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  • Gerrit Eicker 08:52 on 29. February 2012 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , Organic Search Results, , ,   

    Content Ideas 

    SEL: 10 #Content ideas to improve organic visibility; http://j.mp/AnJ49s #ContentStrategy #SERP #Search

  • Gerrit Eicker 08:50 on 12. January 2012 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , Department of Justice, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , Organic Search Results, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   

    Search Plus 

    Constine: There’s blood in the water surrounding Google Search Plus; http://eicker.at/SearchPlus

    (More …)

    • Gerrit Eicker 08:50 on 12. January 2012 Permalink | Reply

      Constine, TC: “Sharks Circle Around Google Search+: EPIC Cries Antitrust, Twitter Provides Evidence – There’s blood in the water surrounding Google Search+… EPIC believes that by surfacing in search results the private content shared with a user by their friends, Search+ may violate privacy. I personally don’t buy that argument. Yes, it’s a bit shocking to see private content in Google Search results where we’ve come to expect only public content. However, private content isn’t exposed to anyone that couldn’t already see it, so I think EPIC is fear mongering around privacy. … The issue is that Google has the data to surface its competitors in People and Pages, but doesn’t. Hey, maybe this is all a clever ploy to bring antitrust scrutiny to Facebook’s deal with Microsoft’s Bing to sour its IPO.

      Eldon, TC: “Google+ Search = A Way To Call The Feds In On IPO-Bound Facebook (?) – Like everyone else, I’ve been trying to get my head around why Google has force-integrated its Google+ social network into its main search feed at the expense of leading social services like Facebook and Twitter. The situation seems like an antitrust case waiting to happen, because Google could easily choose to feature the publicly available content from its social rivals in the same way it is showing its own product within its market-dominating search engine. It just hasn’t. … There could be a grand strategy for provoking the US government to investigate the market shares of search and social products as a single issue, in a way that puts Facebook on the defensive, especially as it looks to go public. … The big catch to this idea, at least for now, is that when you consider Bing’s relatively weak market share, and the lack of effect Facebook has had on it, it’s unclear if the Justice Department will take this sort of issue seriously. Facebook may be the Google of the future, but Google is the Google of the present. And maybe Google is just trying to see what it can get away with ahead of what we can expect to be habitually slow federal interest in whatever moves it makes.

      Coldewey, TC: “There has been a great quantity of vitriol corroding the social web over the last few days, a reaction to Google’s decision to optionally integrate Google+ features into their search. … Google is a datavore. All it wants to do is collect data, organize it, and then deliver it to people, peppered with ads and the occasional sales commission. Viewed from this perspective, the new social search is simple – innocuous. The biggest crime Google has committed is giving it such a cumbrous name. … A search that is ostensibly social-focused should be pulling information primarily from Facebook and Twitter, right? I agree. Yet it doesn’t. And people’s accusing fingers jumped up to point at Google, though the problem isn’t Google’s. … What rich data does Facebook share? What deep search does Twitter permit? Google can’t produce something it doesn’t have, and what it does produce isn’t destructive to search – and if it were so, it can be turned off with a click. … There’s nothing controversial about competition. Google has started a new service that gives social data prominent placement. Ironically, the fact that people are complaining that it is not integrative enough (as opposed to Twitter and Facebook initiatives, which are often not integrative at all, and sometimes deliberately exclusive) testifies to Google’s adherence to their promise of even-handedness. … I think it falls outside that area, which to me begs the question, but no doubt the discussion will continue, and Google’s actions will have repercussions further down the line.

      SEL: “Real-Life Examples Of How Google’s ‘Search Plus’ Pushes Google+ Over RelevancyBy having a dominant position in search, Google might ultimately be responsible for going above-and-beyond to include competitors. That’s part of what the current anti-trust investigations into Google are all about. One complaint over today’s move – though likely mostly about privacy – is already being readied. – Google’s job as a search engine is to direct searchers to the most relevant information on the web, not just to information that Google may have an interest in. – These suggestions would be better if they included other services, and that’s the standard Google’s search results should aim for, returning the best. … If You’re Not On Google+, You’re Not A Suggestion… Why Google+ Is A Must-Have For Marketers… Is there anyone out there who still wants to say that being on Google+ doesn’t matter? Anyone? Because when being on Google+ means that you potentially can have your Google+ page leap to the top in those sidebar results, Google+ matters. It matters more than ever before. … It’s not Google’s job to be sticking it to anyone with its search results. Those results are supposed to be showing what are the most relevant things for searchers out there. That’s how Google wins. That’s how Google sticks it to competitors, by not trying to play favorites in those results, nor by trying to punish people through them.

