google

How to Get Local Traffic from Google+

We have another guest posting about Local Search.  Today Ashley Bennett  will be discussing the benefits of Google+ and how to get local traffic. 

What is Google+ Local and Why You Should Care

Google+ imageGoogle+ is a new social media network created by Google.  It is most similar to Facebook, but it also has a lot of unique features that are not present on other social media networks.  It is a place for businesses and people alike, so there are ways to share messages, videos, and just about anything else on the website.  In the initial stages you had to be invited to join the network, but now Google+ is currently open to the general public now.  It is not quite as popular as Facebook or Twitter, but you should care because there are a lot of people on the website and it will give you a chance to promote yourself.

Tips to Optimize Your Google+ Listing

– Claim your Google+ if you have not already done so

Google will automatically create a listing for your business in most cases, whether you know or not, so it is up to you to claim it.  Unfortunately, a lot of businesses will fail to claim their profile on Google+  and simply leave everything to chance.  It is recommended that you claim your business, start a Google + account, and start making people aware of your presence.

– Maintain accurate information about your business

One of the biggest problems that businesses have online is making sure that customers know how to contact them.  A lot of businesses have websites and social media accounts, but in some cases they will have inaccurate contact information.  This could be something like a different phone number, email, or even web address.  It is essential that all of your information is current so that people know how to contact you.

– Use local keywords

Emphasize the use of local keywords on your website and social media pages.  This means you should use terms like “San Francisco Photographer” or “Chicago Restaurant”.  Try to use the terms naturally in a post or add them as part of your keywords on your post, but do not over do it.  It is best to use 3-5 keywords in your post to prevent diluting the strength of those keywords.

– Communicate with customers on Google+

Given that Google+ is a social media network, you definitely need to be social even if you are acting as a business.  Round up your customers on that are Google+ and start a group.  Start posting news about your business or offering coupons or discounts on Google+.

– Encourage positive reviews from your customers

As you probably know, people are allowed to write reviews of your business on your account, so you need to make sure that they have positive things to say about it.  You are not allowed to compensate people for these types of posts, but you can encourage customers that have had positive experiences to tell others about it on the website.

– Link your Google+ to your website and tell your customers about it

One of the most important things you can do to get traffic from Google+ is to link your website to the page and vice versa.  People should be able to get all of your social media links from your website and they should also be able to reach your website from your profile.  Although it sounds really simple, a lot people forget to do it.

Google+ is gaining popularity everyday, so it is better to join in on the action early.  It has a very intuitive interface and most find it easy to use, so go ahead and get started today.

Ashley Bennett is a marketing consultant and owner of MarketingMages.com.

moz.com – a new search engine from Rand and the team at seomoz?

Edit:  Rand was nice enough to respond and explain a few things… his comment –   “No plans to build a public search engine, though we’ll likely keep developing the back end elements and perhaps someday even have a sandbox where one can see how our algorithms/metrics compare to the engines (definitely a few years or more away).”

Rand Fishkin and the team over at seomoz have been on a tear with their SEO tools over the last half decade.  They have slowly and steadily become the premiere source for SEO news and resources.  The have also been working on a top secret project under the domain moz.com.  What are they going to do with this amazingly short and precise URL?

Could a Search Engine Be In The Works?

The seomoz toolset already provides some of the most accurate resources for gauging online content.  The team has continued to roll-out and update their technologies to provide a precise view of how websites are ranking or should be ranked by the current major search engines.  More importantly, MozRank is the generally accepted alternative to googles PageRank algorithm.

Other key developments in 2012 are showing a much more aggressive push from the team in Seattle.  The company reported over 58 billion urls indexed in january of this year.  This amount of indexation is useful for the SEO products they’re marketing, but with an index of that size, there are obviously additional avenues they can monetize.

