Posts Tagged ‘google’

What Do Google’s New Chrome Books Mean for Your Business?

Wednesday, June 1st, 2011

Google Display on LaptopA ‘Chromebook’ is the name given to a new type of laptop produced by Google which looks much like any other laptop, except that they are powered by Google’s own Chrome Operating System. These Acer and Samsung machines are geared towards being used exclusively on the web and therefore have no desktop or file system or any of the normal stuff you expect from a computer as instead the entire machine is basically designed as a web surfing machine.

This means that for starters it is very quick to turn on (about 8 seconds apparently), all your emails, documents, photos and videos etc. are all stored and can be used online, doesn’t need to be updated or patched as this happens automatically and it comes with an unlimited hard drive (i.e. the entire internet). You can find new apps and games using Chrome store just like you do with Chrome currently and as everything is stored online, if you accidently drop your ‘Chromebook’ in a shark tank you can just pick up a new Chromebook, log on and pick up where you left off.

So what does this mean for your online business?

More Customers!

If these take off then they will make it a great deal easier and cheaper for many more people to get online and have the opportunity to have dealings with your business and hopefully, your payment service provider. What ‘Chromebooks’ and their inevitable copycat devices will have in common is that they don’t need to come loaded with large hard drives or require a slew of program software and anti-virus to work. As everything is done online the machines will be quite simple and therefore much cheaper. Cheaper and easier to get online + more and more services available online = good for your business = more payment processing and more profit.

Nothing Immediately

What Google certainly appreciates is that this is a big step forward and may take a bit of time for lots of people to adopt. The advantages are clear but what will stop people from jumping on board straight away is the psychological awkwardness people will feel about saving all their data online, not having a desktop to work from or those friendly icons looking back at you (even though they are normally hidden by a browser). Also, many are fearful that uploading all your data to the cloud places a lot of faith in Google in terms of data security.

Only time will tell how successful this new way of computing will be in the long run. Would you be happy using a Chromebook?

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What Does Google Suing the US Government Have to Do With Your Business?

Tuesday, November 16th, 2010

Google LawsuitIn a bold move, Google has decided to sue the US Government because they feel they were unfairly excluded from a $58m contract to over haul their email systems. The law suit says that Google feels the terms of the contract make it impossible for them to offer their products; despite the fact it was told there would be “full and open competition “ and its ‘Google Apps’ could provide an equal if not better service. Google was supposedly told that only Microsoft’s business software could be used. Google had produced a special version of its apps for government systems to address all the security issues, but the Department for the Interior claimed the product did not comply with their security requirements.

Google is not happy.

But what does all this have to with you and your business?

Cost

One of the major arguments Google has lead with, after the apparent favouring of Microsoft, is that their system would cost a lot less than that of Microsoft. With 88,000 staff the Department for the Interior, a few dollars saved on each unit could make a big difference. This saving could then be passed on to citizens and businesses. Also, you may well have a business that interacts regularly with the Department of the Interior, so you may be forced to take up a compatible, more costly system to stay in business.

Competition

One of the main things Google is doing this for, (and let’s just agree that they don’t need the money) is to stand up for fairness. If Google really does have a superior product, and the agency just chose not to bother changing their provider or something, surely this is setting a bad example for all business ethics across the country. If the government doesn’t need to be fair, why does any business need to be fair? Google is standing up for your rights as much as their own.

Certainly, a level playing field is something that Lancore strongly agree with. We strive to provide the highest quality of online credit card processing to all our clients with the most secure payment gateways. How fair would it be if we reserved a better service for ‘privileged’ customers? Allowing a business to have unfair benefits within an industry is something that has cropped up in legal battles for Google and Microsoft in the past.

Customers

The real story here is not Google suing the US government, its Google’s immortal battle with Microsoft. This battle holds no bars, has no rules and is only after one thing above all: more customers. If Microsoft is seen to win in this situation, some customers (88,000 in fact) will use this at work, and then will probably use them at home and show them to their friends. If Google can use every weapon in their legal arsenal to get those customers, it will.

Would your business choose Microsoft or Google? Do you know what your customers prefer? Knowing your customers and if they prefer one system over another could well be a key to more sales.

