Posts Tagged ‘Google’

Change in Google Algorithm is Coming. What does this mean for your SEO?

March 16th, 2012

According to an article in the Wall Street Journal, Google is making over its search formula in an effort to maintain its market share, catch up with Apple’s Siri voice-activated mobile search and retain its lead in product search.  As we recently mentioned in our post What are the top 5 Search Engines? , Google owns about 66% of the natural search market, with Bing at 15% and Yahoo at 14%.  Google also enjoys more than 75% of all search-ad revenue.

In the coming months, you will supposedly see a change in the Google algorithm

Google will be adding semantic search to its algorithm.  This technology involves the process of understanding the actual meaning of the words being searched.  This change will result in more facts and direct answers to queries being shown at the top of the search results pages, with the goal of providing more relevant results.  For example, it could differentiate between words with more than one meaning.

How will Google’s algorithm change affect your SEO efforts?

Amir Efrati, the author of the article states:

“Google isn’t replacing its current keyword-search system, which determines the importance of a website based on the words it contains, how often other sites link to it, and dozens of other measures.  Rather, the company is aiming to provide more relevant results by incorporating . . . semantic search.”

The article, however, goes on the say that Google might now provide answers rather than just links to other sites, citing the question “What are the 10 largest lakes in California?” as an example.  If Google does not have an answer to a question in its database, it will blend the semantic-search technology with its current search system to

“better recognize the value of information on websites and figure out which ones to show in the search results.  It would do so by examining a Web page and identifying information about specific entities referenced on it, rather than only look for keywords.”

The goal of this blog is to provide information in the SEO and Internet marketing arena, both in terms of current news and trends, as well as answers to questions.  We purposely make questions the title to our posts so that searchers can immediately find a site that will help it solve its problem.  Providing such relevant information also helps our business by being known as a reliable source that clients and searchers can count on as well as driving visitors to our site, which also helps with our rankings. For these reasons, we recommend blogging to our clients.  If Google starts answering more complex questions rather than providing links or looks to further information on a page, SEO strategies may need to change.  The article referenced one person who believed that these changes could affect 10% to 20% of all search queries – that is tens of billions of searches a month!  It was also suggested by Larry Cornette, a former web search executive at Yahoo, that this algorithm adjustment could spur a change in website markup language, a language that wraps a web page’s content with formatting for how the site should appear. Time will have to tell if these conjectures come to fruition.

From what we have seen, Google has been incorporating semantic search into its results for quite a while.  It already provides answers to some questions at the top of the search results page.  And previous blog posts and announcements from Google discuss technologies they use to better understand associations and concepts.  So it will be interesting to see what these “new” semantic search changes to the algorithm will unveil and if they require adjustments to your SEO efforts.

Google Places PO Box Update

February 9th, 2012

PO Boxes Picture

As we covered in our previous post Can I Use a PO Box As My Google Places Address?, Google does not approve of using a PO Box as an address in you’re your Google Places listing. Google reaffirmed this position in an update to the Google Places Quality Guideline stating:

Do not create a listing or place your pin marker at a location where the business does not physically exist. P.O. Boxes are not considered accurate physical locations. If you operate from a location but receive mail at a mail box there, please list your physical address in Address Line 1, and put your mail box or suite number in Address Line 2.

Thankfully, this revision makes it easier for businesses who receive mail via PO Boxes rather than at their physical location. So while a PO Box cannot be your sole Google Places address, it can now be included in your address – hopefully without any issues.

AdWords or SEO? Is Google killing off natural search in the name of money?

December 13th, 2011

Google has always said it wants to provide the best search experience. Well, that statement may no longer be true. Apparently, it is placing more and more pay per click ads and Google’s own pages on the search results pages. Google is even running an AdWords ad that states: “Forget about SEO. To be visible in Google today, try AdWords.” What about content and credibility? Check out this blog post from Aaron Wall, one of the leaders in SEO. Will you now have to pay in order to be found? Do you need to decide between AdWords or SEO? They have always complimented each other. Will that no longer be the case?

Google SEO Updates as of 12/1/11

December 6th, 2011

Last week Google published another round of search improvements. They advised that this was the first of a monthly series where they will be sharing information about their algorithm and feature enhancements. Their new monthly blog posts will be highlighting the approximate 500 search improvements Google makes each year. So you don’t have to add another blog feed to your home page, each month we’ll be summarizing the posts for you.

