Google remains the dominant player in search marketing, but the industry is changing very rapidly and the old certainties may erode. Does voice search provide a platform for Microsoft to compete? A study earlier this year revealed that Microsoft’s speech recognition technology demonstrated only a 5.1 percent word error rate in Switchboard, a conversational speech recognition task. This shows impressive development and shows that Microsoft is more than competitive in this domain, but it is only part of the picture. Speech recognition and voice recognition are significantly different. The former extracts words and comprehends what is said; the latter also understand who said it. We could frame this as content and context. Context will be the defining factor in who becomes the dominant player in voice search, with an increasing amount of internet-enabled devices providing the opportunity for a seamless, conversational experience. No doubt, search is at the very heart of this … [Read more...] about How does Bing’s voice search compare to Google’s?
What is semantic search? Broadly speaking, it’s a term that refers to a move towards more accurate search results by using various methods to better understand the intent and context behind a search. Or as Alexis Sanders very eloquently explained it on the Moz Blog, “The word “semantic” refers to the meaning or essence of something. Applied to search, “semantics” essentially relates to the study of words and their logic. Semantic search seeks to improve search accuracy by understanding a searcher’s intent through contextual meaning. […] Semantic search brings about an enhanced understanding of searcher intent, the ability to extract answers, and delivers more personalized results.” Google is constantly making tweaks and changes to its documentation and features linked to semantic search. Many of these involve things like structured data and Schema.org, rich results, Knowledge Graph and so on, and the vast majority go … [Read more...] about Five important updates to Google semantic search you might have missed
Recently, we took a nostalgic, infographic-based look back at the history of Google search results pages. In the past 20 years, Google has gone from a university project called Backrub to a global powerhouse that continues to shape how we search for, and discover, new information. And yet, these are still early days for Google. In fact, the rate of change is only increasing, with driverless cars and augmented reality on the horizon. Some of Google’s core business focuses, like hyperlocal targeting and personalization, remain largely untapped opportunities and, with heightening competition from Apple, Amazon, and Facebook, the pace of progress will continue to accelerate. In 2017 alone, for example, we are about to see an ad-blocker built into Chrome, a mobile-first index, and the increased uptake of voice search. Google defines itself as “machine-learning first” in its approach, so we are entering an era of unprecedented – and mildly unpredictable – … [Read more...] about What will the future of Google search results pages look like?
Over the past 20 years, Google has revolutionized how we source information, how we buy products, and how advertisers sell those products to us. And yet, one fact remains stubbornly true: the shop-front for brands on Google is still the Search Engine Results Page (SERP). The original lists of static results, comprised of what we nostalgically term ‘10 blue links’, have evolved into multi-media, cross-device, highly-personalized interfaces that can even adapt as we speak to them. There are now images, GIFs, news articles, videos, and podcasts in SERPs, all powered by algorithms that grow evermore sophisticated through machine learning. Nonetheless, in the face of such change, it still matters where our website ranks on those all-important SERPs. The content of those results pages, however, is in constant flux, as a result of 20 years of innovations and new products. We experience this evolution iteratively and, while we can all appreciate that significant changes have taken … [Read more...] about A visual history of Google SERPs: 1996 to 2017
Pinterest has slowly been building itself up as an advertising alternative to Google and Facebook over the past 12 months. The company’s focus has historically been on building an engaged user base through its intuitive, visual interface. As a social network, it has always offered something a little different. However, advertisers have been skeptical about whether Pinterest could ‘monetize’ this model, due to the nature of engagements users have and also the demographics that typically spend time on the site. Those concerns have not been allayed altogether, but Pinterest has made some fascinating moves of late. They have launched a paid search partnership with Kenshoo, completely upgraded their visual search capabilities, and expanded their reach by adding a new Google Chrome extension. By combining an engaged user base with advertising that doesn’t disrupt their experience, Pinterest may have a formula that works in an age of ad blockers and decreased … [Read more...] about A visual guide to Pinterest advertising
Google has revealed that emoji ? will once again show up in search results snippets, reversing a decision taken in 2015 to remove the characters from its results. Further context was added with the announcement that emoji will appear "where relevant, useful and fun," and we can expect to see more of them in future. This will apply to both desktop and mobile results. A search for something as on the nose as [emoji] reveals how we can expect some results to look: Google and emoji: A brief history Emoji are pretty much everywhere nowadays, and their uptake as a form of communication is not surprising. Our brains process visual information 60,000 times faster than text, plus they come with the intrinsic benefit of circumventing language barriers. Moreover, they're pretty fun. Google, however, had adopted a different stance. After seeing that some brands were over-indulging in the emoji trend in an attempt to attract more clicks, Google removed the characters from its results … [Read more...] about Google brings emoji back to the SERPs ???
Pinterest made a clear declaration of intent last week with the announcement that Li Fan, Google’s former head of image search, has joined the photo sharing site as Head of Engineering. This appointment is reflective of a strategy to challenge both Google and Amazon in the product-based visual search market. Notably, Pinterest also rolled out their paid search offering, driven initially through a partnership with Kenshoo, in 2016. Due to the glacial pace of advertising product launches from Pinterest over the past few years, some in the industry felt their opportunity to monetise their user base may have passed. Moreover, the keyword-based paid search market is saturated as it is, with Google constantly trialling new ways to eke out more searches. However, in many of the potential growth areas for the industry, such as voice search, personalisation, and most obviously, image search, Pinterest believe they have something different to offer. As a social platform focused more on … [Read more...] about Will Pinterest crack (and monetise) visual search?
As of the August 22, the AMP project now provides the option to build aspects of ecommerce sites, such as product and category pages. It seemed only a matter of time before this would occur, especially after eBay announced the launch of 8 million AMP-enabled pages, but what exactly does it mean, and how should retailers react? What are the key changes for retailers? Anything that can increase conversion rates will always be welcome news for retailers, and the improvements in page load speeds that AMP brings will most likely help to achieve this. Furthermore, Google will display AMP pages in the search results, rather than just in the carousel. It’s important to note that this update does not affect rankings directly (yet), although site speed and on-site engagement metrics, which AMP is focused on, could have an impact on your rankings. Over time, it is also possible that Google will favour sites running AMP as they will cater for the growing mobile audience too. Although AMP … [Read more...] about What does Google AMP mean for ecommerce?
Image by Gary Illyes Welcome to our weekly round-up of all the latest news and research from the world of search marketing and beyond. This week, Google’s emoji conquest of the SERP is advancing on AdWords titles, Snapchat influencers may be fleeing the platform for greener pastures, and Facebook is making it easier for advertisers to compare the performance of their Facebook campaigns with their campaigns on other platforms. Also, Google’s Next Cloud Conference has revealed that Google’s machine learning technology can recognize objects in videos, and an unconfirmed ranking update dubbed “Fred” has been shaking up the SERP over the past few days. Emoji appear in Google AdWords ad titles A couple of weeks ago, we reported on the official return of emoji to the Google SERP, after a decision was taken to remove them in 2015. Now, emoji have been spotted in the wild in AdWords ad titles, suggesting … [Read more...] about Five most interesting search marketing news stories of the week