In a world full of answers you start your journey by asking the right questions
The place for Google to begin its social makeover is with the “Boy Scout and Brownie Badges and War Medals” that everybody is so busy collecting and sharing on the web these days. You know the assorted Twitter, Facebook Like and Digg buttons that appear on popular posts and articles. The colorful mementos that people now randomly collect to prove they are actively in the business of being seen to be in the business of “being there”.
Google could provide additional color to the web by providing its own range of exclusive Google badges. Simple things like a badge that displays the number of times Google has directed traffic to the page. A Google “Like” feature could be added to the badge to allow readers to approve or unapprove the page based on the search string. There could even be a special badge for pages that have a top 10 page ranking. Maybe even another for pages that have a top search ranking and top ranking adwords in their meta tags
These badges could be replicated on the Google search pages to help us to decide if we want to click-through and take a look at the link. Google could also provide real-time feedback on how hot your search term is over the past day, week or month.
Google can become more social simply by tapping into the wisdom of the crowds and allowing everyone to become actively involved in the page ranking process.
Obviously if you think these simple ideas are more about style than substance then you clearly don’t understand what the social web is all about.
Consider this: Some of the most interesting metrics available to you on the Google Web are those you gather when you compare the number of pages Google has indexed with the number of searches conducted each month on a particular phrase or set of key words.
For example the phrase “Google Economics” had 210 searches inquiries last month yet there are 9110 articles indexed in Google containing that phrase. So supply exceeds demand by a ratio of 43:1. We see a similar result for the key words Mobile Payment. Here supply exceeds demand by a ratio of 204:1. The Future of Newspapers is 6316:1 and so it goes…
This is what makes the Google Economy so interesting: Supply always seems to greatly exceed demand within the search engine and yet - somewhat paradoxically - within the adwords auction engine demand tends to exceed supply. Particularly for key words that are in high demand.
The Google Economy becomes even more interesting when you begin tracking the CTR rates from the number of searches inquiries through to page landings based on page rank. For example; previous academic studies suggested a CTR for a top ranking at around the 56% mark and sliding down to less than 1% as the eye falls down the page. However the metrics we have gathered here on excapite suggest the page 1 CTR rates are closer to 1% falling rapidly to 0.001%.
Assuming Google’s metric to be accurate this would suggest that the search metrics reflect not only the frequency of the phrase or words across all formats (i.e. web, images, maps, video etc) but also each time we hit the next button the search term is resubmitted and counted again. This in turn suggests that most people don’t actually find what they are looking for in Google on the first page and they navigate through multiple pages before trying out a new search term. Either that or everybody is now searching for results within media formats I am not supporting (i.e. videos and maps).
Alternatively the Google metric may not just reflect the number searches conducted on Google. It may also include the hit count for each time a page is viewed across the Google ad network that contains the phrase. This would mean the metric is measuring all traffic across the pages aggregated across Google ad network as Google search traffic regardless of whether that traffic originated with Google. This would account for the differential between the page 1 CTR of the academic studies (56%-1%) and the raw CTR statistics (1%-0.001%) we have gathered here over the past 11 months.
As I have said before the Google Web is remarkable thin. More a vacuum than a thriving ecosystem. Inviting everybody to get involved in the search ratings process may be a significant step towards making the Google Web more social, more reliable and more accountable.
By the way, if you are interested, you can conduct your own key word investigations by following this link back to Google’s Ad Words Explorer.
Further readings on related topics from across the web:
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