Tag Archives: web

Why most don’t go beyond page 1 on Google

Click through rates show that the first organic result receives the most clicks, therefore, where you rank on search engines has a direct impact on how popular your web site is. Why do most of us not go further than page 1 on Google?

Reasons why we don’t scroll online

  • Web search is quicker than searching databases. Most people do not go onto page 2 of Google because carrying out another web search is free and quick.
  • Enjoyment. Searching is an enjoyable task. The majority of people don’t scroll to page 2 of Google because we prefer to carry out new searches, albeit slightly different keywords, because web search is an enjoyable activity.
  • Trust. Organic results have more trust than PPC. Those who rank naturally at number 1 will get more visitors. We don’t scroll because we trust search engines’ rankings.
  • Web search engines are well armed to resolve unusual queries. Most queries return hits and if they are unusual queries “search suggestions” are displayed for the search engine user to consider. We prefer to interact with web search engine features rather than selecting page 2 or 3 of Google.
  • Scrolling takes too much effort. We usually carry out several searches in 1 search session. Only a few search engine users go through pages and pages of results because they have more time available or they are carrying out an analyses of some sort, for example, connectivity queries to count specific hyperlinks.

From information retrieval to web search

Search engines are the most common method of finding information online. Ranking highly on web search engines is important to every organisation because it can increase: visibility; brand awareness; and profits. Search engines attract millions of users every day.

Scientists, for example chemists, used to pay and only use expensive fees to search databases. The main advantage of paying a fee to access information from subscription services is to have the reassurance that the content is well structured and organised. Web search engines, however, have been getting better at precision and recall: Web search engines are good at retrieving sites that accurately match your query. Scientists are now using web search engines more because they are free and quick at obtaining good results.

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Reference

  1. Altingovde, I.S. Blanco, R. Cambazoglu, B.B. Ozcan, R. Sarigil, E. and Ulusoy, O. (2012) ‘Characterizing Web Search Queries that Match Very Few or No Results’. CIKM ’12. [Volume and issue numbers missing] pp. 2000–2004
  2. Glander-Hobel, C. (2001) ‘Searching for hazardous substances on the Internet’. Online Information Review. 25(4) pp. 257-266
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Why is SEO about quality, content and design?

Search engine optimisation, SEO, makes web sites visible on the massive web. Being visible on search engines increases popularity and, depending upon the organisation, profits, awareness or sales. SEO is a fundamental service.

Why quality SEO?

At its best search is a conversation. Good web searches are comprised of several search queries. The window of opportunity is limited so excellent interfaces, quality content and a fantastic user experience is fundamental to command a searcher’s attention. SEO is all about quality because great web sites quickly gain attention.

User satisfaction, the state of a user’s emotional or intellectual head, determines how we interact with web technology. If we visit sites from search engines and we do not have an emotional connection or an intellectual thought, for instance thinking a website is a quality information source, then we will simply leave a website. SEO is all about content and designs because we need a rich experience to convert and interact with a site.

Effective information retrieval systems will match results to a user’s query. SEO may be beginning to move away from keywords, because search engines are encrypting searches which means keyword data cannot be collected, but SEO is still about keywords because keyword searching is a fundamental aspect of web searching.

Content and usability are important for SEO.

Content is king. Usability is queen. Copyright of Daniel Waisberg.

Mood and search

There are different types of search behaviour. Pogosticking, for example, indicates poor design because a user jumps repeatedly from SERP to web sites. Behaviour influences how we think and feel. Thoughts and feelings impact user actions. Annoyed searchers are unlikely to convert on websites. SEO is all about knowing your target audience and keeping them satisfied.

Search is emotionally charged. At the point of search our conscious mind will be focused on formulating keywords for a specific information need but subconsciously our brain processes web designs as either positive, neutral or negative designs. We feel emotions depending upon how our brain processes web designs. SEO is all about emotions, emotional designs and emotional search behaviours.

SEO: Why quality, content and design?

  • SEO is about quality because emotional connections and intellectual thoughts are activated to command a search engine user’s attention.
  • Quality content allows web sites to be about specific keywords. Without content web sites would be useless so SEO focuses strongly on content.
  • Each of us experiences online behaviours and emotional connections with designs. SEO is all about designs because digital marketers want to capture a user’s attention. Emotional designs are the most effective way of doing this since thoughts, feelings and actions are interlinked with emotions.
  • It is also important to capture your audience by traditional disciplines, for example, information architecture, usability testing and coding in W3C validated semantic HTML.

What do you think SEO is about? Tweet Gerald or comment below.

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References

  1. Morgan, C. (1996). The search is on — finding the right tools and using them properly can shed light on your web search eff€orts. Windows Magazine. [Volume number missin] (711)
  2. Morville, P. and Callender, J. (2010) Search Patterns: Design for discovery. Sebastopol, California: O’Reilly Media Inc.
  3. Tenebaum, J.M. (2005) Al meets web 2.0: Building the Web of Tomorrow, Today. CommerceNet Labs Technical Report 05–07.

