Big Changes Coming To Google Search Results

google

Jayson DeMers wrote a very detailed and well thought out post about Google and coming changes in search.  In the article DeMers discusses that search will change to accomodate a more mobile world, that SEO professionals will have to adapt and change as well. All things search must evolve.

DeMers goes on to discuss that there will be more color and more information, targeted data to get users what they need faster. He goes on at length to discuss the rise of the Knowledge Graph.

From the article:

Google’s knowledge graph has been a point of emphasis for the search giant over the last couple years. The knowledge graph displays data above all other search results when a suitable query is entered by a user. For example, try the query “famous jazz composers” and you’ll see a carousel of results, with names and dates of birth and death. Other example queries that trigger the knowledge graph are “Seattle weather forecast,” “nba teams” and “seahawks roster.”

The knowledge graph is, of course, designed to quickly answer questions so that searchers have quicker and easier access to answers. Frankly, it does a great job of that; user feedback has been generally positive, with a few exceptions.

I expect that graph to become larger and trigger for more search queries as time passes. Google wants it to attract more attention and thus keep users on Google’s pages for longer. This gives them more time to click ads, and gives users a better overall experience with Google, which helps to keep them away from Bing.

I predict that definitions triggered by the knowledge graph will become longer, small infographics will start appearing, and more queries will trigger knowledge graph results . Images will become more important, and charts will appear more frequently. A “related topics” section will help users dig deeper into the details. A “context” section will show several lines from popular websites that use the search phrase.

This is all built to help give people their basic search engine answers. The good news is that it will work well for Google and its users. The bad news is that websites displayed in Google’s search results for these types of queries will see decreased traffic as users no longer need to click through to those websites to get their answers.

DeMers also discusses his belief that search will return more specialized results. All in all this was a very good read and worth taking 15 minutes out of your day to read.

Read the full story on Forbes.

Google Starting To Show Full Restaurant Menu in Search Results

google

Another potential risk with very specific niche gtlds is that something can come along and change the game. Something that has nothing to do with domain names can still come along and affect the niche extension. The Apple iPhone and its .com button along with how smartphones easily rendered a website on a phone was a big hit to .mobi.

The .menu extension has already been delegated and four companies are vying to run .restaurant. Tech Crunch did a post yesterday which expanded on something I saw for myself while looking up a local Italian restaurant on Google, earlier in the week.

Frederic Lardinois wrote for Tech Crunch:

Here is a small but nifty update to Google Search: if you ask it to find a restaurant menu for you, it will now often just show you the menu right on the search results page. Try this for a search like “show me the menu for fogo de chao” and the menu will be right there.

2014-02-28_1253

Now of course this doesn’t mean that these new extensions don’t have other ways to be utilized, but its just a reminder that Google continues to make tweaks and changes that can affect the best laid plans of niche gtlds.

Moving A Penalized Website To A New Domain May Not Remove Your Google Penalty

google

Barry Schwartz wrote a piece on Search Engine Roundtable  about Google penalties following to a new website.

So we know that if you have a penalty on your site and you move your site to a new domain and redirect the URLs to that new domain, the penalty will flow because of the redirects. That is known.

What I did not know is that if you took your site and moved it to a new domain but did not redirect the old domain to the new, that Google may also pass along the penalty without redirecting the URLs.

There was a Google webmaster hangout yesterday which delved into how Google handles these moves. If you have had a website run into problems with Google and were going to switch to another domain this segment is worth watching to understand how long it can take to get things right.

Could Watson Change Search As We Know It ?

Watson

Daniel Newman wrote a piece on Millenial CEO that took a look at Watson, the super computer from IBM. Newman explores the possibility if Watson could change the search landscape.

Just Google It…Everyone Else Does

Right now when we want to know more about something, anything, we Google it; this isn’t an exception, this is the rule. In fact, 74% of the entire population turns to Google to start their information finding efforts.

This trend has been on the rise for sometime and as we have become more dependent on Google, we have helped turn the once search focused startup into the worlds second largest corporation besides Apple with their hands in advertising, big data, productivity applications and of course search. More or less our lives have become somewhat dependent on search and even if you are one of the “Rebels” that use Bing or Yahoo, your still turning to a search engine as the first response to your fact finding missions.

At this very moment in time search rules and everyone else scurries to make it work for them, but could that be changing?

Newman goes on to talk about the Hummingbird update that Google made, with one of the two major tenets of that update being an increased role for semantic search. Newman sees this as Google recognizing the need for search to be more human like.