Additionally, SEOmoz is going to begin tackling webspam with a very “ambitious project”.  If Rand and his team can get a good understanding of how webspam is being handled by Google and Bing, not only can he provide a better service for his clients, but he can also incorporate those tools into his index and potentially create viable alternative to the primary engines currently available.

Lastly,  Moz just received $18 million in venture capital.  This capital is a welcome lift to the already profitable organization.  They have made it clear here that the capital will allow them to be more aggressive in terms of growth, both organic and through acquisitions.  They also discuss growing the index about 3x to 150b and also “Launch one very big, exciting new project we’ve been building since last year, hopefully in October or November of 2012, but possibly early 2013.”

I am not sure if they are actually building an engine, but it definitely wouldn’t hurt.  Faith in google is at an all time low and startup engines like duckduckgo are experiencing nearly vertical growth… literally  .  There may finally be room for another niche engine.  especially one with an already loyal user base.  And if this engine is willing to disclose a little piece of their magic algorithm, everyone may be a winner.

SEOmoz always preaches whitehat, best practices, are the key to online success.  I think they may be creating an engine that can prove it.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves… Bing has proven that creating a new search engine can be very difficult… and very costly..

 

What do you think moz.com is?

 

the Google+ project will change the way we share & communicate

Today Google has announced the Google+ project. It is the culmination of all social aspects they’ve been working on for the last decade or so. I am thoroughly excited for this new feature set. I am a big fan of the +1 and other similar features google has been slowly incorporating and I have a feeling this is the first real step in the right direction after a few terrible products including google buzz and google wave. I hope to get my invite shortly and let you know what i find.

for now, here are a few videos

 

Google Commercials – effective advertising at its best

Last night while watching TV a new google commercial started playing on the television.  I immediately sat my iPad down and gave my full attention.  In less than two minutes my girlfriend was in tears. The commercial titled “Dear Sophie” is an amazing and effective commercial about a father using Google Chrome and other google products to keep a journal for his daughter as she grows.  I’d be lying if I didn’t admit it tugged my tears a little bit.  After the commercial ended and my girlfriends tears subsided, I quickly grabbed my iPad and showed my girlfriend Google’s Super Bowl commercial titled “Parisian Love”.  The waterworks came flowing once again.

I haven’t seen this level of effective marketing in a very long time.  Nike usually puts out amazing ads, coca-cola is a close second.  Budweiser is consistent as well.  As a marketer, the effectiveness of the Google ads got me wondering… why are they so effective and how did they get my girlfriend to cry twice in less than five minutes?

It’s a simple answer.  Google has created an environment that translates easily to across race, sex, and religion.  Almost every person who uses the internet interacts with google in some way on a daily basis.  From Chrome, to Google.com, the new Plus 1, and Picasa, people can immediately relate to these commercials at a personal level – because they’re already doing everything Google shows in the ads… and that relates to the viewer.  Bravo.

Google Chrome: Dear Sophie

Video SEO – How did we get here?

I’d be late to the party if I were to say that “Video” is the next logical step in SEO strategy.  Industry experts and otherwise have been talking for over two years about the importance of video to drive traffic for websites.  As broadband speeds have increased at near exponential rates, media has become easily accessible at almost every level.  You can now watch netflix on your phone.  Think about that for a second.  10 years ago, if someone would tell me that i’d be watching HD quality tv shows and movies on device more powerful than the computer I was currently using that fits in my pocket I would have thought they were insane.

With the copious amounts of broadband streaming across the world, video consumption is the logical choice, and with that, youtube has quietly become the second largest search engine in the world.   Want to learn how to play guitar? you could google it, or you could use youtube and find countless tutorials for all your favorite songs.  The same thing goes for cooking, drawing, fixing your car, computer, or air conditioner.  Youtube has quickly become one of the primary sources for instruction, entertainment, or anything else.

