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Posts Tagged ‘search engine’

Google Uses Print Newspaper Ad To Advertise Search Ad Effectiveness

Google searches frequently help drive traffic to news stories at newspaper websites.

But here’s a different twist on the relationship between the search giant and newspapers: Using a newspaper to drive advertisers to the search giant.

That’s what Google apparently hopes to achieve in its new ad, which Globe and Mail media reporter Steve Ladurantaye discovered in his paper and then tweeted. Or maybe the message to take away is the opposite, as Ladurantaye tweeted about the half-page ad: “An ad for Google ads in today’s Globe demonstrates the value of print ads, yes?”

Mashable follows up noting the ad apparently also ran in the National Post, another Canadian paper and Globe and Mail competitor.

(H/T Romenesko for catching this tweet.)

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The importance of online relevancy

Last week, the online department at the magazine where I work brought in the SEO consultants the company is working with to talk to the writers and editors about how our content fits in with the company’s overall success. It was fairly insightful to hear how important good, deep content — the type my co-workers and I produce each month — is to that success.

However, one line that one of the consultants said during the presentation has been rattling around my head for a week now because it so perfectly sums up how important your online work is to any company or news organization’s bottom line:

“If you’re not relevant online, you’re not relevant.”

It’s as simple as that. Period. In today’s culture, this pretty much is the bottom line. Either people can find you online and find your information relevant, or you don’t exist and don’t count.

Think about your habits: I can’t think of a single thing I don’t go online to look up. Whether it’s the weather, the news in my community or my social circle, the directions, how-to articles, trends in homes, realtors and real estate, reviews on companies or DIY instructions, etc. I have a copy of the Yellow Pages at home, and I even subscribe to the local newspaper. But I’d never think to look something up in the Yellow Pages before going online and checking reviews. In fact, for every one of those topics there are multiple sources of information. But some are more relevant than others. I filter the rest out.

Sadly, if I start to search for a topic/place, and your site isn’t near the top — rated relevant by other users with their clicks and their links — then I’m probably never going to see that story or that site. Users will never find you unless your content is both good quality and easy to access. That means not only do you need strongly researched, written and edited stories, but you also need to make it readable — which pay walls and 20 jump pages to inflate page view counts do not achieve, as they make it hard for both the human users and the spiders crawling to index it. To achieve relevancy, you should be connecting with people both metaphorically (they connect with your stories) and physically (you have people reaching out under your brand to talk to people and answer questions that add value to your organizations). The best news people I follow on Twitter, for example, are constantly answering questions or adding asides or extra information I couldn’t read in that morning’s paper (or whatever your news venue of choice is). That’s what makes them interesting to follow! I also know when I have a question about that topic, I can start with them. They — and by extension their news organizations — are relevant sources for information on that topic.

So where this whole spiel is leading is simply to suggest that anyone who produces content for the web (or as the quote points out, content for anywhere these days) ask themselves every time they post a story, share a link, produce a video, or do whatever it is they do: “Is this relevant? How? To whom?” If the answer is no or you can’t answer the second few, find a way to make it so. Otherwise, don’t waste your time.

(BTW, to give credit where it’s due, that quote came from Paul Davison of Slingshot SEO.)

Use Search Operators To Find Stories, Sources and Documents Online

There are billions of websites on the Internet. But finding the one you need or want isn’t always easy. Thanks to the glut of content farms and spam blogs, the legitimate, useful and smaller sites are often pushed down further in the results, meaning you have to wade through hundreds or more wrong links to find the one. That’s where search operators come in. Using a few carefully crafted phrases and punctuation marks can mean the difference between 10,000,000 hits that are hit-or-miss and 100 hits that are tailored to your actual need.

There are some great guides already online with the advanced operator terms to know and how to quickly find what you want. Here’s one for Google and one for Bing. Below, I’ll highlight just a few of these that I’ve specifically found helpful as a journalist. Also, keep in mind if remembering the often less intuitive search terms isn’t feasible, you can always click on the “Advanced Search” link (Google link; Bing link) and it will guide you through formatting these searches. There are dozens of other phrases and operators to play around with. So take a look at those pages and see what works for you and what unusual ways you can find information or sources.

site:

This is perhaps the most useful search operator to remember. It allows you to narrow your search down only to links coming from your page.

Want to see what 10,000 Words has written about the Flip video camera? Search for “site:mediabistro.com/10000words flip camera” If you wanted to see what anyone on MediaBistro wrote about it, use the same phrase only drop the 10000words from the site, “site:mediabistro.com flip camera” You can be as narrow or broad as you like. This is most useful when you want to find specific information on a specific organization’s website, such as searching a name on the city, county, school district, court, etc. page. A great idea is to combine this operator with the name of someone you need an unlisted e-mail address or phone number for, as it might be posted somewhere you can’t find but search engines have indexed, or try searching a school website for the phrase SSN or Social Security Number or final grades to see if there’s any information posted that shouldn’t be. That could be a story itself!

filetype:

This narrows the search to only links of this file type. Useful if you know what you’re looking for is contained in a PDF or Excel file, for example, or if you’re trolling for information that may be outdated and no longer available, or that shouldn’t have been uploaded to begin with. It’s as easy as typing “filetype:pdf” or “filetype:jpg” or “filetype:xls” with a few key words. You could use similar tactics to find cell phone numbers (often stored in excel files xls or xlsx) or mug shots (jpg).

Combine filetype and site operators with the name of an individual being sued to see if there’s a PDF version of the probable cause affidavit on the website of a local law enforcement agency. Or look for databases/spreadsheets of information, such as unmarried partners from the census, as I did in the example. Bonus points for combining the site: and filetype: operators as such: “site:census.gov filetype:xls unmarried

“quote marks” + contains:

Including words in quotes in most search engines limits your searches only to that exact phrase. Searching for Meranda Watling or "Meranda Watling" yields different results, with the more restricted ones returning fewer hits. This is especially useful when, as in my name, there is an unusual spelling that the search engine may attempt to autocorrect. In Google, adding a +before the word with no space tells it to search for that exact word. In Bing, the word contains:before the word serves a similar function when combined with other phrases. (In Google, the minus sign serves the opposite purpose: It excludes pages with that word.) There are different variations and a change of one punctuation mark can yield different results, so fiddle around with your phrasing to find what you’re looking for.