The piece goes on to look at how Watson is affecting change.  One of the elements is below:

Exploiting The Human Condition: People are social. Google has proven this and even Hollywood is playing on this with a movie like “Her” where a man falls in love with his device. The long and short of it is we want to interact with technology in a natural human way. While Google is making strides at this, no one (at least publicly) has shown the ability to humanize a machine the way IBM has done with Watson.

It is to be seen whether IBM and Watson are able to emerge as the next great leader in search and it may just turn out that Watson doesn’t change search, but it replaces search.

I suppose if we can just converse with our machines naturally and get useful and intelligent data in return, then why do we really need a search engine?

One thing is for sure, when the power of Watson which by the way can fit in just 3 pizza box size rack spaces is widely made available for our most innovative entrepreneurs to exploit, the outcomes are going to be good, real good.

Read the full story here

Lush Cosmetics Wins Trademark Battle With Amazon

Lush Cosmetics has won its high-profile trademark battle with Amazon, with the High Court ruling against the retail giant’s use of the word ‘lush’ in its search marketing.

Insider Media covered the story,

The cosmetics business, which is headquartered in Poole, took legal action against Amazon.co.uk and Amazon EU after complaining that the retailer was infringing its trademark.

Lush does not permit its cosmetics to be sold on Amazon.

However, visitors who typed ‘lush’ into the search box on its website were shown products by rival companies. Amazon also ran a Google AdWords pay-per-click marketing campaign showing alterative cosmetics for keywords featuring the word ‘lush’.

The High Court decided that the average consumer would not be able to ascertain that goods identified by Amazon’s online search results were unconnected to Lush.

TheLawyer.com covered it saying,

The fight was particularly vicious due to Lush’s high-profile contempt for Amazon’s business practices – the company refuses to sell its products on Amazon’s site because of its attitude to UK tax, among other things. The court heard that it refused to sell on Amazon as it felt the decision would damage its ethical brand.

Baldwin QC said: “Lush is a successful business which has built up an image of ethical trading. This is an image which it says it wishes to preserve and it has taken the decision not to allow its good to be sold on Amazon because of the damage that it perceives there would be to that reputation.”

We have seen these disputes before and the decision went the other way, TechDirt wrote in July 2013 about 1-800 Contacts Vs Lens.com

With this list in mind, you can see why I hate the 1-800 Contacts v. Lens.com lawsuit. 1-800 Contact has spent enormous amounts on legal fees—at least $650k as of 2010–pursuing Lens.com for competitive keyword ads that had generated $20 in profit for Lens.com (no, that’s not a typo) and, at maximum, a few tens of thousands of dollars in revenue for Lens.com affiliates. All of this litigation is predicated on the initial interest confusion doctrine, an overly amorphous doctrine that no one can define or find any scientific support for, and which has been has been a loser in court for many years. To top it off, 1-800 Contacts had hypocritically engaged in competitive keyword advertising itself.

After 6 years in court, the case isn’t over yet. This week, the Tenth Circuit affirmed most of the district court’s opinion and emphatically rejected most of 1-800 Contacts’ lawsuit against Lens.com for the competitive keyword advertising it and its affiliates did. However, a small issue got remanded for a jury trial, so the parties will get the pleasure of wasting many tens of thousands of dollars more to conduct the jury trial unless they can finally find a way to settle. Hooray for litigation that create massive deadweight social losses!

Eric Goldman wrote on Forbes in March 2013,

More Confirmation That Google Has Won the AdWords Trademark Battles Worldwide

I’ve repeatedly asserted that the trademark battles over keyword advertising are near the end.  As further evidence of that, this week Google ($GOOG) liberalized its international trademark policy for advertising via AdWords.   Previously, Google allowed trademark owners to block advertisers from bidding on their trademarks in Australia, Brazil, China, Hong Kong, Macau, New Zealand, South Korea, and Taiwan.  Now, Google has reversed its policy in those countries, meaning that (as Google told me) “Google will no longer restrict advertisers from bidding against trademark keywords, worldwide.”  (Google had previously liberalized its trademark policy in most other countries in 2010).  Google will maintain regional differences in restrictions on when trademark owners can block their trademarks from appearing in the ad copy.

Amazon had another case which Eric Goldman covered in February of 2013 for Forbes,

Amazon’s Merchandising of Its Search Results Doesn’t Violate Trademark Law

MTM sued Amazon for trademark infringement.  Note that this is not a typical trademark lawsuit, where a trademark owner sues a competitor for copying its trademark too closely.  Instead, this is a trademark owner-vs.-retailer lawsuit for merchandising competitors’ items.  Trademark law wasn’t built to handle lawsuits like this, and the typical multi-factor test courts use to evaluate consumer confusion doesn’t make sense when applied to litigants at different levels of a distribution chain.