Friday, July 6, 2007
As a Google Checkout launch partner in the UK, we were excited about taking advantage of the benefits of Google Checkout from day one. We've been very pleased with the initial results we've seen: an increase in our on-site conversion rate and more sales. We've also seen an improvement in our AdWords ROI.
Customer feedback has been positive, as users appreciate the convenience that Google Checkout offers, and we have more new customers, as the badge on our AdWords ad gives users confidence that shopping with Ebuyer will be secure.
If you're interested, you can read more about our experience with Checkout.
As always, you can receive newsletters via e-mail by signing up through your AdWords account.
Posted by Trevor, Inside AdWords crew
To put you in an Indonesian mindset, we've provided some interesting facts about Indonesia:
- Indonesia is made up of 17,500 islands and is the world's largest archipelagic state. It has a population of over 200 million, making it the world's fourth most populous country.
- The largest Buddhist temple in the world, Borobudur, is located in Indonesia and is a ninth century monument.
- Indonesia is the native home of the Komodo dragon, the largest lizard in the world.
Posted by Jeanie Santoso - AdSense Indonesian Publisher Support
I was pretty excited when I found out that one of my first projects here was going to be to launch Google News in Hindi. Over 300 languages are spoken in India, and the chance to build a local product that people I knew would find useful was a pretty thrilling challenge. That one launch taught me a lot of things about how issues and challenges vary according to region, users and languages. It made it clear that users want news in their language, presented in a way that they appreciate the best, highlighting content that is most relevant to them. We also want Google News to give you the ability to find out what's happening locally in any part of the world, and give you the means to see a wide variety of global viewpoints on local news.
When and where to create a new edition of Google News is a complex process. We start by looking at a number of different factors in deciding where to launch next, but in the end, the goal is to reach as many people as possible. Once we've decided on our next edition, we start adding sources to our news crawl. We try to identify as many news sites as possible prior to launch, and then add to those as publishers and users suggest other news sites to us once we're live. While the news sites in a given country are in the native language, we still need to translate all the other pages that make Google News possible, from navigation to help pages, into the new language. After that we do plenty of testing, and post-launch we work to improve each site with more sources and better results.
So far our news internationalization team has built Google News for 18 languages, 41 editions. Most recently, we've added a Greek version of News to our list of international editions. Of course, there are always more languages to offer, more countries to reach, more features to be built for each edition, and more content to be organized and made accessible. We look forward to bringing you many more changes and improvements in the coming months.
Thursday, July 5, 2007
Are we alone in the universe? How much wood can a woodchuck chuck? What's the share of voice for my AdWords campaign?
While we're still working on answers to the first two questions, there's a new metric available through the AdWords Report Center that will shed light on the third one.
"Share of voice" is a metric often used in the advertising industry to represent the relative portion of ad inventory available to a single advertiser within a defined market over a specified time period. Impression Share, a new AdWords metric, is similar to share of voice -- it represents the percentage of times your ads were actually shown in relation to the total number of chances your ads could have been shown, based on your keyword and campaign settings.
For example, say you own a small lawn furniture business and you're using AdWords to sell your products. You're curious to know if you're missing out on potential sales by not appearing every time users search on your keywords. To compare how often your ads are showing to the total opportunities they have to show, run a campaign- or account-level performance report that includes the new Impression Share columns. The report below is a sample of what you'll see:
Here's a quick rundown of what each Impression Share column represents:
Impression Share (IS): The percentage of times your ads were shown out of the total available impressions in the market you were targeting. This metric is available at the campaign and account level for search.
Lost IS (Rank): The percentage of impressions lost due to low Ad Rank (cost-per-click bid x Quality Score).
Lost IS (Budget): The percentage of impressions lost due to budget constraints.
Using our lawn furniture example, the Impression Share results in the above report may be within your expectations given you:
- are small business,
- target your ads to one state (e.g. Arizona), and
- use ad scheduling so your ads only show on the weekdays when your store is open.
Not every advertiser's goal is to appear each time his or her ads have the opportunity to show; however, Impression Share is a convenient way to assess shifts in the competitive landscape as well as ways to diagnose where you're losing Impression Share.
Impression Share is available for performance reports at the account- or campaign-level and you can find instructions on how to include the metric in your next report here.
Posted by Judy, Inside AdWords crew
We occasionally get questions on the Webmaster Help Group about how webmasters should work with Adobe Flash. I thought it would be worthwhile to write a few words about the search considerations designers should think about when building a Flash-heavy site.
