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Big Changes Coming from Google (Update: It's Called Google Instant)

Posted on September 8, 2010 by Josh Mc

The search world is buzzing today with all of the possible changes that could come from Google's morning press event. Yesterday Google started hinting about a change with their creative logo and a quote from a Googler saying "it is fast, fun and interactive, just the way we think search should be."(SER) Today is no different. The current logo on Google's homepage adds color to the letters as you type, hinting at what many bloggers have been reporting on, streaming search results. If you haven't seen this yet, check out the video below from Websonic.nl.




We should know by the afternoon if this is rolling out to everyone, as well as what else Google may have up their sleave, but one thing is for sure, the way we search is changing.

What do you think about this change? Do you like it?

 

Update: Google announced that the real time search is called Google Instant and should be rolling out to Firefox, Chrome, Safari and IE 8 today. Google said this is being done to help people save the time wasted when typing a search that the user may not even want to begin with. They predict it is normally around 25 seconds, and Google Instant will completly change this.

 

Google Instant Response Time

 

Yahoo Search Migrating to Bing AdCenter

Posted on September 3, 2010 by Chad

On August 31st, Yahoo announced that they are starting to transition their Yahoo Search Marketing to Microsoft AdCenter.

In the last few weeks, Yahoo began and completed transitioning all of Yahoo’s organic results to Microsoft Bing. The next step is the paid search transition. To start this process all you have to do is log into your Yahoo! Search Marketing account.  There are some very specific differences between Bing and Yahoo, so be aware that you may need to do some tinkering with your campaigns. 

Yahoo has provided a Feature Comparison Guide and Transition Checklist through the user interface to help this transition process as much as possible.  You can also find these document links in their announcement blog at “Advertisers, Begin Your Account Transitions”.

According to Yahoo’s blog, they fully expect the transition to be completed by the end of October.  The last stage of which will occur somewhere in mid-October, when Yahoo! Search ad serving moves to Microsoft AdCenter completely.  Be prepared though, there is still a slight possibility that they will defer the completed paid search transition to 2011. Either way I am excited to see what changes this new transition will bring in the future.

Yahoo and Bing

 

Yahoo is Now Bing, and Other Search Changes You Should Know About

Posted on August 25, 2010 by Josh Mc

It has been a crazy week in search to say the least, and it is only Wednesday. The search world has been shook by many updates this week, so I decided to aggregate the main ones, as well as the best posts on them,  in one easy to read area.

Yahoo Search Is Now Bing – Just yesterday it was reported that Yahoo search has transitioned to Bing search results. It is good for the people that like their Bing results better than their Yahoo, bad for the ones that don’t, and good for everyone else as there is now a larger competitor against Google. Note this change does not yet affect paid advertising, that should happen later this fall.

Google Allows More Than Two Results - The other big change in the search world happened with Google now allowing more than two results per page from any one site. This is a big change because now theoretically one business could own all ten organic SERP’s for their name or their name plus a keyword.

Needless to say there are a lot of changes happening in the organic world. What do you guys think? Are these good changes? Should us organic marketers be worried? Let me know in the comments.

 

Two New Ways to Check Google Site Speed

Posted on August 24, 2010 by Zach

Search Engine Round Table  had a interesting post about two of best ways to check Google’s factors for site speed. Site Speed recently became one of the many ranking factors for Google, and should be something that webmasters are aware of when optimizing their websites. The first way to check Google's factors for site speed is the site performance section under Labs in Google Webmaster Tools.

Google Webmaster Tools

The data displayed in this section is an aggregate of all of the Google Toolbar Data for how long it takes actual users to download pages on your site. This is an important factor, but it does have some shortcomings. First, this data is only gathered from people that have the Google Toolbar installed. If a user does not have the bar installed then Google is not able to gather their data. Because of this, the number is only a sampling of all of the people browsing your site. I know what you are going to ask, "If it is only a small sample, then why should I care about it." Always remember, if it is important enough for Google to report, then it is important enough for you to review.