User selection behaviour

Thinking about user behaviour during the design or building process enhances the effectiveness of web technology. Successful search engines also rely heavily on user behaviour. This post analyses user selection behaviour.

User click behaviour

User selection behaviour includes any traits which usually involve input devices and includes, for example, mouse overs, click-through rates and drop down boxes. Selection does not mean that users will be more attentive, in fact, designs influence user selection behaviour. A summary of Dunn’s online behaviour analysis can be found below:

Banner blindness
Studies have showen that advert looking areas are simply ignored. Limiting advert banners and using more text, for instance, helps maintain user attention. Text heavy websites, however, are off putting so write researched content succinctly.
Develop tunnel vision
We expect to see things in certain places and named properly. If something is strangely placed, perhaps the company thinks they are being different, then most users will simply ignore this.
Impatient
When websites are found through search engines we tend to either want to achieve some goal or gain knowledge. We like to find this out quickly and if immediately apparent answers are non-existant then we simply leave a website altogether.
Our rich information society also means that we like to click deeply. Deep clicking allows us to read a range of information. Homepages have shorter attention spans because we like to click elsewhere.
Be memorable
Sometimes people browse and look at information without taking it in. Creating striking content on multiple formats means regular browsers will have a greater chance of knowing key messages.

Online behaviour

Selection impacts user experience, for example, clicking on various internal webpages will affect the length of time spent on a website. Frantic clicking usually indicates a lost user which means they will leave your website quickly increasing bounce rates, for instance.

Global search engines, restricting results to IP addresses, have country specific indexes. Sometimes however global results are retrieved. Search engines like to present pages of results to offer you a range of content. 91% of people only look at the first page of results. Search engines do not think about overwhelming users.

Binary digits shown over a human fingerprint.

Digital fingerprint. Source: Marsmettnn Tallahassee.

Language and user selection

If your text cannot be easily translated then your websites’ online behaviour will be affected. Semantic HTML helps translation programs render your content because it can easily be read and translated by computers. Allow global users to read your content by using semantic HTML. Subconsciously we judge the language of content which, in turn, affects user behaviour.

Google Translate uses a process called statistical machine translation that, in a nutshell, calculates text to discover patterns. These patterns are assigned to languages: Google predicts what languages match their patterns this explains why Google automatically suggests translation languages. Most of Google Translate is computerised so sometimes content is not 100% accurate. Humans are the best translators by processing and combining a range of information, for example, definitions, linguistics and correct grammar.

Accessibility and selection

Think about all users during the design process. Don’t make mobile buttons, for example, too small because this will affect user selection. Enhance your web technology by including LV:HA (love hate) actions into your CSS. A button on a computer should be fully accessible on a range of input devices including, for instance, a mouse and a keyboard’s tab key.

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References

  1. Dunn, T. (no date/year) 10 unexpected online user behaviours to look out for. [Online] [Accessed on 05th November 2013]
  2. Zhou, K. Li, X. and Zha, H. (2012) Collaborative ranking: Improving the Relevance for Tail Queries. CIKM ’12. pp. 1900 — 1904

Browsers, cookies and search engines

There are over 100 web browsers available today. Knowing a little about browsers is important because they are widely used today.

Macs, PCs and browsers

Browsers are used by most people. It is possible to search a Mac without a web browser, by using Blacktree Quicksilver or Objective Development’s LaunchBar for example, which reduces search engine personalisation. Macs may effectively safeguard against personalisation. Using Blacktree Quicksilver, however, can be unstable just like PC browsers are never perfectly secure from vulnerabilities.

Image of different browser logos.

Photo of browser logos. Source.

Cookies and browsers

It is possible to allow your browser to accept or deny cookies on your device, however, browsers are not recognised as being suitable to do this under EU regulations on cookies. This is why cookie notification bars are widely used today.

Browsers facilitate personalisation because search engines can communicate with browsers and vice versa. This communication allows search engines to build up a profile on your behaviour.

Is Google Chrome safe to use?

Ohngren (2010) found that Google Chrome invades privacy because they monitor browsing behaviour. Awareness helps you to monitor and review your tactics on a regular basis.

Internet Explorer, unlike Google Chrome, offers a tracking protection list option and gives a partial block on third party cookies (for more in-depth reading read reference #2 below).

W3C state that Google Chrome (52.9%) is the most popular web browser whereas Firefox (28.2%) and Internet Explorer (11.8%) are second and third, respectively.

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References

  1. Mlot, S. (2012) Firefox 14 encrypts search; Microsoft browser glitch; AT&T chargin for FaceTime? PC Magazine. pp. 1-1
  2. NSS Labs. (2013) 2013 Browser Security Comparative Analysis: Privacy. [Online] [Accessed on 12th September 2013]
  3. Ohngren, K. (2010) Google Chrome. Entrepreneur. 38(1) pp. 33–33
  4. Reis, C. Barth, A. and Pizano, C. (2009) Browser security: Lessons from Google Chrome. Communications of the ACM. 52(8) pp. 45–49

Blippex: A new search engine

This month, July 2013, a new web search engine appeared on the market: Blippex. Its algorithm ranks websites by the duration of time a searcher spends on a given website. The theory is that good websites will be visited for a longer period of time whereas poorer websites will have a higher bounce rate, whereby a user visits site-a and leaves quickly for site-b, thus a shorter viewing time.

