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Posts Tagged ‘search’

Google is my favorite company – it is THE apex of innovation. I truly admire the company’s ability to find ways to make more money and provide the best customer experience. It has been making great strides online, and its technology is second to none.

CPC-model is Google’s bread and butter. It started with an algorithm, and has grown into a giant empire. Last year, users were able to type a company’s name and a list showed up with the company’s URL directly in the search query options. While this meant that Google had to forgo CPCs, it provided for a much better customer experience.

In Nov 2009, Google introduced Sitelinks, which allows advertisers to add deep-links to the site on paid search ads. This allows for a more customized user experience, and allows advertisers to provide separate landing pages for each and hence increase qualified traffic and conversions.

In Nov 2009, Google also rolled out product extensions. Advertisers could display their product images in paid search ads.

Last year, Google started testing product listing ads on a CPA basis. If you searched for a product, say iPhone, Google showed ads for iPhone on the right hand side with product images from various sites/online sellers. Users tend to click on organic ads more than paid ads, and ads on the right hand side get even less attention. Having product images show up is an innovative way to increase (qualified) traffic and possibly conversions. We participated in the Beta and were happy with the results. Google talked about adding a promotion to product listing ads, but that has not yet materialized. Google performed various tests, and we never had visibility into any of them. The tests showed by as “Experiment 1” and so on.

This year Google unveiled its new look with several filtering options, and rose to the social media challenge by allowing Facebook and Twitter to show up in search.

Recently I noticed that ratings have started showing up on the right hand side for merchants. This is probably in beta, but its another way to increase clicks, CPCs, and conversions. The ratings are sourced from Bizrate, and I am willing to bet that they are being used from Google Shopping. Here is more information on ratings.

Google has also been using page recommendations at the bottom of search results. So if you type Groupon, you can see Groupon’s competitors at the bottom of the page.

Google has been using the Shopping data feeds in innovative ways for adding images to Google searches; I won’t be surprised if Google eventually does away with Shopping or finds a way to monetize that. Which is a pity because how will merchants justify investment in CSEs if there is no free Google or Bing Cashback anymore? CSEs will have to either reduce CPCs or do a damn good job of driving conversions to compensate for the cost. My peers and I find the CSE program to be the smallest and most expensive, but it is worth investing in because it drives a significant number of new customers. Whether the quality of customers is good is yet to be seen.

Google is trying to figure out how it can leverage its own real estate above the fold to make more money from merchants and yet not impact customer experience. Google never has a “me too” approach – it always stays miles ahead of the rest. Kind of like Amazon. A long time back I was asked in a job interview, “Tell me 3 of your favorite sites”. “Amazon” is always my answer. For the second site, I blanked out and said “Google”. My answer was declined because Google is not really a website, and I had to think some more.

Its amazing that Google never advertises — I remember the old saying that there is no need to advertise something good. Bing advertises on TV shows, online ads, etc., but their algorithm is so bad that I cannot bear to use the search engine. I tried using cashback, but for cashback alone because the search engine is far inferior. One smart thing Bing has done is showing up as sponsored listings on Facebook. So if you search for something on Facebook and scroll all the way to the bottom, you see Bing ads, not Google.

In the affiliate channel, Google has made many improvements to its interface used by advertisers and affiliates. I asked Google’s two biggest competitors —

  • Competitor 1 – Google has made so many improvements to its interface. Do you have any plans to make such improvements to your interface? Their response – “We focus more on growing through affiliate reach and relationships than technology, so no, in the near future we have no such plans.” What a shame. If you cannot fulfill basic data needs without having to go through a complex process, eventually clients will switch. Why not focus on both and stay a step ahead of Google?
  • Competitor 2 – How does your interface compared to Google? Their response – “Our interface is not as pretty”. Google’s interface is not pretty, just easy to use. Intelligent clients would never choose looks over ease of use and and business needs.

On the flip side, Google has certain processes in place and has streamlined all its newly acquired businesses. Which is good for Google, but not so good for clients. A lot of language in their contracts cannot be negotiated. Google is one of the few vendors that comes to meet clients in jeans, brings presentations on recycled paper even though they seem to be of poor quality, and they use both sides of the paper. Which is why I admire the company. Their employees do not need to bend over backwards for clients.

Google employees are happy people. They have a free cafeteria, can work from home, get maternity and paternity leave, and can relocate and still work with the same team virtually. The company truly cares about its employees. No wonder Fortune has listed it as the 4th best company to work for. However, I have heard that the company does not pay as much. And the titles are not as high. You may be a manager in another company and an associate manager at Google, although you have the same experience and possible same salary.

Google and Pixar are my favorite companies because of their innovation and creativity. I don’t hold Apple in as much regard because their technology is not as superior. I truly admire Google, and am looking forward to more innovation from the company.

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Why do vendors have to send large files (3-5MB)? I don’t understand the logic. Does anybody have the time to read them? I respond to ALL of them letting them know not to send such large files without prior communication. Its soooooo annoying. That and the automatic opt-in for emails. UGH.

Today one vendor called marketing a search service. He did not even know our website. Gee, how long does it really take to type my company site? Ridiculous! If you don’t have the time to check out my company site before calling me, why will I take time out to review your services? Agencies, especially search, are dime-a-dozen.

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