Archive for search engines

For Online Retailers, Google Is Still the Business

A survey was carried out among Irish online retailers last week looking at how much traffic was generated by Bing, the new search engine from Microsoft.  


Many thanks to the following for their involvement in the survey: Fred from Pressieport, Ciaran from Mick’s Garage, Anthony from Ummera Smoke House and Michael from Curious Wines. Huge thanks too to Sabrina Dent for her input to the drafting of the press release.


Press Release follows:


For Online Retailers, Google Is Still the Business

Cork, Ireland – 28 July, 2009 – In the two months since Microsoft launched its new search engine, Bing, in a bid to capture market share from search giant Google, new statistics from online retailers in Ireland reveal that Google is still the search engine of choice among Irish shoppers.

Analysis of traffic across five sites from all search engines for the last month showed that Bing has only gained a 3% share of the search engine market, while Google still has around a 92% share of the search engine traffic in the survey.

Aedan Ryan, owner of commented “Google is still the overwhelming favourite for search among Irish online shoppers. The results also mean that getting good search results in Google is still the most important aspect of Search Engine Optimisation for Irish internet businesses.”

The survey represented a cross-section of vertical retail markets and encompassed, which sells children’s waterproof clothing;, a discount wine retailer; Ummera, which sells Irish smoked foods; Pressieport, an online gift store and Mick’s Garage, which sells car parts and accessories.. Retailers uniformly reported minimal traffic from the new search contender, ranging from 0.7% to 4.4%.

A common complaint among the retailers focused on Bing’s geolocation information. Search engines, including both Google and Bing, use various methods of detecting a visitor’s physical location in order to deliver more tailored search engine results to searchers.

“For a sub-set of users, Bing appears to assume that Irish users are in the UK,” commented Michael Kane, owner of “When these users conduct a search, Bing asks you if you want worldwide results or UK-only results, rather than delivering the Ireland option. This is obviously a significant barrier for Irish retailers, and may account for the minimal impact Bing is having on the Irish market.”

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NOTE TO EDITORS: The statistics were provided for the period June 24th to July 24th and the detailed overall percentages were 91.9% Google, 3.1% Bing, 3.3% Yahoo and 1.7% others. For more information, please contact Aedan Ryan on 021 4372917 or

Links to websites taking part in the survey:
Curious Wines:
Mick’s Garage:

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Google Adwords Tip – Increase Click Through Rate

I’ve recently read some very useful posts on the RevaHealth Blog about managing your Google Adwords campaign and increasing your Click through Rate. This got me thinking about how we use Adwords and I though I’d write about my own favourite tip to increase the Click through Rate (CTR).

The tip is to use the {} operator in your Adwords ad text so that the actual keyword or keywords entered into the Google search box are repeated in your displayed ad. And when the actual search phrase is repeated the CTR is always higher.

Here’s an example of how I have used it. Normally when composing the text of the ad you just fill up the header of 25 characters and the two detailed lines of 35 character each with your most popular keywords and some enticement for the user to click your ad.

Here’s an example of one of our “normal” ads:

Adword 1

This ad is triggered by a large number of key words and phrases built around the words “rain wear” and “rain gear”.

Now as an alternative to specifying the exact text to be displayed, use the {} operator. By doing this, you can ensure that the exact phrase entered for the Google search is repeated in your displayed ad.

So for instance, when writing the ad text –  instead of entering the text above, I have used the following:

Adwords 2

This means that the keywords entered in the Google search box will be displayed in the sponsored ad on the header line and on line 2 and will appear in Bold text. If the keyword phrase is too long to display, it will default to displaying the phrase “Kids Rain Gear” instead.

To see this in action – I entered the keywords “baby rain wear” into Google. This is one of the keyword phrases in this campaign and ad group. From this search phrase, this is our ad as displayed in the sponsored links:

Adwords 3

So the exact phrase “Baby rain wear” is repeated in the ad. Research has shown if the exact search phrase is shown in the ad, then this ad is much more likely to be clicked. Therefore the Click Through Rate (CTR) should be higher. I tested over the last few days and here (if you can read them!) are the results: 

Adwords 4

The Click through Rate (CTR) of the ad with the {} operator is 6.56% – whereas the CTR for the ad with the normal text is only 2.04%. Well worth using, I’d say. Of course, getting a good CTR is only one part of the story. You also need to get good site usage and eventually conversions from a percentage of those clicks.

I’ve now learned that this feature is called “Keyword Insertion”. Some more information is available in Google Adwords help here.

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Not so Cuil

I was interested to read the publicity yesterday about a new search engine called Cuil which aims to take on Google as the predominant search engine of choice. A tough task. So naturally I tried a few of our keywords that normally rank highly in Google. When I entered “waterproof clothes” in Cuil I was (at first) happy to see a PuddleDucks image located next to the number one search result.

Cuil Results

Cuil Results

However the site shown next to the image was not PuddleDucks– it was some Italian site – completely irrelevant to the search term. And the accompanying text was for a tent from Halfords! We were nowhere to be seen in the first 5 pages on the Cuil search results, whereas in Google we are result number 2 on page 1 in the list for “waterproof clothes”.

I’m not happy with Cuil. If a user sees our lovely image (shown here)

Butterfly Set

Butterfly Set

– which was taken in our front garden! – they might assume that the image was associated with the site shown alongside. Not so.  

I see (by searching on Google!) that this is a general issue with Cuil as reported here. I have complained to Cuil about this but of course have heard nothing back.

I suppose with any new product it takes some time to iron-out the bugs but this issue seems so fundamental I wonder why they went live at this stage with such a flawed product? And as we all know, first impressions matter. I won’t be switching from Google any time soon.

Written by Aedan

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