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Google Enhanced Image Search Not For Everyone

Category : search engine marketing

6

I was looking around in the Google Webmaster Tools the other day and came across Enhanced Image Search in the Diagnotic tab. With all the focus on Universal Search and the new emphasis on optimizing images for search results, I was intrigued to figure out what this was all about. Let me start by saying that I think this tool has its place, but it’s not for everyone.

From the Webmaster Tools interface, you have the option to check a box, press OK and enable enhanced image search. Below is a screenshot of where you can find the Enhanced Image Search option.

Google Enhanced Image Search

By doing this Google will use tools (Google Image Labeler) to associate the images within your site with labels that will improve indexing and search quality of those images. Very important point here – you’re assuming the LABELS created will be quality and therefore improve the search quality. One quick spin through the Google Image Labeler left me doubting that in some instances.

From the Image Labeler intro screen, here is how it works:

You’ll be randomly paired with a partner who’s online and using the feature. Over a two-minute period, you and your partner will be shown the same set of images and asked to provide as many labels as possible to describe each image you see. When your label matches your partner’s label, you’ll earn points depending on how specific your label is. You’ll be shown more images until time runs out. After time expires, you can explore the images you’ve seen and the websites where those images were found. And we’ll show you the points you’ve earned throughout the session.

Okay, hats off to Google for creating a game that people can play that help Google index images better. If you’re given a perfectly understandable and obvious image, you and whoever you’re paired up with could vastly improve the indexing of that image with quality labels. But what happens if you and your partner can’t figure out the image and you both guess incorrectly and give the image the wrong label? Below is an example. Is that a choir? A wedding party? People in church? I have no idea an either did my partner.

Google Image Labeler

The company I work for manufactures data networking hardware and we have products that many people would have no clue how to label – simply because they don’t deal with that sort of hardware. I wouldn’t trust our products to be labeled correctly.

But, if I had a retail site with an obvious, understandable set of product images I think this would be a very useful tool. Especially if it could help my images land on the search engine results page (SERP). With Universal Search, this will become an ever increasing possibility.


Allow Me To Introduce You To…

Category : blogging, search engine marketing

13

I walked away from the recent SES conference with tons of great information that will help me in my job. On top of that, I also went home having gotten to know some really great people. Getting to know these folks was very gratifying on both a personal and professional level! It just so happens that they also have some great blogs that you’re going to want to check out. In no particular order, they are:

Matt McGee of Small Business SEM: If you read this site often, you know I’ve mentioned Matt and his site many times. I’d already met Matt but truly enjoyed getting to know him better last week. His site is an excellent resource for any size company looking to better optimize their search marketing. He also has written extensively about local search.

Stoney deGeyter, Diana Adams, and Rob Woods of E-Marketing Performance: What a great crew from Pole Position Marketing! They were among the great people that I met and hung out with during the week. Their blog is a great compilation of everything search and online marketing. Everything from advertising to link building to PPC to usability can be found on this site! Check out their company as well – they’re a full service search marketing firm.

Jennifer Laycock and Robert Clough of Search Engine Guide: One of the first blogs I ever read! Even with 100s of more blogs added to my feed reader since then, they’re still a daily stop for me. If you have never visited their site, you need to start doing so now. They’re great people with an incredible perspective on business and life – very refreshing!

Simon Heseltine of SearchEngineTigers.com: Simon is the author of the Search Engine Tigers search marketing blog and also works for RedBoots Marketing Consultants. Simon does a great job of following current social media and marketing trends on his blog. He also has a great personality and is a very easy person to be around!

David Wallace of SearcRank Blog: It was an absolute pleasure to spend time with David and his wife Irma at the conference. David has been blogging since 2004 and started SearchRank consulting in 1997. Needless to say when David starts taking about search marketing, your ears perk up. Check out his site to tap into some of that knowledge!

Chris Winfield and Danielle Winfield of 10e20: Chris and Danielle are great people who run a very successful Internet marketing business in New York. Their blog has topics ranging from social media to Photoshop design work. Chris is my new go-to guy for everything social media! Take some time to check out their vast experience and services at 10e20!

Darcy Hill of Traffic Leader: What a character! Darcy couples a great sense of humor with a vast knowledge of the search marketing/SEO industry. His blog – MrRex Sez – is a perfect example of that. I’m very much looking forward to another conference down the road with Darcy!

As you can see I had the chance to meet incredible people who have already given me new insights. What a great benefit of attending conferences!


