We are in unprecedented times where the only thing we can expect is uncertainty. This is equally true within the digital marketing landscape for the time being.
Read more at PPCHero.com
Keywords labeled as low search volume in Google Ads is all too common. Learn how to address this through unique audience tactics.
Read more at PPCHero.com
Better Understanding Image Queries
Years ago, I wouldn’t have expected a search engine telling a searcher about objects in a photograph or video, but search engines have been evolving and getting better at what they do
In February, Google was granted a patent to help return image queries from searches involving identifying objects in photographs and videos. A search engine may have trouble trying to understand what a human may be asking, using a natural language query, and this patent focuses upon disambiguating image queries.
The patent provides the following example:
For example, a user may ask a question about a photograph that the user is viewing on the computing device, such as “What is this?”
The patent tells us that the process in it maybe for image queries, with text, or video queries, or any combination of those.
In response to a searcher asking to identify image queries, a computing device may:
- Capture a respective image that the user is viewing
- Transcribe the question
- Transmit that transcription and the image to a server
The server may receive the transcription and the image from the computing device, and:
- Identify visual and textual content in the image
- Generate labels for images in the content of the image, such as locations, entities, names, types of animals, etc.
- Identify a particular sub-image in the image, which may be a photograph or drawing
The Server may:
- Identify part of a particular sub-image that may be of primary interest to a searcher, such as a historical landmark in the image
- It may perform image recognition on the particular sub-image to generate labels for that sub-image
- It may also generate labels for text in the image, such as comments about the sub-image, by performing text recognition on a part of the image other than the particular sub-image
- It may then generate a search query based on the transcription and the generated labels
- That query may ben be provided to a search engine
The Process Behind Disambiguating a Visual Query
The process described in this patent includes:
- Receiving an image presented on, or corresponding to, at least a part of a display of a computing device
- Receiving a transcription of an utterance spoken by a searcher, when the image is being presented
- Identifying a particular sub-image included in the image, and based on performing image recognition on the particular sub-image
- Determining one or more first labels that show a context of the particular sub-image
- Performing text recognition on a part of the image other than the particular sub-image
- Determining one or more second labels showing the context of the particular sub-image, based on the transcription, the first labels, and the second labels
- Generating a search query
- Providing, for output, the search query
Other Aspects of performing such image queries searches may involve:
- Weighting the first label differently than a second label: the search query may substitute one or more of the first labels or the second labels based upon terms in the transcription
- Generating, for each of the first labels and the second labels, a label confidence score that indicates a likelihood that the label corresponds to a part of the particular sub-image that is of primary interest to the user
- Selecting one or more of the first labels and second labels based on the respective label confidence scores, wherein the search query is based on the one or more selected first labels and second labels
- Accessing historical query data including previous search queries provided by other users
- Generating, based on the transcription, the first labels, and the second labels, one or more candidate search queries
- Comparing the historical query data to the one or more candidate search queries
- Selecting a search query from among the one or more candidate search queries, based on comparing the historical query data to the one or more candidate search queries
The method may also include:
- Generating, based on the transcription, the first labels, and the second labels, one or more candidate search queries
- Determining, for each of the one or more candidate search queries, a query confidence score that indicates a likelihood that the candidate search query is an accurate rewrite of the transcription
- Selecting, based on the query confidence scores, a particular candidate search query as the search query
- Identifying one or more images included in the image
- Generating for each of the one or more images included in the image, an image confidence score that indicates a likelihood that an image is an image of primary interest to the user
- Selecting the particular sub-image, based on the image confidence scores for the one or more images
- Receiving data indicating a selection of a control event at the computing device, wherein the control event identifies the particular sub-image. (The computing device may capture the image and capture audio data that corresponds to the utterance in response to detecting a predefined hotword.)