With this growth, Google has (along time ago) started including relevant video content in search results if a video would be helpful in the results.  Knowing this, a clever SEO could start properly tagging videos with relevant keywords and use the videos to boost their brand above the fold on the SERP without needing to have their webpage showing up organically.  If done properly, the video and landing page could work in tandem to garner amazing SEO results.  Video SEO is the next logical step in the ever changing algorithms.  By providing great quality content, through video, social, or organic, everyone will win.

Job Board SEO – some thoughts

A few years ago I had the pleasure of briefly working for an amazing startup “job board.”  They are a niche job posting site focusing on high-end analytics jobs.  I truly enjoyed my brief stint with the company. I joined this company with aspirations of expanding my skillset with a focus on sales.  While I was moderately successful in helping the company achieve their sales numbers, I found myself being more useful offering ideas on SEO and marketing.  After about half a year, I came to terms with the fact that I would never be truly comfortable cold-calling and smile and dialing and parted ways with the company.

Although my stint with this company was brief, I was and am lucky enough to call all the employees and owners my friends.  To this day, I still assist the founders from time to time with recommendations and strategy to help point them in the right direction.

That’s just a little back story to the real reason I am posting today.  My friend shot me a message with a unique issue that I honestly found very intriguing.  This board has hundreds of recruiters and business posting jobs on their board at a time.  After each position is filled, it must be taken down, and the page must be expired.  What is the best way to handle the pages once they expire? Do you take them down with a 404, 301, or a custom this job has been filled page?  I highly recommended avoiding the 404.  I think that is the worst way to handle the response.  I am also a little finicky about the 301 redirect, but this was my first thought.  The final thought was to create a new page saying something like “this job is filled, but please check out the following similar jobs” and post a table with current similar jobs on the site.

I am not sure how this current Lose Weight Exercise will play out, but I am still researching some other methods and plan to suggest some more A/B testing, but it is obvious that their rankings are hurting.  They also may have gotten a little grief from the google #panda / #farmer update.  Which is also unfortunate because they’re not scraping content, all jobs are posted by companies, recruiters, or representatives.  Needless to say, this is my first post with more questions than advice.  I will post again next month with results from these events.

Social Media for SMB

Social media has helped revolutionize the way people connect in unforeseeable ways. 10-15 years ago archaic chat boxes peppered AOL accounts as users began interacting with unknown counterparts in the online space. Today, users utilize their phones, laptops, or tablets, to give their friends and followers up to the second information from anywhere in the world. In other words “Social Media isn’t a fad, it’s a fundamental shift in the way we communicate.”

As Social Media has moved into the main stream, businesses have been finding ways to monetize these tools to increase retention and customer interaction. It is now desirable to have a presence on multiple social media services including Facebook, twitter, flickr, LinkedIn, and YouTube, in order to respond to opportunities and concerns that may arise from customers and partners. Broadvox has established presence on all of these sites to support our product offering and sales. These media services allow unobtrusive access to our clients to let them know the goings on of Broadvox and details pertaining to new products or updates without spamming their inbox with emails.

Our endeavor into the social landscape is still very experimental. We are continually testing new services and new ways to utilize these platforms to increase our advertising and market share. We have found that twitter, LinkedIn, andYouTube offer the best access to provide information about the company to our VARs and customers. These 3 websites provide a great avenue for information distribution and interaction. We have also seen success using Facebook, butFacebook is inherently geared to avoid the business to consumer interaction. I anticipate in the coming months that Facebook will make major changes to their platform in order to allow businesses greater access to their customer base. In order to compete with the upcoming Google me social media product, Facebook will have to find new ways to monetize their brand and customer interactions. By allowing businesses greater direct access to their database, they will be able to stay competitive with Google’s ambitious venture into social media.

Part of the new landscape for any online marketing plan has to have a substantial investment in time and energy for social media. It is the most direct way for you to reach your customers at a personal level.

