The SEO News Round Up: Google’s Search Engine of the Future, Google Shopping Incentives and Brands Who Love Instagram
Fresh Egg continue the weekly SEO news round up with a look at Google’s Knowledge Graph (snazzy new features, a rollout across more countries and combined voice search for mobile), a controversial Gmail experiment, incentives for Google Shopping merchants, the growing popularity of Instagram among top brands and an insightful mobile ad campaign study.
Let’s get started.
Google: Building the search engine of the future
On the 8th of August, Google put a post on their official blog to highlight three steps that they are taking to improve search, making it more intelligent and faster for users trying to find what they’re looking for.
We are all well aware that in May Google launched their ’Knowledge Graph’ ,which they describe as: “our database of more than 500 million real-world people, places and things with 3.5 billion attributes and connections among them”.
Up until now, access to the Knowledge Graph has been limited to searches within the US and the UK. However, the Knowledge Graph is now being rolled out to every English-speaking country on the planet, and will display results that are relevant to the locality of the enquiry; a search for “chiefs” in Australia, for example, will display Knowledge Graph results for the rugby team including players, results, fixtures, history, etc.
The intelligence of the Knowledge Graph will also pick up on enquiries which have different meanings and will display options within the ‘suggest’ box to help refine the search. The example below is for an enquiry for “Rio” and shows suggested options for related enquiry strings:
This level of understanding is a big step towards users being able to find the right results faster, while the introduction of a new carousel style feature within the SERPs is going to bring a new dimension to how users find the information they are looking for by displaying a visual list of results connected to the search enquiry which can be scrolled through and selected for more information. To find out more about this particular feature, check out this video.
The Knowledge Graph has also been integrated into the voice recognition feature of the mobile search platform, allowing users to tap and speak their enquiries directly into their mobile devices and have more relevant results provided and in some cases even spoken back to them.
While this feature has been available on the Android operating system for a few weeks, Google have announced that the function will also be available soon on iPhone and iPad devices.
You can see the voice recognition function in action over here.
Displaying Gmail within SERPs
Yes, you did read that correctly: Google are running a small experiment that involves showing personal Gmail messages within search results pages.
The official Google blog states:
“Sometimes the best answer to your question isn’t available on the public web—it may be contained somewhere else, such as in your email. We think you shouldn’t have to be your own mini-search engine to find the most useful information—it should just work. A search is a search, and we want our results to be truly universal. So we’re developing a way to find this information for you that’s useful and unobtrusive…”
This rather controversial feature means that email messages which are relevant to the search enquiry will be displayed for users logged into a personal Gmail account. Google give the example of someone planning a biking trip in Tahoe, with related Gmail results appearing in an expandable box at the top right-hand side of the SERPs.
The emails that appear could be anything from a friend who has emailed you to tell you about great places to eat to a newsletter from a bike company who has produced a list of the top trails in Tahoe.
Google have even gone so far as to allow a search for “my flights” to display a user’s personal flight confirmation emails above the other results.
While this feature is still in the trial phase, there are concerns about how secure it will be. Fresh Egg SEO engineer Stephen Jones said:
“Gmail isn’t invulnerable: Google’s problematic relationship with the Chinese government has shown it can be hacked. Providing a pipe to it on the search interface seems both unnecessary from a user perspective (my Gmail tab is there when I’m logged in to a Google account) and an open challenge for someone to try an exploit.”
If you want to voice your concerns or support for this feature, please leave a comment below.
Google Shopping incentives
Director of Product Management at Google Shopping Jennifer Dulski has reminded merchants that there are only a few days left to take advantage of the incentives available to merchants who comply with Google Shopping policies.
The incentives listed within Jennifer’s post on the Google Commerce blog are:
- All merchants who are promoting all of their online product inventory and are compliant with Google Shopping policies by August 15 2012 will receive a monthly AdWords credit of 10% of their total US spend on Product Listing Ads through the end of the year
- Additionally, merchants active on Product Search as of May 30 2012 can fill out a form by August 15 2012 and receive a $100 AdWords credit to use toward Product Listing Ads
The deadline for merchants wanting to take advantage of this offer is the 15th of August 2012. For more information, visit the Google Commerce blog.
Brands who love Instagram
A study conducted by the social data and reporting company Simply Measured compiled from Interbrand statistics reveals that, of the top 100 brands:
- 40% have Instagram accounts
- 26% post one or more photos per week
- 17% have 10,000+ followers
- 14% have 20,000+ followers
- 8% have over 100,000 followers
The report looks at the level of engagement being achieved by brands who are using Instagram, which can be seen in the table above (taken from the Simply Measured report), as well as looking at correlations between followers-to-engagement ratios and which brands are performing well within the Instagram platform.
Simply Measured state:
“As we approach Instagram’s 2-year anniversary and they creep closer to 100 million users, the network will become harder and harder for brands to ignore. While building a strategy around a mobile-only, exclusively image based platform can seem daunting, the growing audience is engaged, and top brands are taking advantage of this.”
You can read the full report at the Simply Measured blog here.
Mobile ad campaign study reveals 50% of queries result in a purchase
The final item in this week’s round up looks at a very insightful study into the search behaviours and location of mobile device users. The study was commissioned by call tracking provider Telemetrics and mobile ad network xAd, and observed the behaviours of 1,500 US smartphone and tablet users within three verticals: restaurants, travel and automotive.
The results revealed the following conversion rates for mobile searches:
- Restaurants – 85%
- Automotive – 51%
- Travel – 46%
Take a look at the infographic below for more insight into mobile search behaviours and patterns.
We hope you’ve enjoyed this week’s SEO news round up. Feel free to leave a comment below or subscribe to our RSS feed by clicking here.