Further, the method may also include:
- Receiving an additional image of the computing device and an additional transcription of an additional utterance spoken by a user of the computing device
- Identifying an additional particular sub-image that is included in the additional image, based on performing image recognition on the additional particular sub-image
- Determining one or more additional first labels that indicate a context of the additional particular sub-image, based on performing text recognition on a portion of the additional image other than the additional particular sub-image Determining one or more additional second labels that indicate the context of the additional particular sub-image, based on the additional transcription, the additional first labels, and the additional second labels
- Generating a command, and performing the command
Performing the command can include:
- Storing the additional image in memory
- Storing the particular sub-image in the memory
- Uploading the additional image to a server
- Uploading the particular sub-image to the server
- Importing the additional image to an application of the computing device
- Importing the particular sub-image to the application of the computing device
- Identifying metadata associated with the particular sub-image, wherein determining the one or more first labels that indicate the context of the particular sub-image based further on the metadata associated with the particular sub-image
Advantages of following the image queries process described in the patent can include:L
- The methods can determine the context of an image corresponding to a portion of a display of a computing device to aid in the processing of natural language queries
- The context of the image may be determined through image and/or text recognition
- The context of the image may be used to rewrite a transcription of an utterance of a user
- The methods may generate labels that refer to the context of the image, and substitute the labels for portions of the transcription, such as “Where was this taken?”)
- The methods may determine that the user is referring to the photo on the screen of the computing device
- The methods can extract information about the photo to determine the context of the photo, as well as a context of other portions of the image that do not include the photo, such as a location that the photo was taken
This patent can be found at:
Contextually disambiguating queries
Inventors: Ibrahim Badr, Nils Grimsmo, Gokhan H. Bakir, Kamil Anikiej, Aayush Kumar, and Viacheslav Kuznetsov
Assignee: Google LLC
US Patent: 10,565,256
Granted: February 18, 2020
Filed: March 20, 2017
Methods, systems, and apparatus, including computer programs encoded on a computer storage medium, for contextually disambiguating queries are disclosed. In an aspect, a method includes receiving an image being presented on a display of a computing device and a transcription of an utterance spoken by a user of the computing device, identifying a particular sub-image that is included in the image, and based on performing image recognition on the particular sub-image, determining one or more first labels that indicate a context of the particular sub-image. The method also includes, based on performing text recognition on a portion of the image other than the particular sub-image, determining one or more second labels that indicate the context of the particular sub-image, based on the transcription, the first labels, and the second labels, generating a search query, and providing, for output, the search query.
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Let’s say you’re looking for a new toaster. You will probably use a search engine, of which Google is the most prominent. But many of those product searches on Google benefit the world’s biggest retailer, Amazon. In order to better understand the symbiotic relationship between Google and Amazon, SEO and content marketing platform Searchmetrics has released a study based on 10,000 keywords, “Amazon vs. Google: The Battle for Product Search.”
Those keywords generate an Amazon-located product as the first organic result in a Google desktop search. No searches with the word “Amazon” were included.
The study found that, even when Amazon has the first search result, it also has at least one – and sometimes more – additional lower level organic search results for nearly half the searches.
And that’s not all. AdWords listings for products on Amazon show up alongside product searches on Google for 10.5 percent of the keywords, above or below the organic search results. AdWords is now called Google Ads, but the report uses the old term to distinguish from other kinds of Google Ads.
So, why would Amazon need to invest in paid AdWords, if it already is ranked first in Google search results for so many products?
The reason, as detailed in the Searchmetrics study: AdWords give Amazon a dominant presence on the results page for those product searches.
Amazon helps Google
Here is a screenshot from the study, showing Google results for the search term “outdoor curtains.” The product on Amazon is the first organic result, but the Amazon AdWords ad is the first return on the page, plus the Amazon-sold product is shown in two ads in the accompanying Google Shopping ads box.
From the Searchmetrics report
As the study says: “Amazon fights back against its competitors by purchasing a large number of AdWords itself, even when it has the top free result. However, as Google benefits whoever buys AdWords, and Amazon is paying for listings despite having the most relevant organic result, [Google also benefits].”
Google’s Shopping Ads (AKA Product Listing Ads) show up for 56 percent of the results pages where Amazon is the top organic result, and Amazon results appear in nearly a third of the Google Shopping box results.
The Searchmetrics study said this means that “Amazon’s organic snippet [result] is competing for searchers’ attention with a carousel of product offers” in Google Shopping ads. In some cases, the Shopping unit – especially if it is followed by one or two paid AdWords – can push Amazon’s first organic result down below the fold for desktop user. But Amazon is more than covered with AdWords ads and ads in the Shopping unit.