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Google vs. Bing – Which One Should You Optimise Your Business For?

Thursday, November 4th, 2010

When you are building a business online there are many factors which you need to consider before you rush into things. First you need to ensure you have your business goals in line with the rest of your service mediums as well as sorting out a business merchant account to handle payments. Then you need to work out what you want a website for and on the back of this…what content you should have to best get your message across and ensnare your customers. Part of your marketing for your online business will (hopefully) include search engine optimisation (SEO). Now if you have ever used a search engine the chances are it will have been either Google or Bing (possibly Yahoo, but Yahoo is now just Bing in disguise so let’s just say Bing for both), and each of them have slightly different interfaces and algorithms for deciding where to rank websites.

You must decide whether you want to focus on Google or Bing. Here are some points to note when considering this:

Google

Google is by far the largest and most popular search engine in the world. It has the majority share of the search market and with all the extra stuff it is doing now like: email, TV, AdWords, Analytics, social networking, driverless cars etc. before long you won’t be able to remember what it was like before your life was in some way supported by Google. Some people however, see this hegemony as a negative. Despite Google’s consistent message that they are not evil, some feel that they have their fingers in too many honey pots and are neglecting their simple roots. These people think that the smart money is on Bing.

Bing

With the spending and technological power of Microsoft behind it, Bing is a new kid with a silver spoon in its mouth. With all the support from many big brains, a rising market share, a hefty advertising budget and now with all the power of search veteran Yahoo incorporated too, Bing could be where the smart money is.

So Which One Should You Choose?

Both of course! It is that simple. Right now when people want to find something online they ‘Google’ it, they don’t ‘Bing’ it. But as Bing gets its place in browsers search bars and other clever locations, its popularity will rise. Also, with the privacy issues Google has faced you can expect their popularity to decrease…a bit. With the extra time you spend now optimising for both, you will save yourself money in the future and potentially boost the revenues you gain, served through your payment service provider.

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How Can Google Help You Advertise Your Business Online?

Monday, October 18th, 2010

Google AdvertisingGoogle is one of the biggest companies in the world and has a near monopoly over the billions of searches made through search engines every day. This gives them rather a lot of power over the internet. Luckily for us, Google is quite nice and has the philosophy “Don’t Be Evil” which means that they have your best interests at heart.

Search Results

Google is a search engine first and foremost: the most popular one in the world. Or rather more accurately, Google is a database or index which they have built up by constantly combing the web for changes to current sites and entirely new sites which it then uses its search engine to trawl through in order to quickly pick out the best results based on your search query. By meeting a long list of criteria for a relevant and authoritative website you can get your website to the top of Google search results, which is a very good way to advertise yourself especially if you can do this for a keyphrase which people use often.

AdWords

Alternatively they have provided AdWords which is an advertising service which allows people and businesses to get their adverts in front of millions of pairs of eyes every day for specific search terms without having to go down the organic search engine optimisation (SEO) route. After you have signed up and decided on your budget and your key phrases, you just have to write a catchy advert and outbid your competition for a place at the top of the page.

Google Places

If your business has a shop or an office or a hub location or in fact, even just a vague geographical area you can advertise yourself using Google Places. This service highlights you on a map in Google search results and gives searchers a link to your location and your website. This can be a very quick and effective way to catch some customer’s attention.

Display Advertising

Recently Google have been in New York to discuss display advertising with the Mad Men of Madison Avenue. At Interactive Advertising Bureau’s annual MIXX conference, Google presented their pitch about display advertising explaining that it is the future of dynamic online advertising. Especially as new HTML 5 technology will make getting video to every web surfer a slick and easy process allowing display advertising to be more exciting.

So next time you look at your advertising budget and think what you’re going to use it for…save a thought for Google. With the right understanding of Google’s platform you can turn traffic into profit and make your payment service provider really earn their keep. Just ensure that your money transfer services can handle it.

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How Will Online Businesses Be Affected By Google’s Instant Search?

