Must say the Google Doodle today caught my eye. It commemorates the birth of Amelia Earhart, the first woman to fly sol across the Atalntic. Google Doodles have been around for some time and I thought I'd share some interesting facts with you:
The founders of Google first tinkered with the Google logo in 1998 to indicate their attendance at the Burning Man festival - they put a stick figure behind the final 'o' of Google.
Dennis Hwang, a Google webmaster, was asked to become Google's chief doodler in 2000. He came up with one for Bastille Day.
Over a 1000 doodles have been created over the years and they are used to highlight special anniversaries and events through the year and across the world.
Google now has a group of doodlers, made up of illustrators and engineers, to create them.
Ideas come from within the team and from Gooogle users (you can email yours to firstname.lastname@example.org)
There is a Google Doodle store where you can buy Doodles on t-shirts, mugs and even skateboards.
Starting this month and running for the next 12 months Google will be running a series of events across Wales with the express aim of getting Welsh businesses online. Primarily aimed at small businesses, Google will be offering 40-minute, one-to-one consultations through its Juice Bar; a series of free workshops that will cover AdWords, developing a website and broadly looking at Google; online training that costs £99 and some free online tools.
Let's hope that through this initiative Welsh businesses will take up the offer and Google is able to reach as many of these SME's across Wales as possible.
Following on from the successful Google AdWords Masterclass that we delivered last year Marketing Tom Media, in conjunction with Liberty Marketing, will be delivering two, revised and updated Google AdWords workshops in March and April. The first one, which is focused on Beginner to Intermediate level students will run on March 19th, while the second, aimed at Intermediate to Advanced level students runs on April 18th. These workshops are very much hands-on and interactive and allow the tutors, who have over 15 years' AdWords experience between them, to give delegates a thorough foundation in AdWords and to share top tips on how to create effective strategies.
If you didn't get a chance to go to LeWeb 2011, you may be interested to check out their YouTube channel which features over 130 sessions in HD format. Highlights include Eric Schmidt talking about the new Android features (love the facial recognition unlock feature), Karl Lagerfeld and the founders of Spotify and Evernote.
Back in July Google introduced AdWords Express, a new way to help local advertisers reach out to their target audiences using AdWords. The idea is that it helps you with create your Google Places page and, once set up, will automatically manage your Google AdWords account. These ads appear slightly differently to other Google ads in that they have a blue pin.
Find out more information from the videos below or visit the links directly after it.
And here's another one from a Google Product Manager
If you need to find a plumber, electrician or gas engineer, you tend to ask friends or family who live close by to recommend on for you. You will probably ask your friends how good their work is, how quickly they get work done, do they answer phone calls and how much they cost. And you ask these people because they belong to a circle of people you trust. But with more of our time being spent online and our reliance on information from Google and social networks, we are moving these questions online.
A popular website when it comes to 'peer reviews' is TripAdvisor. Most of us will have had experience of using this site and of being guided by the feedback that hotel guest leave. Sometimes we find them unfair and probably contrived; very often we trust what they say. And from TripAdvisor to Marks and Spencer we are seeing that companies are inviting us to leave reviews on products, services and brands and online users are increasingly all to willing to leave their opinions.
And so this leads us back to local search. If we don't know who to ask or plain can't find the right person, we are increasingly going to Google.
Recently, I moved in to a new house and was able to identify (through friends) a gas engineers and someone to do ceilings. When it came to electricians we couldn't find people - in two cases they were people we had used before and who were expensive and not very good. At this point I decided to 'trust Google'. I typed in the magic keywords:
and came across the following search results
The interesting thing is that my eye was drawn to the final result you see here and primarily because of the number of reviews that it had received. How could a local electrician have 60 reviews? I later found out - because he was pretty good at what he did. What's also important is that people (60 in total) had taken their time to write good reviews about this electrician - not one of them was bad. Further digging revealed that this company had taken the time to construct a website which ticked some big boxes as far as I'm concerned:
Clear contact details
One thing that did surprise me was that even though they had done many of these things, they weren't using Google Places to its full potential. They didn't have a full description or images.
The more that we are defaulting to Google for local search, the more important it is for businesses to get things right. Here's the bottom line: Google Places can list up to 7 companies ABOVE the organic listings. Not being listed here can damage your business. If you are listed here remember that people's eyes are drawn to ratings - popularity and volume. But, like the local electrician, don't forget that you're driving traffic to a website whose primary purpose should be to convert. Is your company or your client's doing this?
It would appear that Google Plus has moved from "field trial to Beta" and anyone can now sign up for the service - no longer do you need invitations. Some new features include Hangouts or video chat on Android and the ability to use Google Docs on Hangouts. Why not head over to Google to give it a try. Today, the big blue arrow will help you to find it.
Have you come across those ads which seem to appear on sies you visit and often relate to sites you visit. Well, I have and I thought I'd share one of them with you. I was on the EasyJet website yesterday looking for flights to Madrid (for those who know me, where else would I be going!).
A little while later I picked up a Tweet from someone on my Twitter stream which linked to a mobile photo they had uploaded on yfrog. On arriving on the yfrog site I found that they were displaying flights to Madrid for the same peiord that I was thinking of going.
If I'm right these ads were being delivered through Google's Advertising network.
Spooky? Yes and no. Welcome to the world of bevavioural targeting or retargeting. Here's the wikipedia definition of it:
Retargeting helps companies advertise to website visitors who leave without a conversion -- about 98% of all web traffic. This is done by displaying ads to the prospect as they surf the internet via various ad networks that the agency buys media from on behalf of their Business Customers. Retargeting is only serving banner ads to people who have shown at least some amount of engagement in your brand.
I'm not sure how all of this sits with the new EU legislation which was supposed to come into effect in May of this year which required companies (5 EU countries have implemented it including the UK).