the company as a World Wide Monopoly (WWM for short and not unreminiscent of WMDs) and an “amoral brat” which demands compliance with its terms or else feeling “the weight of its boot on your windpipe”.

Rod Liddle over at The Times has less visceral feelings towards Google, but still manages to characterise it as having the “suspiciously smiling facade” of a place that probably has “a Red Nose Day every afternoon”.

So how would they view Google’s part in the upcoming Indian elections? Hat tips to WATblog.com and Palin Ningthoujam for bringing PR Media Blog’s attention to the Google Election Centre, which aims to provide Indian voters with various services including the ability to:

  • Confirm their voter registration status
  • Discover their polling location
  • View their constituency on a map
  • Consume relevant election-related news, blogs, videos, and quotations
  • Evaluate the status of development in their constituency across a range of indicators
  • Learn about the background of their Member of Parliament and this year’s candidates
  • Comments alongside TechCrunch’s report of the move appear broadly supportive of Google. So, if the company is helping to facilitate the smooth running of a democratic process, could it really be so bad?

    About Jon Clements

    Jon Clements is a Chartered PR consultant specialising in B2B PR, corporate and marketing communications and is the founder of Metamorphic PR.

    Connect at:
    JonClements

    Google meets the mob

    Friday, April 3rd, 2009 by Jon Clements

    UPDATE #2: This is what Rory Cellan-Jones found in belligerent Buckinghamshire and this is what he says.

    UPDATE: Hear what Google has to say about it.

     As I write, BBC technology correspondent, Rory Cellan-Jones is on his way to the Buckinghamshire village of Broughton, where the locals are revolting.

    Is this a copy-cat outbreak of #G20 summit protests? Actually, no; it’s all about the Web’s favourite search engine Google.  

    According to news sources, local residents have sent the Google Street View vehicle packing by forming a human barricade. Thames Valley Police, in customary non-judgemental police speak, report a “dispute between a crowd of people and a Google Street View contractor”. It’s about privacy, say Broughton’s inhabitants; Google says it’s working within the law and that there’s “an easy way to request removal of imagery”.

    What’s got Broughton so hot under the collar? According to UpMyStreet the inhabitants have a bigger predilection for “golf, gardening and visiting National Trust properties” – hardly the stuff of anarchic, direct action.

    But while Google sees Street View as a “rich, immersive browsing experience”, some Broughton people see it as a burglars’ charter.

    Just this week, while talking with a client about the impact of social media, the question was mooted: “Has Google gone too far with Street View?” But despite the privacy backlash on its launch, there was no suggestion it would result in Home Counties’ insurrection.

    Twittering lawyer, John Halton, pictures a baying medieval mob, though is careful to disclaim this view:

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    Others in the Twitterverse are divided on the topic, but have the “good people of Broughton” touched a nerve within the populace that Google – maybe over-estimating the benign acceptance it enjoys around the world – never anticipated?  

    Broughton seems to be saying: “Listen Google, I’m happy for you to track down the cheapest car insurance and my secondary school sweetheart, but keep your 360 degree cyber nose out of my property.” An Englishman’s home remains his castle, it seems. You don’t get much more medieval than that.

    About Jon Clements

    Jon Clements is a Chartered PR consultant specialising in B2B PR, corporate and marketing communications and is the founder of Metamorphic PR.

    Connect at:
    JonClements

    Buckley’s our Christmas No.1

    Monday, December 22nd, 2008 by Rob Brown

    Two weeks ago, I wrote about search engine optimisation (SEO) in editorial, in a blog post entitled ‘White Christmas Should do it’. In short the argument I made was that if you used terms in editorial that people were actively searching for then it would increase traffic to your site.  Well was I right?  The proof of the Christmas pudding of course should be in the eating.

    The answer is seldom black and white.   The article was built around the idea that at this time of year a lot of people would search the web for indications of a white Christmas and stumble across this blog…and they did.   Of the twenty articles on PR Media Blog in December it was the third most popular.  It also had a ‘long tail’ of views driven by search. 

    However the runaway hit on PR Media Blog this month was a post about the social media driven assault on the Christmas pop chart and the attempt to get Jeff Buckley’s version of Hallelujah to the number one spot.  So far this post has attracted over three times the number of visits drawn by the ‘White Christmas’ story.  It was also something that the public was genuinely interested in and wider media was across. 

