Archive for February, 2010

Different Search Results On Different Computers

February 26th, 2010

If you are like our clients, you are always checking out your rankings on Google. Somewhere along the way, you may have noticed that your rankings are different on different computers. Unfortunately, a typically great feature of Google may be letting you think your rankings are much higher than they actually are.

Why are rankings different on different computers?

Every computer that is connected to the Internet is assigned a unique number called an Internet protocol (IP) address. Google uses this IP address to provide you with the most relevant results possible through its Personalized Search. This feature enables Google to customize search results based on the last 180 days of your search activity, i.e. the searches you have done, results you have clicked, and URLs you have typed into the address bar. Google may also use information about your location to customize your search. All of this affects what websites you will see on your search results pages and their order. So if you frequently visit your website on the same computer, the ranking you see may be drastically different from your actual ranking.

There are ways, however, that you can opt out of personalized search to find your true ranking:

1. To do so through Google itself, visit http://www.google.com/support/accounts/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=54048 for step-by-step directions.
2. Turn on Private Browsing in your browser.
3. Remove any Google cookies from your computer.
4. Disable personalized search in Firefox and Internet Explorer with this plug-in from yoast.com: http://yoast.com/tools/seo/disable-personalized-search-plugin
5. Use Google Chrome’s incognito browsing mode: http://www.google.com/support/chrome/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=95464

So while it is imperative that you stay on top of your current search engine rankings, you must avoid personalized search while doing so or you will end up seeing different rankings on different computers and that will not provide useful insight for your SEO campaign.

Add a business to Google Maps to increase your web visibility in your town and beyond – if you use SEO

February 17th, 2010

As discussed in the last post, creating local business center listings on Google, Yahoo and Bing is a fabulous way to gain web visibility for your brick and mortar business – if those listings are created correctly by using the search terms real people are using in the right places.

Google Maps and SEO. The most important place to include those search terms is your business category. Google Maps provides great leeway here. Rather than limiting you to pre-selected categories, you can create your own. Be sure your category reflects the search terms real people are using for your industry, service or product. Google allows you to have up to five categories, so cover all of your bases. Below are some FAQ’s from our clients, which demonstrate why utilizing effective SEO techniques in your Google Maps listing is so important for web visibility.

Will prospects then find me with Google Maps if they type in my business category and the town I am located in? Generally, Google will include businesses in the town the person is searching for before extending a wider radius. For example, if you are a pizza shop in Anytown USA and the searcher types in “pizza anytown usa” chances are you will be one of the businesses Google displays. Your visibility and ranking, however, hinges on many things, such as: (1) how many local listings Google is displaying; (2) whether the searcher is searching on Google web (which limits the number of listings to one, three or seven) or Google Maps (which will show ten listings per page); (3) the number of businesses with the same category in your town; and (4) how well you optimized all aspects of your Google Maps listing.

Is it possible for prospects to find me if they type in my Google Maps business category and a neighboring town? This also depends upon various factors, such as the number of displayed listings, the amount of competitors, and how well you incorporated SEO into your Google Maps listing. Google displays some of the local business listings we have optimized for our clients when a searcher types in their business category and towns as far away as 50 miles from their brick and mortar location.

When you add a business to Google Maps, remember: the better optimized your Google Maps listing is, the better your web visibility. Google Maps and SEO are a combination you should not, and your business cannot, ignore.