The other option for reviewing site speed is also in Google Webmaster Tools, but under the Diagnostics section and then Crawl stats.

Google Webmaster Tools

This section displays crawl stats for Googlebot on your website. What it specifically gathers is how many pages are crawled per day, how much data is downloaded per day, and how long it takes for them to download a page. This data is almost more important in terms of site speed factors because it lets you know how your site's performance is affecting Googlebot. If it takes Googlebot a long time to download pages on your website it will take them longer to index your site, and in turn they will crawl less pages. We all know that crawling less pages is never something we want Google to do, so making your site faster for Googlebot will benefit you in the long run.

Since our team started to focus on site speed and website performance we have been watching these two areas very closely. An improvement in site speed has definitely yielded an increase in pages crawled per day, as well as a reduction in time it takes to download a page by Googlebot. Both of these are critical metrics in that should be tracked in Google Webmaster Tools.

 


For the best prices, on the largest selection of faucets, from your favorite brands like Kohler, Danze, and American Standard shop PlumberSurplus.com 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

The Expanding World of Online Video June 2010

Posted on July 2, 2010 by Josh Mc

We have a lot of great articles this month so let’s jump right in.

    • First, as I reported earlier this month, Youtube now has a cloud video editor. This is huge because it opens up the world of video editing to anyone with an internet connection, not just those with nice computers and expensive software. ReelSeo even showcases 5 ways to use the Youtube video editor. I have personally tried it myself, and while it is not a terribly comprehensive editor it is still a really nice feature to have access to for free.

 

    • On the same front the iPhone 4 was released which records 720p HD video and has a movie editor that can be purchased for $4.99 called iMovie.  iMovie allows you to edit videos and pictures directly on your phone and upload them to YouTube when they are complete. This is really going to usher in a new world of video for many people who have never done much in it before, as well as add to Youtube’s unholy amount of videos (I think it is almost a billion now).

 

    • On the more technical side Google has released a list of best practices for those that host video on their own website. These include different search engines techniques for indexing, thumbnails and countries the video can play in.

 

    • Mashable has a great post entitled "6 Tips for Experimenting with Web Video". They include a bunch of techniques to help you take your video the next step. They deal with breaking the rules, self promotion and video on a budget, among other things.

 

    • The Fire Horse Trail has a interesting article on promotion in the age of social sharing. In this article they talk about where to submit your videos RSS so the engines can know when there is a new one. They also talk about where to upload and syndicate those videos for viral promotion as well as traffic.

 

  • Lastly, this is not as much related to the evolution of video as it is to creation, but the Youtube user Karimrejeb has created one of the most innovative videos I have seen in a long time. Using legos and stop motion he has designed a surfing video that is amazing. Watch it here.

 

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Is Google Losing Their Organic Roots?

Posted on May 13, 2010 by Josh Mc

Am I the only one that thinks that Google’s changes are making organic search almost useless? Take a look at the below screen shot to see what I am talking about.

Google Search bathroom faucets

 

The actual fold of the page is right around the start of the shopping results. Scroll down some more and you see the local business results, most searchers probably don’t even get past this as there is so much eye candy and things to click on that your mind is overloaded. Sure Google is trying to give the customer a good experience by offering them options, but basically there are two organic search results in this whole mess.
 
Add to that the new suggested brands addition, which basically Google is saying “Hey you searched for this word but wouldn’t you rather have this brand attached to this word?” While this may be helpful for some searchers, it is confusing for others and actually hurts companies that are trying to rank organically for certain keywords as they not only have to battle the competitors, but also Google’s “improvements” and all of the big name manufacturers they are suggesting you were searching for.
 