Additionally, most images shown on a results page where Amazon is the top organic result include an Amazon image.
When Amazon is the top organic result for “outdoor curtains” or whatever, the retailer will often have a product image shown whenever Google shows images on the page, which is about 44 percent of the time. Related videos appear for nearly 35 percent of searches.
“This is a strong presence for a single domain,” the study says, “and one which underlines the investment Amazon makes in paid advertising in Google search, in order to complement its rankings at the top of the search results.”
But Google has little choice but to support this Amazon presence for product searches, because these are relevant results, and because Amazon’s AdWords purchases are a substantial revenue source.
The post Searchmetrics report: How Amazon and Google help each other appeared first on Search Engine Watch.
Google hasn’t been merely a search engine for some time. These days it has grown into a massive space on the web where businesses and potential customers can meet. In this article, we’ll touch on the aspects of using Google for branding.
Here’s a list of Google’s underused services, and suggested ways you can use them to your advantage.
Analytical tools which help you understand your website and app audience
Google Marketing Platform is a kind of umbrella brand that Google has developed to make its products work together more effectively. It is essentially a merger of Google Analytics 360 and DoubleClick Digital Marketing.
Source: Google support
Google Analytics is a part of the Google Marketing Platform which tracks website traffic and reports information about who is searching for what and where. There are many analytics services available, but Google’s is the most widely used in the world. It can track visitors to your website, and tell you quite a lot about them and how they interact with your site.
When someone visits your site, Google Analytics can keep track of the duration of the visit, the number of pages they viewed, how they got there, and even the bounce rate. It does all this anonymously, of course, you can distinguish between unique users, but you will not have any idea who any particular user is.
Analytics for Mobile Apps is like Google Analytics, the only difference is, it tracks and gathers data for users of any iOS or Android apps you may have. It was designed to give app developers better data on how people use their apps, what people want from them, and how the apps could be making you more money.
Analytics for Mobile apps allows you to keep records of
- What actions your users take
- Track their in-app spending (and your revenue for that customer)
- Check the navigation path they take
- Use that data in conjunction with Google Analytics data to really understand the way your customers (or potential customers) approach your brand
Services that you can use to improve brand visibility in searches
Google My Business is a service that lets business owners verify the data Google holds about them. Google generates its own internal business listings for areas literally all over the world, getting its data from a range of online and offline sources. As the process is mostly automated and done without the human verification, errors sometimes occur.
Google My Business allows business owners to ensure that Google has accurate information about them, after claiming the existing listing business can make all the necessary corrections. Besides, if the company is for some reason still off Google’s radar, by creating a Google listing they can let Google know about them.
Thanks to Google My Business, companies can be certain that their customers will find up-to-date information about their business, and their chances of getting featured in the local pack increase as well.
Google Maps is more than just a navigation tool, as well. Google suggests businesses and events in the areas where people are searching for directions and encourages people to search for services (“Show me restaurants near 35th and Maple”) relevant to the way people use Maps.
Some businesses now try to outsmart Google Maps by adding fake business listings to Google Maps, and so, such fake results sometimes crowd out the real ones. Not let this happen Google is now putting effort into verifying the results it displays in Maps and elsewhere – more on that below.
Cloud-solutions for creating and customizing domains as well as store server
G Suite is a set of software products developed by Google Cloud. It was initially called Google Apps for Your Domain. The current lineup of tools and services includes collaboration tools like Sites, Forms, Slides, Sheets and Docs, cloud storage solutions like Drive, and communication tools like Currents, Calendar, Hangouts, and Gmail. Premium versions of the service often include Jamboard (an interactive whiteboard app) as well as Vault and an Admin Panel to help you manage both users and features.
Google Cloud Platform is a suite of software services offering cloud-based access to the same global data infrastructure that it uses to deliver Google Search and YouTube. It essentially combines all of Google’s “infrastructure as a service”, “serverless computing”, and “platform as a service”. Google Cloud Platform offers cloud-based processing, data storage, analytics, and even some pretty advanced machine learning applications, all under a single set of management tools.
