Page Impressions Ltd Blogcetera: September 2013

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Google Announces New Search Algorithm

Google has just announced their new search algorithm, codenamed Hummingbird.  It is the first major upgrade for three years and is a major step towards semantic web search.

Launched quietly about a month ago, the new algorithm affects about 90% of Google searches. The update is designed to provide more accurate results when faced with natural prose questions from web searchers according to senior vice president of search Amit Singhal.

Google stressed that a new algorithm is important as users expect more natural and conversational interactions with a search engine - for example, using their voice to speak requests into mobile phones, smart watches and other wearable technology.

Hummingbird is focused more on ranking information based on a more intelligent understanding of search requests, unlike its predecessor, Caffeine, which was targeted at better indexing of websites.
 “We just changed Google's engines mid-flight - again” Amit Singhal Senior VP, Google Search.

It is more capable of understanding concepts and the relationships between them rather than simply words, which leads to more fluid interactions. In that sense, it is an extension of Google's "Knowledge Graph" concept introduced last year aimed at making interactions more human.

In one example, shown at the presentation, a Google executive showed off a voice search through her mobile phone, asking for pictures of the Eiffel Tower. After the pictures appeared, she then asked how tall it was. After Google correctly spoke back the correct answer, she then asked "show me pictures of the construction" - at which point a list of images appeared.

SEO just the same – Content is king!

As regards developing successful SEO programmes, really very little has changed.  In order to be successful in SEO the key is still to create relevant and interesting content that delivers real value for their consumers. 

However, a subtle change in how the algorithm views the content is happening whereby the new Google’s ranking algorithm focuses on the context of where content appears against search queries rather than traditional keyword matching.  Hummingbird tries to match documents based on the underlying user intent.  

The key to successful SEO will thus require much better content editing and site writing to ensure that the content is answering a question not just stuffing as many keywords and phrases a text will take.  The semantic web is coming of age with a search engine to match.

Sunday, September 08, 2013

Apple on top, but Android's position is growing stonger!

Millennial Media, the Mobile ad platform, has released their latest Mobile Mix report, covering Q2 2013.  The report lists the top 20 mobile devices adding tablets into the mix along with smartphones and feature phones. Apple made devices dominate the rankings taking three of the top four places, however, the increasing importance of Android based machines is crucial. Samsung occupies the number two spot with its Galaxy S phones and gains some additional presence in the top ten thanks to the appearance of the Galaxy Tab and Galaxy Note in the top 10 list. HTC and Motorola lose some representation on the list, however and Amazon debuts with the Kindle Fire ranking number eight overall for impressions.  The fall of alternatives to iOS and Android make the market a two horse race.  Blackberry is clearly in trouble and Windows is failing to make any impression on the market.  Microsoft’s purchase of Nokia is unlikely to turn Windows prospects around.
Top 20 Devices - Ranked by Impressions

The fact that Google Play is now outpacing Apple App store for downloads suggest that the Android is increasingly eating Apple’s lunch.

Saturday, September 07, 2013

iOS Continues to dominate mobile market for mobile ads, but for how long?

Most recent reports suggest that Apple's iOS continues to dominate the mobile advertising market in terms of impressions and revenue generation delivering almost 44% of all ad impressions and almost 50% of revenue (Figure 1).  The mobile market is increasingly looking like a two horse race between Apple iOS and Android and whilst on the face of it Apple continues to dominate, the decline of any alternative operating system other than Android suggests that in the near term Android will soon pass iOS as it becomes the de-facto alternative operation system.

Traffic share (mobile phone OS)
OS Share
% of Traffic
% of Revenue
Source: Opera  mediaworks

The challenge presented by Android is strengthening as Google and its partners increase the rate of innovation.  Apple is clearly showing signs of innovation fatigue.  A recent report by Goldman Sachs pointed to several concerns, including “delayed product cycles, supply chain difficulties, product price erosion, and a slower pace of product innovation.” Apple’s ability to continue innovating at the breakneck pace it maintained over the past few years remains a major concern.  The recent performance of Google Play surpassing Apple's App Store downloads particularly in emerging markets underline the direction of travel.
This rebalancing of the market suggests that in the longer term the Android market is set to become the most important mobile advertising market.