Google Place Search And Its Impact On Location Services

by Hessam on October 28, 2010

Yesterday Google announced the launch of Place Search. From now on when Google’s algorithms think you are performing a location specific search you will automatically be shown the Place Search SERP layout. Your physical location is automatically detected but there is an option in the sidebar where you can enter an alternative location.

Here is an example from Google.de for the query “krankenkasse” (health insurance provider):

krankenkasse - screenshot

Another example from Google.se for the query “tandläkare malmö” (dentist malmö):

Read the rest of this entry »

Mixing Flash With Fashion – It’s Soo Last Season

by Hessam on October 21, 2010

It seems that the more money and fame a company has, the crappier websites it manages to produce. Two major sinners in this area are the fashion and the film industry. Others are restaurants, hotels, media and marketing agencies, and visual artists. What they all have in common is a fetish for websites built fully with Adobe Flash. In this post I would like to focus on the fashion industry and the terrible websites they show off. As you will see through the examples, these companies have effectively blocked all their content from search engines and anyone else not using Flash. The list is not exhaustive of course, as there is not enough time to analyze all the websites out there.

It’s however not all bad as there are a few brands which have understood the fact that web is not TV and hence created websites which fit the medium nicely – we will look at them too.

A few points which apply to most of the bad websites; they are built fully or partially in Adobe Flash. This means there are a number of visitor types who cannot access the content published on these websites, i.e: 1) Visitors who don’t have, or have disabled, Flash in their browsers, some obvious examples are iPhone and iPad users, 2) search engine spiders, 3) users with slow internet connection (incl. mobile surfers), and 4) visually impaired visitors using screen readers to access the web.

Here is a simple example of Prada’s website and how Google’s algorithms see it:
Prada's website fully implemented in Flash

I hope the image is clear enough. With Flash mainly being a graphic medium, search engines are generally blocked from reading, understanding, and indexing the published content (yes, I know there are some exceptions). In short, if you build your website with this platform, you are surely digging yourself a nice big hole to throw your money in.
Read the rest of this entry »

Google Instant Search and its impact on SEO

by Hessam on September 10, 2010

During Tuesday’s major search event in San Francisco Google announced a new search feature called Google Instant which will significantly change the way users search for information on Google Search.

Google Instant – Live updating search result page

This new interface updates as a user types in the search query. Not only will the regular search results update as a user types in letters in the search field, but elements from Universal Search (maps, news, shopping, etc) as well as AdWords ads will also update in real time. This results in a user seeing a much larger set of search results as the query is being typed in and refined. In addition, the query suggestions (Google Suggest) play a more central role in discovering possible queries and relevant websites. Read the rest of this entry »

Speaking at this year’s SMX in Stockholm

by Hessam on September 7, 2010

I’m very happy to be invited back to SMX Stockholm this year. It will be the second time I’m attending this conference. Two years ago I spoke at two sessions on Google Universal Search as well as Personalized Search. This time around I have been invited to speak at two sessions again, which I’m very excited about:

Search Engine Friendly Web Design
Why do developers create websites which are not understood by search engines? Here I’ll mainly talk about how onsite Search Engine Optimization is not very different than optimal web development. I’ll also talk about the often difficult relationship between web developers and SEO consultants, the reasons for the negative attitude towards SEO and how the two fields can better work together.

Conversion Science
Ok, you’ve got traffic – now what? I will be speaking about why it’s important to measure everything and how small changes can have a substantial impact on your business. I will also talk about common design and technical pitfalls.
Read the rest of this entry »

5 New Favourite Tracks

by Hessam on August 23, 2010

I’ve heard a good deal of great new music during the summer so I thought I share some of the best ones. Hope you enjoy!

Arcade Fire – Ready To Start

(website)

Jens Lekman – The End Of The World Is Bigger Than Love

(website)


Read the rest of this entry »