Thursday, September 20, 2007

Google Universal Search Element: Flights

As an example of Universal Search, Google is showing a special area at the top of the page that let's you directly search for flights to San Francisco. I found it on a search for Chicago to San Francisco (no keywords associated with travel you notice). They list the top travel sites (not the airlines) as secondary links, but the primarily link from the special area goes to Expedia. TripAdvisor is not on that list. And why Expedia? Are the travel sites paying to have that link? What other special areas are like this in that Google has chosen a number of sites to highlight with an interactive element?

Image of Special Flight Area:

Google Universal Search - Flights

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posted by Barbara 'webmama' Coll @ 12:44 PM     Permanent Link

Fancy URL Manipulations by the Travel Companies

How many of you have seen the 'magical changing URL' tactic? Watch this:

Classic Search Engine Optimized URL on TripAdvisor.

Now delete some of the words in the URL, thus:
On this one they use a permanent 301 redirect so it never gets indexed.

And you get the same page. The URL is refreshed to be the original with all the keywords. A permanent 301 redirect is used so it never gets indexed. The display URL is being driven by the combination of 'flights' and the number sequence 'g60713' (which must be the database entry for San Francisco Flights). The rest of the keywords are for search engines.

Clever. TripAdvisor San Francisco flights' page is #1 on Google for:
cheap flights to san francisco
san francisco flights
and a ton of others.

And I said the filename mattered and many disagreed with me. Of course that was back in 2001. I bet they have changed their minds now.

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posted by Barbara 'webmama' Coll @ 12:07 PM     Permanent Link

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Conversational Marketing at its Best

Sprint is running some excellent video ads on YouTube. They are funny and intriguing; intriguing enough to get you to click-through to carry on the experience and engagement. The landing page is You can watch videos of how to 'fast-forward' through the boring parts of life. Quite clever and some are very useful! You can submit your own 'SprintCuts'. You can do some calculations as to how much time you spend doing boring tasks.

What does this have to do to Sprint's bottom line? Well, it engages the user in a humourous way that could actually save you some time. Maybe the ideal is "The world would be a better place if we could spend less time on mundane and boring tasks" and, the call to action would be to spend time using your Sprint service for free starting at 7pm instead of 9 like the competition.

I would include links to all of the interactive elements in the campaign, but, alas, the whole site is flashed based and therefore is not a site that I can segment by URL. Of course, this means the search engines can't 'see' it either. Pity...

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posted by Barbara 'webmama' Coll @ 1:14 PM     Permanent Link