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Google Hummingbird &15 Years of Google

Google LogoGoogle is one of the worlds biggest search engines and companies in the world. The search engine that started in a garage is now a world wide phenomenon with millions of people using Google as their search engine of choice. Over the years Google have expanded. After predominately being a search engine the company started to branch out offering pictures, and shopping ideas. Google have now bought Youtube and have rights to the worlds biggest video sharing website on the internet. There is no doubt that Google have succeeded and achieved what they set out to do. However, the big question now is maintaining improvement. Google have recently started their new social media channel labelled Google plus. This has been fairly disappointing for Google, and although it has become a tool for many businesses, the social media channel falls short of social media kingpins Facebook and Twitter. Google have also recently launched their Google drive program, which enables businesses to store and share a variety of different data. This has helped businesses across the world as all the data available to them is stored on Google drive.

Google are also known for the great treatment of their staff. Google provide on site doctors to their staff to ensure that all staff are treated when sick, Google also provide their staff with Japanese Toto toilets which ensure that all staff is clean and fresh after they have visited the toilet. Google are also big on water-sports and give their staff the opportunity to swim in the mini pools that are on Google’s site. The mini pools include one of Google’s lab pools where the pools waves are manipulated and act as a water treadmill, where you can swim for hours. Google also offer the conference bike where employees have to work together in order to get the bike to move. This provides an excellent team building exercise as well as providing the staff with a lot of fun. Google also offer their staff free food around the world famous Goolgeplex. Here staff are able to eat at the cafeteria free of charge which is also a massive perk for all employees. The only food that costs money at the Googlplex is the vending machines where Google have incorporated a competitive pricing system where the more unhealthy the food, the higher the price. This is to ensure that employees don’t get fat and eat healthier. Google also offer free haircuts to employees. This is an excellent perk as staff can get their hair cut free of charge by a variety of mobile hairdressers. Google also have a ball pit on site. Here members of the staff are able to jump into the ball pit and have a lot of fun in the process. As you can see Google think highly of their employees that has resulted in higher productivity levels for the business.

Recently Google celebrated their birthday by offering the world an interactive Google Doodle that allowed for users to take part in an interactive pinnate game. However, Google also announced the Hummingbird update as part of their birthday plans. The Google Hummingbird update has chnged the search engines algorithm which has brought changes and allowed Google to handle “Conversational searches” which enables more accurate searches on complex queries. Google Hummingbird also embraces the use of mobile usage which is expected to overtake desktop in two years time. Hummingbird also presents a new change in Googles old method of keyword searches. The Keyword search ignored the use of certain words, however, now Google Hummingbird takes into account a wide variety of different words in order to get the best search possible. Google Hummingbird’s main focus is the context of different words and how they link together, this algorithm makes Google searches a lot more accurate and efficient.

This evolution has also raised the question of SEO’s part and if it really is dead. However, this is not the case as the new algorithm has ensured that those who are willing to put effort in will reap the rewards. Page specification is also included kin the Google update and instead of taking you to a website’s home page, google are committed to taking their users to the exact page. This means less clicks and better efficiency. Google have also put a lot of emphasis on the quality of the sites on their rankings. The top ranked websites will need to have quality written content both on and off the pages so users can not only see a page but provide links. Website owners will have to find out ways of implementing new content but do it in such a way that make them authoritative amongst search engines and readers.

Overall, the Google Hummingbird update is a positive and has made searching a lot easier and more effective than t has been before. It is clear that Google are wanting to promote more detailed content. Website owners will have to incorporate this into their sites in order to achieve higher rankings in Google. Google are one of the biggest companies in the world and have come a long way from starting in a garage. Google believe in treating their staff right and have excellent values. The Hummingbird update has made searching for a website easier as the whole of a users search is taken into consideration, not just the keywords. Google will want to continually grow over the next few years and will definitely look to expand as they have already done with Google Mail and Google Drive.

Post To Google+ With Buffer

review-buffer-app2Buffer, the social media app that schedules your posts on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn has today announced you can now use their app with the most requested social network that they were missing, Google+.

Google+ has been holding the number one spot as most requested feature from their users for almost 2 years and you could go as far as saying that it is the missing piece of the puzzle. Buffer said “We couldn’t be any more excited to finally unveil it to everyone”.

To help you make the most of sharing quality content on your site, Buffer have written a guide with a great selection of tips and pictures which can be found here.

How to get more out of your Google+ Page

Google + enables a variety of different businesses to stay connected with each other internally and externally. In this blog I will be talking about the benefits of Google + and how it can benefit an organisation.