As many of you already know, Flash is inherently a visual medium, and Googlebot doesn't have eyes. Googlebot can typically read Flash files and extract the text and links in them, but the structure and context are missing. Moreover, textual contents are sometimes stored in Flash as graphics, and since Googlebot doesn't currently have the algorithmic eyes needed to read these graphics, these important keywords can be missed entirely. All of this means that even if your Flash content is in our index, it might be missing some text, content, or links. Worse, while Googlebot can understand some Flash files, not all Internet spiders can.
- Try to use Flash only where it is needed. Many rich media sites such as Google's YouTube use Flash for rich media but rely on HTML for content and navigation. You can too, by limiting Flash to on-page accents and rich media, not content and navigation. In addition to making your site Googlebot-friendly, this makes you site accessible to a larger audience, including, for example, blind people using screen readers, users of old or non-standard browsers, and those on limited low-bandwidth connections such as on a cell phone or PDA. As a bonus, your visitors can use bookmarks effectively, and can email links to your pages to their friends.
- sIFR: Some websites use Flash to force the browser to display headers, pull quotes, or other textual elements in a font that the user may not have installed on their computer. A technique like sIFR still lets non-Flash readers read a page, since the content/navigation is actually in the HTML -- it's just displayed by an embedded Flash object.
- Non-Flash Versions: A common way that we see Flash used is as a front page "splash screen" where the root URL of a website has a Flash intro that links to HTML content deeper into the site. In this case, make sure there is a regular HTML link on that front page to a non-Flash page where a user can navigate throughout your site without the need for Flash.
If you have other ideas that don't violate these guidelines that you'd like to ask about, feel free to ask them in the Webmaster Help Group under Crawling, Indexing, and Ranking. The many knowledgeable webmasters there, along with myself and a cadre of other Googlers, will do our best to clear up any confusion.
When Google Finance launched last year, we created discussion groups, a forum where posters could have quality, on-topic, spam-free discussions about their favorite stocks and companies, and where the exchanges remain cordial and informative. If you're interested in participating, please review our community guidelines. In addition to these rules, we have a small team of moderators, including me, who help facilitate the discussion process.
Over the past few months, we've seen some great discussions on Google (GOOG), New York Stock Exchange (NYX), and the recent IPO of Blackstone (BX). In fact, our Apple discussions group has been hotter than ever as the community has been going ga-ga over the iPhone (in fact, so have I -- who hasn't been?).
To find a discussion on a particular company, do a search on Google Finance, and click on the "Discuss" link, above the chart. Or, you can start your search for a company from Google Groups. We look forward to welcoming you to our community.
The API gave me access to practically all my spreadsheet data, so I had the flexibility to do whatever I had in mind. Within a few hours, I had a pretty powerful little application that could filter using easy dropdowns on each column. But I wasn't done -- I wanted more control over filtering. I added an expression parser that understands "fuzzy" filters -- things like "contains North or New" -- just as well as it understands more precise (but intimidating) traditional expressions.
I clearly went a little overboard with my spreadsheet application, but the point is that the API puts a lot of power into my hands--and yours. If you've got any kind of programming experience, why don't you give it a try ?
Tuesday, July 3, 2007
Still looking for that perfect summer vacation? Consider a visit to great Nebraska destinations like the Fort Robinson State Park, the Stuhr Museum of the Prairie Pioneer, and of course, Carhenge.
U.S. Sen. Ben Nelson (Nebraska) -- who earlier this year used Google's MyMaps tool to create a virtual tour of his visit to Iraq -- is at it again. Yesterday Sen. Nelson launched two new Google maps mashups promoting Nebraska tourism. One map highlights state and federal parks; another, offbeat attractions in the Cornhusker State.
These maps are clearly a great new way for elected officials to communicate with the citizens they represent. Here's hoping that more Senators and House members will follow Senator Nelson's lead. In the meantime, anyone up for a road trip to the world's largest porch swing?
Posted by Vivian, Inside AdWords crew
When we launched Gmail, we set out to change the way email works. We designed it so you should never have to delete mail and always be able to find the message you want. Since then, we've added things like integrated chat, mobile access, more storage, and better spam protection.
And now there's this blog, where we'll keep you up to date on latest from the Gmail team. We'll post feature updates, productivity tips, and some insights into the people and the technology behind Gmail. And since Gmail works even better with Google Calendar and Docs & Spreadsheets, you'll find posts from folks on these teams as well.
One of the really exciting things about working on Gmail is seeing all of the great ideas that people come up with for integrating Gmail into daily life. Whether it's turning Gmail into your personal nerve center, cool ways to use Google Calendar with Gmail, a lot of its juice comes from you. This blog is a place where we want to highlight interesting and useful posts from elsewhere. And we look forward to sharing some of the fun and crazy things we're up to around the office.
So stay tuned.
