Surveys and Research: A Personal Journey

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I did not have much experience with surveys before this week.  Truth be told, I have always kind of avoided participating in them as well as creating them.  I guess I have always felt that even the BEST survey will still be faulted due to an inherent disconnect between the audience and the survey provider.  After this week however, I do think there is much more of a value in surveys and the information that can be collected through surveys is both vast and in depth.  With the technological developments we have seen in the last few years, it has become possible to implement surveys and reach a very large audience using just the internet and social media.  Also, because of the internet, we have been able to see results immediately.

We were asked to conduct a survey of our own for our graduate program and I was initially undecided as to what I might research using a survey.  I began to think of ideas that would engage my social media audience such as movies or music but found that I was not quite sure what specific questions I might ask a large audience.  Then, after watching the lecture for this week, I decided to research a topic that I deal with on a daily basis:  higher education.  Specifically, I wanted to survey the perceived value and accessibility of a higher education degree in the United States today.  Using information from the lecture, I realized that I had to be careful with the wording of my questions and must admit, I edited multiple versions of just about every question on my survey.  The service that I used to create the survey was SurveyMonkey, and I must admit, I was impressed with the services that the company offers on even the free surveys.  Some of my general questions (age and degree earned) were populated automatically from SurveyMonkey once I typed in just a few keywords.  The lecture also discussed having an incentive for completing a survey and though I do not have one, I did make the survey very brief in hopes that it will compel more people to complete the survey.  This is my first experience with creating a survey and now that I know the wealth of information that they could possible reveal, I am more eager to engage with them going forward.

https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/XJCV5N2  <— Take My Survey Here

Have you created a survey before?  What was the most surprising part to you?

Do you think that we will ever vote for President using an online survey/voting mechanism?

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Apple, Inc. and Search Engine Optimization: a Brief Case Study on SEO

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           The purpose of this study is to analyze the search engine (Google) performance of Apple, Inc. based on keywords.  Ten popular terms associated with Apple and electronics in general have been searched and the results will be discussed based on their Google search ranking, and coding within Apple’s website that may have helped them perform in this search. 

Apple

            I was unsure of how Apple would perform in this term because I feel like the term “Apple” is more widely associated with the Imageactual fruit than the brand.  I assumed they would be second to maybe a large apple distribution company or something along those lines, but Apple, Inc.  certainly triumphed in this search.  The first listing was for Apple’s homepage and following listings included Apple stores near me as well as recent news stories associated with the brand.  My browser became dominated with information about Apple and ways that I can buy their products, including other stores that sell their items. 

Computer

            I was ready for this term to be very competitive and wasn’t expecting Apple to do very well as “computer” is typically more associated with PC’s and other Windows devices.  Surprisingly, Apple was on the first page of my search and was actually only about half way down the screen.  In fact, only the Wikipedia definition of the term and some local/news listings were above Apple’s homepage in my search results.  Upon further investigation of Apple’s coding, the word “computer” was present as part of the code for their homepage, but only twice. 

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Laptop

            This was a term that Apple actually did not do particularly well in.  The company was not present on the first search page and actually was about halfway down on the second page with a link to their “Macbook Pro” line of products.  A search of the code revealed that the term was not present and might be an opportunity for Apple to improve its SEO results. 

iPod

            My next few searches involved products that Apple exclusively makes.  I was only going to search one of these terms, but was Imagesurprised to see the differing results of the various terms that seem so similar.  These searches revealed that Google has allowed some of the “sponsored links” to be first in line, as this search has revealed.  Various stores selling iPods were listed first and even got a picture thumbnail of the product associated with their link.  Apple’s product page and home page represented the second and third search results, however, followed by news stories related to the product. 

iPad

            One form of Apple Inc. was the first and third search result for this term.  The first term did seem to be “sponsored” however leading me to wonder whether Apple had to pay for the privilege of being the first search result. Surprisingly, T Mobile follows right after Apple’s homepage and before Apple’s iPad official page.

iPhone

            Another story of sponsored links winning the search results for this term.  The first listed link was for Sprint’s website and buying an iPhone from them.  This was followed by Apple’s official product page. 

mp3 player

            I almost omitted this search because I thought it would be too competitive and thought Apple wouldn’t really categorize any of their products as simply an “mp3 player.”  The results for this search were particularly interesting with a product listing being the first result similar to the results from the “iPod” search.  This was followed by a Best Buy link which did include the “iPod” in its Title heading.  The rest of the results on the first page were very diverse and included Wikipedia listings as well as product reviews.  The Apple iPod product page was about a quarter of the way down on the second page. 

Mac

            This term also had Apple only losing to a sponsored page from MAC Cosmetics.  I was surprised a term like this would even have sponsored links at the top as not all of my search terms have necessarily had that.  The next two results were Apple pages followed by the official link for MAC Cosmetics in fourth. 

Apps

            I was glad to see Apple as the first result for this term because I personally give them credit for making the “app” what it is today.  In fact, Apple was present in 3 of the first 6 search results for this term. 

Electronics

            The most broad search term in this case study certainly did not disappoint in its results.  The first link was for Wal Mart and was not listed as sponsored on Google.  This was followed by the Wikipedia definition for the term and then local listings for electronics stores.  Apple was not present in the first 5 pages of search results and could be another great opportunity for Apple to improve its search engine optimization.