Google Drive

One of the big benefits of Google plus is the Google Drive tool. Google Drive is an extremely helpful online document program allowing businesses to share documents both internally and externally. I have personally had first hand experience with this working with Bright Digital Minds. At Bright Digital Minds our wide range of clients have access to documents that have been created to help them to have a better understanding of the affiliate system and affiliate relations. Google Drive also helps the Bright Digital Minds team internally. Members of the Bright Digital Minds team are able to access files form the comfort of their own computer. This saves members of staff manually sending information via email. This has helped us a great deal as we can now keep an accurate log of our clients affiliates and their performance.

Sharing Content

Google Drive isn’t the only way to get more out of your Google plus. Google Plus enables businesses to stay connected with the world with Google +. Businesses can update their statuses and provide the public with information about potential ventures and client news. This will create attention towards the organisation and create more interest. However, an organisation has to update their Google + page regularly in order to maintain interest. On the internet things get old really quickly and if an organisation fails to update their Google + page regularly then it can cause interest to be lost.

Video Opportunities

As many know, video plays a big part online. Google owns the biggest video sharing network in the world in Youtube, and businesses should look to capitalise on this opportunity. Businesses can post videos about their operations online which in return will hopefully create interest in their brand. Organisations can also post potential adverts online to gain a consumers opinion and help the business gain an idea of what their target audience wants. Video can be massively beneficial for organisations. Many organisations have thousands of online Youtube views from posting videos online. Organisations can also pay Youtube to get their advertisements on site. This will develop interest and draw people towards the brand.

Google Analytics

Google Anlytics can also be extremely beneficial to organisations. Google Analytics enables businesses to measure sales and conversions and gives the business an insight into how the consumer entered your site and how the consumer uses the site. This is especially effective when a business is reviewing their site. Google Analytics can also tell a business what areas of a businesses website is performing well and what areas of the site is rarely used. Google Analytics can also measure the success of businesses social media programs. This will especially help businesses and give them a better insight of their target market. Google Analytics can also measure an organisations online advertising campaign using link analysis. Businesses will be able to see how many people have clicked on their advertisement via Google Anaytics which will ultimately help businesses during their advert evaluation. Businesses will be able to to use Google Analytics as evidence after an advert has matured.

Overall, Google + can be an effective tool for most businesses. Businesses can do anything from generating interest to analysing business activity. Google + shows the capability and effectiveness of the internet in today business world. The internet is now accessible worldwide, and can be extremely profitable for a business with the correct structure and marketing. Google + can help businesses by offering tools in order to aid businesses carrying out tasks manually. Businesses are able to act a lot more swiftly in terms of advertising periods with many organisations changing their advertising more frequently than before. Overall, Google+ is an excellent tool for every business.

 

Google Panda Updates: Version 24

Despite strongly denying significant reports of an imminent update, Google has ploughed ahead with another Panda update. Version 24 was uploaded yesterday, 22nd January, and was confirmed by Google when they tweeted,

“New Panda data refresh rolling out today: 1.2% of English queries affected. Background goo.gl/8Zqy1

Version 23 saw 1.3% of English queries affected 21st December 2012, and the previous update before this was in November 2012. It seems as though Google are pushing out Panda updates every four weeks or so now. Google’s response? Continue to develop high-quality sites and content rather than trying to crack the code of algorithm. Some sites are still trying to keep up with the algorithm, but if the updates are as often as every month, you will only suffer in the long term. Whilst Google Panda is one of the most well-known and high-spec uploads affecting search engine rankings, it is on average just 1 in 500 improvements rolled out each year.

So it seems to be in with standing a chance against the constant improvements of Panda, the main adjustments will need to come from your site. The need to create and maintain high-quality sites and content will help boost your site in the search engine rankings and push low and poor quality listings, further down the pages. Google has previously said that it thinks more sites should concentrate more on developing the best possible user and customer experience, rather than just having a site for having a site’s purpose.

Whilst Google claim that the Panda updates are to help sites in SEO terms, it has affected a large amount of sites across the globe. More and more people are being hit hard by the updates and are now having to fill in more and more DMCA reports. This is when other sites in the same / similar field simply copying the information you have spent the time and energy and in a lot of cases, money, into writing and SEO proofing your pages, and pasting it onto their own.

It seems a shame that these sites are being pulled for plagiarism, as this certainly wouldn’t stand at university or even school level. So what makes the internet any different? Once thing is for sure, we will never get to the bottom of that question, but for the meantime it looks as though we will have to continue to pour resources into the highest quality web design, copywriters and data analysts to keep an eye on the future affects of Google Panda.

