Exploring and innovating is all part of the Google experience – Google Labs is a hub of virtual experiments and exploration, with ideas coined from Google staff around the world. Some of these projects will never be more than a limited edition run while others will go on to become mainstream Google properties, enjoyed by millions. As the search engine of choice for most web browsers, Google is also the listing of choice for most businesses with an online presence. Google Labs can be used to make an impact on the engine’s results pages by providing useful tools and plug ins that give more of an insight into Google’s internal workings and latest thought trends.
While Google Labs changes constantly as new projects are rolled out for testing, there’s currently a great selection of applications which can make a real contribution to your search engine marketing. Try the following on for size:
1. Follow Finder: http://followfinder.googlelabs.com/ — Easily the starlet of search engine marketing, Twitter is a social media essential. It’s difficult to imagine any kind of online or search marketing campaign without at least a token Twitter presence. Google was one of the first engines to begin indexing tweets, displaying updates on its search results pages in real time. Now, it’s developed a tiny Twitter tool to help you grow your following lists and follower lists.
Google says the tool analyzes public social graph information to find people you may want to follow – in real terms, this is an interactive networking tool. Rather than spend hours trawling through follower lists and analyzing who is following your competitors, this widget will do the leg work for you. Increasing the number of users you follow on Twitter can make a real difference to your online success. It allows you to tap into the online social circles of other users, potentially creating a whole new marketplace of interested parties for your product or service.
2. Google Wave: http://wave.google.com — An application developed for real-time communications and collaborations, Google Wave is essentially a document sharing service that allows you to upload your papers, photos, videos, maps and more for other participants to read, watch, edit and participate with. Live transmissions, edits and interactions make it a useful office tool when man power is spread over several locations. In SEO terms, you can use it for something as simple as dialoguing and working with colleagues to refine optimized content and viral videos from other offices or use it to engage your target users in conversation and interaction.
With real-time edits, one potential use is to upload new landing page text and information for user comment and changes. Or, why not add new website content such as images, videos and downloads and encourage customers and potential customers to leave feedback and help shape the information? Taking the unusual step of including clients in online marketing development means the resulting product, web page or download is perfectly attuned to audience expectations. Opening a conversation with your target market in this way also creates an avenue of opportunity for further dialogue that may directly result in sales or subscriptions.
3. Related Links: http://relatedlinks.googlelabs.com/ – Updated back in November, Related Links has been rated four out of five by testers. The tool is intended to help webmasters get more related page views per site – embedded within the source code, Related Links shows users other pages related to the one they are viewing. Related Links is similar to a site map in some of its usefulness but rather than showing links to all pages, it links just to thematically similar areas of the site.
Related Links can help guide users through your web site, providing a bread crumb link trial through millions of pages directly to the most appropriate. This tool can also help to reduce bounce rates by helping visitors find exactly what they are looking for.
4. Aardvark: http://vark.com/ – Developed in February of this year, Aardvark is a knowledge sharing platform which uses social media networks to find answers to user posed questions. The easy three step system is quick and easy to follow – 1. Type a question in on the home page, 2. Aardvark finds someone to answer, 3. The response is provided in a matter of minutes.
Aardvark’s usefulness for search engine marketers and business owners is much the same as many social media platforms; it allows you to engage potential customers and open lines of communication. As Aardvark taps into social networks, the scope for contact with users is huge. For businesses, Aardvark is particularly useful as it allows knowledge and expertise to be show cased, providing answers to questions and help for those who need it.
If you haven’t visited Google Labs before, don’t wait! These are just 4 of the cool items that could help you in your SEM efforts, and they’re all free to test and use.