SEO

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.

SEO index cheat sheet

Here are a few quick pointers to remember when developing your individual html pages

1.  Meta Tags – Keep your Meta Description at or below 150 characters. 

Often times, SEO’s will frequently overload the meta descriptions with tons of keywords, phrases, etc.  This is detrimental for SEO success.  Keep Meta Descriptions as accurate as possible with the content on the website.  In essence, think of your Meta tags as the Table Of Contents for the rest of the page.

2.  Title Tags – Keep your Title Tag at or below 70 characters.

As with meta information, developers often times try and put too much information into the title.  Keep the title accurate and short.  SEO moz suggests using this title syntax – Keyword < Category | Web Title.  I have used this for multiple wordpress and other websites and agree that this is a fantastic way to properly title your websites.

3. Links – Minimize unique links per page

This is more controversial.  Some SEO’s are huge advocates of outbound linking as much as possible.  I am a fan of outbound linking, but try to limit it and spread out outbound linking between individual pages.  Also keep outbound links accurate and relevant and include a title in the anchor code.

That’s it for now! I plan on posting more of these in the near future.

Landing Page Design: Exhale Mind Body Spa


Exhale Mind Body Spa 

yourthinkbox.com was hired to design the landing pages for a new PPC campaign that exhale spas are running.  We expanded the standard format to the 960 golden grid system, customized pictures, formatting, and created better calls to action for the New York spa locations.  These simple steps help build Quality Score and PageRank, which will help the SEM camapign perform much better.  On top of that, we are implementing additional SEO tactics to help boost exhale spa increase organic ranking.

 Please feel free to click the link on the left and review our design of this fantastic landing page.

Tutorial: How to easily create a Google Map for SEO Part 1

This is going to be Part 1 of a 2 Part tutorial.  In this tutorial, I will go over how to do an easy coordinate based Google Map.  In Part 2, I will create the same Map using the very friendly KML system.

There are already a ton of tutorials online on how to learn coding for creating Google Maps using the API.  I am a firm believer that once the wheel has been invented, there is no reason to reinvent it, just modify as you deem necessary.  This is going to be a short tutorial on how to create a multiple location Google Map with as little coding as necessary.  

If you want to learn more about the Google Maps API and learn, I recommend starting at the source: http://code.google.com/apis/maps/

Now that you’ve reviewed that and have a basic understanding of how everything works, I will show you how to create a great google map in a short time.

Step 1:

The first thing you need to do is get a unique map key directly from google here:

http://code.google.com/apis/maps/signup.html

This key is free, but if you plan on having more than 500,000 pageviews a day, Google needs to be notified to allow additional provisioning. 

Once you have the key, open up notepad and paste and save the key.  You will need this later. 

Congratulations, you have just completed the most difficult part for this example.

Step 2:

The second step in your Google Map creation is to convert all of your addresses to latitude and longitude coordinates.  Luckily for us, this wheel has already been perfected.  All you need to do is visit http://www.batchgeocode.com/lookup/

Now, put in your addresses one by one and copy the coordinates to a file. (obviously keep track of which coordinates are directed to each address)

Step 3:

The Third step is just as easy as the second.  This time you will go to http://mapmaker.donkeymagic.co.uk/

On this website, all you need to do is put in the coordinates for each location.  From there, give each marker a name, and add your additional content.  The amazing thing about the additional content is that you can include html tags including links.  

From there, all you need to do is click get javascript and paste this content into whatever website you need.  Obviously, there will be some modification of the code to make it fit your site.  

*This is where you will need to replace your Google Maps API key in the system with the key for your unique domain. 

Now, you have a great google map!  If you did everything correctly, you have all address information, phone numbers, and relevant content in one simple and concise tool that utilizes one of Google’s best products.  

If you have any questions, please leave a comment and I will respond and alter this tutorial to be as thorough as possible.

In Part 2, I will show you how to create a map utilizing SEO standards to boost you up the organic listings.

 

As with all online services, please review the individual websites terms & conditions and if you can, donate to these guys.  The put a lot of hard work into this system to allow us to create these maps with such easy.  Give them a little payback.

Google Maps API and SEO

In recent months, I have been working a lot with the Google Maps API.  I have been utilizing the API to optimize landing pages for “multiple location” websites.  In customizing these sites for the API, I have discovered that Google’s organic listings absolutely love when a website utilizes their Maps API.

In less than two weeks, I have seen my organic listings skyrocket up the pages with very little additional SEO practices in place.

Obviously Google loves relevant content, but as Google expands it’s capabilities and customization techniques, geotargeting has become much more relevant.  In this particular case, creating a website encoded with the Maps API for all locations has exponentially boosted optimization at a much quicker pace that normal.

In a nutshell, if you have a geo-specific website you are developing, I highly recommend implementing a geographic KML file and implementing it into your websites using the Maps API. 

