When we search the internet many of us will use Google, the most popular search engine. Google is not necessarily the only way to find things on the internet, or the best. Very often the information Google displays will not include what you are looking for. When it’s important to find the best information on the internet the trick is knowing where to start looking, and using other search engines.
Google became successful and the reason the results aren’t as good as they should be, Google is working out how useful a site is. Lets take an example, there is a popular website in a specific niche and lots of people link to that site then Google thinks it must be fairly authoritative one and that deserves to go near the top of the list of search results when people search that site on a particular keyword. This new way of deciding which sites to list first, and the indexing of as much of the internet as possible, put Google ahead of it’s competitors.
This popularity led to a lot of people asking owners of other sites to link to their own, or setting up ‘link farms’ where lots of sites link to each other, trying to boost the ranking of particular ones. That is why spammers sign up to forums and never write anything, instead listing their own site address in the member profile. This is why you sometimes find results on Google aren’t so relevant to your search.
There are other search engines that can be useful. More importantly, there are many specialized search engines that deal on a particular type of information. Most modern web browsers have a search box and you can usually choose which search engine they use.
What is the question? Different search engines will provide different results, and organize them differently. Google place Wikipedia at the top of the list and has pages of information to go through. Answers.com provides a long list of information that includes Wikipedia, but also reputable sources of information such as Britannica. Bing provides categories such as Biography and Family tree, which can hep find the right information. For a good overview of facts Answers.com provided the best result.
When the question is really a question, it is worth typing the whole phrase into a search engine. Google will give plenty of solutions; answers.com will give a single answer. Ask.com will come out with similar results to Google, and Bing will provide the least useful results.
Bing can be very useful if you are searching for a company. It will display the sponsored results and UK customer services number, quick links to most important parts of the UK website and a box to search within that site.
Google has an advanced search option, and it is possible to restrict a search to certain sites. This feature is provided by most search engines.
Search Images: Google and Bing have similar image search options. Type the words into their image search tools and it will display a list of preview pictures that can be clicked to see full-sized versions. It is possible to narrow down the results by size, colour and other options. For photos for your website visit photo sharing site flickr for images that are not copyrighted. Choose ‘Advanced search’ and tick the box ‘Only search within Creative Commons Licensed content’. An additional option finds images suitable for commercial use. Flickr is also useful to find images taken in a particular place, since it supports ‘geotagging’ where images can have their geographical location embedded in them.
Search Moving Pictures:Clicking videos in a list of Google results will open a new page on it’s video site Youtube, so you have have to switch between sites. Bing will play a video when the mouse hovers over it. There are links on the left side of the page allow certain sizes or quality of videos to be shown or from specific sources such as Youtube.
Right Price: Search engines can be used when you are looking to buy a product online and searching for the best price. There are many price-comparison sites, but ordinary search engines can help. Google and Bing have a ‘shopping’ link on their front page that will help you find the best prices on a product. Search for a specific product and Bing will give links for reviews, support and prices making it easy to find the right information, the shopping link list retailers and their prices. Google’s shopping home page lists things other people have searched for. Bing’s home page allows you to browse categories.
Map Service: Electronic maps can be very helpful. It can be used to find an address, see a satellite view of an area or plan a route between two locations. Bing has its own map service, you can type in a postcode to find the nearest station. You can also plot a route between points is simple and dragging a route with the mouse can make it go via specific places.
Google maps is useful for finding businesses- type in an address or a query. In Bing you will have to click the Find businesses link.
Google local search is rapidly becoming a critical marketing channel. Retail and service companies are quickly coming to realize that all marketing is local. Most marketers are savvy enough to claim their listings in Google Places, but most don’t do anything beyond that. Instead they opt to focus their efforts on optimizing for general search queries.
since the majority of location-specific searches don’t even take place on Google. Many consumers use other outlets such as online yellow pages, local directories and city guides like CitySearch or Yelp, as well as search engines including Yahoo and Bing, to conduct their searches for local businesses. Even if Google were to start dominating local search like they dominate general search queries (and they probably will), their results are heavily influenced by these other local sources.
On All Search Engines:Organizations should establish their local listings on all three major engines: Google, Bing and Yahoo! Maps. If a company has more than 10 locations, they can avoid Google’s postcard/phone verification process by submitting a spreadsheet for bulk upload. Once the listings are uploaded, the verification process can be initiated by submitting a request at http://bit.ly/GoogleVerification.
A manual process on Google’s side and doesn’t result in instantaneous verification. The process can be accelerated by registering your Google Places account using a company-owned email address, as opposed to a Gmail account or other third-party email address.
Beyond search engine map listings, marketers should increase the number of “citations”, or mentions of a company name in association with the location-specific phone number and address, on third-party sites. They are crucial in improving the rankings for your map listings. Google puts more weight on citations from trusted resources like Yelp, CitySearch, YellowPages.com and Local.com, but citation authority is industry-specific in many cases.
As an added benefit, top-tier Internet Yellow Pages and city guides get a fair amount of their own traffic and provide
excellent outlets for consumer reviews. Google often pulls reviews from third-party sites into their listings and the
number of reviews a location receives can impact the 10-pack rankings. Locations with high customer ratings typically see a lift in click-through rates as well.
Illustrate and Amplify: Optimizing for local search is a constant care and feeding process that will require marketers
to keep on top of the latest developments by both mainstream and vertical search sites and enhance their listings
accordingly. As far as Google Places is concerned, the first step after claiming and verifying your locations is to enhance your profiles by building out the listings with comprehensive information, including pictures and videos. Companies can even add unique coupons to their listings that provide incentive to customers and helps with tracking. One of the most critical data points is the category that is associated with the business. Choosing the right one helps to ensure that your locations show up for the right search terms. The more complete the profile, the more trusted it becomes by both Google and the consumer. If you still aren’t showing up for your priority local search terms, consider advertising in the map results via Google Adwords Local Ad Extensions pay-per-click services or through Google Places Tags. Neither of these advertising options will push your listings into the 10-pack, but they will help your listing get a bit more exposure in the result pages in Google Maps.
Marketers should start considering location-based mobile applications like Foursquare and similar services like Double Dutch, as these services afford companies the opportunity to tap into users’ geographic locations. Companies can use that information to serve up offers and information for nearby businesses and points of interest. Some savvy marketers, like those at Tasti D-Lite, are even using social-local apps to power their loyalty programs, providing incentive for both social and financial transactions.