SERF: Everyone GO FETCH!

By Betsy Carpenter, Coordinator, Marketing & Strategic Partnerships

For today's SERF selection I recommend an old friend, DogPile.com. So close those Google pages and perform all your searches today with our pal, Arfie - Happy searching!

1 comments:

Tomás Muriel said...

Before becoming yet another Google Search convert, I was a frequent user of Dogpile. I even set it as my personal homepage for a number of years. Being a meta search engine, Dogpile of course does include Google powered results in its own SERPS. The difference is that it also incorporates results from other search engines, including our good friends Live Search and Yahoo! Search. The engine, which looks to have been redesigned since I last used it, is visually pleasing and always features the affable mascot Arfie, in the lower corner.

Now let’s get down to business and talk about the actual search experience. Like most other popular engines these days, Dogpile segments its search results into content-type categories from the very start. Simple tabs separate your results into full web pages, images, audio, video, news, yellow pages, and white pages. To filter a search between these categories, one need only click on the corresponding tab to view the results. Since we’re mostly interested in searchers seeking web results, I’ll concentrate on that tab for now. One of the first things I noticed after searching for the broad query, “search marketing” is that Dogpile does not clearly separate sponsored ads from organic listings. The formatting is exactly the same between the two, save for the words “Sponsored By: [ad platform name]” appearing in place of a root URL for the paid results. Also, these ads are dispersed throughout the SERP, and are not limited to the top or sides of the page. From an advertiser’s point of view, this seems like it would be great. Many searchers have trained their eye to ignore sponsored ads on the SERP and go straight to the natural listings – before I entered the world of search, I was one of those people (don’t hate me). By seamlessly integrating paid listings with natural ones, ads are potentially exposed to more attentive eyes then they would be on Google, where they are clearly highlighted and labeled as “Sponsored Listings.” With all other factors being equal (i.e. impressions, search term, page results) I would suspect that the same ad appearing on Dogpile would get more clicks than it would on Google, just because of the increased perception of reliability in the user’s eyes. Before anyone gets too excited by this unproven claim, I also suspect that it may hide a double-edged sword of sorts. Users would undoubtedly catch on to what might be considered ‘sneaky’ inclusion of paid (and therefore corporate) ads with the natural results they know and trust. This may result in a diminished user experience, which in turn could result in lowered traffic to the engine.

One cool feature that both advertisers and users are sure to love is the “website match” indicator on Dogpile’s SERP. When you search on a brand term alone such as “Nike,” “Timberland,” etc, Dogpile looks to see if it has an indexed or display URL on record that contains the term. So when it sees that the search “nike” matches up exactly with the indexed URL “www.nike.com,” it automatically places a distinct icon next to the ad/listing noting that it is a “Website Match.” This is of obvious benefit to brand owners wanting to ensure that users connect immediately to their official site when searching for their brand terms. And for users who are searching for these general branded terms, the feature makes it all the more easy to pick out the desired result.

 
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