Google Instant Hits Singapore’s Shores

Google Instant is a new search enhancement that shows results as you type. In Google’s words “We are pushing the limits of our technology and infrastructure to help you get better search results, faster. Our key technical insight was that people type slowly, but read quickly, typically taking 300 milliseconds between keystrokes, but only 30 milliseconds (a tenth of the time!) to glance at another part of the page. This means that you can scan a results page while you type.”

They claim that the most obvious change is that you get to the right content much faster than before because you don’t have to finish typing your full search term, or even press “search.” Another shift is that seeing results as you type helps you formulate a better search term by providing instant feedback. You can now adapt your search on the fly until the results match exactly what you want.

Benefits

Faster Searches: By predicting your search and showing results before you finish typing, Google Instant can save 2-5 seconds per search.

Smarter Predictions: Even when you don’t know exactly what you’re looking for, predictions help guide your search. The top prediction is shown in grey text directly in the search box, so you can stop typing as soon as you see what you need.

Instant Results: Start typing and results appear right before your eyes. Until now, you had to type a full search term, hit return, and hope for the right results. Now results appear instantly as you type, helping you see where you’re headed, every step of the way.


Google Instant Launch Video

Did you know: (from Google’s own webpage on Google Instant)

Before Google Instant, the typical searcher took more than 9 seconds to enter a search term, and we saw many examples of searches that took 30-90 seconds to type.

Using Google Instant can save 2-5 seconds per search.

If everyone uses Google Instant globally, we estimate this will save more than 3.5 billion seconds a day. That’s 11 hours saved every second.

15 new technologies contribute to Google Instant functionality

Feedback has been coming in from around the world. The Telegraph offers some insight on the impact of Google Instant on SEO consultants:
“Without the psychological full stop of pressing return, and with users able to see points of interest as they type and consequently refine as they go, it’s plausible that searches will get longer and more specific (feeding, not starving, the Long Tail). It’s also likely that ranking in the hallowed top 3 or 4 positions will become even more important, given that users probably won’t look further down the page while typing. If your result appears in those 3 and it answers the query, it’s going to get a very high Click Through Rate (CTR).
All of the above, of course, depends on one significant point: users actually going to the Google homepage, instead of using the search bar in their browser. Google Instant changes the way people can interact with search, but it far from sounds the death knell for search optimization.”

Check out Google Instant, and let me know if you agree with Google’s statement that “in time, we may wonder how search ever worked in any other way”.

More details are available at the Official Google Instant Webpage.

New Talk – “Marketing On A Zero Budget” – 9th April

Come to our next informative talk on “Marketing On A Zero Budget” and learn:

How to market effectively online to get more clients

How traffic generation and social media can work hand-in-hand to increase your business sales and branding

How to leverage on web analytics to track your online marketing return on investment

Date: Friday 9th April, 7.30pm – 9.30pm

Click here for more details and to register.

Seating is limited so do register early if you are interested in attending.

Interview with Michael Marshall, creator of SEO Competitive Intelligence software – SEORecon

This week we proudly bring you highlights of an interview with Michael Marshall. Michael Marshall is a SEO consultant with over 19 years experience in information technology covering a wide range of specialties including: web design, software engineering, e-commerce solutions, artificial intelligence, and Internet marketing.

He has degrees in Linguistics, Philosophy and Theology and is a contributing author to SEOToday.com, the premier website for SEM professionals, and a contributor to “Building Your Business With Google for Dummies” by Brad Hill.

He’s a frequent presenter at Ultra Advanced SEO Symposiums, a meeting of select masters of the search engine marketing industry, at Search Engine Workshops and also a certified instructor at the Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill Search Engine Academy, an SEO certification program approved by the US educational system.

You can read the full interview here.

What are 3 SEO trends to watch in 2010?

1) Increasing complexity of sources of information in search results akin to Universal Search with Google incorporating new, video, audio etc. in normal search result listings.

2) The increasing importance of Mobile and Local Search.

3) The increasing influence of Personalization of Search.

What are 3 critical skills for any SEO professional to master?

1) Keyword Research

2) Competitive Intelligence – understanding strengths and weaknesses of competitors

3) Measuring performance through Web Analytics

You mentioned personalization of search. Can you elaborate on the impact of this on SEO?