      RWW: “Will Bing Get A Boost Thanks To Google’s Your Way? – All of this could play well for Bing. Since 2009, the number three search engine has had a partnership with Twitter similar to the one that lapsed with Google last summer. Since the Google agreement expired, it is now easier to find tweets in Bing via realtime searches than it is in Google. At the time of the breakup in July, it was unclear which side walked away, but Bing was quick to renew its ties with Twitter and strike a similar deal with Facebook. … The fallout from search isn’t the only reason why Bing may get a boost this year. The company has improved integration of Bing with Xbox and Kinect, which helps Microsoft grab a younger demographic when gamers move their search activity online from their consoles. Bing has also been working to improve its mobile offerings, releasing a much-imtpoved Bing app for Android and iOS5. – But perhaps the biggest indication that Bing is worth paying attention to came from Google itself, when it paid $900 million to Mozilla to be the default search engine in Firefox for the next three years.

  • Gerrit Eicker 08:14 on 4. November 2011 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , Business Practices, , , , , , , , Debiasing, , Economic Incentives, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , Organic Search Results, , , , Replication, , , , Search Bias, Search Engine Bias, , , , , , , , , , ,   

    Search Engine Bias 

    Does Google favour its own sites in search results? New study: Google less biased than Bing; http://eicker.at/SearchEngineBias

    • Gerrit Eicker 08:14 on 4. November 2011 Permalink | Reply

      SEL: “Does Google favor its own sites in search results, as many critics have claimed? Not necessarily. New research suggests that claims that Google is ‘biased’ are overblown, and that Google’s primary competitor, Microsoft’s Bing, may actually be serving Microsoft-related results ‘far more’ often than Google links to its own services in search results. – In an analysis of a large, random sample of search queries, the study from Josh Wright, Professor of Law and Economics at George Mason University, found that Bing generally favors Microsoft content more frequently, and far more prominently, than Google favors its own content. According to the findings, Google references its own content in its first results position in just 6.7% of queries, while Bing provides search result links to Microsoft content more than twice as often (14.3%). … The findings of the new study are in stark contrast with a study on search engine ‘bias’ released earlier this year. That study, conducted by Harvard professor Ben Edelman concluded that ‘by comparing results across multiple search engines, we provide prima facie evidence of bias; especially in light of the anomalous click-through rates we describe above, we can only conclude that Google intentionally places its results first.’ … So, what conclusions to draw? Wright says that ‘analysis finds that own-content bias is a relatively infrequent phenomenon’ – meaning that although Microsoft appears to favor its own sites more often than Google, it’s not really a major issue, at least in terms of ‘bias’ or ‘fairness’ of search results that the engines present. Reasonable conclusion: Google [and Bing, though less so] really are trying to deliver the best results possible, regardless of whether they come from their own services [local search, product search, etc] or not. … But just because a company has grown into a dominant position doesn’t mean they’re doing wrong, or that governments should intervene and force changes that may or may not be “beneficial” to users or customers.

      Edelman/Lockwood: “By comparing results between leading search engines, we identify patterns in their algorithmic search listings. We find that each search engine favors its own services in that each search engine links to its own services more often than other search engines do so. But some search engines promote their own services significantly more than others. We examine patterns in these differences, and we flag keywords where the problem is particularly widespread. Even excluding ‘rich results’ (whereby search engines feature their own images, videos, maps, etc.), we find that Google’s algorithmic search results link to Google’s own services more than three times as often as other search engines link to Google’s services. For selected keywords, biased results advance search engines’ interests at users’ expense: We demonstrate that lower-ranked listings for other sites sometimes manage to obtain more clicks than Google and Yahoo’s own-site listings, even when Google and Yahoo put their own links first. … Google typically claims that its results are ‘algorithmically-generated’, ‘objective’, and ‘never manipulated.’ Google asks the public to believe that algorithms rule, and that no bias results from its partnerships, growth aspirations, or related services. We are skeptical. For one, the economic incentives for bias are overpowering: Search engines can use biased results to expand into new sectors, to grant instant free traffic to their own new services, and to block competitors and would-be competitors. The incentive for bias is all the stronger because the lack of obvious benchmarks makes most bias would be difficult to uncover. That said, by comparing results across multiple search engine, we provide prima facie evidence of bias; especially in light of the anomalous click-through rates we describe above, we can only conclude that Google intentionally places its results first.”