Tuesday, September 28th, 2010

Instant SearchGoogle’s new way of presenting search results has caused a bit of stir in all areas of online business and web marketing around the globe. Their new ‘faster’ system gives you search engine results as you type. So when you are looking for ‘cheese’ for example – as soon as you type ‘c’ you will start receiving results, then when you type ‘h’ you get more results and so on. Basically Google are trying to predict your search term before you have finished typing it. Sounds good? But what effect will this have on your online business?

Well, the concern is that people who invest in search engine marketing may have to re-evaluate their strategy.  Some people think that those who have spent long hours working hard to optimise their page for something like ‘lubricated widgets Wales’ may no longer get as many impressions or indeed conversions as some of their traffic will be gobbled up by those who only typed as far as ‘lubricated’ before being distracted by some other website offering similar products.

Worry not business owners! The concern around instant search is unfounded as Google’s core system will remain unchanged. The fact is, if someone is really looking for ‘lubricated widgets Wales’ then the chances are that they will still make it to your site eventually – your hard earned search engine ranking will still perform the same. Once people get used to the interface it may even increase your visitors as people can see their results as they type, they may get closer to your site even quicker. For example, say someone was looking for ‘lubricated widgets South of England’ and could see that the resulting companies were nowhere near where they needed those businesses to be. In the past they may have just accepted the results for their initial search. But now with Instant Search, users will be more inclined to back up and try another term, such as ‘Wales’, to try and get closer to what they want.

While it won’t hurt to also optimise for shorter terms, it may well be unnecessary in the long run, as it is conversions and not impressions that really count. Just make sure that your payment service provider is equipped to handle your massive influx of profit all you Welsh widget sellers.

While Google’s Instant Search may feel like a big concern for online business owners, it really shouldn’t be. As long as you have well selected keyphrases and great content, products and services you should have nothing to worry about.

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Writing Ad Text for Google AdWords

Friday, April 23rd, 2010

In the previous blog post we continued our look at Google AdWords. We looked briefly at the subject of keywords and how they were pivotal to the success of your pay per click campaign and how selecting keywords that suit your business is an essential step.

This time we will be looking at the concept of ad text and how using it effectively can have a dramatic effect on the effectiveness of your campaign. You wouldn’t believe the seemingly small changes that you can make to ad text to improve the ads success.

One of the primary tips that people are given about ad text is to try if possible to use your keywords in the top line of the text. This is good for potential customers to see when they search – the text that they just searched for (as it is the keyword that triggered the ad) is shown back to the user. This increases the likelihood of them clicking on your advert. In addition this text will show in bold when the customer searches for it, further drawing attention to your advert.

The second line can be good place to really hook the viewer by mentioning some great selling point or reason for them to shop or click on your site. For sites selling directly to consumers this could be a promise of cheaper prices such as a percentage offer deal, or perhaps trying to temp the customer with a free postage offer. Either way the text should try and create a compelling reason for the viewer to click your advert.

The third line is normally a ‘call to action’, an authoritative instruction for the user to follow. An example of this might be “Don’t delay, order today!” Google AdWords won’t allow every type of ‘call to action’ though, text telling the user to “click here” will fail the ad text quality checking.

The final two lines relate to the URLs associated with the ad. The first is the display URL, it is the link that the viewer will see at the bottom of the ad. Depending on how lengthy your text for the rest of your ad has worked out it can be useful to include a shortened URL – without the ‘www’ or full directory path. The last line is the actual landing page URL, the ad viewer won’t see this link so its aesthetics don’t matter. It should however, always be pointed at the most relevant page on your site.

Martin Able is a web retail specialist working with payment gateways and cheque processing for ecommerce websites.

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Key Tips for Keywords in AdWords

Wednesday, April 21st, 2010

In the last post we went into more detail about Google AdWords and the methods that advertisers can use to get the best from the budget they have allocated for pay per click advertising. This time we shall look at the powerhouse of any AdWords campaign – keywords.

Keywords are the words that a user enters into Google Search, they are the ‘trigger’ for the advertisers advert to show. As they have such a pivotal importance in an AdWords campaign it is imperative that they are carefully selected.

There are a number of ways to research decent keyphrases, Google itself provides some tools to help advertisers. The Google AdWords Keyword Tool allows users to input keywords and evaluate them for competition and local / global search volumes. Not only that, but the tool will also provide additional suggested keywords to provide the user with even more options. This tool can be a powerful asset for advertisers looking to find keywords for PPC marketing.