Advertisement platforms to pull in additional traffic from popular web channels
Google Ads, which was until very recently known as Google AdWords, is where Google really makes its money. It is still at its core a pay-per-click advertising service, but it operates across all the Google’s ever more sprawling service landscape. Businesses of all kinds can pay to get highly targeted users from showing them ads, relevant product listings, videos with sales or branding content, or offering users an opportunity to download the business’ app.
Some of the services under Google Ads include AdWords Express, Keyword Planner, Reach Planner, Google Ads Manager Accounts, Google Ads Editor, Google Partners, and IP Address Exclusion tool.
Google for Retail is a service designed to make it easier for retailers to connect with existing customers as well as finding new ones. It gives you tools that you can use to better engage with existing customers and potential customers over Maps, Google Assistant, YouTube, and Search.
Source: Google for Retail
Google for Retail includes individualized solutions for offering inventory to local customers, developing shopping campaigns with partner organizations, and combining Google Ads with Smart Shopping Campaigns.
YouTube Ads is, as you might have guessed, the primary way to get your ads served up on YouTube. YouTube is the second biggest search engine on the planet, only Google processes more searches than YouTube. It is the infrastructure that connects nearly 2 billion active users to more than 50 million content creators, and 10% of US businesses already have a YouTube Business Account.
Ad types include TrueView Ads – demos, testimonials and adverts that users often search for directly, Non-Skippable YouTube Ads – ads which last up to 20 seconds that play either before or in the middle of a video, and Bumper Ads which last up to six seconds at the end of a video.
Universal App Campaigns are a way to advertise your app throughout Google Ads, Google Play, YouTube and the rest of Google’s advertising empire. It is heavily automated and relies on Google’s machine learning expertise to determine which of your ads work best with particular types of audiences (the ones which cause more users to install your app) and then ensures that the right users see the right ads.
The big benefit here is that you are relieved of the burden of manually split testing and tracking ad performance.
The secret key: NAP
NAP in Google terms stands for Name, address, and phone number. Most experts believe that Google relies heavily on your business’ listed NAP to target search results to individual clients. That is why using NAP in SEO is incredibly important. If you aren’t using it consistently and accurately, you could be losing out on a huge number of highly targeted, site visitors every day – those who Google believes are in your area and actively looking for the goods or services you provide.
How do you use it correctly? It’s not difficult. List your business’ name, address and phone number accurately on your website, and on as many other sites as you can manage. Start with the obvious – your GMB listing, the Internet Yellow Pages, Yelp, Facebook, Twitter and any local or national business directories which cater to your industry or niche. Most importantly, though, list it consistently. Always use the exact same name, address and phone number, and make sure that all are real.
Why does Google care so much about NAP? It isn’t merely about geo-targeting search results. It is about eliminating false and spam sites from those search results. There are a great many businesses that depend on showing up in as many searches as possible, even those that are not particularly useful to the searcher. Great for them, but it makes Google’s results seem less reliable and relevant to the user, and Google can’t let it happen. It looks for widespread, consistent NAP data for a business or a website to gauge how legitimate your business is. Few false sites have real addresses or phone numbers, and even fewer use them consistently across multiple sites and platforms. Using Name, Address and Phone Number data accurately and consistently help your company look legitimate, as well as bring in geo-targeted searches.
Google has become a vast landscape of user-centric services that are almost completely funded by advertising. It has become incredibly canny about how to get advertising messages out to its users in a way that does not annoy users and brings them something they actually need. They make sure that your sales message reaches people who actually need your service, which truly is a game-changer.
Google now has so many individual services that it can be difficult for non-experts to really get the most from its features. However, failing to gain a certain level of expertise in Google advertising can be disastrous for even a small business these days.
Diana Ford is a digital marketing specialist with writing expertise that spans across online marketing, SEO, social media, and blogging.
The post Google for branding: Getting more from search engine services appeared first on Search Engine Watch.
One can easily translate sign reputation management to income management. Your public image directly affects sales, career and financial well-being in any field – whether searching for an investor, overcoming the negativity spread by your rivals, a change of field, or creation of a new public persona.
