Google All A Buzz About What?

Google Buzz

Sooner or later Google was going to make a much larger play for the social media market. With over 1 billion searches happening a month on Facebook alone, and social media overtaking search as the largest online category – Google was threatened. There were talks of a buy-out of Twitter and other discussions with networks in the past but nothing came to fruition so Google has gone it alone.

Will you get a Buzz out of Buzz?

With the recent exposure of Buzz you might be thinking what I was – Buzz sounds like Google Wave right? After some initial poking around my conclusion is that it is like Wave except for one differentiating factor – it’s integrated into your Gmail Account. This I believe has been a smart move by the search giant. If Google is ever to crack this market, they know the only way to do it is to leverage their existing Gmail user base, whom already have established contact lists.

However despite all of the hype, will it be a tool that revolutionises the industry? Let’s take a more in-depth look at what the tool offers;

Facebook and Twitter SearchIt’s a bit like Twitter; Users on Buzz can post updates and decide whether to share them privately or with the world. As users are looking for more flexibility in social media to decide whom they will share content with, this might provide users with the control they are looking for.

It’s a bit (actually a lot) like Facebook; Users can share photos, videos & their status with their connections. There are some cool ways users can view photos and comment on content but it’s probably not going to convert the masses.

It’s a bit like Foursquare; Users can tag the location of their tweets and also view tweets on a map in surrounding areas. Unlike Foursquare where conversations occur about a particular location / thing to do, Buzz is more about general conversations occurring in particular locations and being tagged for user benefit.

It takes some elements from Friendfeed; Like FriendFeed Google Buzz allows users to aggregate content from Twitter, Picaso and a few other social applications. It is important however to note that users cannot feed in content from their Facebook profile.

My Verdict

The most under-developed market in the social world is geo-location social media and I believe Google could carve a good slice of this market. Outside of this, my view is the functionality is largely undifferentiated, and I don’t think it will be enough to draw users away from their existing applications. With Facebook now boasting over 400 million users, Google has their work cut out for them as their Gmail user base only has 176 million users. In my opinion this is one war Google wont win with Buzz and maybe Google’s last hurrah for social media. With its many failed attempts Google may have to sit on the social media sidelines and be content with integrating social into their search offering.

Want to know more about Buzz – view the official Google video here

Got an opinion on how Buzz will change the social landscape – would LOVE to hear it, please comment below.

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Learning’s From SES London From My Couch In Melbourne

SEO Marketing

Last year when working in London, I had the privilege to attend SES the Search Engine Strategies conference in London. Being back on home soil obviously means that this year I have had to miss out however I have been following the guru’s who have attended the event to provide Australia’s digital network with some of the key learning’s from the event.

Overall from all the commentary it seems that there were no major new revelations but a lot of good nuggets to help SEOs improve their search strategy.

Conversions & Metrics

One of the hottest topics for the conference seemed to be centred around ways to drive intelligence out of your analytics to make more informed decisions about your search strategy. For too long SEOs have measured effectiveness of efforts through rankings and other superficial measures. However experts have taken the opportunity at this conference to challenge SEOs thinking. Below are some of the different ways SEOs should consider slicing and dicing their data to gain new insight (and in fact many of these can be applied to other channels to compare success).

1. Search term segmentation

Brand EngagementOne of the new measures organizations are looking at is to quantify brand engagement (I think it is more recall) through analyzing search and direct visitor traffic;

Brand Engagement (recall) = (Direct site visitors + Brand Searches) / (Total Search Visits + Direct Visits)

To me however search term segmentation extends well beyond generic vs brand terms. Grouping keywords into topics / related segments and analyzing onsite behavior and conversion is a useful way to understand how certain kinds of keywords are performing and where some of the best traffic / value is being derived from with your search activities. This analysis enables SEOs to determine where their effort is best spent.

2. Per visit values

The per visit value equation allows SEOs to go beyond traffic. This measure allows SEOs to determine how much value monetary or otherwise is on average delivered by each visitor to a site.

Visit Value: Goal Value Total From Search / Total Search Visits

By understanding this value SEOs can develop strategies to improve that value or alternatively use this information to forecast the future value that can be gained through further investment.

For non e-commence sites this one is often a little trickier, however like ecommerce sites traffic = revenue but just in a different form. Non revenue generating sites need to attribute advertising $$$ and value derived from visitors. By doing so non e-commerce sites can start to become more strategic in their analysis of value from search and traffic in general.

Aside from measurement and conversion some of the other important topics covered were related to content and strategy. Whilst I didn’t glean as much from these there are definitely some golden moments that are worth reiterating.

SEO Strategy & Content

SEO and Content StrategyPlanning – “Chasing keywords is a reactionary way to develop your search strategy – it needs to be proactive”

With keyword research a staple in the search diet, this is definitely a new way of thinking about how to plan search. Should we ditch our keyword tools? On the contrary search marketers need to be smarter at identifying trends to get ahead of the search curve and use tools to identify these trends.

Execution – “Getting good at execution is key”
Search experts can benefit from riding the topic wave. 2 hours after Michael Jacksons death Amazon had revamped their whole MP3 site whilst competitors didn’t get anything up until the end of the week. Whilst sites being indexed within hours of making a change is a luxury for some, the message here is clear – agility and quick execution in search can give you the edge over your competitors.

Delivery – Content really can disappoint
For years organisations have allowed search people to bastardise their site in pursuit of rankings but now search industry has to evolve. The bottom line is more time needs to go into the planning of content to really understand user behaviour and to deliver high quality engaging content. In this era content just for search will fail it will be those who build for the user first and the search engine second that will win.
The above are of course just my highlights from the event. If you want to read more on the outcomes of the event I have attached some of the best blog coverage on the seminars. Enjoy!

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