Author Archives: joannalangier

Why is Google scaring us with its monochrome animals?

Why is Google scaring us with its monochrome animals?

We had Panda, we had Penguin and Zebra is just around the corner…

Panda and Penguin – quick summary 

Panda algorithm, released in February 2011, was designed to lower rankings of the low quality websites. Since then, Panda received 25 updates, the last on March 2013 and was announced soon to be integrated into the core algorithm.

Penguin algorithm, initially released last April, is a link quality filter that was designed to reduce web spam and also hit website that had link profiles that appeared unnatural (have low quality, irrelevant and paid external links)

The latest announcement 

Matt Cutts, who is  the head of webspam at Google, announced (warned?;)) that the new major Google algorithm update is coming. According to Matt, the newest update will aim to protect searchers by lowering the rankings of those using e-commerce (merchants! Suite-up!). Quoting Matt: “We have a potential launch later this year, maybe a little bit sooner, looking at the quality of merchants and whether we can do a better job on that,”- he revealed at SXSW Conference in Austin, Texas earlier this month.

Merchant Quality Update

The update already has an unoficial name: the Merchant Quality Update, although some call it Zebra as Search Engine Journal dubbed it. There’s been a lot of speculation about the update and its effects. As it will be designed to clean the search engine results from bad quality online merchant websites, it is very likely that factors that will affect SERPs might be:

– how the site has been listing in Google Shopping

– Google seller rating

– the brands that are being sold (the more well-known brand – the higher ranking)

A few more clues that may shed a little light on preparing for the update could be found in Google’s Search Quality Rating Guidelines. According to the document, that was made public only recently, elements that will determine whether the site is a real merchant include:

– a “view your shopping cart” button that doesn’t redirect users to other websites, but stays on the site

– whether the shopping basket updates itself every time a new item is added

– a return policy and an actual address that allows customers to contact the company

-an ability to register/login

-working user’s forum

-an ability to postpone the purchase, such as a shopping or wish list

– clear information on shipping charges (shipping charge calculator)

The above lists present potential factors that may or may not affect the rankings, but keeping in mind “the slaughter” done by Panda and Penguin – it is better to get ready and be safe rather than sorry.

Having this all said we come to the final question: why does Google hate us that much that it regularly turns our online lives up-side-down?

Google loves you…

Let’s stop here for a moment, before mean words toward Google will be said.

Don’t you google movies reviews before booking the tickets to the cinema? Don’t you search for recipes for salmon pies/chocolate fudge brownies/ducks in oranges/sex on the beach or others? Don’t you try to diagnose yourself on the basis of dr Google’s advice? Don’t you order DVDs online, because it’s cheaper than buying it in the mall? Don’t you check in Google, who the hell was this guy Bulgakov that your colleagues were just talking about in the office? Don’t you google almost everyday?

Google does all it can to help us find the answers for our questions as easy and quickly as possible. Google needs us – it wouldn’t exist without its users – it cares about us, our comfort and our time. It removes all the low quality websites that were trying to get our attention using black hat tactics from our view. Google does it all for us. Because it loves us, it gave us these cute animals. Stop hating Google.


The psychology of Christmas advertising


What is so special about Christmas that makes people overjoyed? Marketers ask themselves this every winter and the best conclusions result with the top Christmas ads and campaigns.

It’s all about giving

Christmas is an emotional time – memories from childhood floating in our minds and a great desire to bring those moments to life once more.  We feel Christmas joy and we want to share it with others, to please those we love.  Yes – this is why all the Christmas decorations, fairy lights and glittery ornaments hang in shopping windows – to make you feel more emotional. This is what marketing does.

According to the research published by Science  journal, spending money on other people promotes happiness.Therefore, campaigns referring to giving and pleasing others, rather than receiving, have a better chance of success. This John Lewis ad broadcasted last year is an excellent example:

The fact that money will be spent is irrefutable. The real challenge is to convince customers to purchase one product over another. Shannon Webster in her article devoted to holiday shopping psychology claims that there are words that are particularly effective in motivating people to purchase when used in promotional materials around the festive period. Words that “generate sales include: sale, limited edition, hot, collectible, shortage, delayed, must-have, and in-demand”.