The impact the personalization of search has on SEO should not be treated lightly. A quote from Mike Moran is worth noting here:

“Widespread personalization will doom traditional rank checking. The question won’t be ‘Does my site rank No. 1?’ but rather ‘For what percentage of searchers does my site rank No. 1’ or ‘What was my average ranking yesterday?’ . . . [I]t’s the biggest change in search marketing since paid search.”
– Mike Moran (Search is Getting Personal, Revenue January/February 2007)

Any traditional SEO methodologies or SEO Tools that depend heavily on traditional rank checking methods are similarly doomed. This means that any methods for:

1) Determining which competitors you should emulate, as well as how they should be emulated, and

2) Determining the effectiveness of your SEO efforts

that depend on traditional rank checking methods are destined for obsolescence. The overall thematic relevance of a page also becomes more important.

You also mentioned competitive intelligence research. What is SEO competitive intelligence (SEO-CI) and how could a local business with limited SEO budget use competitive intelligence research to compete against larger companies for top rankings? Would this work in ultra-competitive industries like the hotel, travel, banking and finance industries?

Competitive Intelligence is the process of determining the strengths and weaknesses of your competitors so that you can properly ascertain what the threats and opportunities are for your success in natural search against those competitors. When done properly, it can save you several months of trial and error in developing an SEO strategy, especially in very competitive industries and for very competitive keyphrases. The most accurate method would employ artificial intelligence similar to how AI is employed in multivariate analysis for optimizing landing pages with PPC.

A local business can use it to prioritize which target keyphrases are really worth going after and also to discover important components of a larger company’s SEO strategy, which of those components are most worthy of your attention and emulation, and which of those may be weaknesses that can be exploited.

Read the rest of this interview in which he covers SEO competitive intelligence and reveals the history behind his SEO software SEO Recon here.

Interview with Eyal Aldema, the founder of SheerSEO.com

This week, we are pleased to bring you an interview with Eyal Aldema, the creator of the SEO software SheerSEO.

 

SheerSEO is an unique online Search Engine Optimization (SEO) service that was created in October 2006. It allows you to automate the process of SEO analysis.

Eyal  Aldema

Can you tell our readers a bit more about yourself?
I am a software engineer from Israel.
My last jobs were managing development teams for companies in the internet industry.
While working as a software engineer, I had a hoby of developing my own small websites. This is where I’ve found the magic and power of SEO.
I couldn’t find good software solutions for SEO, and I knew I had a lot to contribute in this area.
So, I quit my job and started developing sheerseo.com, which is an online software for SEO.

What is the 3 biggest SEO challenges faced by consultants or business owners? Why and how did you create the SheerSEO tool?
The biggest challanges are:
a. Using your time wisely, by keeping away from tedious work. There are so many tasks that can easily waste your time for no reason, like getting back links, checking rankings, verify back links, check page ranks.
b. Develop your own strategy for SEO. There are so many opinions on what is right and wrong in SEO, that you need to decide what you believe in and make a lot of trial and error.
c. Adjusting your site to changes in the search market. It is simply not enough to do a one time SEO work. Things keep updating and you need to stay on top of things.

I’ve created Sheer SEO, so that there would be a complete automated SEO solution. SheerSEO is still a long way from this vision, but it could be exciting if we had softwares battling each other, SEO softwares against Google, head to head. Well, as I said, there is still a long way to go until this is achieved.

Your website states that you aim to provide tools to make the SEO monitoring process automated and easy.
How does SheerSEO assist in this and how easy is it to use?

SheerSEO assists mainly in tracking all indicators that influence SEO and the rankings of course. Nothing that you can’t get without SheerSEO, just the fact that you have it all gathered automatically without the need to spend time and have everything presented in a clear visual format, makes things a lot easier.

Let’s just take the rankings for example, you could just check your rankings yourself for a few keywords. But think about websites that have hundreds of keywords and they need to check each week all of them for the main search engines (Google, Bing & Yahoo), that would take a lot of time.

Also, that data isn’t worth much without knowing what is the change we made since last time and try to correlate that with the SEO actions that were done recently. With SheerSEO, you have all that data presented in easy to use tables and graphs, which makes it much easier to understand.

Sheerseo is very easy to use. You just fill in your details, keywords and main URLs and you’re good to go. All interface is very straight forward.

Two emerging challenges for the SEO industry are adjusting rankings for the effect of localized country search and personalization of search.
Does SheerSEO take these two factors into account and if so how?

I think SheerSEO answers them both. You can select which localization you want tracked for each search term, so say you are in Canada, you can check your rankings for US, Canada and Uk, regardless of your actual location. This is because all collection is done on our servers, which are located all over the world, as opposed to desktop application that will gather the info from your computer, which will in this example show you the results for Canadians.