Google Penguin

Last month Google released a new webspam algorithm called Penguin that has the World Wide Web in a bit of a tizzy. Designed to help stop websites that violate its quality guidelines, Penguin has made many previously high-ranking websites disappear from search engine results. If your site has been affected by the Penguin update there are some steps you can take to get your site back up and running.

Penguin is an automated algorithm, there are no humans involved in its decision making once it was turned on, and because of this Google are apparently not planning on making any manual exceptions. If your site has been hit with Penguin the best thing you can do is review your content to ensure it meets Google’s guidelines. Check your messages at Google Webmaster Central, if they’ve contacted you about spam before then their emails will flag the issues you need to correct. You can also leave feedback through Google’s Webmaster forum if you feel you’ve been incorrectly affected. Remember, Google introduced this algorithm to help searchers find the best websites for their criteria, their priority is the searchers, so if you leave additional comments be sure to explain how your site provides unique and relevant content for searchers (and then make sure it actually does) rather than talk about how much business you’ve lost.

If you’re not sure if Penguin has affected your site, take a look at your traffic logs. Penguin went live on April 24th, so if you saw a drop in traffic after that then it’s likely you’ve been hit. If you’ve seen a rise, congratulations, you’ve benefitted. And if there was no change then Penguin had no real impact on you.

The algorithm is looking for websites that have a disproportionately large number of links in its content, in other words, link over-optimised sites. Make sure the links you use are from websites or domains in the same niche, not all of them need to be but there do need to be links relevant to your subject matter included in the mix. In essence, Google is looking for websites that offer relevant and useful information to its users, and is devaluing anchor text links while replacing it with niche relevant links as a means to guarantee quality. Ensuring your website meets those criteria will help keep it’s rank in their search results and minimise any affect Penguin may have on your business.

Googling Yourself

I have recently been playing around with google trends and also google preferences, you may have read how Google thought I was a Man in another post. It’s quite odd to google yourself, and some may say egotistical… I’m just nosey! Having a surname of Swift, with the ever popular singer Taylor Swift means I get some strange twitter followers and search queries coming to the sites. I was quite shocked to see this though… Start typing your name into Google and see what comes up…
Hannah Swift

It also appears my popularity in the Philippines is dwindling :(
Hannah Swift

I best go and practice my pole vaulting!

Google+ Hits The Mainstream With A TV Ad And A Redesign

Google unveiled a new bright, clean interface for its social network site, Google+, earlier this month, bringing it more in line with other Google platforms and products. With plenty of white space, crisp graphics and a simplified look, it’s a much more user friendly experience. Taking cues from rival social network platforms, Facebook and Twitter, there are now trending topics, large photograph displays and a cover picture for your profile encompassing almost the entire width of the page. But where Google+ really comes in to its own is the other applications under the Google umbrella that can be incorporated in to their social network experience. With so many other applications and platforms available to supplement and enhance their social media endeavours, users are given far more resources to play with, all seamlessly integrated.

In fact, with so many updated features and the reveal of the new layout, Google have invested in television advertisements to raise the general public’s awareness of the usefulness and availability of options available on Google+ in comparison to other social media networks. In an effort to explain the relevance of Google+’s many unique features, such as free video conferencing via the hangout section, Google released a sentimental advert chronicling the life of one man through Google+ in what is an effective demonstration of the platform’s current capabilities.

With the rising popularity of social networking, Google+ is reputed to be around 750 million users behind Facebook, and some areas feel that Google+ has already failed in its attempt to create a successful platform for social media. With social network being a relatively young medium, combined with Google+’s drive forward with innovative options within their platform, this new push using television advertising can also simply be seen as an attempt to explain the platform to non-users or people used to the old functions and layout.

With multiple new updates released since June last year, Google are keen to rekindle the interest of original users they’ve lost prior to those updates being initiated, feeling that the failure to supply what the users was looking for at the time has now been addressed. And with the incorporation of elements of other social networks, Google have streamlined their own design to produce a well-rounded platform that should more than meet the needs of its users and make it attractive to new users.

Where Google+ excels is in the use of its integrated photo editing application available for free whenever users upload a picture. Now, you can edit, crop and tweak your photos before you post your pictures to Google+ through the integration of Picasa, Google’s web based photo editing programme. You can also create or join free video conferencing, called hangouts, which allow you to talk with any Google+ user, share content and, should you feel the need, dress like a pirate using the Google Effects app.