      ICLE: “A new report released [PDF] by the International Center for Law und Economics and authored by Joshua Wright, Professor of Law and Economics at George Mason University, critiques, replicates, and extends the study, finding Edelman und Lockwood’s claim of Google’s unique bias inaccurate and misleading. Although frequently cited for it, the Edelman und Lockwod study fails to support any claim of consumer harm – or call for antitrust action – arising from Google’s practices.Prof. Wright’s analysis finds own-content bias is actually an infrequent phenomenon, and Google references its own content more favorably than other search engines far less frequently than does Bing: In the replication of Edelman und Lockwood, Google refers to its own content in its first page of results when its rivals do not for only 7.9% of the queries, whereas Bing does so nearly twice as often (13.2%). – Again using Edelman und Lockwood’s own data, neither Bing nor Google demonstrates much bias when considering Microsoft or Google content, respectively, referred to on the first page of search results. – In our more robust analysis of a large, random sample of search queries we find that Bing generally favors Microsoft content more frequently-and far more prominently-than Google favors its own content. – Google references own content in its first results position when no other engine does in just 6.7% of queries; Bing does so over twice as often (14.3%). – The results suggest that this so-called bias is an efficient business practice, as economists have long understood, and consistent with competition rather than the foreclosure of competition. One necessary condition of the anticompetitive theories of own-content bias raised by Google’s rivals is that the bias must be sufficient in magnitude to exclude rival search engines from achieving efficient scale. A corollary of this condition is that the bias must actually be directed toward Google’s rivals. That Google displays less own-content bias than its closest rival, and that such bias is nonetheless relatively infrequent, demonstrates that this condition is not met, suggesting that intervention aimed at ‘debiasing’ would likely harm, rather than help, consumers.”

  • Gerrit Eicker 08:38 on 3. November 2011 Permalink
    Tags: , , , Encrypted Search, , , , , , , , , Keyword (Not Provided), , , Organic Search Results, , , , , , , , , , , , ,   

    Keyword (Not Provided) 

    Google SSL leads to not provided keywords for search traffic: more than 10% already; http://eicker.at/KeywordNotProvided

    • Gerrit Eicker 08:39 on 3. November 2011 Permalink | Reply

      SEL: “Google’s new encrypted search for logged in users now appears to be blocking a much higher percentage of search terms than when it initially rolled out two weeks ago. In some cases, it might even be higher than the 10% or less figure that the company initially predicted might be impacted. … Google predicted that the change would impact 10% or less of searches… However, as of October 31, we have seen a very significant increase on the Not Provided figure here on Search Engine Land. It’s not just us, either. Looking at data from several websites across industries, we see a range of 7% to 14% of total organic keywords now being blocked.The figure is even more dramatic, however, when you consider it as a percentage of Google-driven keywords. In other words, the 12.87% figure above means that for ALL keywords from ANY search engine to Search Engine Land, 12.87% of them were blocked. … The rollout was supposed to take place over the course of several weeks. The process is still happening, and it seems as if it was suddenly enabled for more users on October 31.

      LM: “It’s not just Google Analytics that will be denied this data. By ‘enhancing’ their default user experience for signed in users, Google will be redirecting signed in users to https://www.google.com, thus encrypting the search results page. In analytics, you’ll still be able to see that these signed in users came from the organic search results, but instead of being able to see the actual keywords that they used, you’ll see all that data aggregated under (Not Provided.) … So far [October 20th], since this change launched, LunaMetrics has seen 1% of our keywords clumped into (Not Provided.) A client with substantially larger organic search volume has already seen almost 2% of their organic keywords represented as Not Provided. We shall see how far-reaching these changes actually are in a few weeks when they’re rolled out completely.

      Naylor: “The online SEO community was up in arms after Google announced that signed-in users would get the encrypted search results as standard on google.com, meaning that all the referring keyword data would be lost in any analytic package. – Short term, this is unlikely to cause a too much of an upset and most people are saying they are only seeing 2-3% of all searches coming through with the (not provided) keywords.

      Mark8t: “As the change gets rolled out worldwide, you will start to see an increasing number of ‘Keyword Not Provided’, so you will need to become more creative. I would strongly recommend if you have not already to get a Google Webmaster Account, as Google notes: You ‘can also receive an aggregated list of the top 1,000 search queries that drove traffic to their site for each of the past 30 days through Google Webmaster Tools (GWT). This information helps webmasters keep more accurate statistics about their user traffic’. … In my view, although it may take more time, if you focus on content data, trends with keywords [as opposed to exact data] and other tools available, the impact will be somewhat lessened. The reality is, there is no point in crying over split milk, it’s done. Now it’s time to come up with creative solutions to keep moving forward.

    • Gerrit Eicker 08:26 on 11. November 2011 Permalink | Reply

      LM: “Google SSL Search: Update on (not provided) keywords – Matt Cutts’ estimation that SSL search would only affect single-digit percentages of searchers is still holding true (in aggregate). But as you can see from the numbers above, the number of signed-in Google users that reach your site will vary greatly depending on your industry. The silver lining in this is at least we’re able to easily measure the effects of SSL search using Google Analytics and a couple of advanced segments.

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