KML is an extension of XML that pertains to geographic locations in Google Maps and Google Earth.  It’s a very thorough and organized markup language that is useful in presenting data to the search engines.

Example of KML code:

KML example for Google Maps API and SEO

KML example for Google Maps API and SEO

 Utilizing this particular KML file, I was able to geocode over 20 locations on one page in the API and include, address, phone number, location image, and a link to each individual page.  This created an insane amount of relavence and quality information for Google to boost this website up the organic listings.  

 

KML based Map for Google API including relevant information

KML based Map for Google API including relevant information

As you can see above.  There is a ton of relevant information included in a very small and precise space.  This information utilized by the API is a great way to gain instant optimization.

In the next couple days, i will create a step by step tutorial on how to fully integrate this technology into any website.

Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising

Advertising for your business can be a difficult process.  Google, Yahoo, and MSN all offer their own respective options for Search Engine based advertising.  Personally, I prefer using Adwords as it is the most comprehensive, popular, and even yahoo is starting to roll it out on their website. 

Pay-Per-Click advertising is pretty straight forward.  A company designates a certain area of the webpage for advertising.  From there, a company trying to advertise will setup campaigns with one of the big 3 search engines.  The Search Engine will then determine what ads are relevant based on the content of a website and show the closest relevant ads.  For every ad that is clicked,  the company must pay a predetermined amount. 

In Adwords, a company can setup the maximum budget for a day or for a month.  From there, Google’s system will actually determine the amount of times the ad will show and can even spread it out throughout the predetermined time.  This software is very robust and offers many different options.  The enduser can see which keywords have the best conversion percentage and even chose keywords to avoid. 

There are also other methods that include Nextag, Revsense, and others.

Small Business SEO and SEM in a Recession

During the last year, a lot of businesses have been making cuts in all aspects of their respective operations.  For an online enterprise, Search Engine Optimization is one area that should not catch the ax of cost cutting and I will explain why.

During this period of Economic uncertainty, Big Businesses are taking sweeping cost cutting measures.  Companies like Coca-Cola, McDonalds, and Frito Lay, can afford to make these online marketing cut backs because of one thing – Brand Recognition. These Fortune 500 companies have created recognizable world wide brands.  Even if the company isn’t advertising, the products are advertising themselves.

Although there is uncertainty, this is the perfect time for smaller businesses to seize control of their online destiny.

With larger companies making cut backs – specifically in online marketing.  Small companies in every industry can take advantage of the downsizing and use combinations of optimization and search engine marketing to reach out to customers that were previously unattainable.  

In the words of Mark Cuban, “I want the risk and I want the gain.”  In all business, there will be risks.  Right now, while many people are hunkering down in this storm of uncertainty, those who are willing to take a chance to expand their business are likely to see success.  Yes, the opportunity for failure is present, but the fruit of victory tastes much more sweet.  

If you are in a business that can see increased revenue in these uncertain times by investing online marketing, you may want to take that risk… you could see a great reward.

How popular is your website?

Have you ever wanted to know how popular your website is?  

Many people want to know the reach of their website.  A company called Alexa monitors almost all websites and ranks each website according to popularity.  For instance, in the United States, Google, Yahoo, and MySpace are the three most popular websites respectively.  

Alexa uses a proprietary method for achieving these rankings by allowing users to insall the Alexa Toolbar in their Internet Explorer.  Once this toolbar is installed, Alexa monitors the sites people visit to establish the rankings.  

This method has established a somewhat reliable method for determining page rank for websites. 

Now, take a second, open up up the Alexa link here, and check out your page rank.

Not Showing up on Google? try SEO for success

Would you like to generate more traffic for your website? of course you would! The problem is that most small businesses don’t know how to use the internet to drive traffic to their website.  Just because you have a web page doesn’t mean that people are going to look at it.  You have to use the web to direct traffic to your website.  This is where Search Engine Optimisation and Marketing become key.  

What is Search Engine Optimization?

Search Engine Optimization also known as SEO is a way to develop your website and content in a way that draws the search engine to it.  Using a combination of meta tags, key words, inbound and outbound links, websites can get the upperhand on their competition and boost through the ranks.  

Obviously, there is a little more to SEO than keywords, links, and meta tags, but with a little patience, anyone can take the necessary steps to move up the search engine ladder.  SEO doesn’t happen overnight.  it takes weeks and even months for the changes you make to actually blossom.  

Remember that SEO is a long process, like anything of value, you are typically not going to see results in just a day.  Take your time, do some research, acquire the tools necessary to boost your website to the top of google and yahoo!

Luckily, here at yourthinkbox.com, we are experts at Search Engine Optimization.  Our team has over 5 years of experience in designing campaigns to encourage SEO growth.  Let us handle the hard work.  Please feel free to contact us for a free quote.