Currently, EFT is available to publishers in these countries. However, please know that we're working to offer EFT in more regions, and we'll be sure to announce any updates here. If you're still hesitant about signing up for EFT, we'd love to hear your thoughts.
Posted by Elizabeth Ferdon - AdSense Publisher Support
Monday, July 2, 2007
As a Google Apps user, you can add the Google Talk Gadget to your Start Page by clicking on the "Add stuff" link on the top left corner of your homepage, opening the 'Google Apps' category of gadgets, and clicking 'add it now.' If you're a Google Apps administrator, click here to learn how to add the Google Talk Gadget and other content to your users' Start Page. If your organization doesn't use Google Apps yet, you can learn more about getting started at http://www.google.com/a.
In the Dutch market, the concept of so-called 'startpages' is hugely popular. In this article we will give some background information on them, and give those of you who may be startpage webmasters a few tips on how to create unique and informative startpages.
What's a startpage?
Basically, it's a webpage with a lot of links about a specific topic. The startpages are hosted on a startpage domain and each separate startpage is maintained by an individual webmaster. The links on startpages are usually ordered by categories related to the topic of the page. Besides hyperlinks, startpages often contain text, animations and pictures. Startpages are quite unique to the Dutch market, and offer a simple interface for novice users to create their own web portals, with a unique approach to user-generated content.
The whole startpage concept began in September 1998 with the launch of Startpagina.nl, which was set up to be an online linkbook for the inexperienced Internet user. Since then, Startpagina.nl has become a huge success, mainly because an enormous number of volunteers created and maintained the different startpages covering lots of interesting and diverse topics. Since Startpagina.nl emerged, lots of other startpage domains have been created, and are still being created today. The fact that there are still new startpage domains appearing and that the number of individual startpages on these domains is still increasing shows the continued popularity of startpages in the Dutch market.
Creating useful startpages
As a search engine, we love to have useful and diverse pages showing up in the search results we present to our users. We thought it would be a good idea to highlight some of the best practices we've seen in creating value-added startpages.
- Create your startpage for users, and not for search engines. This involves making sure that all your text on the page is visible to users, and writing full sentences as descriptions instead of just keywords.
- Try to deliver unique, informative and on-topic content. The structure of startpages is pretty straightforward and does not leave much room for variation. However, you can make a difference. Try to find a topic you know a lot about that has not been fully covered yet. Create good categories that are related to your topic and give a relevant title to every category. Then, find links that are related to the categories on your page and label every link with an anchor text that is relevant. For example, instead of naming your links 'link1', 'link2' et cetera, you can choose names that make clear where the link is pointing to. And you can write a short description for every category.
- Don't create startpages out of commercial intent or for the sole purpose of exchanging links. Of course there is nothing wrong with trying to monetize your startpage, but a page with only banners and affiliate links is not the best user experience and therefore not recommended. The same goes for startpages that are created as part of a link network. For example, pages that have all links pointing to a particular website and to other startpages that are also pointing to that same website. These kind of link schemes have no added value for the user and go against the Google webmaster guidelines.
With this post, we hope to have provided potential startpage webmasters with some helpful guidelines that will help to create the type of startpages the Dutch speaking people love!
On a final note, we would like to encourage you to fill in a paid links form if you come across a startpage that is involved in buying and selling links for the purpose of search engine manipulation. To report other forms of bad behavior, you can send a spam report. We'll review each report we get and use this feedback to enhance our algorithms and improve our search results. As always, we really appreciate your feedback and your help to provide the best search experience.
Startpagina'sGepost door Selina en Jos, Search Quality Team, Dublin
Op de Nederlandstalige markt zijn de zogenaamde startpagina's bijzonder populair. In dit artikel willen we, naast het geven van wat achtergrondinformatie over startpagina's, toekomstige startpaginabeheerders een aantal tips geven voor het creëren van unieke en informatieve startpagina's.
Wat is een startpagina?
Een startpagina is een webpagina met een verzameling links gerelateerd aan een specifiek onderwerp. De startpagina's worden gehost op een startpagina domein en elke individuele startpagina wordt beheerd door een webmaster. De links op een startpagina zijn meestal opgedeeld in verschillende categorieën die relevant zijn voor het specifieke onderwerp van de startpagina. Naast een indeling in hyperlinks vind je op een startpagina vaak tekst, animaties en plaatjes. Het concept van startpagina's is redelijk specifiek voor de Nederlandstalige markt en komt nauwelijks voor in andere markten. Startpagina's hebben een simpele interface die het, ook voor de onervaren internetgebruikers, eenvoudig maakt om een eigen webpagina te creëren.
