08/14/12
How Google Knowledge Graph Can Inspire Content Creation

By now, many of us will be aware of an additional panel of information on the right-hand side of Google’s search engine results pages (SERPs). If you haven’t seen this, then search for ‘Nottingham Castle’ and you’ll see what we mean.Google Knowledge Graph

This is the product of Google’s first foray into so called ‘semantic search’ - Google Knowledge Graph – which has now reached the UK, providing what it hopes will be a string of related information that will answer search queries more exactly in terms of the users’ intended context. In terms of search engine optimisation (SEO), the jury is still out as to how this might affect website rankings, but what is clear is that it could irreversibly change the behaviour of Internet users as more information is found directly from Google’s SERPs. We shall wait and see.

Learn from Google

What can be learnt from this experiment is that Google believes Internet users increasingly want access to information quickly that is both relevant, accurate and within context. If we are to trust Google’s judgement here (and there’s no reason why we shouldn’t – given their success with search), then it just goes to show how important it is to generate unique content and copy for your website, blog and social channels that is equally accurate and relevant for your customers.

Here are 3 key areas in which you can improve your content creation:

1.     Use Google to find direct sources

When writing blogs, articles or longer pieces, make sure that you reference the facts. This can be done by citing the original source of the information, or simply by linking to where the information came from. Passing other people’s work off as your own might earn you temporary respect, but once you’re found out – well, you should know what is likely to happen.

Referencing and citing sources actually has the opposite effect – it generates trust and shows the reader that you’ve spent time to research your work properly. Trust and confidence is what you’re after – so that your readers or customers keep coming back to you time after time again.

The following resources are great for finding source information:

  • Google Books – Search and read books and magazines, many of which are shown in their entirety.
  • Google Scholar – Search for links to scholarly papers on every subject under the sun.

2.     Use specialised search engines and online encyclopaedias

Some search engines already specialise in trying to answer questions. The most well-known is the Wulfram Alpha – the computational knowledge engine which has a free and subscription version (the latter providing additional interactivity and visual depiction of results). Wulfram Alpha

This search engine is excellent for collating statistics for use in content creation. It provides citations to the original sources from where information is collated, which means that you can explore further and find additional detail and information for your content too.

Here’s a search we did by simply typing in London versus Nottingham – this provided us with a comparison of various statistics between the two cities, including population and flight times, for example.

You could also pay to use an encyclopaedia such as the now completely online Encyclopaedia Britannica – a well-known and trusted resource. The cost runs at about £7.60 per month – not bad for access to a reliable source of detailed information. There is also of course the free Wikipedia (which has improved greatly in terms of accuracy over the last few years) and its many sister websites, all specialising in various areas of information and data – for the full list, visit the Wikimedia Foundation website.

3.     Social media and social search

One obvious way to get information and answers is by sharing your questions and research ideas online using social channels. Quora is an excellent example through which professionals and experts pose and answer questions on a huge range of subjects across various industries. Social media and networks are also an excellent way to find out about the latest trends and conversations that could spark you to debate and comment on current issues.

Topsy How Google Knowledge Graph Can Inspire Content CreationThere are various social search engines, such as Topsy or Social Mention that will search across channels for specific queries giving links to the source of a conversation.

If you’re looking for collaborators or experts on a specific subject to help you or contribute to your content creation ideas, then Followerwonk is a great way to search and filter through Twitter users’ biographies.

Further advice

For further advice about SEO and content creation, please feel free to contact Landingnet with your query.

07/25/12
Why Free Local Search Listings Help Online Business Visibility

Today’s announcement that £1.5 million is to be made available for High Street regeneration at various locations across the UK highlights that local businesses need investment to survive.Local Search High Street

The sum of money available isn’t huge, especially when you compare this to health and education budgets for example, but at least it highlights that investment is crucial if local stores are to become a solid foundation again for the traditional town shopping centre whilst helping to boost local economies.

Free Local Search

It also highlights that whilst money is tight, businesses must begin to utilise all the means available to them to ensure that they succeed. One way to do this is to ensure an online presence, either through a website or simply through using free existing systems to ensure that appearances are made in the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs).

Google Places

Google, the Internet search giant, is by far the most popular search engine used by UK users. This is good news for all businesses (even those without a website) because Google allows businesses to create free listings for their business which it then includes in their SERPs – it’s called Google Places.

Google Places - Free Local SearchGoogle Places is a way for businesses with a physical address (this could be an office, shop or warehouse for example) and telephone number to describe their products, display photos, offer special discounts and list opening time information to promote their business online for free. Whilst it’s possible to link the listing to a website (and local businesses will usually stand a better chance of being found online if they do this) it isn’t essential before creating the listing or to appear in the search results – it all depends on the competition for the business’ sector.

So, if a searcher looks for ‘florists in Nottingham’, Google Places listings will invariably appear with the relevant local florists for that area. And, because Google can recognise where a searcher is based geographically, simply typing ‘florists’ could bring relevant local shop information to the search results without the need to include the keyword ‘Nottingham’ in the search. Not only that, Googlers can find contact information on the search results page directly – meaning that they can contact the business without the need to click through to a website first.

The emphasis on local search results has been something Google has been constantly improving throughout 2012, especially through the ‘Google Venice’ algorithm update from February (detailed information about this can be found in this great blog post at SEOmoz), so from an search marketing point of view, the information here has never been more relevant.