But what should you do if there are already lots of negative things written about you on the Internet? In this post, we’ll use one of our actual cases as an example to show how we changed a client’s reputation from 48% negative to neutral.
This article has been created by BDCenter Digital. We sign an NDA with all our customers. Therefore, all the data that could infringe on the client’s confidentiality have been changed. This doesn’t affect the mechanism of reputation management in any way.
Our assignment was to make sure that searching for our client’s name on Google in the US would yield zero negative content on the first two search engine results pages (SERPs).
At the time when the client asked us to help improve their reputation, 48% of the top 20 results were negative:
A total of seven BDCenter Digital team members worked on this reputation improving project, including:
Two SEO specialists + an assistant: Their job was to monitor and analyze search results, work out a strategy to eliminate negativity, and publish content on appropriate resources.
PR specialist: Who identified news-worthy content, contacted the media, as well as prepared and published articles.
SMM specialist: Who created social media accounts for the client and filled them with info.
Project Manager: Who allocated tasks, tracked progress, kept in touch with the client and the team, and evaluated the results.
Designer: Who prepared templates for social media and news resources.
Four months and 560 hours of work later, there was NO negativity left in the top two result pages on Google. Reputation improved!
Read on to find out how we did it.
|Igor Erenkov||Artem Shcherbakov||Olga Vodchyts|
1. Identifying resources containing negative content and monitoring changes
Our first step was to study the SERPs (with our client’s name as the search query) and find the sites that published negative content about him. This helped us understand the scope of the job and see which sites we would have to work with to push all negativity out of the top 20 results.
Every week, we would fine-tune our strategy – since Google often changes its ranking algorithm, we would get slightly differing results every day. For instance, a resource that was ranked as no.1 yesterday might not even be on the first page tomorrow.
For this reason, we checked on the situation once a week and recorded the results in a spreadsheet:
The color indicates the tonality of each resource relative to the individual in question. The names of sites were removed for the purposes of confidentiality.
One of the factors impacting how results are placed on a SERP is the age of the content. A new relevant piece of content can easily get a resource in the top 10, but just a week or two later, it can lose around 30 to 50 positions.
2. Posting mentions of the person on various websites
Undesirable information about the client was posted on large resources, one of them with 20 million monthly visitors. One of the obvious solutions was to overcome this negativity by posting positive content on even larger websites.
However, we couldn’t rely on this tool alone for two reasons:
A. High costs: The client would have to pay $ 4000 to $ 5000 per publication, and the actual budget was much lower.
B. Risk of repetitiveness: Google tries to vary its results, filling its SERPs with sites in different formats. Therefore, we decided to post content about our client on the following types of sites:
- News websites
- Blogging platforms
- Profiling sites
- Video hostings
- Podcast sites
- Social networks
- Interview-centered sites
- Client’s corporate pages
- Dropped domains
- Presentation hostings
3. Optimizing the client’s corporate site
Google prioritizes those sites that are most relevant to the search query. What do you see at the top of the list when googling the name of someone? Depending on the popularity, it can be a Wikipedia article, a corporate website, or a social media account.
In our case, the client’s corporate website was among the top results already, but we wanted to strengthen its position. To do this, we optimized the Team page and created an additional page with the client’s bio.
As a result, these two pages ended up in Google’s top three in the US, pushing all the negativity down the list.
4. Using dropped domains
When time is limited and you need a quick result, you can benefit from dropped domains.
A drop is a domain that its owner decided not to pay for any longer and is now for sale. Some of these dropped domains are still indexed by Google, and you can get good results by publishing backlinks there.
After confirming this step with the client, we created a site based on a good dropped domain and published new content on that site. In just a month, the site was ranked among the top five on Google.
5. Pushing negativity out of Google Image Search
The image search also yielded some negative results, so we had to work not only on pushing individual websites out of the top 20 but specific images, too.
Since Google likes unique content, we made sure to use only unique images of the client in our publications and his social media accounts.
If you don’t have any fresh pictures available, you can edit some of the old ones, changing the background, size, or color profile. This will make Google see them as unique, showing them first.
By the way, changing just the size doesn’t work. Google views such pictures as identical, showing only the one with the best resolution.