Het startpagina concept kwam tot stand in september 1998 met de lancering van Startpagina.nl, dat werd opgezet als een soort van linkboek voor de onervaren internet gebruiker. Startpagina.nl bleek al gauw een enorm succes. Dit succes was vooral te danken aan het enorme aantal vrijwilligers dat meehielp om startpagina's te creëren en beheren. Dat er nu, bijna negen jaar later, nog steeds nieuwe startpagina domeinen verschijnen en dat het aantal individuele startpagina's op deze domeinen nog steeds groeit toont aan dat de startpagina's onverminderd populair zijn.
Een waardevolle startpagina creëren
Als zoekmachine vinden we het fantastisch om waardevolle pagina's met unieke content en diversiteit in onze zoekresultaten te hebben. Het leek ons daarom een goed idee om een aantal tips te geven die kunnen helpen bij het creëren van startpagina's met toegevoegde waarde.
- Maak een startpagina voor internetgebruikers en niet voor zoekmachines. Zorg dat alle tekst zichtbaar is en gebruik volledige zinnen in plaats van enkel een aantal keywords.
- Probeer unieke, informatieve en aan je onderwerp gerelateerde inhoud aan je bezoekers te presenteren. Hoewel de opzet van een standaard startpagina niet heel veel ruimte biedt voor variatie, kun jij als beheerder het verschil maken! Begin met het zoeken naar een onderwerp waar je veel over weet en waar naar jouw idee nog niet genoeg informatie over te vinden is. Maak vervolgens relevante categorieën aan die gerelateerd zijn aan het onderwerp en geef elke categorie een relevante naam. Zoek vervolgens de links die je op je startpagina wil plaatsen en geef elke link een anchor tekst die omschrijft waar de link je bezoeker naar toe stuurt. Noem je links niet link1, link2, en link3, maar geef ze een naam die relevant is voor de inhoud van de pagina waar de link naar verwijst. Als extra aanvulling kan voor iedere categorie een korte beschrijving worden toegevoegd.
- Maak geen startpagina's vanuit een puur commercieel oogpunt. Er is niets mis met te proberen om wat te verdienen met je startpagina, maar vergeet niet dat je bezoekers niet zitten te wachten op een pagina met alleen reclamebanners en affiliate links. Hetzelfde geldt voor startpagina's die enkel worden aangemaakt als onderdeel van een linknetwerk. Een voorbeeld hiervan zijn startpagina's waarbij alle links verwijzen naar eenzelfde website en naar andere startpagina's die ook allemaal naar dezelfde website verwijzen. Dit soort startpagina's hebben geen enkele waarde voor je bezoekers en gaan bovendien in tegen de Google Richtlijnen voor Webmasters.
We hopen dat we met deze eerste Nederlandstalige post potentiële startpaginabeheerders hebben kunnen voorzien van een aantal nuttige tips die er voor zorgen dat zij het soort startpagina's kunnen gaan creëren waar onze Nederlandstalige gebruikers van houden!
Tot slot willen we iedereen aanmoedigen om een paid link formulier in te vullen, wanneer je een startpagina tegenkomt die links koopt en verkoopt om daarmee zoekmachines te manipuleren. Andere zaken die ingaan tegen de Google Richtlijnen voor Webmasters kun je melden door een spamrapport in te sturen. Wij bekijken elk rapport dat wordt ingestuurd en deze informatie wordt gebruikt om onze algoritmes en zoekresultaten verder te verbeteren. Zoals altijd wordt jullie feedback en hulp om onze gebruikers te voorzien van de meest relevante zoekresultaten enorm gewaardeerd!
Sunday, July 1, 2007
| Posted by Lauren Turner, Account Planner, Health|
Well, I've learned a few things since I posted on Friday. For one thing, even though this is a new blog, we have readers! That's a good thing. Not so good is that some readers thought the opinion I expressed about the movie Sicko was actually Google's opinion. It's easy to understand why it might have seemed that way, because after all, this is a corporate blog. So that was my mistake -- I understand why it caused some confusion.
But the more important point, since I doubt that too many people care about my personal opinion, is that advertising is an effective medium for handling challenges that a company or industry might have. You could even argue that it's especially appropriate for a public policy issue like healthcare. Whether the healthcare industry wants to rebut charges in Mr. Moore's movie, or whether Mr. Moore wants to challenge the healthcare industry, advertising is a very democratic and effective way to participate in a public dialogue.
That is Google's opinion, and it's unrelated to whether we support, oppose or (more likely) don't have an official position on an issue. That's the real point I was trying to make, which was less clear because I offered my personal criticism of the movie.
Update: For those of you who haven't noticed, there's a further perspective live on the main Google corporate blog that sheds more light on the company's views. As for me, I wholeheartedly believe we should work to improve the quality of health care in America and support the discourse that will drive this change.