    So what conclusions can we draw?  There are SEO techniques that work for editorial on the web but they are really not the whole story.  Nor are they a substitute for the traditional mainstays of journalism and PR; a real news angle and a good bit of narrative.  The arrival of the social web hasn’t changed the central fact that if we want to attract attention it has to be news worthy. 

    About Rob Brown

    Rob Brown has worked in PR for over 20 years and for over fifteen years held senior PR positions within three major global advertising networks; Euro RSCG, McCann and TBWA. He launched his own business ‘Rule 5’ in MediaCityUK, Manchester in November 2012. Rob is the author of ‘Public Relations and the Social Web’ (2009), blogs for The Huffington Post and is joint editor of ‘Share This Too’ (2013).

    White Christmas should do it

    Monday, December 8th, 2008 by Rob Brown

    Before I go any further fairness dictates that if you really want to know whether it will be a white Christmas this year you might want to go to Metcheck, the Weather Channel or BBC Weather.

    This weekend The Guardian ran a fascinating spread.  ‘The Most Popular Story in the World’ tackled the subject of search engines and editorial.  Not long ago Charlie Brooker wrote a piece debunking the various 9/11 conspiracy theories.  The Guardian web-site was overun by the masses.  The following week Brooker decided to open his column with the line…Miley Cyrus, Angelina, Israel vs Palestine, iPhone, 9/11 conspiracy, Facebook, MySpace and Britney Spears nude.  The effect on traffic was unspectacular.

    Search engine optimization (SEO) and that is essentially what all this is about, depends on using more than just lots of popular keywords.  They might have some impact on hits but visitors will ‘bounce’ (leave the site) as quickly as they entered.  Here at PRMediaBlog towers we’ve had several articles that have resulted in spikes in visitor numbers so we know at first hand what many of the drivers are.  You don’t just need keywords, you need inbound links too – if you have a blog by the way and you are interested in SEO feel free to link to this article!

    The content shouldn’t just be link-bait either.  It needs to be engaging in its own right, plus Google and other search engines rank sites so track record is very important too.

    So why is White Christmas in the headline?  Well headlines are important and it is just over two weeks to Christmas.  That’s about when long range weather forecasts start to get accurate so that’s when the searches should gather pace. PR has always used the calendar to provide hooks for stories so why should digital PR be any different?  I’ll keep you posted in the comment section on how this blog post does for visits.  I might even let you know if they all bugger off to the weather sites.

    About Rob Brown

    Rob Brown has worked in PR for over 20 years and for over fifteen years held senior PR positions within three major global advertising networks; Euro RSCG, McCann and TBWA. He launched his own business ‘Rule 5’ in MediaCityUK, Manchester in November 2012. Rob is the author of ‘Public Relations and the Social Web’ (2009), blogs for The Huffington Post and is joint editor of ‘Share This Too’ (2013).

    Google Health Service

    Wednesday, November 12th, 2008 by Rob Brown

    Google’s relentless march to world domination has taken another step with the realisation that the Google Trends search may play a powerful role in the prevention of the spread of viruses and infectious disease.

    ‘Google Flu trends’ uses a selection of search terms to predict how many people in a particular area are searching for relevant information about flu.   Not only have they found that there is an incredible correlation between these searches and numbers of actual cases of flu but they can show incidence of flu far faster than the current official channels in the United States. 

    Google compared its data with that from a surveillance system managed by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).   Because of the time lag in collating and checking data Google believes it can accurately estimate flu levels one to two weeks faster than published CDC reports.  On January 28th 2008 Google flu trends showed a marked increase in ‘flu related searches in the Mid-Atlantic region of the US, the available published CDC data showed no detectable increase for another week. 

    Google has compared their search data with that of ‘influenza like illnesses’ tracked by the CDC over four years and there is a very close match between the two data sets.   The speed at which the Google data is available could prove to be of major importance in the case of a pandemic.  It would allow epidemiologists crucial extra time to respond to an outbreak, perhaps saving tens or even hundreds of thousands of lives. 

    With the sheer volume of searches conducted on Google this real time trend tracking could be used to spot outbreaks of a range of illnesses or identify hot spots for disease giving public health services more time and more information, vital commodities in the battle against ill health.    

        

    About Rob Brown

    Rob Brown has worked in PR for over 20 years and for over fifteen years held senior PR positions within three major global advertising networks; Euro RSCG, McCann and TBWA. He launched his own business ‘Rule 5’ in MediaCityUK, Manchester in November 2012. Rob is the author of ‘Public Relations and the Social Web’ (2009), blogs for The Huffington Post and is joint editor of ‘Share This Too’ (2013).