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May 2010 Features » Google Maps Optimization, Automate Fan Pages, Monitoring AdWords

Nancy McCord, Owner of McCord Web Services LLC.Dear Friend,

This newsletter's content is pulled from our blog and updated to be current and to provide vital information for our e-newsletter subscribers that will help your online business.

I write blog posts for our blog every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Over 40% of our website visitors routinely check out our blog, The Web Authority.

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Best Regards,

Nancy McCord

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Google Maps Optimization | Facebook Fan Pages |Monitoring AdWords

Will Optimizing Your Google Maps Account Pay Off?

Will Google Maps Optimization help or hurt your business?Just recently one of our clients asked my opinion on a cold call she received with an offer to optimize her Google Maps account for big money. What the business said they would provide was intriguing to me so we agreed that my client would be my “guinea pig” so we could test the approach.

What I found out is highly interesting and makes me concerned about expensive Google Maps optimization services at this time.

This is what we did to match the same protocol the Google Maps optimization business said they would do.

  1. I set up a domain name on GoDaddy that was keyword dense and used a term that the client did not place for on Google Maps already. I then pointed the domain to the client's website and masked the domain so that it appeared that the website had the new domain name.

  2. I set up a GMail account and tied it to a new Google Maps account. The business was adamant that a GMail account had to be set up as in their words  "Google gives preferential treatment to Google Maps accounts that have a GMail email address". I just have to say at this point, that this is bunk. I believe that the business wanted the GMail account so that all interaction with Google Maps would be under their control. I have never seen a situation where Google has preferred an account with a GMail email address over a non GMail address.

  3. I set up a new Google Maps account targeted to highlight the service that the client was not showing for already on Google Maps.

  4. I then did a phone PIN verification with the client to complete the Google Maps set up.

Now, it is important to know that this client had excellent Google Maps placement on all terms and locations except for this one term we used. What happened next may warn you to stay away from businesses that are selling expensive Google Maps optimization plans.

In about two weeks, or maybe even less, the new Google Maps account was showing. But what was concerning, was that the new account had taken over the old account. Now all Google Maps entries were showing our "bogus" URL! In other words the new account superseded all the placement from the old account and overwrote the old well placed Google Maps account. That was particularly concerning to me as the URL did not match the URL on the "real" website and the content was targeted to only one of their services.

I took immediate action to correct the problem, but what this shows is that if you already have a Google Maps account and you pay an optimization firm to work over your account, you are not adding to what you have, you are replacing what you already have. If the tactic has been to create a "bogus" masked domain that is keyword dense, then suddenly your website information does not match your domain and the reader cannot even bookmark any of your inside pages. When a domain is masked inside page URLs do not change they still appear as just the top level domain.

You do not need optimization to place on Google Maps! In fact, paying an optimization firm that is going to perform the functions I have just detailed may work to hurt you more than help you by diluting your URL, sabotaging your brand, and confusing the customer with two domain names and one that does not match the footer information on your website.

I recommend for Google Maps, setting up an account using your legitimate business domain, regular email, and location. I do recommend a monthly review of content, update of coupons, addition of new images and in general a "laying on of the hands" on all content found there. By keeping your information fresh you may be able to improve placement on Google Maps.

For businesses that currently do not place well on Google Maps I recommend updating your content and then setting a schedule to update and freshen content weekly to see if you improve your placement.

For businesses that are already on Google Maps and place well, don't mess with anything except to keep your account fresh. To try to optimize an account to boost placement even further using the optimization techniques that I have tried may actually work to create problems.


How Do You Automate Status Updates to Facebook Fan Pages?

Brite Idea Tip - how to automate your Facebook Fan Page Updates.There are a few ways to automate status updates to your Facebook Fan Pages. Doing scheduling of status updates used to be incredibly problematic and one reason why we previously stayed away from Facebook Fan Page management services. Now however, there are a few pretty good applications that allow you to publish your status updates on a schedule. Here are a few of my personal favorites.

I like this online application. It used to be flaky about getting your Facebook Fan Page integrated. However, they have made some nice improvements and integration is now easier. It has never been a problem connecting your Facebook profile, what was a difficulty was connecting your Fan Page. What finally worked for me was to do set up from a different computer that did not have Vista, and I tried at night as well when site traffic was low. That may be the ticket for you as well. Once you're set up, you can post and schedule future status updates to your Fan Page with just about one click. HootSuite even allows you to add links and images to your status updates. The great thing is that this application is free!
If you want to update Facebook Fan page or your Facebook profile status, you need to upgrade to the Professional version. Click my link and they'll pay me a small commission if you buy. I like SocialOomph. It will allow you, with the Pro version, to not only schedule future status updates to your Facebook Fan page, but you can even upload bulk tweets to Twitter in a text file format. One thing that I really like about Social Oomph is the RSS feed that you can create and post tweets to, although this is not a Facebook Fan page attribute, it is one of the reasons that I really like Social Oomph.

I just found this online application recently and I think it is a cool tool. If you have trouble integrating your Facebook Fan page in HootSuite, then check out for sure as it worked for me. With Sendible, you can post Facebook Fan Page status updates on a schedule easily. You can also post to other social networks as well. There is one catch, you get 100 free credits a month. If you start really using this application for more than Facebook Fan Page status updates you will most likely end up buying credits, so check out HootSuite first.

If you've like this article, take a moment and "Fan Me" meaning join my Facebook Fan Page. This way you can see more great stuff and get more tips and tricks for Facebook and other social networking sites.


How Do You Monitor Google AdWords?

Nancy McCord is a Google AdWords Qualified ProfessionalIt is shocking, but there are businesses out there that are spending thousands of dollars on Google AdWords each month without any checks and balances in place to monitor the performance of their programs.

Before we start working with an AdWords client we want several things in place. (This is really in the client's best interest.) We want to have metrics to evaluate the success, or lack thereof, of their Google AdWords program.

This is what we recommend:

  1. Have a website statistics package installed. AWStats is not enough. We like Urchin first and Google Analytics second.

  2. Have a contact form on the website, that when the script is triggered, drops the client to a new URL for the thank you page. Contact forms that simply place confirmation text on the same page thanking the client for a form submission will never be able to have Google AdWords conversion tracking installed.

  3. Make sure that AdWords conversion tracking is installed on all the thank you or order confirmation pages in the site.

  4. Have a budget established for $500 to $1,500 per month for clicks to start with. Less than that, you really should not use our account management services as we will add too much to your program's overhead.

  5. Consider custom landing pages targeted to your ad group's theme. Some clients don't always need this as they may have a page on their website that is a good match, but we never recommend dropping the AdWords clickee on the home page of the website. When we do custom landing pages we always enable a form at the bottom to allow for fast questions and an additional way to capture the lead's email address for further contact.

If you are not using metrics to evaluate your AdWords program, you are leaving your wallet open on the table for Google to grab your cash without accountability. You should only spend money on Google AdWords when it is smart for your business.

I've helped make happen some absolutely fabulous success stories with Google AdWords, but I've also told some clients that AdWords is not working for them. If you don't measure the activity and leads generated by your AdWords program, you will simply be guessing at whether AdWords is working for you. When it comes to spending your hard cold cash, you should not be guessing if a program is working, you should know!


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