Santa, Rudolph and Christmas trees

William M. O’Barr in his article “Advertising and Christmas” claims that Christmas arouses nostalgia for traditional celebrations; the closer to Xmas, the more sentimental people become. Nothing fans those feelings better than an image of Santa Claus, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer or Christmas trees. Choose an object, add a little bit of snow falling from the sky, colorful Christmas lights and ornaments, a sound of jingling bells and a dash of humor – you’ve got the perfect ad. This Apple TV ad is an accurate example:


“All I want for Christmas is… you”

Afterall, the essence of Christmas is not something wrapped in red ribbon. Our family, friends, those we love – that is what really matters. We look forward to bonding with family and that fills us with hope and cheer. That is why family-focused advertisements evoke nostalgia in our hearts. At the end of the day, all we want for Christmas is them.


The deeper marketers get into our brains – learning about our needs, desires and habits – the better campaigns they create. Ads that get into our hearts – make us cry, laugh or give us goose bumps – are made by marketers who knows us best

The truth about Facebook Killer


On June 2011 Google Inc entered the social media sphere once again. After Google Buzz and Google Wave, the question was whether the new Google+ would draw people away from Facebook or be another failure?

It is not negotiable that G+ is the only existing and real alternative to Facebook. When Facebook can fulfill your contact list on your mobile, G+ also allows you to coordinate your social profile with your Gmail Account and Google Documents. Google Plus users can keep an eye on their profiles all the time, when working on any other Google tools or just when using the search engine. The big advantage of the new social website is the possibility to immediately export all of the data, or to delete your account along with all related information (this is in complete contrast to Facebook’s digital lock-in strategy). Google+ offers a structure of your contacts that is more advanced than Facebook’s lists of friends. It means that you can use your G+ as a professional profile and at the same time, as a way of sharing private information with a completely different group of people. That’s because on G+, you can very easily control the access of each circle of your followers to your published materials through targeted sharing.

Another thing about G+ is worth mentioning at this point. You will not find any ads there. Does that sound strange? Here, the secret of the “+1” button has to be revealed. Just as Facebook has a “like” feature, so too does G+ but “+1” connects G+ with the Google search engine and its personalized advertisements. Every single click on “+1” expands Google’s knowledge about their users. This is how we let Google know what type of ads have the most impact on us.

From advertisers’ and marketers’ point of view, G+ profiles, if optimized properly, can move up the search engine rankings. The more users connected with your business on G+, the more likely the business will show up on the first page of search results. All the web owners and SEO professionals will soon have the “+1” button included in their sites.

Google+ is not another Facebook. Where Facebook, with its 901 million users, can quickly boost people engagement, G+ boosts SEO. G+ is another tool to collect information about Google users. It is better protected than Facebook, it’s easier to control and it’s faster. Is it really the case that Facebook users will switch to G+?

Well, nobody likes changes. Right?

My virtual Me


There are 2.1 billion Internet users worldwide, 555 million websites, more than 800 million Facebook accounts, 225 million Twitter accounts, over 164 million blogs – those numbers are still growing. Do our social networking sites show the truth about us? Is it possible to hide our weaknesses and highlight our strengths on every single profile we have on Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Facebook and Myspace? Finally, do all our social media profiles have a uniform look?

There is a huge number of information you can learn about people by looking at their profiles. Status updates and posts present thoughts, opinions and everything else that their authors want to tell us about themselves. From shared music and videos we can learn how someone feels or what mood he/she is in. Pictures tell us about their owner’s way of spending free time, places where they relax and people they do it with. Friends – their number isn’t the only thing that provides us with some insight. It is also their age, place of living and interests that count – after all, we like people who are similar to us. At last, groups that we belong to show our hobbies; things we like and/or hate; people who we admire; our sense of humor.

This list is long, and at some points, may be even surprising. Keeping a uniform look on the web – the same profile picture, name, declared profession or interests – can give us a little more control over our virtual presence. Yes, we do select information that we want people to learn about us (don’t we do the same in real life?). As long as we are their authors, they reflect a little bit of our true selves. Not only that we share on the web our true self. We develop our virtual self, we pursue our ideal picture of us and at the end… we develop our real self.

It is about art.


Is marketing an art or a science?

Marketers gather data and utilize the information. They count, they test, they measure. They draw conclusions. Then, when they’re ready, the real fun begins. They create, challenge, design, inspire, surprise, joke. They make people feel. They will use every conceivable emotion to make you buy their products.

Marketers, before creating strategy, do the research that every writer does before starting a new book. On a solid base, they build amazing stuff. I call it art.