Blippex's simple and effective interface.

Blippex’s simple and effective interface. Source

DwellRank, people and behaviour

DwellRank, similar but different from Google’s PageRank, ranks websites by a user’s viewing duration. In order to improve this ranking Blippex allows its users to download an extension which allows Blippex to monitor the amount of time spent on a given website.

“Search shouldn’t be about links…it should be about people and their interests.”

Privacy policy

Blippex’s privacy policy is similar to Duck Duck Go’s because privacy plays a central focus for all users. This is important because the downloadable extension only tracks the URL, time and duration of visit. You cannot be tracked, since IP addresses are not collected, but search terms are stored anonymously. Cookies, in addition, are not used.

Posted by Gerald Murphy

References

  1. Archify. (11th July 2013) A SEARCH ENGINE BUILT BY THE CROWD, THAT DOES NOT SUCK. [Online] [Accessed on 20th July 2013]
  2. Bäck, G. and Kossatz, M. (no date) Our Privacy Policy. [Online] [Accessed on 20th July 2013]

What SEO factors has Google always valued?

How can I make my website popular?

SEO, or search engine optimisation, is a method of improving a websites visibility by designing and building a user friendly website. Today search engines are looking to improve the overall user experience rather than just looking at some text. So online, or digital, marketing companies follow trends to get your website to rank high.

Close-up of Google

Ultimately ‘Google wants to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful’ but how does Google “organise” this information? There are, in short, a lot of factors but some data has always played a larger role than other data as highlighted below:

  • Reputation
  • Update frequency
  • Quality
  • Popularity / Usage
  • Citations
An early photo of Google's logo. Source

An early photo of Google’s logo. Source

The earliest SEO tips

We can see that SEO has been around for a long time and popular (reputable), fresh (update frequency), quality, well-used webpages (popularity) with lots of references (citations) have always been valued by Google. Search today, however, is moving towards a user centred approach because the overall search experience gets points, if you like, which leads to higher ranking.

Posted by Gerald Murphy

Would you like me to write about a search engine topic? What would you like to know, e-mail or tweet Gerald.

References

  1. Brin, S. and Page, L. (no date) The Anatomy of a Large-Scale Hypertextual Web Search Engine. [Online] [Accessed on 28th May 2013] http://infolab.stanford.edu/~backrub/google.html
  2. Google. (no date) Google’s mission… [Online] [Accessed on 28th May 2013] http://www.google.com/about/company/

What information can Google not store?

Surface vs deep web

There are two types of web: the surface web is the part that search engines can see and index, for example BBC News, whereas the deep web refers to the parts that cannot be accessed, for instance, online banking information is hid behind a password wall. So Google cannot store anything from the deep web because their crawlers cannot crawl past firewalls, passwords or another restricted access point.

Photo showing different parts of the web.

Photo showing different parts of the web. Source: ConetIslandDreams

Cookies, IP address and browsers

Any information you give, for example your username and password, can be stored by Google, as well as, other indirect pieces of information such as cookies, IP addresses and browsers, for instance. Some of these technologies are not as clear as others. Cookies, as an example, are not broken down line-by-line so their precise use is simply not known. Can a cookie take note of an IP address, and what ISP you use, or where you live? It is not impossible for Google to track an IP address to a specific location. In fact other pieces of technology can pinpoint your location.

Case study of Google Street View

It is not uncommon for large companies to use and misuse information on their products and services. Google’s Street View cars were ordered to clear data they collected as they took pictures for their Street View service. So Google has, and can be referred to as being “evil”, misused and stored lots of unauthorised information.

A devil theme to Google's logo.

A devil theme to Google’s logo. Source: 4.bp

What information does Google store?

Google is likely to archive most things from the surface web. Your bank, as an example of a surface web website, is likely to be crawled and stored in an index but Google cannot search or store your bank account information because it is hid behind password walls, therefore considered to be within the deep web, and secure servers….

Android viewpoint

If you own and use an Android mobile Google may be able to collect even more information about you. Phone numbers and call records can be stored. Is the future of Google’s business model likely to produce cheap flights to Australia if you call a person over there frequently?

If you are interested in what information Google can store read the references below this post to learn more. Would you like me to post about a specific search engine topic? Tweet Gerald.

Posted by Gerald Murphy

References

  1. Channel 4. (no date) What does Google know about you?
  2. Google. (2013) Google’s privacy policy.
  3. Peng, W. (2000) HTTP cookies – a promising technology. Online Information Review. 24(2) pp. 150 – 153
  4. Rawlinson, K. (2013) Google ordered to delete data collected by Street View cars.