Back From SES San Jose

Category : search engine marketing

2

After a long airport/airplane day, I’m back from San Jose and the Search Engine Strategies (SES) conference. I will still be recapping important issues and trends discussed at the event over the next week or so. In the meantime, if you’re wanting more news quickly, please visit the Search Engine Strategies Blog and you can get links to many session recaps. Lisa Barone from Bruce Clay, David Dalka, Lee Odden and his team from The Online Marketing Blog, and the team from Search Engine Roundtable were among the sites that live blogged the event.

Overall, I was very happy with the conference. I thought this year’s sessions were less about just paid search (PPC) and search engine optimization (SEO) and more about the complete strategy of marketing your business on search engines. There was also a major infusion of social media tracks and how companies and agencies can take advantage of the trend.

As a person on the client side BtoB space, I was also encouraged to see that more of the speakers talked about how search engine marketing is a significantly growing factor for us. I can see BtoB being a much bigger focus of this conferences in two years.

Overall, well worth my time! I would encourage you to take a look at future SES conferences.


It’s Time To Figure Out Image Marketing

Category : search engine marketing, social marketing

5

image collageOne of the hot topics this week at SES San Jose is the coming of age of the blended and universal search engine results page (SERP). I won’t go too much into it as I posted about it earlier in the week, but it does have relevance to this post. Images are now and will be playing a greater role on the SERP – possibly taking up space once reserved for a standard web page listing. If images are a factor in your marketing, I would say now is the time to get them optimized for the search engines.

Adam Snider posted a comment on my universal search post yesterday asking if there was any information at the conference about ways to optimize images beyond the basic alt-tags text.

Well, given the new importance on multimedia and images, I decided to figure that out by attending the session on Images and Search Engines. It turned out to be loaded with great information.

Sheri Thurow led off with an easy to follow presentation that walked through tips and tricks to optimizing images. From her presentation:

  • Alternative (alt) text is what shows when the image does not show. This alt text is also crawled by the search engines. Make sure popular keywords are included here.
  • Relevant keywords should be in text around the image.
  • Anchor text (hyperlinked text) leading to the page and image should include relevant text about the page and image. Instead of “Pictures Here”, try something like, “See photos of SES San Jose and the Google Dance”.
  • Photos should be in .jpg or .gif, but .jpg is the best.
  • Utilize caption or label text in the immediate area around an image.
  • Make sure file names make sense to the audience. Rather than “img002.jpg”, try “patrickschaber-sessanjose.jpg”.
  • Use dashes and not underscores in filename.
  • Utilize correct SEO site structure on the page.

Liana Evans of Search Marketing Gurus also pointed out that the universal and blended search factor means companies need to have increased reputation monitoring. Non-professional images can quickly make their way across the web and now have a greater chance to make that first page of results. In other words, make sure photos from the company party don’t include anything too risky!! Liana also added to Sheri’s list wtih these suggestions:

  • Increase your use of correctly formatted images in press releases.
  • Create a sitemap of your images for the search engine crawlers.

Chris Smith of Netconcepts was next up and he had a great presentation on using Flickr for image marketing. Before I get into Chris’ tips, I want to point out that Matt McGee at Small Business SEM also has an incredible post about Flickr and image marketing. Matt also points out a great example of the potential of Flickr photo buzz.

Chris outlined some photo sharing sites but strongly indicated that Flickr was best optimized for SEO purposes. Utilizing a photo sharing service like Flickr for your images increases the possibility that your images will turn up in search results either on that photo sharing site or in search engines. Thus increasing the chance that an image will lead a searcher to your site. Here is what Chris indicated that Flickr will do for your images:

  • Create a well-optimized profile page for each image
  • Good caption text
  • Includes links back to your site
  • Images can be tagged for easier searchability
  • Images can be cross-grouped
  • Alt-text is used
  • Date taken and page views displayed (search engines like this)

Here was his list of tips if you’re going to try Flickr:

  • Add unique title to image profile page
  • Add description
  • Tag with popular keywords
  • Make images publicly viewable
  • Choose loose licensing so others can use photo (encouraging a link back to your site)
  • Geo tag them if applicable
  • Use flickr groups
  • Add links to descrpition field
  • Post each page to del.icio.us 

For more information on Flickr and image optimization be sure to check out Chris‘ or Matt’s blog.

