Tag Archives: Google

Digital Marketing

Stone the Crows! Google market share actually drops!

It seems like every week we rack up another success story on Google’s road to riches. But for the first time I can remember, this is one that goes against that trend.

Wait for it: Google’s share of the UK search market actually DROPPED in February! According to stats from the AT Internet Institute, Google dropped by 1.6%, losing ground to both Bing and Yahoo.

I’m not saying they’re in trouble: Google market share is still at 89.2%. No reason to panic. Yahoo gained 0.6% giving them a 4.1% share. Bing added 0.7% which places it at3.8%. These figures were of course collected before Bing kicked off its huge Advertising campaign.

Google is much more favoured by Brits than Americans: US market share for the search giant stands at around 65%. Europeans love Google too: in France it has 89% market share, and in Germany it stands at 94%, and in Spain its 93%.

Last year we announced that Yahoo and Microsoft would be merging their search engines. In the last couple of weeks, US regulators have finally given that deal the go ahead. The new search offering which will all be powered by Bing means that when it comes to search engines its now just a two horse race.

If you’re not sure which search engine you prefer, try testing all three alongside, and stripped of branding, to see which one gets on best in the blind search test.

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Digital Marketing

Google dumps the ‘SearchWiki’ and gets starry eyed in the process

Last year we talked about the Google SearchWiki. This allowed users to personalise their search results by promoting or excluding specific results from the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs).

It’s all part of Google’s long term view of search as being specifically tailored to each individual user.

A couple of weeks ago they added a new feature, which makes use of ‘Star’ icons. This is where they appear (marked in red):

At the same time Google have terminated their SearchWiki. Apparently users didn’t make much use of the service. Users were concerned that they were artificially changing the order of Google’s organic search results, and preferred to have the order decided by Google

This means that the new stars are actually replacing the SearchWiki, and will act as a more lightweight way of doing things.

How do you use it?

Users can use the stars as a way of marking and then ‘rediscovering’ web pages that they like and think are more important to them.

In order to make use of the new service, just click on the star marker by the result you want highlight. The next time you carry out a similar search, the items you previously starred will appear in a special list right at the top of the results.

You can also add new web pages to the starred list whilst you are off browsing the web. Just click on the star icon and the web page is added to your list.

The new star feature also synchronizes with your Google Toolbar and your Google Bookmarks.

Try using the new star feature and let us know whether you think it’s any good!

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Digital Marketing

How to refine your Google searches by location

Last year we introduced the Google ‘search options’ panel. You can find the search panel from the link ‘more options’ that appears above the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs)

The search options panel lets you search more specifically to find the information that you’re looking for, including:

*pages that you’ve visited before
*results just from shopping or reviews websites, or blogs
*new web pages found in the last minute, hour, day or week

Google have now updated the search options panel so that you can use it to find websites in a specific location. Searching by place or location has evolved to become a key way in which we seek information. For example, if you want to eat in a new restaurant, you don’t just search for ‘Italian Restaurant’ but are more likely to look for ‘Italian Restaurant in Solihull’ (only if you live in Solihull of course!)

The new ‘nearby’ tool lets you search all locations at and around a specific area. This saves you having to list all of the specific locations you actually need. For example, if you want to search for a bicycle repair shop in central london, you might search for ‘bicycle repairs’ and then any of ‘west end’, ‘W1’, ‘Mayfair’ and so on.

This is what it looks like:

You can specify results near where you are, or near a place name.

It only works for searches on Google.com, and currently just for locations in the US :-(. Why do we get stuff after they do?!

Here’s a few examples – check them out.

[things to do on st. patrick’s day] – In the Minneapolis region
[food blogs] – Near you
[farmers market] – Near the city of Ithaca
[dmv] – In the same state as Tucson

Like the new locations options? Did it work for you? Leave us a comment below.

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Digital Marketing

Microsoft starts advertising Bing in the UK

Despite some ups and downs, Microsoft’s newest search engine ‘Bing’ has generally been judged to be successful.

The search engine has some innovative new features, not least of which is the ability to preview web pages before you actually click through to them. From a look and feel perspective it’s very pleasant – the starting screen is usually a stunning landscape picture.

Market share

In the US it has captured a significant share of the search engine market, although this has come at the expense of other Microsoft search platforms, and Yahoo, rather than market leading Google.

There of course it has been helped by an advertising campaign estimated to have cost in the region of $100m – quite a persuasive amount of money.

In the UK Bing is capturing just 4% of the search queries, vs Yahoo’s 6% and Google’s 88%. But all that may be about to change as Microsoft announced they would kick off a huge campaign for the UK search engine.

A Decision Engine?

The campaign questions the need for the “information overload” that Google provides. It champions Bing’s ability to deliver clear and concise results. The creative carries the strapline ‘Bing and decide” and attempts to position Bing as a ‘decision engine’. Microsoft wants users to imagine that Bing cuts through the clutter of the Internet to find the answers they need.

