Focus on Top 4 Percent of Site Searches

ClickZ takes a look at a new WebSideStory study that concludes the top 4% of site search keywords account for more than half of all site search queries.

By making changes to their site to improve results for those top few hundred search terms, marketers will be closing the loop on more leads driven to the site with other marketing efforts, Kusmer said. At the other end of the spectrum, nearly 12 percent of all site searches return zero results, which also represents a missed opportunity for marketers, he said.

Great advice. How does your site search stack-up? The study shows that visitors who utilize a site search feature are 2.7 times more likely to convert than other visitors. That is, if you have a decent site search engine.

Google Calendar Trumps Yahoo Offering

I played a little with both Yahoo Calendar and Google Calendar. While each of them have some neat features, neither have enough to convince me to give-up Outlook.

CNet has a head-to-head battle royale between Google’s and Yahoo’s calendar offerings.

Spoiler – Google wins! ;-)

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Google Spreadsheets Sounds Cool, But Why?

CNet (and a host of others) reports Google will today launch Google Spreadsheets, an online spreadsheet program that will compete with Microsoft’s Excel. The question is, why?

Google is getting so far outside its comfort zone, it risks tarnishing its brand by launching a crappy product because it reached too far. For example, have you tried using Writely (Google’s online word processor)? It’s a piece of junk. We’ve tried using it in-house to collaborate on documents and it never correctly saves and notes edits made.

I see two reasons for launching Google Spreadsheets, one of them legitimate.

1. Stickiness – The more products you use, that are owned by Google, the more likely you are to use Google’s search engine. Verdict: Legit.
2. Microsoft – Google is determined to “get up in Microsoft’s grill” and is launching products simply to take shots at the software company. Verdict: You can’t “out-Microsoft” Microsoft.

Yahoo Answers What Google Can’t

I would never have thought Yahoo Answers would turn out to be such a big hit for the company, especially as Google Answers has pretty much been stagnant since its launch. However, Forbes reports Lehman Brothers took a look at Yahoo Answers and said it could have a positive long-term positive impact on Yahoo’s position.

One of the main differences between Google and Yahoo? Yahoo chose to tap into the community and have users post questions for free, relying on the community’s desire to help a fellow netizen out, without being compensated. Meanwhile, Google chose to monetize Google Answers right away, with a fee for the question and a revenue share with the person answering.

Looks like Google chose the wrong model.

SunRocket Scraps Everyday Hogwash, Stiffs Judges

Remember back in January, I voiced my concerns about SunRocket’s “Everyday Hogwash” contest and how it was giving bloggers a bad name by paying them to gripe? At first, I thought I was a lone voice, but then many others voiced their concerns.

Well, it all went quiet until today, when the Consumerist reported that SunRocket had not only scrapped the contest, but had stiffed the judges out of the $500 they were promised.

Oh the irony. :-)

Worker Bees Running the Google Hive?

Forbes looks at just who exactly is running things at Google. While CEO Eric Schmidt may be the corporate “face”, Google flourishes by hiring talented engineers and relying on them to come-up with new ideas and direction.

While that’s helped Google to innovate, it does have a downside.

…Schmidt has conceded that the balance between gotta-do’s and wanna-do’s has gotten a bit out of whack. Google managers recently surveyed their workers and discovered that they weren’t quite spending 70% of their time on the company’s “core” areas–namely, search and advertising. “So, we’re taking steps to encourage people to shift their energy back to that 70%,” Schmidt assured reporters.

Retailers Turning to Comparison Shopping Engines

Tech News World looks at the continued growth of comparison shopping engines such as Smarter (our client), Pricegrabber and Shopping.com.

While the retailers had their reservations, they’re now seeing shopping search engines as a valuable advertising channel.

“Retailers had been leery of using these services because they felt that they competed with their own online stores,” noted Patti Freeman Evans, a senior analyst with market research firm JupiterResearch. “That thinking has been changing as large retailers realized that comparison sites can drive significant traffic to their own online stores while sparing consumers the task of jumping from site to site in search of the best deal.”