Search Engine Marketing, Web Design

SearchMash.com – Google’s Testing Site and What It Means For Local Businesses

Earlier this week, there were many bloggers writing about SearchMash.com. This site appears to be a testing server for Google to test out AJAX style features such as combining Images and web results on one search page. See below for some screen shots. One element of this search platform that I do like is the fact that when you select more web page results, it does not open a new page, rather it expands the current page you are on and just increasing this length. With a regular search engine you can increase the number of results you see, but let’s face it, the majority of web users don’t actually know how to do this.

So, the question is; as a local business how does a program like SearchMash.com affect my business? Directly, the answer is minimal, however, now is a good time to review whether you have properly tagged your images on your website to identify your business name, brand and products and services. A9.com was one of the first to incorporate this combined web and image search on one search result page and now with Google playing with this concept it is important to revisit the tagging of images from a SEO / Branding perspective.

What exactly do I mean when I say tagging your images? Basically, it boils down to doing two things:

1) Properly name your images on the server – for example) say your company name is ABC Plumbing and you obviously display your logo on your web page. Don’t name the image logo.gif instead name it abc_plumbing_logo.gif.

2) Include a descriptive “alt” tag so that when a user scrolls over your image – they see a title for it. In the above case, that would be ABC Plumbing – forget adding logo to the alt tag as the user already knows of that.

These can make it easier for a search engine to identify the images on your web site and directly tie them back to a search result page. For example if I did a search for ABC Plumbing on one of these pages and my site URL was displayed on the left and my logo on the right – even if a competitor was trying to capture my search engine traffic, I have double branded myself on a particular page.

Take the first image below and move your mouse over it, you will notice the text “This is the home page of SearchMash.com” this is an example of the alt tag. If like many small businesses you have hired a web designer to build your website, I encourage you to inquire with them about this particular issue to ensure that you are covered.

Search Mash Home Page SearchMash.com
This is the home page of SearchMash.com

Search Mash Calgary Results Page Calgary
Search Results

SearchMash Calgary Results Page

Search Mash More Calgary Search Results Calgary
Search Results

SearchMash Calgary Results Page