The Digital Signage Insider

Insight into Google

Published on: 2004-02-25

I know that this blog is quickly digressing from its stated topic, namely kiosks and digital signage, however the subject of search engines is particularly important at this point in time -- especially for digital signage -- because the industry is so young. Right now, people still don't know what to search for when they're thinking of "plasma screens in supermarkets to advertise products" or something like that. Digital signage, dynamic signage, electronic signage, and other terms have all cropped up to define this new form of out-of-home dynamic advertising. But the number of different terms to look for, and the lack of a standard definition, have made this topic somewhat difficult to search for.

For example, WireSpring's FireCast line of software for kiosks and digital signage, while it ranks highly for search terms like kiosk software, doesn't do quite as well in a search for digital signage, even though it contains many of the key metrics, like links, keywords, and meta information.

Researchers have been struggling to figure out why Google ranks things the way it does, and some new studies and articles have tried to determine exactly what their proprietary PageRank algorithm does. The latest results are fascinating. Apparently Google and Inktomi, the other search engine studied, use somewhat different techniques to determine how to rank pages. What's most interesting, though, is the change between the results from this study (2/17/04) and the previous study.

Clearly results will be different for highly competitive search terms (and commercial search terms like kiosk software and digital signage), but the overall results can't be ignored: sites have to be optimized differently to take advantage of the subtle variations of each search engine.

I guess it's back to the drawing board for WireSpring's web designers.

Quick update: one cool tool to use when checking out comparative web stats:

http://www.langreiter.com/exec/yahoo-vs-google.html?q=kiosk+software lets you see a visual output of the top 100 results from Google and Yahoo



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