Another Google supplied tool is the Google Search-based Keyword Tool. This system takes a different angle to finding keywords, it will actually analyse a specified site and suggest keywords based on its findings.

One tip for advertisers to use is to look at the products they sell and use them as a starting place for the keyword research. After all, the keyword will be separated into specific campaigns and ‘ad groups’ based on the products sold, it pays to find which of those products are searched for most often.

Once the advertiser has a list of keywords that they believe represent the products they are selling it is time to remove any that do not have enough ‘commercial intent’. For an ecommerce site which relies on sales this is an important step, any keywords that are more likely to represent a user simply looking for information on a topic should be removed. Similarly any keywords that are simply far too broad should also be removed, for example – a company selling holidays in Italy shouldn’t be using the keyword ‘Italy’. ‘Italy holidays’ or ‘holidays in Italy’ would be more targeted.

Martin Able is an ecommerce professional with experience in online credit card processing and money transfer services for retail websites.

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Educating Yourself in Google Analytics

Friday, February 5th, 2010

When it comes it familiarising yourself with the Google Analytics system there are a lot of areas that require looking into to give you a reasonably concise overview. Among the most important areas to familiarise yourself with are the monitoring of visitor data and creating and tracking goals within your sites account. This requires quite a bit of time to be put aside in order to really get a feel for the system. However, once you have this under your belt you can make the next vital step in analysing and utilising the data that analytics gathers for your site in order to really begin optimising your site for success.

On this blog we provide a variety of articles which hopefully have assisted in making you more aware of the benefits which can be reaped from an in-depth understanding of how to utilise Google Analytics effectively. Anyone who has looked into our other posts will be well aware of how essential Analytics can be to improve your site, and in the case of ecommerce how it can assist you in improving your traffic and sales.

Usefully, aside from the articles we provide, Google Analytics is equally devoted to assisting users in the understanding and use of their web traffic analysis tool. There are several ways in which Analytics sets out to provide users with best practice methods and techniques to allow web based businesses to make analytics work for them.

Analytics API

As discusses in a previous articles the Analytics Data Export API allows users to make Analytics work for them. Through this extremely useful interface businesses can tailor Analytics to work exactly how they want. While the online setup provides a comprehensive overview, the ability to create your own modified version offline has the capacity to be specifically useful to your business making it incomparable in its usefulness.

Furthermore there are no limitations to how you can analyse and compare the data as the methods are entirely within your own hands. However, this does require a reasonable level of programming knowledge and understanding of analytics, so is not ideal for everyone. However for the advanced Analytics user it provides the stepping stone for a more personalised and prioritised setup.

Analytics Seminars, Videos and Blogs

For those trying to get a foothold in Analytics there are a variety of resources available from the Analytics team themselves. The analytics blog provides insight into a variety of areas within and related-to Google Analytics. In addition there are videos available which are created by Analytics employees to boost your understanding of key areas in an easier to follow format. The videos cover topics ranging from novice to advanced user practices and encompass not only using Analytics but also other applications that coincide with optimising your site such as AdWords and Website Optimiser. If your business is in the United States and is keen to get the best understanding of Analytics possible then Google regularly run advanced and introductory seminars across the country which you can register for.

Analytics Qualifications

Finally, for those who already have a good grasp of Analytics there are Google Analytics Qualifications which can be attained online through their Analytics IQ course and Test. This will not only offer further insight into advanced use of Analytics but will provide a qualification which is very useful to have in the industry.

The main element of Analytics that makes it so accessible stems from Google’s maxim for assisting good web development and ecommerce practices. It’s in Google’s interest to assist in the development of websites and best practices in web design and SEO. As a result you will find that there are numerous avenues available to you through which you can get detailed assistance in making Analytics an indispensible part of your websites upkeep and advancement.

“This article was provided by Martin Able a Lancore employee focused on providing customers with the best money transfer services for ensuring secure online credit card processing.”