There are three TV ads in all – kicking off today and running for three months – and you’ll start to see ads for Bing on Social Networking websites too.

Here’s the first one:

Are you a fan of Bing? Have you even tried it? What about having a go at the blind search test to see which search engine you really prefer? Leave us a comment below.

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Google Products

Who is Google’s biggest challenger?

On this blog we’ve talked quite a bit about the market share of each search engine. Despite their best efforts to launch new search engines such as Bing; or to combine their search engines; neither Microsoft nor Yahoo appear able to challenge the dominance of Google.

But may be the challenger is coming from a different direction. Last year we ran with a story that said that Facebook was the fastest growing search engine. And Facebook is growing in all other areas too.

Facebook is good for News Websites

For example, according to Hitwise traffic from Facebook to US news sites has tripled over the last year, whilst Google’s share has remained static.

This has emboldened news publishers such as Rupert Murdoch to demand money from Google for their content, or face being locked out of it.

Now that Facebook has passed the 400m user milestone, it might be Facebook that is the biggest threat to the way Google wants to run things.

Google on the Run

Is Google scared? Well for the first time ever they splashed out $5m on a TV ad during the Superbowl a few weeks ago. Is that a proactive move or a reactive one?

Facebook already has a cosier relationship with news providers, who often choose to publish their content on Facebook.

Of course Google claim that actually they are helping news publishers, sending them an estimated 4bn visits every year.

With Facebook and Twitter of course the content is entirely at the publishers’ discretion, and they get to see who is reading it; both features that Google does not let them have.

Some have speculated that were Facebook to launch a comprehensive web-wide search engine, Google would lose huge traffic overnight.

Google Buzz Fail?

Then too there is the launch of Google Buzz – a defensive move surely, as Google tries to muscle in on the social media landscape.

Do you think the Google Empire may be having a wobble? Or have Google got nothing to worry about; Facebook is no threat to them? Leave us a comment below.

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Digital Marketing

We can’t get enough of search engines

According to a recent report by website monitoring firm ComScore, Internet users love affair with search engines continues to deepen.

For the month of December 2009, worldwide search volumes increased by a massive 46% over the same month in 2008. That means there that just in December there were 131bn searches, more than 4bn for every day of the month.

The country with the most searches was the US, with 17% of the global share. The UK hit a total of 6.2bn searches, more than punching its weight per head of population. That’s 100 searches for everyone in the country, and is a 35% increase year on year.

And which search engines are being used? Of course its Google who dominates, with 67% of the global search volume. Google grew by 58% over the 12 month period. But it was a great year for Microsoft, who saw a huge 70% growth year on year, from 2.4bn to 4.1bn searches. Yahoo was up a much more modest 13%, hitting 9.4bn.

And as have mentioned previously, it is Facebook that has also hit the search headlines, delivering 1.5bn searches, up 54% year on year.

“The global search market continues to grow at an extraordinary rate, with both highly developed and emerging markets contributing to the strong growth worldwide. Search is clearly becoming a more ubiquitous behaviour among internet users, which drives navigation not only directly from search engines but also within sites and across networks”, said Jack Flanagan, executive VP at ComScore.

Do you always search on Google? How can you be sure that you prefer it? Why not take a blind search test? And then leave us a comment below.

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Google Products

Google trading update: Revenue Up. Adsense Up. Mobile in the Pipe

Google released its Q4 2009 trading data a couple of weeks ago, and despite the global recession is reporting a 17% increase in revenue. The company racked up $6.7bn dollars in the previous 3 months, of which profit came in at a shade under $2bn.

UK Still a healthy proportion

And it’s a healthy reflection of the UK market that we contributed 12% of that turnover, down just 1% on Q3. That’s despite the UK search market being relatively ‘mature’ compared to some fast growing overseas ones.

It also means that as Google’s popularity continues to grow amongst users. And that UK advertisers believe it is an effective way to gain new customers.

UK contributes 12% to Google’s rising global revenue

Adsense is getting bigger

There is also a shift in where Google makes its money. Adsense publishers – website owners who display ‘Ads by Google’ on their websites – contributed 31% of the total, up by more than 1/5th in 12 months. As a website builder, you too can make money by placing ‘Ads by Google’ on your website. Here’s a video tutorial that shows you how to sign up to Google Adsense.

The growth in revenue came both from an increase in the number of clicks on ads (up 13% yoy) and cost-per-click (up 5% yoy)

“As we enter 2010, we remain hugely optimistic about the internet and are continuing to invest heavily in technological innovation for the benefit not only of our users and customers, but also the wider web” said Eric Schmidt, Google’s chief executive.

