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Car insurance from Google advertised in Gmail

Google has an unfair advantage when pushing its own products. Take Google’s car insurance comparison tool as an example. Just recently, adverts for the tool have started to appear in GMail – at the top of the lists of emails in the Promotions folder.

This is a very prominent position, the advert appears as follows:

Google advertising its own products
Google advertising its own products

These positions are open to all advertisers, of course, for a fee…

It is only Google that can occupy this prime location for free.

The advert takes the reader of their GMail promotions to the car insurance comparison research tool. The following screenshot shows how the advert appears within GMail when clicked… notice the calls to action to share the tool with others, not simply use the comparison tool – but pass it on too.

CTAs for advert within GMail to encourage sharing
CTAs for advert within GMail to encourage sharing

What do you think about Google using GMail to its advantage in this way ?

Car insurance aggregators (such as must look closely at these types of adverts and fear the possible domination of the price comparison sector by Google one day.

OK Google – voice search hotword (beta)

If you haven’t already installed the Chrome extension for voice search, then do it!

This is the future of search and the reason Hummingbird will change the way we optimise sites for search. The results are no longer directly coupled to individual keywords, but rather to the sequence of the queries. Google connects the identifiable entities and makes sense of the relationships between queries in order to determine the most relevant sites to return in the mix.

The linking of a sequence of queries is makes it possible to determine the intent of a search query without the need for ‘caveman’ terms. Natural conversation is all that is required.

To add the Chrome extension, go here:

The chrome extension for voice search
The chrome extension for voice search

To activate the extension, give it permission to use the microphone on your computer.

Then simply speak the search commands:

SERPs for a simple query
SERPs for a simple query

Google connects this previous voice search (What is the capital of France) with the subsequent search:


Hummingbird connecting queries
Hummingbird connecting queries

Notice that Google states it is ‘using the previous query’ and it also provides an option to undo the link.

Notice also, that the entire screen above the fold is taken up with Google extra info boxes – no organic search results are visible at all.

Google is able to provide the information sought without the visitor visiting any other site in this search journey…



Greg Shickle #shicklegate

So, yesterday a senior account manager at MEC, Kieren Allen, sent what is likely to go down as one of the most publicized resignation letters of all time. When it happened, the email started to get sent outside of the company, and it went very viral, putting his manager, Greg Shickle, in the spotlight – though there’s always two sides to any story.


There is now a Twitter account set up to discuss the topic, and last night #shicklegate was trending on Twitter.

Interestingly the SERPs have subtly changed. 3 new search snippets and a video entry. Interestingly, this result is ranking on page 1, with nothing more than a headline which is then repeated further down as a snippet from another site:–the-death

The headline comes from:

The reason for this page is to discover whether “Greg Shickle” in the URL and <title> published at an appropriate time, bring sufficient power to rank.