All I'm saying is that Google built their search engine on the idea of providing the best results in a simple manner, but if you cannot even find the results in their barrage of suggestions and ads, then when does it stop becoming a search engine that provides information and start becoming a business that allows big manufacturers and those that pay big bucks to keep out the people trying to rank organically? Google, sometimes when people search for bathroom faucets, they actually want websites that provide general information on bathroom faucets; not videos, not the manufacturer, and not local options, but information.

But I digress. What do you guys think about this? Is it too much, or is it good for the customer experience?

 

The Expanding World of Online Video March 2010

Posted on April 5, 2010 by Josh Mc

By far one of the most interesting innovations that is happening in online video is the invention of clickable video. Many companies are quickly adopting this as the next frontier for engaging with customers and convincing them to make a purchasing decision. Watch the video from videofishbowl.com below to learn more about how it can help your company’s conversions.


    • For anyone who is uploading videos to YouTube, Drew Hubbard’s article on the Five Keys For Creating Viral YouTube Titles is a must read. This article dives into the different tactics you can use to optimize your title and description for the best viral results. I personally liked the idea of using the word video in the title. It makes sense to include this as often when people search for videos they are adding video to their search query.

 

 

    • Flimp posted a case study where they worked with the United Way to create a video email invitation to an upcoming event. The event had record attendance and raised over $400,000.00 for the charitable organization due to the success of the digital invitation.

 

 

 


 

The Evolution of Location Based Search

Posted on March 24, 2010 by Zach

While our websites are not involved in much location based or local advertising (we ship throughout the United States and many international locations), I am fascinated by local search. Be it mobile or computer based, I have become increasingly interested in the evolution of location based search and its implications. Needless to say I am very excited about some of the things Google has been doing to promote localized search. Here some recent examples I have been using and really enjoy.


  • Refine your searches by location - What sparked this blog was Google's recent new addition of refining by what the user is nearby. I love this feature and already see myself using it regularly to find places and businesses near my location. What really makes this that much more awesome is the ability to put in a custom location, so that if you know you will be somewhere else at a later point in time, but you still want to see local results, you can change to the future location!

  • Optimized Search Suggestions using your location - The next is one of Google's search features for mobile phones. I love this feature beacuase Google will offer search suggestions based upon the users location. The implied searches, which complete words and correct spelling errors, are great features alone when you are in an unfamiliar place. If you have a particular interest or are unsure specifically what might be around you this feature will start to suggest localized searches based upon what you start typing in. I used this just the other day when I was searching for hiking trails and was unsure how to spell the particular city I was nearby, it worked perfectly.


I hope you enjoy the evolution of localized search as much as I do, happy searching!



For the best prices, on the largest selection of faucets, from your favorite brands like Kohler, Danze, and American Standard shop PlumberSurplus.com 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Long Tail Broad Match and Negative Keyword SEM Campaign Experiment

Posted on February 4, 2010 by Chad

When I first started creating keywords for my very first campaign, there were signs everywhere on the internet that said "Don't use broad match!"  A little later I learned about negative keywords and how to use those effectively by running a Google search query report.  So it caught me by surprise when Brad Geddes, for Search Engine Land, wrote a column on promoting the idea of using broad match called Broad Match + Negative Keywords = A Profitable Long Tail.

The Case for Broad Match

Most people have discovered that broad match typically does not have a great conversion rate (many times when using broad match it’s not the point). Historically, because...well, broad match hits everything related to it. It can be a good way just to get your website noticed, create some brand recognition or turn on the traffic hose, hopefully with some good ad text to stem the tide of the more ridiculous clicks. 