Mobile is the Future

So what next for the world’s most successful Internet company? It looks like the mobile Internet is getting an increasing amount of their attention. There was recently huge coverage of the launch of the first Google phone, the ‘Nexus One’, which takes the company head to head with previous allies Apple. And of course their bought mobile ad technology outfit AdMob for $750m back in October.

And you can hardly escape billboard and press adverts for Google browser ‘Chrome’ these days. That product is itself a pre-cursor of the widely anticipate Google operating system for PCs.

Plenty to do then. Like Google’s domination of all things Internet (and phone, and PC)? Leave us a comment below.

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Social Media

When a URL shortener doesn’t shorten the URL

Those of you who are regular users of Twitter will already know what a URL Shortener is.

For those of you less familiar, a URL shortener…. shortens URLs! It makes website addresses shorter, so that it’s easier to paste into an email, a Tweet, or a text message.

For example, let’s say you wanted to show someone the WebEden video tutorial that shows you how to put AdSense on your website. The full URL is http://webeden.co.uk/blog/video-tutorials/website-builder-tutorials-how-to-put-google-adsense-on-your-website/.

If you’re trying to cut and paste that into a Tweet then it uses up lots of character space. Bear in mind that you only get 140 characters to make your point – this URL uses up 115 of them in one go.

If you put this long URL into a URL Shortener (bit.ly for example), you end up with http://bit.ly/5CVnmy. Anyone clicking on this second link will automatically be sent onto the first, long URL. And this second URL is just 20 characters long, leaving you much more space to say other things.

There are lots of URL shortners out there. Popular ones include http://tinyurl.com and http://bit.ly.

More and more big brands are launching them too. Google have goo.gl, Facebook have fb.me.

We often give Microsoft a hard time on this blog, but this time they have done something which deserves a bit of mirth. Because Microsoft’s search engine Bing.com has launched a URL Shortener… which is in fact longer than their main URL!

Binged.it‘ is in fact 1 character longer than the normal bing.com domain! This may not seem like a big deal, but when the whole point of the product is to use up as few characters as possible, this seems an odd decision. As Techcrunch pointed out, there are other options including ‘bin.gd’.

Have you tried using URL shorteners? Which one is your favourite and why? Leave us a comment below.

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Digital Marketing

Bing stops growing. Yahoo continues shrinking.

Bing was big news last year. Despite some ups and downs, Microsoft’s newest search engine, was generally judged to be a success.

The icing on the cake for Bing came when Yahoo and Microsoft tied up a search deal that would see Bing results replace Yahoos on several Yahoo properties.

But whilst that deal is tied up with US regulators, both companies are having a harder time in the current market place.

According to figures from web measurement firm ‘Neilsen’, the market share growth of Bing had come to a halt in December.

And the story is worse for Yahoo, which continued a decline which began several months – if not years – earlier.

9.9% of all US searches in December were on Bing, down from 10.7% in November,

Over the same period Yahoo slid from 15.3 % to 14.4%. Back in July Yahoo had as much as 17.1%.

No guesses for where this market share has gone: Google was up 1.9% in December to 67.3%. Back in August it was 64.6%.

Bing’s slide is all the more worrying for Microsoft because they had a big US advertising campaign for Bing in December, which positioned the service as a ‘decision engine’ rather than a search engine.

Of course these are all figures for the US. In the UK, Google powers close to 90% of all web searches.

Do you just stick to Google, or do you try all the others too? How do you know whether you prefer Google? Leave us a comment below.

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Google Products

Want free online storage? Take a look at the Gdrive

A few years ago Google indicated that it would build a space where anyone could store all their documents, music and images online, for free.

They gave it the moniker ‘Gdrive’, but since making the announcement everything has gone pretty quiet.

Then a couple of weeks ago, they quietly added a few new features to their ‘Google Docs’ product. For many, this meant that the ‘Gdrive’ had arrived.

For those of you not familiar with Google Docs, it’s an online service where you can create, manage and store your spreadsheets, word documents and presentations. It’s an online rival to Microsoft Office, with the added advantage that you can access your documents from any location; and collaborate with others online.

The downside of course is that you need to be connected to the Internet to do this. We discussed the ups and downs of each system last year.

Now Google has added extra features. You can upload any file up to 250MB to Google Docs. You get 1 GB of free storage for files that you choose not to convert into one of the Google Docs formats (Google documents, spreadsheets, and presentations). And if you can always buy more space if you want it, at a cost of $0.25 per GB/year.

Here’s a screengrab that shows you where you can upload your files:

Google reckon that you’ll be able to open most common formats using the service. You can also search for files once you’ve uploaded them. And you can share you documents and images with anyone you choose.

Of course there are plenty of rivals for this type of service. Microsoft’s SkyDrive gives you 25 GB of free storage, and ADrive offers a massive 50 GB.

Are you a fan of the online storage model? Or do you prefer to keep your stuff local, on a memory stick or external hard drive? Leave us a comment below.

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