Here are the Google SEO updates (and feature updates) for December 2011:

  • Related query results. Google sometimes shows results that are similar to the search terms that you used. It has refined the algorithm so that it is now less likely that related results will rank highly if the original search term had a rare word that was not in the alternate query.
  • More comprehensive indexing. Google is now including more long tail documents in its index. As we always tell our clients, going after long tail terms – such as “birthday party places in orange county ny” – is a great SEO strategy, especially for new websites or competitive markets. This refinement will make it even easier for searchers to find you.
  • A “parked domain” classifier. Parked domains are really placeholder sites for companies that have not yet created a website to go with a domain name. They can also be placeholders for companies that buy up domains as a competitive strategy, which they never even plan to use. These “placeholders” typically are filled with ads and are really not at all relevant to a search. This new classifier will help weed out parked domains from the search results.
  • Autocomplete predictions. As you may have noticed when you type in your search terms, Google tries to predict what you are typing and provides a list of search terms that may match what you are looking for. They have refined their prediction algorithm, making it a little more flexible.
  • Blog search results. Google changed its blog search index. Now it provides blog results that are more current and comprehensive.
  • The original content battle. In the last six months, Google has been addressing the duplicate content issue. They just added some new signals to its algorithm the help them determine which web page has the original content and which sites merely duplicated it.
    Image freshness. A change will not make it easier for Google to find the most recent images for news searches.
  • Google AdWords Express Replaces Google Boost

    July 26th, 2011

    Google sure is busy. Last May we told you that Google Boost had replaced Google Tags. Well now Google AdWords Express is replacing Google Boost!


    According to Google, “AdWords Express is designed to help local businesses that aren’t already AdWords advertisers create effective campaigns.” Adding AdWords Express to your Places listing allows you to advertise on Google and Google Maps, including mobile devices. You set up a monthly budget and create copy for your ad and Google does the rest, including determining what search terms will trigger your ad to be shown and your bidding to have your ad included in the search results. The terms are selected based on your Places listing categories. Google has assigned a cost per click for each search term, which you pay every time someone clicks on your ad.

    As we pointed out with Google Boost, if you don’t have the time or the inclination to learn how to create and manage an effective Adwords campaign, or don’t have an Internet Marketing company you can rely on to do so for you, AdWords Express is an option for local advertising. But keep in mind that it has limitations. AdWords provides more options and controls – keyword selection and bid control, local AND national targeting, advanced reporting and different ad formats such as video, display and more – than AdWords Express offers.

    What are Boost Ads?

    May 6th, 2011

    The replacement of Google Tags?

    Now that Google has officially retired Google Tags, if you were a Tags user have you received a call from a Google representative offering Boost Ads? Some of our clients have and they are asking us, “Just what are boost ads?”

    In case you are wondering the same thing, here is a brief overview:

    Boost Ads are just that – ads. Similar to Google AdWords, you pay every time someone clicks on your ad. Unfortunately you may not realize this when a Google rep calls you to try to convince you to start a Boost campaign. One of our clients was told it was free and as the rep walked our client through the set up process he then said it was pay per click. When our client questioned the Google rep, he said that pay per click was after he gave the first $100 free. IT IS pay per click.

    How do Boost Ads work?


    Unlike AdWords, Boost Ads are locally based and work together with your Google Places listing. If you are a former Google Tag user, you already have a Places listing. If you need to create one, visit www.google.com/places.
    Adding Google Boost to your Places listing allows you to advertise on Google and Google Maps, including mobile devices. You set up a monthly budget and create copy for your ad and Google does the rest, including determining what search terms will trigger your ad to be shown and your bidding to have your ad included in the search results. The terms are selected based on your Places listing categories. Google has assigned a cost per click for each search term, which you pay every time someone clicks on your ad.

    What information is displayed in a Boost Ad?


    Google uses information from your Places listing – your business name, address, phone number, a short description of your business, a snippet from your Place Page, and a link to your Place Page.

    Where are Boost Ads displayed?


    Similar to AdWords, in a google.com search, Boost Ads are displayed either above or to the right of the search results. In a Google Maps search, they appear above the search results. If your business appears in the organic Places listing results, your Boost Ad will appear in the ads section with a red marker and that red marker will appear on the corresponding map. If your business does not appear in the organic Places results, your Boost Ad will still appear in the ads section, but with a blue marker.

    Will a Boost Ad help my organic Places listing rankings?


    No. Boost Ads appear in the sponsored ads section – they don’t affect what businesses appear in the organic Places listings.

    Boost or AdWords?


