May, 2010

  • The Search Blog

    Are you ranking for your competitor's brand keywords?

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    The ‘Similar’ functionality on Google provides an easy way for your customers to research your competitor’s websites.  Can your site be found easily when searching for your competitors brand keywords?image

    Last week,  Google announced an enhancement of their ‘similar sites’ functionality.  For a while now they have displayed a ‘Similar’ link next to some search results which links to another search page to show related websites, some of which are for competitor websites. Google are going to making this list of related sites more prominent by showing top matching sites inline with the initial set of search results, e.g…

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    To be honest, I have not been able to replicate these results yet, so I assume this feature is being rolled out to a subset of users, or perhaps only in certain regions.  I have not spent any time trying to get it to appear (I am happy to wait).

    The ‘similar’ features provided by both Google and Bing really do make searching for brands more interesting.  Typically it is quite rare for a competitor to appear high in search results when searching for another brand name, however the similar links enable users to explore other options which are not optimised for the keywords they are searching for.  A simple search for my favourite band on both search engines provides a great example of how the two search engines provide information about competitors when searching for a specific brand…

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    OK, so I’ll admit that I already knew about the Goo Goo Dolls!  However, Bing did suggest a two bands who I had not previously heard of…

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    I am now REALLY enjoying listening to the Gin Blossoms for the first time courtesy of Spotify and Bing :-)

    Author: Chris Moore is a Program Manager working on Search Engine Optimisation at Microsoft.  http://www.twitter.com/chrismdotcom

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  • The Search Blog

    New search engines features=less nonsense referrals?

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    Yesterday Google released an update which adds a left navigation bar to search results designed to allow users to quickly slice and dice search results.  This video explains more…

    Google are clearly following Bing’s lead in creating a search experience which engages the user, keeping them within the search engine interface for longer and offering them the opportunity to intelligently refine search queries before clicking through to  the destination sites.

    Bing has a complete set of videos available which highlight it’s ‘decision engine’ features designed to avoid ‘search overload’, by allowing the user to refine their search query and get to the correct result faster…

    Websites with diverse and large content sets (such as Microsoft.com) often see huge amounts of long tail traffic from search engines, although a large percentage of that traffic can be from irrelevant search queries (which can be recognised when a user quickly clicks the ‘Back’ button in Internet Explorer after landing on a page).  I wonder whether we will start to see a drop in irrelevant search referrals as the search engines provide more sophisticated search result refinement capabilities?  I also wonder whether this drop would be welcomed by site owners? Particularly those who may have taken steps to redirect users, or engage them with ‘related’ links within their long tail content…

    Author: Chris Moore is a Program Manager working on Search Engine Optimisation at Microsoft.  http://www.twitter.com/chrismdotcom

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