Posts Tagged ‘search engine’

Search Engine

What is a search engine?

A search engine is a software program that is used to find answers to queries by using algorithms to search through a database of information that is stored on a computer system. In its most basic form a search engine can be described as an electronic information retrieval system. The software that runs on a computer terminal at the local library, to help people find the books they wish to borrow, is an example of a search engine. The most common form of search engine, and the focus of SEO Today, is a Web search engine, which refers to an online tool that is used to search for information on the World Wide Web (Web), or a small portion of the Web.

Web search engines use propriety algorithms to create and store indexes of the millions of websites available online into a database. These algorithms ensure that only meaningful results are displayed when users make queries. Because all Web search engines use different algorithms, a user may get varying answers to their queries, depending on which Web search engine they choose.

Web search engines typically consist of three parts:
1. Retrieval Program – A program that searches the Web and gathers information, commonly
referred to as a spider, crawler or robot (bot).
2. Database – A collection of the indexes and associated information that has been created by
using the retrieval program.
3. Search Tool – An interface that allows the user to search through the database by using

What Happen If Facebook Invented It’s Own Search Engine?

By Greg Sterling

The news broke yesterday that Facebook was getting a whopping $500 million from Goldman Sachs and existing investor Digital Sky Technologies at a valuation of $50 billion. None of this has been confirmed by the company but it’s being very widely reported. Apparently the Goldman investment will enable the company’s most wealthy clients to “get in” before an IPO and virtually guarantee that Goldman is the firm (or the lead firm) that takes Facebook public when that eventually happens.

Groupon also just raised a gigantic funding round, between $500 million and $950 million according to reports. Within the past 12 months there have been other massive rounds of more than $100 million at companies such as Zynga and Yelp.

Part of what’s going on in these cases is early investors selling shares, as well as founders and early employees “taking money off the table.” This relieves some of the pressure to go public. However, once the number of shareholders of a company reaches 500 or more Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC) rules apparently force companies to start reporting financial information as though they were public.  It’s not clear how close Facebook is to the “500″ number officially or clear to me how that number is calculated precisely. (Clearly Facebook has more than 500 employees who have stock options, which are classified differently.)

As an aside, SEC has begun an investigation into the trading of private company shares. I suspect that we’ll see some new regulations down the road, though not in this Congressional term, that alter the ability of companies to do this kind of private fund raising and trading at this level of scale without going public.

On to the fun stuff: what might Facebook do, beyond making more people rich, with all the money? More headcount and more acquisitions are obvious moves. In addition the company is reportedly going to move to a new, larger home in Menlo Park that was a former Sun Microsystems campus — sometimes referred to as “Sun Quentin” after the California prison in nearby Marin County.

Facebook is reportedly making about $2 billion annually (run-rate) on advertising. But it’s serving almost 25% of all US display ads according to comScore. So I would expect its display revenues to increase accordingly. Yet where might Facebook look for more revenue growth when it does go public eventually?

Mobile advertising is one obvious place, e-commerce is another (shopping is a big opportunity for Facebook) and local is a third opportunity. But search might also be another place that Facebook inevitably turns.

Given the Microsoft relationship and Facebook’s lack of core competency in search it would not seem logical that the company would go there. But the “gravitational pull” of search may ultimately prove too great. As you know, after email search is the web’s “killer app.”

Imagine that Facebook were to become convinced that having its own search engine was a key to delivering a better user experience overall, as well as generating new ad revenue. One obvious and immediate possibility would be to buy Blekko, which has pushed social integration with Facebook Likes further than Microsoft itself.

Blekko has raised just over $24 million and could probably be acquired for some multiple of that figure below $200 million. Presto: just ad search. Other more unlikely possibilities would be to buy someone like Infospace or even Ask, though in both cases it would cost more than $200 million and potentially much more in the case of Ask.

For its part Blekko is very innovative but faces a long uphill climb against Google and Bing. Under the hood at Facebook, with 500 million users, it would be quite a different matter. In my view the thing that today separates the Facebook experience from being “truly useful” is a strong search offering, notwithstanding the Bing integration.

I’m speculating and I don’t know what the Microsoft-Facebook deal terms look like. They might contractually preclude Facebook from developing or introducing its own web search engine for some period of time.

Formerly I would have argued that it would be very difficult and almost pointless for Facebook to develop its own search engine given the Bing relationship. But with all this new money flowing and not that many revenue opportunities like paid search out there, the push and the pull of search may just be too strong for Facebook to resist.

Postscript: Clint Boulton at eWeek has an interesting post arguing that Facebook might buy the Chrome-based social browser RockMelt. He suggests this is another way to compete with Google, although Google is the default search option on RockMelt.

Source: Search Engine Land

Put your Keywords Into profit

One of the most important factors behind commercially successful websites is their ability to discover profitable traffic channels for their online products. Whilst Google’s Keyword Tool can help us on cover keywords that have regular traffic, it’s another skill to then go on and define which of these keywords will have the best conversion from ‘traffic’ to ‘sales’.

Certainly any website that becomes commercially successful has an element of luck involved. However, here are a few tips to help delve further into your keywords in an effort to uncover the ones that truly have SALES value.

1. Ad words spend
If a keyword has a large number of PPC advertisers, there’s a very good chance that this keyword converts traffic to sales well. If you use Google Keyword Tool to uncover your keywords, you’ll be no doubt aware that you can view average PPC costs on any keyword found. However, I find a more reliable method is to simply use your own eyes and note down how many people actually pay for that keyword.  To do this, open and type in your keyword. Ideally, you would now see a full page of PPC advertisers appearing under sponsored links above and to the right hand side of your organic results (click below to enlarge).

2. IF you see any less than a full first page of PPC advertisers be wary of this keywords ability to convert to sales. Ideally, you would want to see 3 – 5 pages of different advertisers all paying for their PPC ads on pages 1 – 5 of Google’s results, this is an excellent indication that this keyword is easily monetized.

3. Google Shopping

Google Product Search is the area of the world’s most powerful search engine where you are able to search all of the products uploaded to Google’s Checkout database. This area of Google can be a real goldmine when searching for ‘conversion’ keywords. Type your main keyword into the search box at the top of the Google Shopping page, Google will instantly offer you a number of alternative keywords in a drop down menu that appears almost as you type.

Let this menu hover, write the most relevant of these suggestions down and now go back to Google’s Keyword Tool. Research all of the suggestions for traffic numbers and any further keyword ideas Google suggests. By using Google Product Search initially, you are now feeding the Keyword Tool with keywords that Google has told you have ‘sales’ traffic, hence your keyword results should be more commercially focused.

4. Google Discussion

Finally, after completing steps 1 and 2 above, take your best keywords, type them into Google and click on ‘Discussions’. Are people already talking about your keywords? If so, this final step serves as further verification that your keywords have high potential for sales conversion.

I hope the above tips help some of you to uncover more lucrative keywords for your SEO projects. If any of you have your own fine ideas for keyword research do let me know, I’d love to hear them!

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