I encourage you to take a look at your images used in your business and see if it makes sense to optimize them for search. It does seem like images will be playing an increasingly larger role on the SERP.


Do You Mind Being Followed?

Category : online marketing, search engine marketing

0

man-spying.jpgContinuing my session recaps from Search Engine Strategies San Jose 2007, I want to discuss a little of what we learned from the Post Search Ads session.

As a marketer, I know that the first interaction with my company’s brand does not always lead to a sale. It takes multiple ad impressions to grab the attention of a prospect. That is why online (and offline) ad buying has to be strategic – we need to make sure we’re interacting with the prospect at many steps in the buying process. Well, there are services now that help you follow your prospects, but how does the prospect feel about being followed?

Say for instance you come to a website and search for information. After looking through the results you don’t feel that website gave you what you need so you exit the site and move on. Well, that website put a “cookie” in your browser that will stay for 14 days. During that time, the website you exited will be displaying ads for you on other sites you visit in an attempt to win you back. In a spy movie, this is the equivelant of putting one of those tracking devices on the bottom of someone’s car and following them.

As Kevin Lee from DidIt.com points out in his presentation, buyers are in the market longer then their first search.

They have a whole buying funnel to go through before they make their purchase. Behavioral targeting and retargeting allows you to learn from what the searcher does and interact with them in different ways as they travel down that funnel.

Michael Benedek of Almond.net threw out an interesting fact. He pointed out that buyers spend 5% of their time showing interest in products on search engines and 95% of their time doing research on other sites.

That’s a pretty big statistic. As an advertiser, I want a piece of that 95% of time spent on other sites. Plus, if I can get a chance to learn more about the buyer as they browse, I can focus more on targeting my ads as they get closer to the check out line. Statistics show that click-through-rates on retargeting ads are the same as non-targeted ads, but conversion rates for advertisers are 5-10 times better with retargeting.

Is behavioral targeting and retargeting an exact science? No way. 15-20% of people clear their cookies so those people cannot be tracked. Also, what happens if you’re looking for grills on your home computer and your kids gets on the same computer and look for ringtones for their cell phones? What is the advertiser going to show you? A grill that makes music?

But, Dave Carberry of Advertising.com pointed out that by 2011 $3.8 billion will be spent on behavioral targeting and retargeting. So, the technology will get better and advertisers will be more in tune with buyers on the web.

As a searcher and buyer, how do you feel about companies retargeting their ads to you based on your browsing behavior tracked from a cookie in your browser? My first reaction from the buying perspective is that I don’t like it. But, as the presentations went along, I opened up a bit because there is the chance I might be able to find what I’m looking for quicker because advertisers are more aware of what I want. Less garbage ads being thrown at me as I browse.

Your thoughts from a buyer and advertiser perspective?


Bye, Bye Organic Website Listings

Category : search engine marketing, strategy

12

Greetings from San Jose! The Search Engine Strategies conference is off to a great start with a positive vibe and great content. I’m hoping to share a little current search marketing information from each session I attend.

Universal and Blended Search

If you’re not familiar with the terms Universal and Blended Search, it might be time to educate yourself. A shift is happening on the Search Engine Results Page (SERP) that might drastically affect those nice website rankings you’ve been enjoying.

Maybe you’ve noticed that the first page of results from searches you run on Google, Yahoo, Ask, etc. are starting to contain organized results from blogs, news/PR, images, video, maps and ratings websites. What that means to you is that there is less real estate for standard website results we’ve been used to for years.

Is this a good thing? For the user, I think it definitely it is. Universal and blended search results now offer a wider variety of options from which searchers can choose. On Yahoo, for instance, you now will have the opportunity to watch an actual video right from the SERP without ever leaving the SERP.

But…..I also learned today that early results are showing that 30% less people are navigating to the second page of results on a given search. This means there are so many more engaging options on that first page that searchers are finding it less necessary to go to page two.

So, what happens if your once high-ranking web pages now fall farther down on the list due to video, image, blog etc. results? Well, it might be time to change with the times. Google’s David Bailey suggests:

  • Registering your business with Local search to take advantage of geographical targeting
  • Create useful, popular video content
  • Submit product feeds to Froogle.

Other advice I took away from the session include:

  • Optimizing press releases for search engines
  • Including images on press releases to take advantage of image results in search
  • Optimizing images on website for better searchability
  • Utilize social media such as blog and video to promote your company.