You can also set the level of information included in your news feed from each of your circles, allowing you to adjust the level of interaction you want on your feed’s front page. With a customisable navigation bar along the left of the page, you are able to choose your favourite Google service and at it to the ‘Ribbon’ to tailor your Google+ experience to your needs.

All in all, Google’s focus on real-time interactions through Google+ make this a unique social networking site that offers users opportunities for face-to-face communication with, not only people in their own circles, but the wider world through Hangouts On-Air run by companies or celebrities or public hangouts created by everyday other users. Now you can connect, in real time and via video, to almost any user whether they’re in your circle of friends or not. The world truly is a smaller place than it was yesterday.

Google Thinks I Am A Man?!?

I’m not quite sure what to make of this!
Check out what Google makes of you here

UPDATE

I did this again and came out with the following;
Your categories
Below you can review a summary of the interests and inferred demographics that Google has associated with your cookie. You can remove or edit your categories at any time.
Arts & Entertainment – TV & Video – TV Shows & Programs
Business & Industrial
Games – Puzzles & Brainteasers
Hobbies & Leisure – Contests, Awards & Prizes
Home & Garden – Home Furnishings – Lamps & Lighting
Shopping – Apparel – Clothing Accessories – Gems & Jewelry
Shopping – Consumer Resources – Coupons & Discount Offers
World Localities – Europe – Western Europe – United Kingdom – England

Your demographics
We infer your age and gender based on the websites you’ve visited. You can remove or edit these at any time.
Age: 35-44
Gender: Female

STILL WRONG!

Bye Bye Google Wave!

Yesterday Google sent an email to its subscribers reminding them that Google Wave was to be switched off on April 30, 2012. For those not in the know, Google Wave was a real-time communications platform that allowed groups of people to have conversations, drag and drop to distribute files, edit information shared by others in the group (or Wave) and it could even let you see replies being typed, live, character by character. Unlike other communications platforms, new individuals invited to the Wave could review previous messages, files and information using the playback tool so they could see how and what was added, and when, for ease of following the conversation. It could even auto-translate as you typed, for multi-national communication made easy.

Developed back in 2009 and launched in 2010, Google Wave unfortunately failed to hit the user numbers it required to sustain development and Google announced they would no longer be devoting time to it as a separate product. In an effort to help other’s further the technology parts of the code were made available as open source, with the service remaining accessible until January 31, 2012 when it became read only. Google are now requesting that anyone with Waves still hosted on Google Wave should export them before the service is switched off. But what if you still want to continue using the technology?

Alternatives to Google Wave have been created through a number of open source projects such as Apache Wave where their Wave program is being reviewed and developed as they work on increasing functionality and ensuring it works across multiple platforms and operating systems. Walkaround, based on the Apache Wave program code, can import Waves from Google, allowing you to continue working with your information even after Google Wave shuts down. It doesn’t have full functionality yet, but progress is being made and offers some flexibility to other applications as well. It should be noted that Walkaround’s import feature is still in the experimental stages.

Another method of sharing files while engaging in conversation with multiple people across the world is through Skype, who offer a free download allowing you to use your computer as a phone or messaging program, sending files and engaging in real time communication, by video if you wish it.

Ultimately, Google Wave has been shut down because users failed to find practical uses for it in large numbers. Google created Wave as an alternative and more streamed option than using email, reducing break-off communications when someone forgets to hit reply all, bringing new people entering the conversation at a later date up to speed quickly and easily, and allowing you to do so in real time. With many Google users being unaware of Google Wave until the announcement of its closure, Google failed to get the general public excited in this new way of communicating, despite the press enthusiasm at its launch. For those in mourning at its loss, perhaps the new alternatives mentioned above will be of use. For the rest, we suggest sticking with your email for now.

More info;

http://incubator.apache.org/wave/
http://code.google.com/p/walkaround/

Google+ And The SERPS

As has been suspected for some time, the new addition of Google+ is indeed beginning to make it’s presence known within the SERP’s. SEO stars around the world are in a frenzy about how they can get ahead of the game and use Google+ for their advantage.

The main point of interest for the search results is the +1 feature which adds a kind of approval from users/customers for links and products or the whole site. This +1 is also said to feed into the main Google Algorithm and could possibly have positive effects on your rankings.

Not only that but with the various opportunities Google+ Pages offer including circles to share content and contact details, the potential implications of Google+ on your SERPS are phenominal.

I think this recent search says alot…

To find out more about how your business can use Google+ get in touch today and see how Bright Digital Minds can help you.