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. 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?


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?


Yahoo Updating Their Index

Just a heads up that I picked up from the Yahoo Search Blog. Yahoo Search is in the process of updating their index and started the update last night.

Keep an eye on your Yahoo figures. As Yahoo upgrades the technology behind their ad vehicle and institutes a Google-like quality scoring for ads, I would imagine that they are also quietly upgrading their search platform and algorithm. Any change will be a beneficial change!

Yahoo has a loyal market and a different personality of search user than Google’s. Some sites will simply do better and resonate with Yahoo searchers than with Google searches, but as of late, the Yahoo search results on queries have been terrible. I for one welcome an upgrade of the Yahoo index and algorithm. There is so much new technology at Yahoo’s fingertips that an upgrade across the board will do wonders for them.


Quality Changes 2-5-07 For Yahoo

On 2-5-07 Yahoo Sponsored Search is implementing a “quality-score” like change for determining ad placement on the page. Yahoo had announced this pending change as it rolled out its new advertising interface and now the day is upon us.

For some advertisers this is terrible news. For other advertisers great news as now the bidding wars will cease. We have found that clicks on Yahoo are position sensitive. You will get more clicks if you are in the top three ads. Now that the way you get to the top has changed, this could impact significantly some accounts performance.

Personally I feel that all the changes that Yahoo has been making have been improving their quality, dependability, and instilling my confidence in their product. I welcome the change as a way to help Yahoo become a more viable alternative to Google Search and to Google AdWords.


Google is Expanding to North Carolina

A $600 million computer server farm is scheduled to be built by Google in North Carolina. Google has quietly been expanding out of California and now even has an office in Washington DC. Now, it is expanding it techno-empire into the farm lands of North Carolina. The new server farm or data center will employ about 200 people.

Google currently has three large server centers that we know of. We use the various IP addresses for testing and so we’ll be on the lookout for the IP address of this new center as well.

Just click the post title to read the full short article online.


Google and Trademark Infringements

Google is clamping down. Now that ad landing pages and websites are spidered as part of the ad approval process and typically within two weeks of a new program launch, site owners are being notified about trademark infringements.

Not only are some site owners being sent cease and desist notices to remove any Google logos, but the associated AdWords programs are being turned off. As an account manager, and even a AdWords user, it is important to understand that Google really means business on this. You can be banned from Google AdWords for eternity – that’s right – if you repeatedly do not take action or try to scam Google into thinking that you have.

The best course of action is immediate and prompt action to ameliorate the problem and get back on track with out the trademarked term, even though it may hamper your results. Google is holding all the cards if you take time to read the EULA for Google AdWords.