Tutorial: How to easily create a Google Maps for SEO Part 2

I’ve been getting a lot of questions lately about when I was going to release part 2 of my Google Maps for SEO API tutorial.  Well, here it is!  and I have made it more simple than ever.  In this tutorial, I have included a simple KML file for your viewing to see how to set yours up.  I have also included the snippet needed in order to call the KML in the API on your website.

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<kml xmlns="http://www.opengis.net/kml/2.2">
  <Placemark>
    <name>Simple placemark</name>
    <description>Attached to the ground. Intelligently places itself
       at the height of the underlying terrain.</description>
    <Point>
      <coordinates>-122.0822035425683,37.42228990140251,0</coordinates>
    </Point>
  </Placemark>
</kml>

Now you can see how the KML file is suppose to look, you can add as many different locations as you want within the kml file.  just add an additional <placemark> and you’re good to go.  I recommend creating additional fields within the KML placemark including <address> <street><state><zip> etc. By doing this you will let google know more accurate information about what you’re trying to show on the map and will also increase SEO information and bait for the search engines.  If you know basic html, you can also add image or hyperlinks to the code. ( NOTE: in order to add this type of information or any other html markup, you must use CDATA in your XML KML.) The coordinates are great and required, but additional information is key to success for any SEO.  I have found great success doing this for a string of tire dealerships on the east coast.  I did not design the website, but i did implement the Google Maps SEO.

Example 2:

<Placemark>
<name>Edinburgh</name>
<description><![CDATA[
<div><a href="http://localtiredealers.net/kramer/locations-hours/edinburgh.html">
221 Carmichael Way <br> Chesapeake, VA 23322 </b>
</a> </div>
<div><img src="http://www.yourthinkbox.com/ifc/coupons/chesapeake.jpg" width="200px" border="0">
</a></div>]]></description>
<styleUrl>#C</styleUrl>
<Point><coordinates>-76.234312,36.65978,0</coordinates></Point>
</Placemark>

From there, You’ll use your typical map settings (refer to part 1 of my tutorial) and add the overlay of the KML file you created.

var gx = new GGeoXml(“http://www.website.kml”);

map.addOverlay(gx);

This javascript is very easy to use and can be implemented to almost any website.

check back soon because I will be posting a tutorial on how to easily place google maps into wordpress for SEO best practices.

twitter vs. tumblr vs. the next big thing – it’s up to Google.

google, twitter, tumblr

google, twitter, tumblr

It’s no secret that twitter is the current media darling and most popular up and coming “web 2.0” website.  Twitter, in its simplicity, is honestly a very valuable application.  It has done everything from help a student who was arrested in Egypt get released, provide amazing data for the swine flu hysteria, and help bring much more awareness to the current Iranian conflicts during this years presidential elections.  Originally, I was cautious of the practically of a service such as twitter.  I was content with my facebook status updates.  Twitter won!  I am drinking the kool-aid.  Everyday, I see new uses for it.  I am constantly finding new music, learning new photoshop and SEO tricks, and finding out when other colleagues in the corporate world are taking their afternoon bathroom breaks.

Personally, I don’t update often on twitter.  I believe I have some valuable insights and opinions, but I am not organized, nor do I have the time, to constantly update my status with ideas, opinions, and what I am eating for lunch.  One day, I hope my economic situation allows me the success and time to devote a decent amount of time to participating in the constant information exchange revolution that is in our midst, but I am not sure if twitter will still be the micro-blogging leader when that day comes.

Twitter is great, Oprah uses twitter, Shaq uses it too, but for how long?  Twitter is still a VC funded startup with no current long-term profit model.  I am not naive, I know both internally, and in the news, analysts are predicting ways for twitter to become a profitable media giant.  Until this model is released, there is no long-term certainty twitter will last longer than a few more years.  Granted, Google, Microsoft, Facebook, or any other tech giant could offer the tremendous fee to acquire twitter.  But I am hesitant that any company will fork over the large sums of money required until there is a real profit model.

