Archive for the ‘Search’ Category

Forget-me-not Photo credit: Tambako The Jaguar

Forget-me-not
Photo credit: Tambako The Jaguar

Remember when there were warnings that what gets published on the internet, stays on the internet forever and always? As it turns out, that landscape may be changing. Courts and legalities are catching up with the new world and weighing in on issues that have been plaguing the web since it’s wild, wild west days.

Countries in the EU now have access to a form through Google to submit a request to have URLs removed from the search engine–if they meet the criteria. Nobody knows quite what those are just yet, more so cases will be reviewed on a case by case basis.

It’s an interesting issue. Some people would do anything to be remembered, and others want nothing more than to be forgotten.

Care to know more? I first found out about this on Search Engine Land.

A chocolate-chip cookie.

Image via Wikipedia

I don’t know how often I hear people saying they want to be at the top.  They think it’s like magic.  (I lied.  I do have an idea as to how much I hear that.  It’s ALOT).

I make the best chocolate chip cookies in the world and I want people searching for chocolate chip cookies on Google to find me.  Have you ever done a search for chocolate chip cookies?  At this instant, there are 2,980,000 pages that come up.  Those are only the ones that have been indexed.  Google estimates that there are over a trillion different websites out there.  That was in July, 2008.  The web continues to grow in popularity and in size.  I cannot even fathom how many people out there also want to target chocolate chip cookies as a keyword.

Imagine putting yourself in the middle of the marketplace where you are the only baker there that sells chocolate chip cookies.  You’d be pretty easy to find (and probably the most popular booth at the market).  You could list yourself in the marketplace directory as the single source provider of chocolate chip cookies.  But what happens when people see how popular you are and more vendors come in to sell chocolate chip cookies?  All of a sudden, you’re harder to find.  Sure, you’ve been there longer, so more people at the market know about you, but after a few weeks, what if the new chocolate chip cookie makers start advertising?  Or what if they improve their recipe and now their chocolate chip cookies taste better than yours?  What do you do?  Well, you can try and compete by improving your recipe, throwing more and more money at the same product that the others guys are making…. or… you can make double chocolate chip cookies.  Now you’re the only one selling double chocolate chip cookies.  Anyone looking for double chocolate chip cookies will find you, because that’s what they were looking for.  And who doesn’t like the double chocolate variety?  So the other guy has spent hundreds of dollars in his gourmet one of a kind chocolate chip cookie.  And you’ve taken half the traffic now, because there wasn’t anyone making double chocolate chip cookies before.  You get them in the door for the double chocolate chip cookies and they automatically know that you also make chocolate chip cookies, two birds with one stone.

Say you continue to grow your product line to include oatmeal raisin cookies, then some Smarties cookies, maybe you throw in some peanut butter cookies.  All of a sudden, when people come looking for a particular kind of cookie, they find you.   Chances are, they’ve been looking for these cookies all along, just nobody’s really popped up before when they looked.  But what if they’ve been searching for these cookies all along?  So now that they find you, what happens when they start looking for other kinds of cookies?  They’re going to come to you.  Because you now look like the authority.  Maybe it’s not specifically on chocolate chip cookies.  But really, how many people are there just looking for chocolate chip cookies vs. the number looking for ALL the other kinds of cookies?

Now think of your keywords as a chocolate chip cookie (I know, I’m hungry too after all of this cookie talk).  Are you the single source provider of chocolate chip cookies?  Or do people come to you for all kinds of cookie questions?  Do you focus on one or two keywords?  Or a multitude of keywords in different areas of your site?

Earlier this week, Google launched a new search product that includes a way to comment and vote your favourite finds up or down and add comments about a site for others to view. The feature only works when you are logged into your Google account and only you see which topics you’ve promoted to the top or deleted from your results.  Techcrunch has explained the features well, but the author, Mike Arrington, doesn’t like the new feature.  Robert Scoble thinks it’s bang on.  I think it’s just another reason you’d better make sure your site is one people find useful.

If people are able to customize their searches and save the information so the sites they have found useful before are always on top, making sure your site is one they want to see more frequently in their search results is becoming more and more important.

I have always believed that your website should be fulfilling a use or providing a service.  I often compare it to a magazine – if the articles are the same every month or nothing new is added, who’s going to keep buying that magazine?  Your website should be useful… if nothing else, it should be something that people want to pass on.  The Google Search Wiki is kind of like a new way to bookmark sites right now.  If you vote something up at the top on a particular search term, it will always remain at the top for your individual search – again only if you are logged into your account.  But imagine if Google takes it one step further – if Google starts taking a user’s top voted sites and including those in new searches because it’s a site the user has identified as one they trust and one they’ve found useful in the past.  When Google does that, I will be on bored with Robert Scoble in thinking this is fabulous.