Banks from SEM point of view

On January 4, 2010, in SEM, by entmind

For the second time Polish banks were examined and assessed with regard to SEM activities (both SEO and PPC). Which bank efficiently positioned its websites, which advertised using sponsored links and which had the best results? What has changed since the last ranking was announced? You can find the answers in the latest bluerank report – Banks from SEM point of view.

Both rankings were based on the same research methodology. The following criteria were taken into account: position in organic search, quality and quantity of links to the website, search engines optimisation of websites and visibility of banks in Pay Per Click ads (PPC known also as sponsored links).

THE WINNERS

In the IV Q of 2008 the winner of our ranking (concerning optimisation and positioning as well as advertising in search engines), was PKO BP which maintained the position of the leader gained in the ranking done for the year 2007. PKO BP managed to increase the score by 1 point amounting to 52, however his result does not give the bank a secure supremacy over BZ WBK which is currently on the second position and was granted only 2 points less.

And the order this year is as follows:

PKO BP BZ WBK mBank Bank Millennium Bank BPH Lukas Bank Bank Pekao SA ING Bank ?l?ski DomBank MultiBank Citi Handlowy

BZ WBK has actually outdistanced the competition improving by 9 points this year. The bank’s jump is an effect of its sponsored links campaign which earned 14 points in this category and assured 2nd place in the PPC category. This is a noticeable improvement as in the examined period in 2007 there were no there were no records of sponsored links of BZ WBK and the bank did not get any points in this category.

The largest rise was recorded by mBank, which jumped from the 7th position in 2007 to the 3rd in 2008. This increase is due to mBank’s launching of PPC actions (there weren’t any recorded in the previous year), multiplication of the links leading to its website as well as its optimisation (SEO activities).

THE LOSERS

The most serious downgrade was recorded by MultiBank, which ended up on the tenth place loosing 5 positions since the last year report! The main reason of this loss is the less frequent appearance of MultiBank in TOP 10 of organic search results. They were generated by general search connected with banking branch and finance services: credit, banks, investment funds, loans, mortgage loan, investments, cash machines, home mortgage loan, credit card, pay card (the examination in 2007 was done for the same key words).

PROBLEMS WITH SEO

In fact, almost all the banks (except Millenium) were affected by the position drop in the natural search results. This is probably because of aggressive positioning of loan agents’ websites. These websites implement affiliate programs (banks’ programs as well as programs of online services such as Bankier.pl and Money.pl). The affiliate programs use JavaScript redirection, which is not readable for Google bots, instead of direct links and consequently they do not support organic positioning of banks’ websites. Because of this, the position of agents’ websites will probably be getting stronger in the organic search results. To improve their situation, banks should consider a rebuilt of the websites to make the affiliate sites link organically to them (traffic and conversions could be counted using Google Analytics or other statistic systems).

RISING POPULARITY OF PPC

Driven out of the organic search results, banks decide to invest in sponsored links campaigns. In the last year banks have increased their visibility in PPC search results by 11 percentage points. The growing interest in search engines advertising is also visible in the rising PPC campaigns competition in the finance sector. In 2007, 80 searches gave 733 advertisements, while a year later (IV Q 2008), the same number of searches generated 829 advertisements, which means a 13% rise.

In the last quarter of 2008 the most visible in PPC ads were PKO BP and BZ WBK. Millenium has not invested in sponsored links campaigns at all, what might have been caused by the bank’s high position in organic search.

To find more information about the results of the research and its methodology please refer to the the full version of our Bluepaperhttp://www.bluerank.com/bluepapers/bluepaper_022009_en.pdf

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Online Advertising in a Different View

On December 28, 2009, in Advertising, by entmind

You may ask about online advertising and whether it’s worth it? Will that extra expenditure be worth an extra few visitors to my website? You think like that and you’ll be struggling in this ever demanding online world! What you should be saying is,how can I take full advantage of online advertising and what’s the best way to convert my visitors into revenue. At the end of the day you can get one million visitors to your site and never make money because you’ve just not though it through. If you’re starting an online advertising campaign you must think through your visitors eyes and not what you may like. It must be as obvious as possible for the visitor to find what they require. You could have the fanciest website in the world but if it’s difficult for the visitor to navigate through, chances are they’ll just find elsewhere!

So just remember think through the visitors eyes and not your own. In this case…the customer is always right!

If you’re thinking about online advertising then you should take consideration before choosing the best way to achieve the most efficient online advertising campaigns.

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Google Street View, a Google Maps feature that lets users see images of streets and the surrounding areas, continues to generate controversy. Since its launch in May 2007, the feature has prompted questions about whether it constitutes an invasion of privacy, complaints about inappropriate images, and even a lawsuit.

Aaron and Christine Boring vs. Google

The lawsuit came from a Pittsburgh couple in April 2008. The couple lives on a private road. However, Google’s Street View team travelled down the road and continued taking images all the way up to the couple’s home. The images were then posted to Google Maps and included close-ups of the couple’s home, swimming pool, and outbuildings.

Google’s response? “Complete privacy does not exist in this world except in a desert, and anyone who is not a hermit must expect and endure the ordinary incidents of the community life of which he (or she) is a part (1).”