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Applying the Analytics Annotation Feature

Monday, February 1st, 2010

The team at Google Analytics offers a variety of features and usefully are regularly updating them and introducing new ones. Analytics users are constantly asking Google to provide certain features that would be of use and there are a few suggestions which crop up more often than others. Fortunately, Google do listen and the users get their hands on something that can really enhance their use of analytics and benefit their business.

In December last year users where provided with just that in the form of Analytics Annotations. A simple addition to the application, it can be an extremely effective aid in monitoring your websites traffic.

For some time users of Analytics have been suggesting that a useful feature would be to be able to set notes that indicate the start of changes or additions to their site. This way they could monitor whether there are traffic changes that result from a change made on the site or to the business at a specific point in time. For example, if an annotation was set to record the date at which the business started an advertising campaign or made a change to the site, then the web administrator could determine how the traffic has changed since this date.

Web traffic always has a tendency to fluctuate making it difficult to determine what is affecting it the most. Furthermore, web based businesses are regularly making updates and additions to their sites and promotions in order to attain greater traffic volumes and most importantly – conversions. As a result, having a simple tool available to make note of when transitions were made allows the business to more precisely evaluate the success of a specific change.

Prior to its release many Analytics users had requested such a service, so it has definitely been eagerly anticipated. Google Analytics latched onto the idea when more and more users where turning to a note taking plug-in for Firefox due to a lack of a viable alternative. Unfortunately the Firefox plug-in could not generate notation beyond the machine in use. Analytics Annotation allows notes to be attached directly to the dashboard in Analytics so that users can view them from anywhere.

To set up an Annotation within Analytics simply access your Analytics Account and proceed to the dashboard view. From there select the tab directly under the main graph and then opt to ‘create new annotation’. From here you can now enter the date on which you want the annotation to be applied, name the annotation and determine whether you want it to be private or shared. You then simply save the annotation.

It’s an extremely simple feature but was very much needed in Analytics. The provision of this simple tool will be of great use to Analytics users allowing them to more easily document changes in their business and track how traffic varies as a result.

“Martin Able the author of this article works as part of the Lancore team to monitor money transfer services for clients and ensure the best standards for online credit card processing.”

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The Google Analytics Data Export API

Tuesday, January 19th, 2010

As we are all very well aware, Google Analytics can provide unrivalled insight into the inner workings of your website. Several of our previous articles have discussed how it can be used to optimise site content and ecommerce systems to improve sales as well as using the visitor features to tailor your site for your user-base. These articles have shown the usefulness of Analytics and how the data can be displayed in varying formats to assist in its analysis. Without these features the analytics data is a complex array of almost indiscernible data. This is where the Google Analytics Data Export API comes in.

An API or Application Programming Interface is like a gateway implemented by a software program to allow interaction with other software. What the Google Analytics Data Export (GADE) API does is allow users of Google analytics to request data from their Google Analytics accounts on a platform separate from Google Analytics web interface. As a result, the API allows the user to utilise the data and create outputs and data displays that they have created or modified themselves that are not available within Analytics itself.

Of course with such a complex system Google Analytics wouldn’t simply serve it up and leave you to it. The API includes a few features to get you started and allows you to start developing your own applications for requesting data. The Data Feed Query Explorer is a simple interface that comes part-and-parcel with the API and allows simple exploration of your data with a variety of popular queries . There is also a selection of JavaScript examples which can give some insight into how to get started with writing your own. Finally their JavaScript guide provides the tutorials that will get even beginner programmers off and running.

In order to get the API up and running you must of course first have access to an Analytics account and profile to track your websites use. Furthermore, it is beneficial if the account has been gathering data for some time to give you a greater scope for the information you gather through the API. If you don’t have an account then one can be set up by registering a Google account and using that ID to create an Analytics account. Once you have done so follow the instructions to set up the websites tracking code.

However the Data Export API is currently still in private Beta and access has to be applied through the Truster Tester Program.

The usefulness of this feature is in the ability for users to use their own code to tailor the results in exactly the way they want them. This will take away many of the boundaries that Analytics has at the moment. Hopefully the Data Export API will make the transition into becoming a publicly available beta in the near future.

“The Author of this article Martin Able has worked as part of the Lancore team on developing better methods of online credit card processing as well as money transfer services.”

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