Additionally, there are rumors that twitter has a 40% fall off rate after initial sign-up.  Analysts are speculating that 2 out of 5 people that sign up for twitter only tweet once and never come back.  This is understandable.  If you look at how many soccer moms signed up the day Oprah put her first tweet online, you would be completely shocked.  As Oprah goes, so goes the a large percentage of women.  She has that much power.  Some believe that many people sign up for twitter, think it’s just another way to tell their friends what they’re doing, and don’t use it again.  This is honestly a great possibility, but as I said in my opening, I don’t tweet every day and I still find great value in the use of twitter.  I wonder how many people are out there that actively use twitter and either don’t actively update their status OR may not sign up at all.  These are just a few thoughts that I will have to research in the very near future.  I will post these results as soon as I have some proven statistics to back up my findings.

Moving on, as twitter gains prominence, every person who was pissed off that they didn’t think of twitter first is now trying to create their own twitter… only better.  Enter tumblr, etc. etc. etc.  There probably hundreds of new twitter clones on the internet by now.  Can one of these clones actually offer better or similar features and gain enough market share to present a real challenge?  This is very possible, and tumblr could have a chance.  tumblr has some great functionality and encompassed everything I would want in my micro-blogging suite including easy access to video, images, quotes, etc.  I think the GUI of tumblr is also very well laid out and could possibly start to gain a substantial market share.  Will this turn into a big myspace vs. facebook battle?  I don’t know.  But, I wouldn’t be surprised if the premium is too high for companies to acquire twitter, they make take a very close look at one of twitters main competitors, especially if one has a decent share of the market.  I firmly believe that within the next year Google will own twitter, tumblr, or something similar.  If they don’t, they will have something developed in house similar to what’s already being developed in Google Profiles.  Google needs to own micro blogging the way it owns us with gmail, youtube, and search.  At the end of the day, Google will choose the winner.  Whether they pick twitter, tumblr, or create their own.  Google will win again.

Google Searchology – Mobile Keynotes

Today is Google’s Searchology.  It’s a time when Google unveils all the new tools related to search.  Here are some notes I listened to during my brief time viewing the conference.  I focused on mobile as I believe this section of search is going to be the main area of expansion over the next few years. 

Mobile search is growing faster than PC search

This is obvious.  With the introduction of the iPhone, Android enabled phones, and expansion of blackberry.  mobile search is growing faster than ever.  I completely agree with Google regarding this and I am interested to see how google monetizes adwords within the mobile platforms.

Challenge of devices – hundreds w/ widely varying capabilities

Google has had a difficult time creating a mobile platform that works seamlessly among all different types of phones and carriers while working with the strengths and weaknesses of each Technology.

Mobile search is inherently local. 

Mobile search is going to continue growing as the locality of mobile search allows for location specific results – specifically with with restaurants and services.

People use mobile search because:

  • complete 
Google has worked tirelessly to implement all the features of Google Search that are available on the desktop into the mobile platforms.  This allows the end-user all the benefits of their normal search within the mobile platform
  • easy – effortless to search ann get answers
As with the Desktop, by making the services easy to use, the end-user will receiver relevant and pertinent information at any given time – even remotely.
  • local – knows where I am and acts as such
By implementing local search via GPS, searching by location is a powerful tool both for businesses and searchers as it allows users to find locations around them. 

mobile web and web are different but google wants to enable users to reach all aspects of each platform

***google is combining search query history from your desktop with your mobile environment.***

In the coming weeks, if you are logged into your google account on your desktop and mobile phone and enter a query on either, you can review your search history on your phone and visa verse.  The presenters used a plane flight number query as an example for this new service.  In my humble opinion, this is an amazing feature that is going to mend the gap between mobile phone and desktop connectivity even further.  The ability to seamlessly utilize both services together is an amazing concept and should be taken advantage of to the highest extent.

 

That’s about it on the notes i took for Searchology – Mobile.  If I think of anything else I will surely update you guys asap.