PR and content
1. Identifying newsworthy materials
The client didn’t have any important news to share, so we had to create it ourselves. In particular, we watched the industry news closely – and as soon as we found something valuable, we confronted the event with our client’s expertise. Thanks to his status and extensive experience, he could provide commentary on the latest research and news for the media.
2. Publishing content
The technique described above provided us with publications on news websites – however, they would allow free coverage only for really important events. Working with niche websites was much easier: we used them to publish expert articles and interviews.
We only chose sites that fit the following three criteria:
- Relevance to the subject – wealth management, finance, and investment.
- The site had to contain a negative article about our client. Publishing fresh content on the same site would get the old article to rank lower.
- Importance – the site’s «weight», or authority, had to be higher or equal to that of the sites that contained negativity, helping to overcome it.
By weight we mean the level of Google’s trust in the resource. This trust is based on the number of visitors, the site’s age and level of optimization.
If you need quick results, you can get a lot of coverage fast by publishing your content on PR Newswire. Read our recent post on how to do this.
Our client’s name had to be mentioned in the title: -this helped articles rank much better for our search query.
However, our title headline didn’t always fit the editing guidelines of individual resources: some preferred to list the author at the very bottom of the piece. Such articles weren’t useful to us since they didn’t rank the way we would’ve liked.
We tested this headline theory many times. Even a publication on the gigantic Yahoo! Finance with one mention in the body of the text works worse than an article on a small website, but with the client’s name mentioned in the title, lead-in, and text body.
1. Creating and filling social media accounts
We created accounts for the client on Twitter, Linkedin, Facebook, and other platforms. We didn’t use those social networks that weren’t relevant to the client’s business — such as Pinterest, for example.
Linkedin yielded the best result: Our client’s profile on this platform still ranks as no. 1 in the search results, pushing out the old negative content. Xing, Tumblr, and Instagram didn’t produce any result at all: none of them got into the top 20.
We made sure to fill new social media pages with expert content – mostly pieces for the articles we wrote for the media. Naturally, we always adapted the text for social media. The posts were accompanied by photos of the client: we arranged special photoshoots for that purpose.
2. Posting podcasts and videos
Google prefers content to be varied. So it prioritizes not only fresh articles but also video and podcasts.
We started accounts on YouTube and Vimeo for our client and added several videos: some we created specifically to fit recent news, others were chosen among existing content.
We posted those videos not only on the client’s own accounts but also in other users’ profiles. By the way, it was a video posted on the page of another user that ended up in the top 10 of Google.
As for podcasts, they can work well, too – as long as you post them on popular platforms, such as iTunes or audioboom.com, which has over two million monthly users.
Project Manager’s comments
SERM, or search engine reputation management, combines such tools as SEO, PR, and SMM. In order to leverage this combination with maximum benefit, we utilize the following principles:
- Regular strategy updates – since both SERPs and relevant content change all the time, we have to monitor all changes and reassess our action plans when required.
- Analysis of the results – we constantly check what works and what doesn’t. This helps us work faster, better, and without wasting our resources.
- Daily contact with the client – this way we can quickly make strategic decisions and create fresh content.
- Generating relevant content – even though SERM is more about pushing negativity as far down as possible in the SERPs, we are also very serious about what we post – and so are our clients, of course. Content should also be relevant to the objective. In the case, we’ve described that meant niche articles, podcasts, and videos that accentuated the client’s expertise.
By using all these tools, we managed to radically transform the first two Google result pages. 90% of the top 20 were now positive, with the remaining 10% neutral.
Based on our experience with reputation management – and we’ve already worked with a Nobel laureate, several politicians, and CEO’s of financial institutions – your public image can have a tremendous impact on your business and career. By maintaining a good public image on a constant basis is much easier and cheaper than launching major reputation rehaul campaigns once every few years.
To maintain your reputation, make sure to monitor the search results for your name or brand. Select your key search queries and set up alerts: this way you’ll know what Google users see when they look for information about you and will be ready to react to any negativity.
The post Case Study: How BDCenter transformed a reputation from 48% negative on Google to neutral appeared first on Search Engine Watch.
6 things you might not know about Google’s optimization score and how digital marketers should treat this metric.
Read more at PPCHero.com