While Google’s assertion that its Street View imaging team is an “ordinary incident of community life” is far-fetched, Google does make some good points in its response. Namely, that the plaintiffs could have simply requested that Google remove the offending images from Street View via a form available on Google Maps. Instead, the couple filed suit and in doing so have made the matter public record and ensured that the images will be viewed by even more people.

Since the lawsuit, Google has removed the images in question, but the suit remains open.

The Borings’ Neighbors

On Goldenbrook Lane, a nearby street, some of the Borings’ neighbors also had an incident with the Street View team. In this incident, the Street View team drove up Goldenbrook Lane and into the driveway of the McKee residence. They continued to drive, snapping Street View images the whole way, up to the garages of the McKees (2). While it appears that the McKees didn’t resort to a lawsuit, Google has removed the images of the home that were taken from private property from Street View.

Street View in California

In California, the antics of the Street View drivers continued. Drivers reportedly went on over 100 private roads in Sonoma County according to an analysis done by PressDemocrat.com. In another instance, Street View drivers went past two no trespassing signs as they photographed the 1,200 foot private road leading up to Betty Webb’s house in Humboldt County. In another incident reported by PressDemocrat.com, Street View drivers ignored a no trespassing sign, passed through a gate, and drove through someone’s yard on a dirt road near Freestone.

Street View and U.S. Military Bases

In March 2008, the Pentagon requested that Google remove some images of military bases taken from public streets due to the potential threat those images posed to national security. “It actually shows where all the guards are. It shows how the barriers go up and down. It shows how to get in and out of buildings,” said General Gene Renuart, commander of U.S. Northern Command (3). According to Google spokesman Larry Yu, Google has honored the Pentagon’s requests (4). However, the Pentagon was still reviewing the many images of military facilities that were included in Street View (5).

Street View Goes Global

After the complaints in the U.S., other countries warned Google that Street View would have to be modified to comply with their stricter privacy laws. To this end, Google has improved facial recognition technology so that it can find faces in images and blur them so that they are unrecognizable. This technology has also been applied to license plates. The blurring feature has since been applied to U.S. Street View imagery in addition to images in other countries where Street View is now available.

Accountability

While Google has removed some of the aforementioned locations from Street View, the burden to monitor Google’s actions, be it Street View or other Google services, continues to fall on people like you and me. With regard to Street View, Google argues that “many people–visitors pulling in the driveway, neighbors turning around at the end of the road, deliverymen delivering packages–can all plainly see the exterior of the (Borings) home (6).” While these examples are likely accurate for the Borings and the population in general, they involve people that we know or strangers that we requested to come to our homes. Private residents didn’t request that Google visit these neighborhoods nor would residents reasonably expect that someone would be driving down their streets taking photographs of everything. In fact, I suspect that if you or I were to do the same thing, someone would call the police and we’d have some difficult questions to answer down at the station.

Potential Consequences

So, what could the consequences of Street View be? Well, while the feature has been used to aid police in a kidnapping investigation (7), I think the feature could be far more useful to criminals. For example, a criminal could use Street View to case a neighborhood–checking Street View for cars that are parked in garages or driveways so they could know when someone isn’t at home, scan the yards and windows for any signs indicating that homes have security systems, check the proximity of neighboring houses using Street View and Google’s satellite imagery, look for signs of pets that could pose problems for a thief, see if the homes have newspapers delivered (which might help the thief determine if the residents were on vacation) and, assuming the criminal found a good candidate, select a few potential access points (like open windows) for breaking into the home. If the Street View car happened to pass through your neighborhood on garbage day, the camera might even capture the box of that new HDTV you got. Scary, huh?

Protecting Your Privacy

So how can you protect yourself? First, check your address using Street View. To report a concern with Street View imagery, enter the address you desire and click “Search Maps.” Then, click “Street View” in the thought bubble that appears on the map. Once the “Street View” image appears, click “Report a Concern” in the bottom left corner of the Street View image and enter the details of your complaint.

Second, be mindful of how your information is used and act when you feel your privacy is being threatened. Google’s Street View can be a helpful tool, but it is meant to help Google sell ads and make money, not protect your privacy. You can write your local, state and federal representatives and even the local paper to voice your opinion.

Oh, and if you believe as Google does that “complete privacy does not exist,” then you should check out the house where Google CEO Eric Schmidt reportedly lives using satellite imagery from Google Maps. It looks like he has had some construction done in the past few years. A simple Google search of the address (366 Walsh Road, Atherton, CA) will tell you that Schmidt merged two adjacent lots in 2001 (8) to create the new lot and then added a new fence, retaining wall, and drainage in 2004 (9). Eric, that creepiness that you’re feeling is probably approaching the level of the people who had Street View vehicles in their driveways. So, while it is Google’s mission to “organize the world’s information and make it accessible and useful,” the company should thoroughly consider how that information can adversely impact the same people it is meant to help.

Sources

1. Preliminary Statement.” Boring vs. Google, Allegheny County, PA
2. TheSmokingGun.com “Google is in Your Driveway!”
3. Reuters. “Google pulls some map images at Pentagon’s request.” Mar. 6, 2008.
4. Ibid
5. Ibid
6. Preliminary Statement.” Boring vs. Google, Allegheny County, PA
7. Telegraph.co.uk. “US police use Goog
le Street View to find missing child.” Jan. 9, 2009
8. Town of Atherton City Council Minutes, May 16, 2001.
9. Palo Alto Online, September 24, 2001.

(C) Medium Blue 2009

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