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March 2009 Features » Image Infringements, Google Local Revisited, Website Launched

Nancy McCord, Owner of McCord Web Services LLC.Dear ${token1},

Copyright infringement is a big issue even if you think that it isn't or haven't gotten caught yet. You may want to review how you are getting images for your own blog and e-newsletter after reviewing our article on image copyright infringement.

We've also updated one of our previous articles on Google Maps or Google Local that you will find interesting. These local listings and maps are now appearing more frequently at the top, above the organic listings, on

Best Regards,

Nancy McCord

Image Copyright Infringement | Google Local & Maps Explained |Site Launched

Image Copyright Infringement, Are You Doing It?

Everybody does it right? Right click on an image from Google Images or Flickr and then use it on their own commercial website or blog without a thought. First, it is important to know that not everybody does it. Only people who don't know the truth and reality of federal copyright law are doing it and they are risking real legal problems if they are caught.

Copyright infringement is serious don't laugh it off.The truth is that every image on every website is copyrighted to someone some where. As a business you simply cannot snatch someone else's photo from a web page and call it your own. You wouldn't dream of taking their content verbatim, but you would be surprised at the people who feel it is okay to take an image from the same web page. To prevent a violation, you need to ask the copyright owner for their approval to use an image or risk a potential copyright infringement issue. Just because it's there doesn't mean you can use it without asking or just right click to take it. You don't just pick up items in a store and pocket them, you pay right? Same with images you ask to use them or buy them.

This is what we tell our bloggers. Stay away from Flickr. Only certain photos on Flickr with a special creative commons license may be used commercially. Then, it is really problematic and time consuming to find out which ones are licensed to use commercially. Some photo copyright owners will even list their restrictions or required attributions on Flickr so you really need to check first. This is way too much trouble for most bloggers on the run. So it's best to just stay away from Flickr. You CAN use any clip art images from the Microsoft Office Clip Art Gallery on your own computer and can even use these in commercial pieces - just not logos that identify your business. Better yet, go to an image seller like iStockPhoto and buy images for your blog or web use there for a small one time use charge of $1.

All commercial enterprises are governed under federal copyright law and web content and web images are clearly covered under the rules for copyright ownership. Now, the rules are different for personal use in many cases, but if you have a blog that promotes your business and you are not being careful about where you are finding your images it's time to re evaluate your approach before you are contacted by an attorney or angry image owner.

The good news is that in most cases the image or content owner who feels that you are infringing on their rights will most likely contact you first to ask for the offending item to be removed. Why skirt the law and invite problems. You certainly don't want someone right clicking and stealing your own images do you?


Google Local Placement Revisited

Every one wants to know how to get top organic placement on Google. Who doesn't, as top placement means more traffic, more leads, more sales, and more money. Now that Google is placing local listings, pulled from their Google Local search engine and Google Maps, more clients are asking me "how do I get top placement?"

I've done a careful study of this issue previously and wanted to share with you the article as it is timely, now that more Internet surfers have put away their Yellow Pages telephone directory and have moved their local business searches onto the Web.

"Why is my competitor the top site on next to a map? How can I get there too?" Google Maps is what feeds these results. Google has been pretty closed mouthed about their Google Maps or Google Local algorithm and there really does not seem to be a lot of information on the Web about how to garner top placement. I decided that I should dig into this topic to try to find out what can be done to try to improve Google Local placement for you.

First, it is important to understand that Google Local will feed these results into and typically these results are placed at the top of the page above the organic results next to a map. Google Local will return the businesses that are in closest proximity to the center of the search query location. That's right, Google is auto-sensing your location for your IP address! For example, if I enter a search query in Google for web design Waldorf Maryland, my own site appears in the number two position in the maps section and one of my competitors appears first. She is located very close to the geographic center of Waldorf, has a site similar to mine and has been in business for a while. I am actually located about 9 miles or so out of Waldorf yet appear in a higher position than other sites that are located actually in Waldorf.

Screenshot showing Google Maps listings appearing just above organic listings and under paid sponsored ads.So, it appears that proximity is important to the center point of the search query, but Google is also taking into account other key factors when sorting the results. As I analyze my own situation, I see that my competitor has links from several very specific community sites that I do not have, such as a link from the Chamber of Commerce, The Southern Maryland Tech Council, and a local business directory. Specifically, in my case I have nearly two times the amount of inbound links to my site than my competitor does, but I do not have the Chamber or County resource links. Clearly links from local directories and local resources are more important for ranking in this case than the amount of content on a site and possibly even the number of inbound links to a site. Google Local is very heavily weighting certain local factors in regards to determining top Google Map position that will appear on

Additionally, in my case, reviews do not seem to be an important issue for my own Google Local position. In regard to Google Local position and service reviews, you will not necessarily take a position hit for reviews or lack there of unless your competitor has several reviews and you have none.

The amount of information that your Local Business listing for Google Local does not seem to be a big factor either for top Google Local placement. In my case, I have a depth of information and my competitor has literally no depth of information in her Google Local listing. So depth of information, although important and helpful to readers, does not impact the placement within the map returned on

In my case the only clear difference that is impacting Google Local placement is the type of local authority links that my competitor has. As I did further research on this topic, I did find some helpful tips that I would like to share with you that may help you as you work to raise your Google Maps and Google Local position.

  1. Get links from other local resources. If you are a member of the Chamber of Commerce make sure that they have linked to your website from theirs. Consider other authoritative local listing sites, but stay away from link farms. Other local sites might include the Yellow Pages, local business associations, and local review sites.

  2. Make sure to include your street address, and at least your city and state on each page on your website in text versus in an image.

  3. On your contact page repeat your full address with the city and even list the local areas you service by name.

  4. Add as much information as you can to your Local Business listing such as hours driving directions, areas served, and consider adding a local coupon or discount.

  5. If you do not have a Google Local Business listing which will show in Google Maps and Google Local, you can get one free from Google. You will need to create a Google account in order to do so.

If you don't think that you should be thinking about your own Google Local and Google Maps position, you may want to think again. In many cases Google is now showing Google Maps listings on top of and above all organic listings (take a look at this example). Improving your own position on Google Local and Google Maps is doable and can help improve your overall visibility on the Web.

Follow Up Note: After writing this article I practiced what I had discovered and have since moved to the number one position for local searches in my area.


STOP Fighting Over The Kids Book WebSite Launched

STOP Fighting Over The Kids website screen shot.We've just launched a great new website for the new book "STOP Fighting Over The Kids". This website is one of our Quick Launch websites. Quick Launch is our super fast get on the Web at a budget price website program. It uses easy to customize pre-made website templates some can even have a custom look and feel.

This particular website imitates the client's print marketing pieces both in design and layout. With a gradient on the left side bar and a banner that duplicates their print media the new website reinforces the book's and author's "brand".

The website provides opportunities to sign up to receive a free chapter of the book and points to Amazon where customers can buy the book.

The book is not available yet for purchase but by planning ahead the publisher St. Gabriel's Press is able to develop a online waiting list and to build a search engine presence before the book is released.

The book is written by one of our client's Mike Mastracci who is also the owner of the popular blog called Divorce Without Dishonor®.


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