Google Search? Not As Much As You Would Think

On my daily travels through Mashable this evening I came across this rather fascinating story about how Google is killing organic search; and how only roughly 13% of the results page is actually dedicated to giving you the results you need.

The story references a study done by Aaron Harris (twitter: @harris), the founder of Tutorspree, who broke down the Google organic results page(s) and found that far less “real estate” is used to provide you with search results than you would think, or expect.

Google has been the “king” of Internet Search for quite some time, so much so that we no longer say we’ll “search” for something, we often just say “Google-it”.  However the days of copious lists of results seem to have been replaced gradually by revenue raising Google advertising, and with the localised search data we now have other Google products such as Maps also taking up seemingly valuable website space.

Harris used “Auto Mechanic” as an example, while logged into Google on a machine in the TriBeCa area.

13percentgoogle

Says Harris, “I’m using a Macbook Air 13inch. My browser size is set to “Actual Size.” The rest of the page is taken up by Google products. Adwords take up 29% of the page. Google’s map, plotted with it’s own local results takes up 7% of the page. Google’s navigation bar, complete with notifications for my Google+ account, takes up 14% of the page.”

The results themselves?  Harris continues, saying, “The top organic result? Wikipedia. The next two? Yelp, a competitor against which Google is clearly moving.(2)”

If you think 13% is bad, it gets worse – far worse.  “Italian food” provided just 7% real estate dedicated to the organic search results, and if you used your mobile phone, the answer was as low as 0%.  That’s right, NOTHING.

I strongly suggest taking a few minutes to read the study by Aaron Harris on Tutorspree.  You’ll be truly amazed at how little Google is actually providing us by way of Organic Search data.

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Pass or Fail: Apple Releases Disappointing IOS6 Update

There has been anticipation of Apples realease of IOS6 for some times, and yesterday the world got their chance to grab the latest update. Sadly, the update was not worth the hype it was given.

applemapsThe biggest changes were the exclusion of a native YouTube app (owned by Google) and the replacement of Google Maps with an Apple owned native App.  We are all aware of the “war” going on between Apple and Google over the operating systems, but to drop the worlds #1 and most used Maps and Video Sharing systems is downright stupid on Apples part.

This topic has been hot in the blogosphere over the last day or so, as can be read about on “the verve“, “NY Times” and “Marketwatch“.

Those who updated their devices and tested the maps have found it lacking in every aspect.  There are entire streets missing in some areas and the “fancy” improvements (as Apple would refer to them) such as fly overs and turn by turn navigation are only good if you have a 4S or 5 product, so they have once again left the 3 and 4 users out in the cold.  Those users with the TomTom app on their earlier devices would argue that it has nothing to do with the devices not being fast enough either, it’s simply Apple’s business plan – upgrade your device or be screwed over left behind.

Those users of YouTube will be very pleased with the App that Google created recently that in my opinion is better than the native app that came on the earlier IOS releases.  There is also talk that Google have created a Google Maps app and are awaiting approval from Apple, so the question is whether Apple will do right by their users and approve it, or risk upsetting them en mass.

Then again, history shows that Apple don’t need to go out of their way to satisfy users, as the vast majority will blindly follow them regardless of how good or bad a product they release.

Pass or Fail?

An absolute fail!  The update may be an improvement in the eyes of Apple execs, but to this iPhone user it is a massive step backwards.  Personally as soon as I can i’ll be dropping my iPhone and replacing it with an Android system.

Other stories about the IOS6 Update:

BBC News – New Apple maps app under fire from users
PC Mag – 6 Ways Google Maps beats Apple Maps

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Google Places Takes Search To Next Level

Reading through this months issue of NETT Magazine (February 2011) I came across a really great article on the most recent changes to Google’s search engine system.

Local SearchIf you have done a search recently you have probably noticed the “instant” feature that Google has implemented. Instead of typing in a full phrase and hitting enter, the engine will now search on the fly at each word you type in. At first, this appeared to be rather annoying however upon further review and testing it would appear that Google once again are a step ahead of the rest of us.

What Google have done by creating this instant search feature has made long-tail key queries much more relevant. For websites targeted to certain words or phrases, this means a much more targeted audience seeing your keywords. Of course, it also means there is more onus on the website owners to do much higher quality SEO on their websites also.

More importantly though is how this change affects the everyday user who uses Google to find information and businesses. Google, as you may have experienced will always provide relevant information based upon your location. This has always provided localised content. Now, with Google Places, they ahve gone a step further. If the engine thinks you are looking for a particular business, the instant search will automatically display a Google Maps result showing the closest business to your (IP based) location. No problems if you have a proxy either, as on the left-pane you can select your location to bypass the IP search.

This incredible feature takes Google to the next level and makes Google quite possibly the #1 location to find local businesses or information.

If you have not yet tested the localised instant search, head over to Google now and give it a try.

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