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Google Search Engine Results Pages Illustrated

Posted on February 22, 2008 by Zach

I have been asked several times over the past few months what the different parts of a Google search engine results page are and how everything is put together by Google. While the whole process of using Google is pretty straight forward, there are certain things to look for, and an understanding of where the data comes from that can lead to improved searching and overall use of a search engine. I have put together a quick screen shot of a Google search engine results page to explain its main parts and where Google is getting that data.

Pictured is a search using Google for the term "Access Doors". With this search engine results page or SERP, I will illustrate the different pieces of this page and how it’s put together.

 



SERPS are typically made up of three core elements: (1) the search box, (2) paid results and (3) organic results.

1. The Search Box

The search box is where users enter their keyword(s) for what they are searching for in order to find related websites. Make no mistake though; the search box is a powerful tool in helping find the data and or websites you are looking for. Here are a few tips when using the search box: more general words or terms will typically always yield more results while more specific or particular words or terms will typically yield less results. This strategy of keyword choice and number of keywords can help refine or broaden a search. Most search engines also allow the use of modifiers or have an advanced search form, which can better define or change what data is returned for the keywords. In this Better Searches, Better Results document from Google they explain some of the modifiers which can be used in the Google search box to refine searches and get better results. Always remember though that the search box holds the power, what is put into the search box drives all of the results that will show up on the page below.

2. Paid Results

Paid results are advertisements from advertisers that typically pay Google on a per click basis (pay per click / PPC) to show ads for a particular or related keyword based upon what was searched. All of the information in the listing is supplied by the advertiser to Google and the rank of the listing (where it will show on the SERP page) is based upon several factors including how much the advertiser is willing to pay relative to what other advertisers are paying for the same keyword (if you are willing to pay the most, your ad will show up at the top of the page such as ours and the rest of the advertisers are displayed accordingly). Paid results are made up of the following data, ad title (dark blue text), display URL (green text), ad copy (black text), landing page (where the user is taken to when the ad is clicked) and any badges such as the Google Checkout badge.  The Google Checkout badge shows because we offer Google Checkout as a payment option. All of this is sometimes referred to as the creative of the ppc ad.

3. Organic Results

Organic results are a set of results put together by Google based upon the keyword(s) searched and their algorithm which ranks sites based upon relevancy, website importance or popularity along with numerous other criterion (their goal is to give you the best set of websites as related to the keyword(s) searched that they possibly can). This listing is made of the following components: the blue text is the title of the page which is typically defined by the webmaster or website owner via the Title Tag. The Black text is a description of that web page which can also be specified by the webmaster or website owner via Meta Tags but can also be pulled from other sources such as the Open Directory Project or put together by Google based from the content that resides on the page. The green text is the website URL or the page on the website which you will be taken if you click on the listing. The Cached link in gray will take users to a snapshot of that web page which Google saved the last time they crawled that web page. And lastly, the Similar pages link in gray will execute a search for web page URL the with the related: modifier (exp related:www.plumbersurplus.com/Cat/Access-Doors/606) which will use that modifier in the search box which shows other web pages that are related to that particular listing.

Optimizing Searching

These three main elements make up the Google SERP page and while there are many more features and ways to search for websites, these three elements make up most of that experience. The Google SERP page is also similar to other search engines results pages so when using another search engine look for these elements, which can help lead to better searching and overall use of a search engine.

 

Google Spruces Up ConversionUniversity.com

Posted on January 31, 2008 by Zach

Google has just updated their Conversion University help section.  ConversionUniversity.com is now available in all 25 Google Analytics supported languages. From help on optimizing your AdWords ROI to Google Website Optimizer testing strategies, Conversion University's mission is to offer tips and best practices designed to help you improve your online results. One of my biggest frustrations with Google Analytics has been its limited amount of documentation and support, just try to add some of the advanced Google analytics code for Google checkout, Live Person or switch tracking code versions, and you'll soon realize that it is a much harder task then you would have at first realized.  It is certainly good to see new documentation and resources getting some attention. If someone is looking for a fully supported analytics solution Google does still offer Urchin Web Analytics Software for purchase which is available through their partners. I did run through most of the topics present and found the Google Conversion University YouTube playlist especially helpful and interesting.

 

Google Creates Webmaster Tools Quick Start Guide

Posted on January 31, 2008 by Zach

Google recently created the Google Webmaster Tools Quick Start Guide which covers the main features of Google Webmaster Tools and will help you to get started right away. If you are new or unfamiliar with Google Webmaster Tools this is a great resource. Each of the main areas of Google Webmaster Tools is outlined with information on key functionalities.  Google Webmaster Tools is a great resource for viewing which of your pages are included in Google's index, see any errors encountered while crawling your site, find search queries that list your site as a result, find out which sites link to yours and more.  As an e-commerce site we consistently use Google Webmaster Tools to make sure that our sitemaps are working correctly, Google is indexing our site effectively, we are up to date on terms that we are ranking for, and so forth.  For those that want to collect this information the quick start guide is a good place to get started.

 

Learn how to decipher the designer and gain an insight into terms like eclectic, contemporary, and classic

Posted on December 13, 2007 by Zach

Learn how to decipher the designer and gain an insight into terms like eclectic, contemporary, and classic

Remodeled Eclectic Kitchen Courtesy of KohlerYou are ready to hire a designer but throughout the interview process you find that their terminology may be far different than yours. So what does it mean when your potential designer starts throwing around terms like: eclectic, modern, contemporary and classic? A few simple illustrations may be helpful in deciphering this mystery.

Eclectic is referred to as a mixture between combining old and new. This decorating style combines a variety of materials, colors, styles, furniture and accessories to create one synchronized look. While this may sound like an easy task, making the room unified can be challenging. In order to make the task of creating a balanced room easier consider the room as a whole instead of multiple areas and then gradually layer the fabrics, furniture and accessories to create the eclectic look. Choosing an element that merges all of these pieces together will make the room look balanced, adding a unifying color or theme throughout the room will help accomplish this task.

Remodeled Contemporary Bathroom Courtesy of JacuzziWhen properly executed the eclectic interior displays different time periods, traditions, ethnicities and materials without boundaries. The trend toward eclecticism is gaining popularity in design circles because it gives the client the ability to showcase their personality without sacrificing style.

Contemporary designs and modern designs have been synonymous in the past but these ideas can vary from one designer to the next. Both are considered to have characteristics of what is popular at the time, but in the design world contemporary often focuses on soft clean lines, whereas modern is often referred to as having bold accessories. When choosing a theme for your remodel be sure to clarify your ideas of what these terms mean as opposed to what your designers ideas are.

Remodeled Classic Bathroom Courtesy of American StandardA classic remodel is one that will withstand trends and will adhere to traditional thought, for these reasons a classic design is also referred to as being high in quality. Classic designs are seen as being especially balanced and formal while at the same time simple and conservative. Uniting all of these qualities can be hard to achieve. To do so, ample space is needed for storage, which will help keep the room looking clean and allow the focus to be on the furniture, colors and accessories that both the designer and the client deem necessary. Many designers will choose to do a restoration of the room instead of a remodel to keep a classic design.

Designs are not limited to these design styles. Personal style and functional needs should be the priority when planning your remodeling projects even if that means combining basic designs like eclectic, contemporary and classic.