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July 2011 Features » Google +1, gTLD Are Coming, QR Codes and SEO

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

Lots has happened this month on the Web. Here are just a few things that we are implementing, watching, and testing.

One of the biggest things to watch for the near future is the introduction of general top level domains or gTLD's. The application process to get one starts in January 2012 and may very well change URL's as we know them.

Another big thing we are watching is the Google +1 button. Google says that they will use the aggregate results of click activity to impact organic placement, so keep a very close eye on this one too if you are looking to improve your organic search placement.

Best Regards,

Nancy McCord

Connect with me online on Twitter | Facebook | LinkedIn | Our Blog

Google +1 Button | gTLD's Are Coming | QR Codes and SEO

Introducing the Google +1 Button

Google +1 ButtonThis past month Google released access to the +1 Button. If you have not added it to your website or blog yet, here's a link to the code generator. If you don't know, Google has said that +1 button votes will be used to raise your position in organic results. Here's what Google specifically says about that issue:

"Content recommended by friends and acquaintances is often more relevant than content from strangers. For example, a movie review from an expert is useful, but a movie review from a friend who shares your tastes can be even better. Because of this, +1's from friends and contacts can be a useful signal to Google when determining the relevance of your page to a user's query. This is just one of many signals Google may use to determine a page's relevance and ranking, and we're constantly tweaking and improving our algorithm to improve overall search quality. For +1's, as with any new ranking signal, we'll be starting carefully and learning how those signals affect search quality."

That's pretty big news! If you want to read all the FAQ's here is a link to the help section on Google. Right now you have to sign up in Google Labs to have the +1 results be shown in your own personal search results. What is great is that you can +1 something right from or if the website has the +1 button installed, you can +1 it right from their website page.

We are encouraging all of our clients to get the +1 on their website and blog. We've only run into one problem with installation. In only one case it appears that there is an onLoad issue with other scripts that are showing on the page, but that is just one website out of several we've installed so far.


New gTLD's Are Coming in January 2012

Coming in January 2012 are new domain name endings, but don't get excited too fast if you don't have $185,000 for the application fee. Yes, that is right, these new domain name endings called gTLD or general top level domains are pricey but for the right business a perfect solution.

A gTLD is a domain name ending that is a keyword. So for example I might have mccordweb.webdesign with webdesign now being my domain name ending instead of dot com. With Google stating that they are preferentially treating keyword domain names preferentially in the organic results (this may now cause a change in Google's algorithm) a gTLD could be a real organic placement boon for a business.

However, the gTLD will be for the rich corporate client as the application fee is $185,000 per domain name request and then a hefty quarterly renewal of over $6,000. Wow, you've got to have deep pockets to get into this game.

What does this mean for small to medium sized businesses. Well, in the long run, I think that there will be some entrepreneurs who will pick up the keyword dense gTLD and then resell subdirectory domains on their domain name ending for way less than you would pay yourself. So, in the long run you may be able to get a keyword domain but as a shared domain with others in your industry.

This should be interesting to watch as it unfolds. The application process starts in January 2012, so keep an eye out.


QR Codes and SEO

Add me to your address book.QR codes are a great way to interact with users of the mobile web guiding them from print resources to your web links, but can you use QR codes for SEO purposes? At this time my feeling is maybe but most likely not in the way you thought.

If you generate your QR code and then save the image to your own server you are most likely defeating any SEO benefits. If you are using a generator that saves your image on their server and you just point to the image there, there may be some small benefit of link juice you may capture or search engine discovery, but not enough in my mind, to warrant linking to the image location off site. If you are shrinking your link and the link shrinking service is saving the link URL and history you may get a small benefit.

QR codes are images and are read with an optical device, so this means that Google cannot spider nor read the images and so putting QR codes on your website will do nothing for SEO purposes. Although Google is not indexing QR codes, it is embracing them.

Here’s how. Visit Google’s link shrinker at Shrink your link, then paste your link in your browser address bar and add .qr at the end. Go to the link and you will see that Google has automatically made a scannable QR code for your link. Additionally if you are logged into your Google account when you shrink your link, Google will keep a history of your links as well as the number of clicks recorded visiting the link.

Although search engines can't read QR codes, if you make your codes with the URL shrinker at Google, Google will keep a history of the links and may discover your pages on its own, but will QR codes improve your organic placement like blogging content will, no, but they are cool to use for connecting with mobile web users and definitely a technology to use and keep a careful eye on.


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