As for the personalization, Sheerseo collects data that is not personalized, which is exactly what you want.

What innovation does SheerSEO bring compared with desktop based rank checking software like RankChecker or WebCEO?
There are many advantages in using an online service. I’ll try to bring a few main points here:
a. You pay per service and not for the application, so you can stop at any time if you think this solution is not right for you.
b. You don’t need to worry about the data getting lost. We keep the data on our database, which we backup regularly. In a desktop application, you might lose the info if something goes wrong with the computer.
c. Your data is available online, from anywhere. Since the data is online, you can see it in your computer, your cell phone, wherever you are. With a desktop application, you only have it on one computer.
d. Platform independent. We work the same from Windows/Mac, all you need is a browser.
e. Share information. Think of an SEO consultant, with desktop application, he’ll need to send reports to his client. With SheerSEO, he can just provide a login to the client and they can both login and see the same information.

SheerSEO looks to be a powerful automation weapon for any SEO expert to possess. What are the main features in SheerSEO and how should a SEO consultant use them in their SEO activity workflow?
Main features are the rankings reports, the main referrers which shows you a lot of information regarding your main backlinks. The backlink watchdog, that can help you make sure that your precious backlinks agreements are not compromised and the white label solution, that can provide a fully branded version of SheerSEO.

A consultant should use them to track the progress he is achieving for his clients. It makes it easier to prove your client the progress made with the online reports, that can show the historical changes to the rankings, the social media mentions etc.

The nice thing here, is that there is not too much to do, you just need to enter the details once you start working for the client, and the rest is done automatically. Then, the SEO consultant, can easily login to the account of the client, get a clear picture of the status in a few seconds, and decide on the actions to follow. We recommend this repetitive test & react is done weekly, but some SEOs do this daily.

Also, we recommend adding the newly created back-links to the backlink watchdog. This if good for having a record of the links added and also for verify that they are not compromised.

In the last few months you’ve been busy adding new features like Summary Snapshots, Localized Tracking, Twitter Mentions and Estimated Clicks.
What are some new SheerSEO features that we can look forward to in 2010?

I believe that in this year, sheerseo has become powerful in SEO tracking, and now is the time to start helping with the actual promotion of sites. So, you can expect to see us help you get backlinks and improve your pages quality. I leave the rest to your imagination, cause I don’t want to reveal my plans to the competitors, but you can expect those features coming pretty soon.

Any final SEO advice for our readers to kick-off 2010?
Pay attention to the new stuff Google is releasing these days. They promised surprises after the new year.

I also encourage you to try the 90 days SheerSEO free trial today to experience its power for yourself (no credit card is required):
http://www.sheerseo.com/seo-monitoring-tools/signup.html

Thank you for your time Eyal, and we wish you and SheerSEO another great year in 2010!


The interviewer Ivan Wong is a SEM & SEO consultant with MapleCommerce.

How To Innovate For Free

How To Innovate For Free (Or Close-To-Zero Budget)

This is an excerpt of an article by Ivan Wong that was published by Web In Travel, Asia’s leading travel distribution, marketing and technology conference.

Read the full article here.

I started our WIT Ideas Lab workshop by posing the question “Is it possible to market online on a zero budget?”
One key premise was that marketers on zero budget would have to avoid paid advertising channels, and focus instead on attracting visitors through free traffic sources including the search engines, video and social media.

In this regard, some relevant quotes arising during the discussion included “content is king”, “social networks build trust and act as your personal information filter”, “content shapes the brand, especially user generated content”, “destination research is 70% of time online in travel” and “the ultimate aim is to convert lookers to bookers”.

We also considered some case studies of innovative use of social media for viral marketing, including the “Best Job In The World” campaign by Tourism Australia. Though not done for free, this campaign generated over US$150 million worth of media exposure on a US$1.2 million budget.

Some free tools were presented to assist in each step’s activities:
Market research tools: Google AdWords Keyword Tool, Kayak Trends, Google Trends.

Content creation/publishing tools: Free blogging software like WordPress, Animoto for producing viral sales videos.

Traffic generation sources:
For a typical travel business doing online marketing, there are a myriad of marketing channels to choose from. Citing the results of a recent HeBS survey in which hoteliers were asked to select their top three Web2.0 initiatives, I suggested that marketers start generating targeted online traffic by optimising for Google, using TripAdvisor, creating profiles on social networks and blogging on the hotel website.

Measure conversions: Use Google analytics to measure conversions and marketing success.

Read more at the WebInTravel Newsroom.