Wednesday, June 3, 2009

How Google May Save The Species

I now know what it means to be a googly-eyed monster. I have been practically living inside google for the past two days in an attempt to improve our search performance at

The new site has been live now for about a month and we have seen some stratospheric improvements in some of our keyword/phrase results. For instance we are now ranked #6 globally for this exact phrase: 'We are excited to finally have our online store up and running'. Just don't type shop instead of store - or its page 17 for that one.

Likewise, entering; 'Todd and Sarah Sisson photographers queenstown NZ' finds us on pole position - that's right baby! #1 on the whole world wide web!

Unfortunately, we have found that not a single new customer has had the inclination or foresight to enter these rather obvious query strings into google. No, instead they seem hellbent on searching for things like 'landscape photos NZ' or 'photography of New Zealand' according to google's excellent keyword analysis tool.

Our old site had us firmly seated on page 9 (no, not 9th place - page 9) for those types of search phrases. Yesterday I gave up at page 22 of 'landscape photos NZ' - apparently we have been doing something wrong.

So I spent last night testing searches out against our 'metadata' and found the problem - I won't divulge the details, but the unfortunate result was a day spent in excel inventing key-wordy type stuff for each product (not keywords mind you, as google's all persnickity about them thanks to overabuse by Croatian Pornographers).

I have attached this screenshot for you though, as it reminded me of my first job out of University - ya reading this Angus???

So now to divulge my unified theory of google goodness - by which the world may be saved by a search engine....

OK, here we go, quickly:

I noticed quite a few Germans coming to the site. This is to be expected for, despite their well publisised attempts at global domination, they do seem to have a soft spot for ferns, penguins and seals - hence they like NZ.

Right let's do a google adword tailored to Germans I figured

I researched some common keywords for NZ and had a good laugh - seems most of Europe thinks we live in NZ Zealand or Zeland or SouthNZ and any combination thereof......

OK back to the ad - staying with google here, lets bang it out in google translate, no worries.

::Turning point::

The Germans have at least 16 different ways of writing 'landscape photo', about 5 distinct words for 'Penguin', 'photo' alone must have 25 options and the moment you type in a sentence it looks like the minutes of the Geneva convention.

So how does this save the species? Simple really, I gained healthy of understanding and respect for those people on the other side of the planet who are curious enough about nu Zeland to click on my ad for 'New Zealand landscape bandsaw penguins'.

Think about it. Tonight thanks to a few grams of code housed on a server farm the size of Westport we are 1/4 billionth more compassionate as a species - what can google teach the other 6 readers of this blog eh? - anyone?? Angus???

Auf Wiedersehen - TA

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