Archive for category discussion
The phrase ‘long tail’ has become common terminology among the search marketing community ever since it was coined in 1994. Many a search marketer now abides by the long tail’s convincing theory in an effort to appear higher in natural search results or achieve a better return on investment from PPC marketing.
But while the long tail has boasted widespread adoption throughout the search marketing community, there does not appear to be a universal agreement among PPC specialists about exactly how many words constitute a long tail keyword. Nor does there appear to be agreement about which other metrics – price, search volume, competitiveness or purchase intention – should be used in defining a long-tail keyword.
Google is all about relevancy. Their whole business model depends on it. They want to provide searchers with the most relevant and useful results, and provide the easiest and most efficient means for searchers to find the information they are seeking.
So it comes as a surprise to see widespread discussion criticising the quality of Google search results among search marketing professionals, talk of people getting up in arms because they can’t find the information they are looking for, mention of people having to resort to old-fashioned bookmarking to avoid losing track of that golden nugget of an article they found back in 2003.
Are search results really becoming less relevant? Or are our expectations of high quality search results increasing faster that improvements in search quality can keep up? While Google no doubt needs to continue to improve the relevancy and usefulness of it search results, it’s not just Google who need to improve. We can also learn how to better construct our search queries to find the right information more quickly and easily.
This week Google unveiled one of their biggest changes to the Google search results page in recent years – an evolution of their Autocomplete feature called Google Instant. In a nutshell, Google Instant predicts what you are searching for, and displays search results for its prediction as you type. Not the results for what you have typed, but the results for what it predicts you are going to type.
All very clever. And a massive time-saver too – reducing search time around the world by a massive 11 hours every second (not per person, in total).
But while this is arguably a change for the better, giving users a greater level of interactivity as they search, the announcement has had some negative reactions from search marketers.
Last week Google announced they are offering searchers the option to use SSL when they search. SSL stands for Secure Sockets Layer, and is a method of web encryption. When using Google’s new SSL page, your search terms, web history and other personal information will be encrypted, thereby improving your privacy.
With SSL, you can search and browse in full confidence, knowing that your personal information and browsing habits will never find its way to unscrupulous third-parties. When you click on a Google link, and visit an external site, because your browsing is encrypted, the site you visit will not be able to see that you came from Google – nor will they be able to see what you searched for. Advertisers therefore can’t use your personal information to provide you with ads for things you don’t need or want.
Sounds great, doesn’t it? And the more secure we can make the web, the better, right?
It is only once we consider the implications for the web businesses that we realise the sheer importance of such analytical data. It is only when this data is threatened to be taken away, that we realise that SSL encryption might not be in the public’s best interests.
Let’s see why.