    If you don’t have the time or the inclination to learn how to create and manage an effective Adwords campaign, or don’t have an Internet Marketing company you can rely on to do so for you, Boost is an option for local advertising. But keep in mind that it has limitations. AdWords provides more options and controls – keyword selection and bid control, local AND national targeting, advanced reporting and different ad formats such as video, display and more – than Boost offers.

    Phone Number for AdWords Help Now Available

    April 6th, 2011

    You asked for it and Google listened. Yesterday Google introduced free phone support for AdWords advertisers. Now when you have a question about your account or campaigns you can call and speak with a live person, rather than rely on waiting for a response to your email or navigating through AdWords forums.

    Just call the phone number for AdWords help — 1-866-2-Google — Monday through Friday 9am-8pm Eastern Time and have your customer ID on hand.

    If you misplace the number, just log into your AdWords account and click on Help in the upper right hand corner and the following box will appear:

    Phone Number for AdWords Help

    Phone Number for AdWords Help


    This Google AdWords helpline is currently only available to advertisers in the United States and Canada. The company said it will be rolling out phone support to other countries in the coming months.

    Place Search On Google

    October 28th, 2010

    Will Place Search on Google Affect Your SEO Efforts?

    Yesterday Google introduced a new type of local search result. Place Search organizes information around local places to help searchers more easily make comparisons. Previously when you did a local search, you would see the local results from Google Places at the top of the page next to a pushpin map. Now the map is in the right column above the AdWords ads and the results are included in or above the regular organic search results, marked with red pins – which helps your listing jump out from the rest.

    Place Search results will appear automatically when Google predicts a searcher is looking for local information, i.e., “chinese restaurants new york city”. Google has also made it easy to start a local search – just click on the “Places” icon in the left panel of the search results page. If a local web search doesn’t yield you the results you want, click on places and you just might find what you were looking for.

    One very important thing to note, Google does not seem to be consistent with how it is displaying these new results. We did our own test. Some searches yielded one “result” per business, which incorporated a regular result with a Google Places result with links to both the website and the Places listing. This combined result is included in the 10 results per page. The problem with this is you are not being displayed twice, as you may have been in the past. Other searches yielded the old format with a 1 or 2 or 7 pack listing separated from the regular results so that you could appear twice on a page. Not sure how Google is determining what to show and how.

    In any event, if you haven’t created a Google Places listing you need to now more than ever! Write On Point is here to help if you need us.

    SEO and Google TV

    September 13th, 2010

    Web. TV. Two HUGE marketing platforms that will soon be one thanks to Google.


    Approximately 400 million web searches are performed everyday. The average American watches 5 hours of TV on a daily basis. While these two stats may appear unrelated, Google is changing that. Google TV, which seamlessly joins the web and television, will make its debut in the U.S. this fall and world-wide next year. So, if you have been putting off tuning up – or even starting – your search engine optimization and Internet marketing campaigns, you may want to start kicking them into high gear.

    What is Google TV?


    This brand new service from Google will change how and where people will surf the web. Google TV will project a search bar on top of the television screen allowing viewers to search the Internet in real time as well as live tv listings – all without leaving the couch or sitting up to type on your laptop. The tv serves as the monitor running on Google’s Android operating system. You will even be able to change the channel using Google speech recognition technology and access Google Apps!

    Google TV and your SEO and Internet Marketing campaigns


    There are over 4 billion tv viewers worldwide and, as we said, about 400 million web searches everyday. Who knows how many more searches will be performed with this new service or how many more opportunities for your site to be found by prospects. Now is the time to optimize your website and get a jump on the competition.

    Twitter On Google Search Results Pages

    August 31st, 2010

    If you are not using Twitter for your business yet, here is another reason to start. Last week Google made web search results timelier by launching Google Realtime Search – www.Google.com/Realtime.

    Google has created a one-stop shop for Twitter search results


    Google Realtime Search, which is separate from Google’s main search engine, is a great place for people to look for current conversations and topics happening online across the globe. It displays messages from Twitter and Google’s own version of Twitter called Google Buzz in the form of a continuously updating news feed. Realtime also shows some results from Facebook and MySpace.

    Google Realtime is similar to bing.com/social. Yahoo also offers something similar when users search news results for a specific topic.

    With Google showing realtime Tweets, you now have one more way to be found online. Greater content equals greater visibility, which equals greater traffic. What are you waiting for? Just be sure, however, that your Twitter content is keyword rich. Not sure what keywords to use? Your SEO consultant can help.