Thursday, November 11, 2010

Has Google changed the way it ranks websites?

There has been an email going around the last few days scaremongering that Google has radically changed it's natural listing ranking format by including 'Google Places Pages'.

Google Places Pages are what we have know for a long time as Google Business Listings.

They have been a useful long term SEO tactic for local businesses such as trades and B2B suppliers. Not many people had latched on to the fact that Google has, for a long time, shown listings and a small local map with markers when a geographic qualifier was included in the search term.

Like any SEO activity, the 'secret' to success to being shown in that map is relevance. A good description, keywords and choice of categories is more likely to bring a listing higher. Add to that a few reviews and the always important external inbound links to the website from influential sites, and you have a top listing when someone types in 'Plumber Gorleston' for example. The more refined the geographic term - the better chance you have of success.

So is this new?

No not really. All that's happened is that Google have decided to give it a little more relevance than they had done previously.

Any web designer worth his salt would have organised a Google Business Listing for you anyway and encouraged you to get your customers to login and leave a good review. Plus, of course, look for good directories and sites to gain links from. Inbound links are good for your website and your Business Listing too.

Google Places Pages are covered in my email Website Marketing Course which all my clients receive now, once their site is up and running.

So looking at this email, it's more about trying to sell you a link on their directories rather than 'new' news. But a useful reminder of it's importance all the same.
Need help setting up a Google Places Page, or Google Business Listing if you prefer it in old money, then just call or email me.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Be Careful With Your Web Content

One of my FaceBook friends re-posted this article today (you can click past the popup advert).
It's important that everyone with a website should read it and follow the results as they unfold.

Creating content for your website MUST be from you and your business, not pinched from someone else's site. That's an infringement of copyright. The Internet is NOT in a copyright free bubble and writers have as much ownership over their words (and images) as if they were in a printed publication.

That doesn't mean to say you can never use others text and articles.

There are plenty of resources where writers are happy for you to use their work provided that you credit them accordingly and include any web links that they ask for.

Try this one for example
And for images
So there is no excuse.

The other side of this is that you must protect your own work online by ensuring that it clearly says the content of your web site or blog is your copyright. That way you have at least a fighting chance of protecting it.

What makes some people so obnoxious?

The bloke in front of me in the gastro pub queue that we go to most weeks, to meet up with our daughter, came back and moaned that his wine was short measured. It was one of those multi size glasses with lines to show 125ml and 175ml.

He didn't do it politely, he was positively aggressive.

It was pointed out to him that it was small wine (125ml) and that's what he'd been charged for but he started to accuse the barman of giving him a drink not listed on the wall mounted drinks menu (in fact it was shown on there).

I felt I couldn't just stand back and see the barman, who has always been pleasant and helpful to me, be treated in this way. I suggested that, as the drink wasn't short measured and neither had he been over charged, he shouldn't worry about it.

Then it was my turn to get the verbal abuse. I was told it had nothing to do with me and maintained that the staff were unhelpful and useless.

I pointed out that I go there most weeks and the staff are great. He reckons he goes there every week too.

But he's not any more apparently, because they've banned him and his family.

It's amazing the difference in attitude you see and receive depending upon your own towards them isn't it.