Bing and Yell.com

Bing too allows businesses to list themselves online and it’s important to ensure that directories such as Yell.com have an optimised listing. Again, as with Google, this can be done simply and for free. For yell.com for example, a business simply claims the information Yell.com already holds by creating an account and completing the relevant information about the services, products and company information.

Brand Consistency

The importance of maintaining consistency throughout all online entries on Google Places and Yell.com is also very important (as explained in this excellent SEOmoz Whiteboard Takeover from October 2011 on brand domination in the search results). If for example a business uses the abbreviation ‘Ltd’ in their company name, then they should make sure they use this abbreviation everywhere, rather than using ‘Limited’.

The aim here is to give Google consistent information so that it begins to recognise a brand online from several different sources. If consistency isn’t apparent, then Google naturally gets confused – how is it supposed to know that all the multiple entries of a business online are the same if names are spelt slightly differently or main telephone numbers are different for example? If Google can’t tell, why should it ensure regular page one listings for a business in the SERPs? The more consistent entries a business has across different sources tells Google that it’s important – which ultimately can assist with good rankings, both for websites and for Google Places listings.

It’s also just good practice.

Contact Landingnet

If you’d like further information or advice about free local search listings on Google Places or elsewhere, please get in touch.

09/23/08
‘Battle-browser Google-actica’ – Google Chrome

The Battle of the Browsers Turns Inter-net-stella

Browser Wars - Google Chrome

Browser Wars - Google Chrome

It’s been two weeks since the world’s biggest Internet company released its Beta version of a (debatably) brand-spanking-new web browser called Google Chrome. So, now that there’s a potential browser war hotting up like supernovae, we thought we’d have a look at what’s being said about it, and what relevance it might have for web users and web designers.

We’ll also get a little insight about how Google Chrome might affect the popularity of other browsers such as Microsoft’s Internet Explorer and particularly Mozilla’s Firefox.

First of all however, let’s find out what Google has to say about its minimalist web-browser:

“On the surface, we designed a browser window that is streamlined and simple. To most people, it isn’t the browser that matters. It’s only a tool to run the important stuff — the pages, sites and applications that make up the web. Like the classic Google homepage, Google Chrome is clean and fast. It gets out of your way and gets you where you want to go.”

Google Chrome – Minimalistic, Clean and Fresh

google chrome screenshots 300x244 Battle browser Google actica    Google Chrome

At first glance, it’s certainly very fresh and clean. Owing much to the interface of the Norwegian designed Opera browser, incorporating quick image links on opening which show the most frequently viewed websites as a visual web history, Google Chrome should appeal to those who want simplicity when browsing.

Will Firefox Get Its Fingers Burnt?

firefox 3 300x87 Battle browser Google actica    Google Chrome

However, being an open source product, Google Chrome is relying on users to generate additional ‘plugins’ or ‘applications’, similar to those much favoured by users of Mozilla’s Firefox. At this early stage, it’s difficult to imagine where these will sit on the new interface – it will be interesting to see how crisp the browser will look with the addition of such add-ons.

Google already supports Firefox substantially, but many are now wondering if Firefox might lose Google as a major supporter if Google Chrome’s intentions are to muscle in on its ground. Might the ubiquitous Google Toolbar be withdrawn from other browsers and incorporated into Google Chrome? Who knows, but at Landingnet, the feeling is that users who would choose Google Chrome as their default browser would already be using Firefox (happily too) and that for Google Chrome to succeed in its own right, it would need to reconsider its patronage of other browsers. Of course, it may make marketing sense to continue to give the Google Toolbar away – and no doubt the best course of action is or already has been heavily debated deep within Google’s barracks.

Process Per Tab

Perhaps what’s more important to web designers and programmers is the fact that each new tab in Google Chrome will generate its own process. Google wrote that:

“Under the hood, we were able to build the foundation of a browser that runs today’s complex web applications much better. By keeping each tab in an isolated “sandbox”, we were able to prevent one tab from crashing another and provide improved protection from rogue sites. We improved speed and responsiveness across the board. We also built a more powerful JavaScript engine, V8, to power the next generation of web applications that aren’t even possible in today’s browsers.”

The ‘Process Per Tab’ will allow greater stability to web users, due to its more efficient use of computer memory. There’s nothing more infuriating when browsers crash, and for Internet Marketing companies like Landingnet, our client’s websites are essential to their business – the last thing a web designer or programmer wants after hours of hard work, is for the end product to fail due to poor browsing power. Perhaps then, with Webkit as the rendering engine used to build Google Chrome, web developers can have more confidence that their products will work consistently.

Will Browsers Rise to the Challenge?

There may be some truth in stating that added competition will encourage the other browsers to ‘up their game’. Certainly from Firefox’s point of view, who were the first browser to really popularise tabbed browsing, the ‘Process Per Tab’ built into Google Chrome’s architecture will give it food for thought. What will quite happen over the next few months will no doubt give the industry a better idea of Google’s intentions – and perhaps then, when the first really useful usage figures are known, will the other players respond.

More About Google Chrome

Follow these links to interesting articles about Google Chrome:

PC ADVISER Google Chrome V Firefox & Internet Explorer – Should Microsoft and Mozilla be afraid?

GUARDIAN REVIEW Is there anything original in Google Chrome?

MARKET WATCH Google Chrome gets 2 million US visitors in one week!

GOOGLE BLOG Fresh Take on a Browser

GOOGLE CHROME COMIC BOOK Words by Google, comics adaptation by Scott McCloud

DOWNLOAD GOOGLE CHROME Try Google Chrome yourself – from the Official Google Website