Overall, I don’t think any of the information from the session was monumental, but it did show a sign of the times. The focus continues to be on user experience and us marketers need to make sure we’re staying on top of what the user wants.

Isn’t that the goal of marketing anyway?


Heading To SES San Jose Next Week

Category : search engine marketing

2

sessanjose2007As a heads up to my readers, I’m heading to the Search Engine Strategies (SES) conference in San Jose next week. I’m very excited for the event and hope to be able to pass on alot of new search engine marketing information to you! I attended the event last year and found it to be a great source of current PPC, SEO, and other related SEM and online marketing information.

(oh yeah, the Google Dance isn’t bad either!)

I’m not going to be live blogging from the event, but will be passing on what I’ve learned from each session. Stay Tuned!

Anyone else heading to SES San Jose? Any topics related to the event you’d like me to cover on the Lonely Marketer?


Google Ad Preview and Click Fraud Updates

Category : search engine marketing

2

I’ve been in a “pass along news” phase this week rather than the “practical tips” information I usually post. Interesting news and a crazy schedule are a couple causes for that. At any rate, here are two updates from the Google Adwords Blog that might interest you:

Improved location targeting for the Ad Preview Tool

Maybe my friends over at Red Fly Marketing, with their ad preview Firefox extension utility, prompted Google to speed up the release of their improved tool. I’m impressed with the update (screen shot below). Drop-downs for Keyword, Google Domain, Display Language, Country, and State are huge improvements over the structure they had before. I tested it today and it works pretty good. It was easy enough to use that I also tested our organic results in different countries as well. Wow, in one week this task became so much easier. I encourage you to check out both the Red Fly Marketing Firefox extension and Google’s tool!

googleadpreview.jpg

What’s new in the world of invalid clicks

The Google Click Quality team continues to show their on top of potential click fraud and even working on ways to better communicate their efforts to us users. Check out the post for updates and ways you can help reduce click fraud. I’m an active user of more than a few of their methods for getting rid of bad clicks.


Yahoo! SmartAds: Segmenting Search Marketing

Category : online marketing, search engine marketing

3

As an avid search engine marketer, seeing announcements like this has me very excited for the future of this medium. Yahoo announced the new SmartAds platform that allows marketers to show very targeted banner ad content that will match user interests.

Text ads on Google, Yahoo, and MSN already allow you to show targeted ads to a specific searcher. Now, banner ads on search related sites will also be custom made for the expressed interests of the user. Awesome!

From the press release:

Yahoo! SmartAds is powered by Yahoo!’s leading behavioral, demographic and geographic targeting capabilities and aim to connect users with what they are looking for based on their distinctive, expressed interests. For example, if a user is browsing for hybrid cars in Yahoo! Autos and has selected San Francisco as their default location in Yahoo! Weather, Yahoo!’s SmartAds platform can assemble and deliver a display ad in real time that showcases a hybrid vehicle from a major auto brand, as well as local dealer information and current lease rates. This provides a relevant experience to the user and allows the marketer to reach a user who is likely to become a customer.

In addition, Yahoo!’s patent-pending SmartAds platform allows advertisers and agencies to design a single set of individual creative components, provide Yahoo! with that artwork and a feed to their entire database of offers, then allow Yahoo!’s SmartAds technology to automatically generate the hundreds – if not thousands – of unique ad combinations based on those components. This helps advertisers and agencies scale to take full advantage of all of Yahoo!’s audience targeting capabilities while maintaining control over how their brand is presented.

One important note is that Yahoo is rolling this out only to its travel vertical to start. More industry verticals will follow in the coming months.

Banner ads as a method of advertising needs a boost and technology like this will give it just that. Imagine showing customized video content in a banner ad!


Google’s BtoB Knowledge Center Worth A Look

Category : paid search, search engine marketing

0

I had received an email from The Google Adwords Team a while back and am just now getting around to opening it. The email introduced their new Tech B2B Knowledge Center meant to give tips and tricks to B2B Adwords Advertisers.

The site has a slight focus towards tech advertisers, but after looking through all of the content, I’d say it could easily apply to other B2B markets as well. Some of what can be found out there are tips for:

  • Getting started with paid search
  • Getting better clicks
  • Optimizing for better ROI

A link to the B2B Newsletter included more information on business blogging and optimizing landing pages for search. Along with that came a few case studies of successful company campaigns.

Overall, I came away with a few thoughts here and there. If you’re an advanced PPC user, than this might be too beginner, but for new advertisers I would suggest taking a look.