Saturday, February 28, 2009
As has been recently observed across all industries, Google is now favoring well-known brands in their search results for popular phrases related to that industry. Fortunately for the floral industry, we only have 4 brands (Proflowers, FTD, 1800flowers, Teleflora) to contend with which is far less than most industries. Yes, I know the dynamics are quite different in our industry as most florists have to deal daily with these brands, but speaking from a search perspective there are still 10 slots allotted to 1st page ranking.
Unlike the electronics business where there are dozens of brands and no room for the little guy on the 1st page, real brick and mortar flower shops can still compete for primary key-phrases because of the lack of brands in our industry. Proflowers/FTD/1800flowers/Teleflora may NOW dominate primary search phrases like “flowers,” “flower delivery,” “send flowers,” “funeral flowers,” “birthday flowers,” etc… but there is still room to rank for the brick and mortar flower shop. The same can not be said for most other industries.
Regarding geographical florist search phrases, since the time of Google’s new brand emphasized algorithm (January 18th), I have observed that the Proflowers brand which used to dominate geographical searches for florists is no longer dominating. While it is difficult to prove my observation by way of fact for every zip code in the US, all the cities & towns that I monitor on daily basis lack the dominate presence that Proflowers once had.
It just may be that Google is also now devaluing geographical brand ranking thinking that brands need only be dominate for general searches.
Thursday, February 26, 2009
Nationwide 411 Florist Directory Inc.
Source: Public Record data from Florida Department of State - Division of Corporations
"Today’s economic climate is certainly not news to anyone. As consumers tightened their sweetheart budgets, the leading online florists pulled out all stops to gain market share (one going so far as advertising during the Super Bowl). In 2009, ProFlowers.com clearly outperformed its top rivals by having more online transactions than their top three competitors combined."What amazes me about that fact is that Proflowers had a delivery charge of $22.98 which was far more than any other online florist (see here).
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
There is a lot of talk in the SEO community that Google is now favoring brand names in search.
To test that theory, I went to Google and typed “flowers” (like I do everyday) and sure enough Teleflora in now ranking for that term. The last time I checked on Teleflora’s ranking for "flowers" they weren’t even in the top 100.
There are over 50,000 searches performed on "flowers" everyday and now the results are beginning to resemble a billboard of brand names.
The term "flowers" is so much bigger than these companies.
Added note: See Chris Crum interview with Aaron Wall on branding.
Monday, February 23, 2009
Thursday, February 19, 2009
Back in January, Floral Management Magazine ran an article on Hoogasian Flowers regarding their SEO tactics on organic ranking (see issue: Jan. 2009, pg 33). In that article Harold Hoogasian noted that in years past he had spent “tens of thousands of dollars” on “pay-per-clicks” with little to show for it. Something I think most of us can identify with.
As Harold reflected on his coming strategies for this year, he told Floral Management that he is solely going to focus on ranking his website organically. In that regard, Harold mentioned that it is imperative for his website to rank for “San Francisco flowers;” which is of course understandable. After all, according to Google’s Traffic Estimator, just over 600 searches a day are performed on that phrase; roughly 18,000 searches a month.
After reading the article I went to Google with interest and searched for Harold’s website under the search terms “San Francisco flowers” and “San Francisco florist” but the results returned a ranking for hoogasian.com at 94th for former and 174th the latter.
Thinking that was rather odd as the article implied he was ranking on the first page, I returned to the article to re-read it slowly incase I missed something. Thereat, my eye-raised when I re-read that Hoogasian’s “landing page serves as a doorway to his e-commerce site” and that Hoogasian “has spent a lot of time trying to outsmart search engines.”
Knowing that Google frowns on doorway pages because the intent is always to “outsmart” them, it became clear to me why hoogasian.com is not ranking: because Harold did NOT “outsmart” Google. Yes, Harold’s site has been caught and is currently being disciplined.
What should Harold do? I recommend immediately removing any and all linkage from hoogasian.com to his FOL site and re-strategizing. If Harold simply got spanked by Google, his website should bounce back in the top rankings within a month. There is little reason for a website that has a PageRank value of “5” to rank so far back unless it has been penalized.
Just because Wesley Berry may get away with their doorway pages, doesn’t mean others will. Wesley Berry is apparently an exception to the rule.
Saturday, February 14, 2009
Thursday, February 12, 2009
Matt Cutts twittered that Google.co.jp was penalized for paying for blogger reviews. If you look at the FriendFeed details, you will see Matt first said, “Google.co.jp PageRank is now ~5 instead of ~9. I expect that to remain for a while.” And then when he was questioned if this was a paid link penalty, he said “yes.”
Monday, February 9, 2009
Thursday, February 5, 2009
Of interest, just 4 weeks ago the only search results showing in Google for the search phrase “Valentines flowers” were the Sponsored Ads and organic listings. As we moved into February, Google began inserting Google News and Shopping links directly into the search results. As search volumes have increased even more in the last 2 or 3 days, we now have Google Images showing in the results.
Google’s holiday algorithm clearly favors Google’s interests rather than searcher interests as links to Google News & Google Images & Google Shopping already exist at the very top-top of each and every search result. Hence, Google has double listings for Valentine’s Day which increases the level of SEO needed to rank organically as one of the top two domains. Ranking 3rd, while good, will miss much of the hurricane search volume as visually it appears as the 16th link when you count all the sponsored links, news links, image links, and shopping links that appear above the 3rd organic spot.
Can be quite annoying if you are the 3rd guy ;-)