Brad Geddes, unfortunately, does not go into a lot of detail about what happens to long tail keywords that are set to broad match or the precise setup of such a campaign?  I think he is being a bit "cagey" so as not to give away his “secret sauce” so to speak. This only means that we have to be smart as marketers, use common sense and pay attention to ad spend and the limitations associated with AdWords accounts.  There is certainly a difference between a long tail keyword set to broad match and a more general one to two word keyword phrases set to broad match.  Brad uses the example:

“Let’s say you sell coffee mugs and you have tens of thousands of words pertaining to coffee mugs in multiple match types. You then run a search query report (a report that allows you to see the actual search query that caused your ad to be displayed) and find that when the search query contains the word “Starbucks,” such as “Starbucks personalized picture blue coffee mug,” your conversion rate is 0%. All those clicks you are paying for are a waste of money. However, “personalized picture blue coffee mug” is already a long tail keyword, and you have thousands of these words, so how do you still use these word in phrase or broad match yet not pay for the clicks when the search query contains ‘Starbucks?’”

Clearly using this example we would make the assumption that your AdWords account has already got some form of this phrase of keywords broken up throughout the account: “blue coffee mug”, “personalized picture mug”, “picture coffee mug”, etc.  We would also make an educated assumption that if you are advertising for products in this vertical that you have similar products and would be able to convert on broad match types associated to these terms.  If not then take heed, there are AdWords users available to help.  AdWords Forum contributor Rob. W has explained broad match to other users, “You need to be careful when broad matching keywords because Google takes extreme liberties in matching that keyword.  A broad match for 'fresh flowers' may cause your ads to show for bath soap, gardening supplies, wedding showers, or cat litter.  Seriously...” So it got me thinking. What is Brad really talking about in his column?

Jog before You Run 

At first, I thought he was talking about setting long tail keywords to broad match and then producing negative keywords for phrases that don't convert.  Further on in his column he is pointing out, based on the extensive explanation of negative keywords in his column, that you set keywords to broad match but specifically create [exact] match negative keywords to counteract any of the more generic searches and higher price terms. You know what users search for because of the Search Query report.  By doing this you are still allowing for a broad selection of searches without the hassle of dealing with the creation of a whole list of long tail keywords.  The critical point is creating those negatives and keeping up with it.  Bam! Long tail keywords that you know have been searched for as long as the user doesn't use the negative keyword in the phrase.

Though, if this is what Brad is getting to, I am not sure what would be cheaper in terms of CPC (Cost per Click): a "constrained" broad match term or a simple long tail keyword.  It seems like broad match would potentially need a higher CPC because it is hitting so many searches and you want to be ranked high enough on those to see a high-quality CTR (Click through Rate).  Then again, you are reducing how many hits you actually make with the negatives, making the broad match term less expensive.  The benefit is not really losing out on other various searches.  As usual though, the bottom line is, does it convert?  Testing this out on your own seems to be the best way to figure this out in your respective industries. 

Without knowing exactly how broad match-long tail keywords, react in search, I can't exactly give a straight up opinion on this idea of Brads.  His method still intrigues me though and I plan on experimenting with this on a few of my better performing campaigns.

I will update you with my results in a couple weeks.

 

Localizing Twitter Data for Businesses

Posted on February 3, 2010 by Zach

While I may be late to the party and still not very engaged, to say the least I am very interested in a new feature Twitter recently rolled out called Local Trends.

It's described on their blog:
"As Twitter evolves, and more people share what’s happening in their own world, we want to provide another way for people to discover topics that may be relevant to them. Last week we began to slowly roll out a new feature called Local Trends to expose what people are talking about on the state and city level, and today we've fully launched so everyone can use it."

So now not only can you see what is trending in all of the twitter-verse but users can see what is trending locally, if they have set their location. While I don't frequent "the Twitter" very often this for me is a very compelling feature. 

On top of that we had several interesting conversations around the office about how this type of data might be used for businesses, especially eCommerce. There are some very interesting implications in regards to local trending data which could be used in different marketing and social channels. As we were talking several interesting examples came up in regards to marketing products to different locals based upon weather, popularity, celebrities, local markets, local business, etc. If you know a particular topic is “hot” and there are products which could be marketed to play off of that you could go to town on geo targeted SEM campaigns, social messaging and advertising to people in that area or other local advertising channels. The opportunities seem endless and the data invaluable.



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