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Google Instant impact on software and other intangible product vendors
MicroISVGuy




msg:4225080
 8:02 pm on Nov 1, 2010 (gmt 0)

Hi everyone,

Apologies if this has been covered, I have had a good search, and only found brief discussion on other forums regarding the specific impact of Google Instant on vendors of software, scripts and other intangible products. Whilst I appreciate that almost everyone is seeing a slow down, from discussions with peers in the online software business, things in this sector have taken a very sharp tumble since April / May this year!

I am trying to understand what impact Google Instant may or may not be having on this, and regardless, what steps and measures should be taken with specific regard to intangible products and the suggestions made by Google Instant when potential customers are researching your product.

So far I have created pages on my site optimised to the exact keyword terms that Google instant is suggesting when researching my products:

"Product Name torrent"
"Product Name nulled"
"Product Name free download"
etc. etc.

In my particular case, my products are listed by the big "script" sites who in turn provide listing feeds. These feeds are then used to create "bogus" optimised sites, optimised against those very keywords being suggested by Google Instant, leading to either torrents containing viruses, spyware and other malware etc. (assuming you even get as far as a torrent!).

This I feel at the moment is providing some level of protection, although I have read concerns elsewhere regarding the association of your product name and the sort of sites that users are being directed towards by Google Instant. I tested a few other famous products and those not listed by the sort of feeds referenced above are very quickly directed towards valid torrents and other warez pages for those products.

Would really appreciate any other thoughts or comments!

 

tedster




msg:4225193
 11:54 pm on Nov 1, 2010 (gmt 0)

Hello, and welcome to the forums.

I was just reading Conductor's new study [blog.conductor.com] that shows essentially no change that can be attributed to Google Instant. This also lines up with what I see across most websites.

So it sounds like you may have a special case. Certainly battling with some of the darker parts of the web isn't any fun. Malware sites are the kind webspam that I sometimes will report to Google, as opposed to spam tactics that are used merely for ranking harmless content.

However, just because a malware site uses your words as bait doesn't mean it will reflect badly on your site. I have clients whose titles and content are ripped off regularly for this kind of purpose, and they themselves haven't suffered.

MicroISVGuy




msg:4225206
 12:27 am on Nov 2, 2010 (gmt 0)

Thanks, Ted!

I think the subtle difference here is that we're talking about a research query after an initial keyword search has led the searcher to to a specific product (normally via AdWords in my case). The sequence being:

1) Search for "Widget Processing Software". At this point I would agree that Google Instant isn't changing search behaviour significantly - I find it useful myself and simply scroll down to select what I was planning to type anyway, and from an SEM point of view even found it handy to find out what people are looking for. However...

2) Result leads you to a product that looks interesting, so you decide to research it...

3) Search for "ACME Widget Processor"....

and it's at this point that Google Instant could be changing behaviour and impacting on sales for intangibles (software, ebooks etc.). Obviously some users will go straight to Google and search for torrents, cracked versions etc and of course this search history is what Google Instant is calling upon; but IMHO the majority of people would previously have only searched on the exact product name that they are researching, and would never have considered searching for a torrent!

cls_wired




msg:4225431
 2:47 pm on Nov 2, 2010 (gmt 0)

I was just reading Conductor's new study [blog.conductor.com] that shows essentially no change that can be attributed to Google Instant. This also lines up with what I see across most websites.

I wonder how many users used instant search on that moment (one and four weeks after). Google instant, after launching, was switched off for logged off users. And as far as I know, only about 10% of users are logged in while searching Google. So all the difference in user behavior should be multiplyed by ten. Or, may be, i'm mistaken?

MicroISVGuy




msg:4225436
 3:00 pm on Nov 2, 2010 (gmt 0)

It's been live for non-logged in users for a while now I think. Try going to google.com and searching for a popular image manipulation package to see the "problem" - suggestion 3 is "free download"!

In this particular example, it's highly likely that a person considering spending a few hundred dollars on a software product will research it - but a significant number of them would never have thought about searching for free downloads or torrents; and instead go straight on to become a customer.

I should perhaps add that my products are discoverable for free amongst the Google Instant suggestions - the malicious bot generated pages from the script directory listings are a kind of sub-problem if you like!

indyank




msg:4225449
 3:38 pm on Nov 2, 2010 (gmt 0)

In this particular example, it's highly likely that a person considering spending a few hundred dollars on a software product will research it - but a significant number of them would never have thought about searching for free downloads or torrents; and instead go straight on to become a customer.


I do feel the opposite. If i want a software i would first like to explore the "free download" and open source options before i decide upon buying one.I think most other users would do the same.Google is infact suggesting the "free" and "free download" options because there are significant number of searches for them.

It is only a small percentage of users who may not have really thought about a "free" option but I do agree that google suggest (and instant) does reveal those "free" options to them now. It is good for them but unfortunately it does make it difficult for people in your niche.

The only way you could sell is making your product far better than a free product, that makes it a compelling buy.And for this, you do have to give a free trial.

indyank




msg:4225456
 3:45 pm on Nov 2, 2010 (gmt 0)

I do sympathize with software developers whose legitimate commercial products get leaked to torrents.

But then there are so many ways by which such leaks can be made useless and developers should focus on implementing them.At the same time, I do agree that even giants like microsoft is finding it difficult to deal with such leaks.

jimbeetle




msg:4225469
 4:01 pm on Nov 2, 2010 (gmt 0)

things in this sector have taken a very sharp tumble since April / May this year!

As Instant didn't go live until September 8th your looking at that as a cause might be misdirected. The big new back in the Spring as the Mayday update that cut off a lot of long-tail queries. Might that be a better corelation to what you're seeing with your traffic?

MicroISVGuy




msg:4225480
 4:16 pm on Nov 2, 2010 (gmt 0)

I do feel the opposite. If i want a software i would first like to explore the "free download" and open source options before i decide upon buying one.I think most other users would do the same.Google is infact suggesting the "free" and "free download" options because there are significant number of searches for them.


That's true, but in researching open source alternatives for a commercial product you're unlikely to add "download" to your query in conjunction with the product name...

mcleaver




msg:4234534
 4:27 pm on Nov 24, 2010 (gmt 0)

If people go out searching for a torrent or crack, there's little you can do about it if there happens to be one available. In some cases one is available and in other cases people may well end up downloading a virus.
However it can be very worrying if the search for "my product" provides the following Google instant suggestions:

my product
my product crack
my product torrent

As a software maker it it's flattering and of course remunerative if people go out looking for your software. however if it also gives them the idea of looking for a crack or torrent, it hardly counts as free publicity.

opmama




msg:4234580
 6:03 pm on Nov 24, 2010 (gmt 0)

Conductor's study is interesting. We see similar results in terms of very little change in # of words in keyword, but I do see quite significant changes in the order of those keywords. We're getting more searches now for people who put the most broad keyword first, then qualifiers, rather than the other way around (e.g. "car old blue" vs "old blue car"). Also more searches on the most common variant (e.g. "videos for kids" vs "videos for children").

I don't see a big shift towards long tail, or anything like that, but we are seeing some pretty significant shifts in keyword makeup. I can separate out instant traffic from non-instant, and from other browsers, so I'm pretty sure it's a Google instant impact we're seeing.

<end of thread hijack!>

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