Very Hot Google Tip

Okay this is hot and you really should take advantage of it. In certain markets, Google is now showing a map and local listings above the organic search results. That means that you should make sure that you are in Google Maps! This is a similar approach to what Yahoo has taken, but has charged big time for based on metropolitan market. I have one client who paid Yahoo $800 per month to have this type of positioning that Google appears to be giving away free.

Now here is the hot tip, it appears that Google Maps is now also showing reviews for businesses tied to the Google Maps information and the reviews are all coming from a site called Yelp.com. You can click our post title and go there directly to check it out.

It can really work for you when you have a great review about your business from a real customer and now Google is helping you to get business and credibility for free. Wow, that is a big deal — first take advantage of Google Maps and second build your credibility online by pointing satisfied customers to Yelp.com to build your online reputation.

Note: I do not recommend that you do this in a bogus way, do not try to pad your references online; that would be disreputable and Google is very smart, it may come back to haunt you. Best to play it straight up and honest!

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MSN adCenter Beta Have You Seen It?

I haven’t seen this in any of the professionals forums or even on the MSN adCenter blog, but I was looking at a potential client’s account for management services and his account is on MSN adCenter Beta. Interesting! Of note was the fact that MSN adCenter is moving to a control panel much like Yahoo’s.

Of particular interest to me was the fact that in adCenter Beta, MSN has dropped “Orders”. Now there are only campaigns, ad groups, and ad text just like the Google AdWords model. The interface was much more user friendly and is clearly a new change for MSN which is struggling to resolve some of the “issues” that professionals find with their current pay per click advertising interface.

I am looking forward myself to migrating to this new fresher and hopefully bug-free interface for Microsoft adCenter.

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Web 2.0 What Exactly Is That?

We are all seeing Web 2.0 on the Web and in forums, but what exactly is that and what does it mean. Web 2.0 is just another name for an interactive website. One that is not static in nature, but rather interacts with the user.

But now we see the emergence of “Web 2.0”, a fairly new term that describes an innovative type of website that is built on the participation of its users. Blogs, wikis Podcasts and social networks all fall under the Web 2.0 umbrella.

Huh? Web 2.0 means introducing Buzz Clouds, interactive blogs — wikis, podcasts, RSS news feeds, user participation on your site. Allowing your users to search your site, add content and comments, and in general interact with the information that you have. That is the jist of Web 2.0.

Don’t get tied up on the details, just know that users want more ability to interact. Websites are transitioning from a one way directional interchange of data, you to the user, to a more multi-directional exchange, you to the user, user to you, user to user. A great example is a blog. Comments are left on a post you or another reader can comment and a real exchange happens. Well a small microcosm really. Web 2.0 is on a much broader scale, but a blog, video, news feeds, are all a start to help you transition to this new direction and something fairly easy to implement now.

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Google Maps Are You In?

Google is making a big push to include local business at the top of specific geographical search queries. In fact you can read the full thread from the Google Search blog if you would like. The bottom line is that you can pick up free placement and additional search traffic by making sure that where your business is located, you have set up a free Google Maps listings.

Here’s how you do it.

  1. https://www.google.com/local/add/login Visit this link to set up a Google Maps account. This will allow you to add your business, add address information, hours and payment types. You will be allowed to link to your website.
  2. Verify your address. Google will do this by snail mail. To verify that you have a business in the location that you state. No way to cheat on this one.
  3. When you get the postcard to verify your address you will receive a PIN. Go back to the Google Local/Maps interface and enter your PIN.
  4. In the next update your local listing information will be included. Sometimes as long as four weeks to update the Maps index.
  5. Make sure to tie your new listing to your Google AdWords account. Get additional free exposure and excellent CTR rates by setting up a Google AdWords local text ad once you have your local listing verified on Google. You simply pay for clicks and this is a great extension for your AdWords program.

Why not take advantage of the opportunity to appear at the top of all organic listings by having a Google Maps free listing in place?

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Worried About Duplicate Content?

The search engines are getting smarter and it is the talk in webmaster forums all around – does duplicate content hurt your search engine page ranks? At least six months ago and maybe even before that, Google came right out and said don’t put duplicate content on your site, we don’t like it and it may even hurt you. There was a big push by most webmasters to address this issue head on. We went so far as to block robots from our text version HMTL pages in our robots.txt file.

Now the questions about duplicate content have surfaced again. Google has a new patent disclosure that was released about 6 weeks ago that addressed the indexing and rating of duplicate content and this has opened up the topic all over again.

One of the thorniest questions that we have been asked recently is on domain name masking and is this duplicate content. In this case we have one website which has set up in their hosting panel a new domain and masked the name so that all of the original content on the one site is now shown dynamically with a new domain name. The question is will Google frown on this. My take is that there is only one set of pages on the server and the new domain name is being created dynamically. I do not think that Google will call this duplicate content as there is only one set of pages for the spider to index. However would I recommend setting up more domains like this – no, would I recommend moving away from this tactic – yes, would I be worried about my site that is currently doing this – no, would I start to move away from the dynamic domain and just move to the use of one domain – yes. This is certainly a gray area and I would appreciate your take on what you think is the proper answer. Do you feel that this situation with domain masking is duplicate content?

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