Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Google Business Photos

Google Business Photos & A List Of Google Trusted Photographers

Published on by: James H. Hobson

Google Business Photos is a new feature whereby small business owners can hire "Trusted Photographers" to take high quality photos of their business to spruce up their Google Places business profile and page. Although still photos can be used, the ultimate opportunity is for the small business owner to have the photographer create a virtual panoramic view of their business. This is especially valuable to a business where atmosphere and visual presentations make a difference. A good example is the Street View Gallery which let's Google users get a good idea of your business environment.

As with most Google roll-outs, the Google Business Photos feature with the work of Trusted Photographers was available in only a limted number of markets. Now this opportunity has been greatly expanded. Our Atlanta internet marketing company has teamed up with a local Trusted Photographer to offer our local clients the best level of service for Google Business Photos.

Business owners can certainly hire any photographer to provide images for Google Business Photos however the relationship between Google and the Trusted Photographer offers some advantages in terms of the photographer having proper equipment, and knowing the exact output specifications for the deliverables to meet Google standards. It is worth mentioning thta hiring a Trusted Photographer has some strings attached. Notably that Google reserves the rights to your pictures and you give Google implied consent to use your photos in other ways.

How Google Business Photos Works

As a business owner you can hire your own photographer or hire a Trusted Photographer. In either case, you make all arrangements with the chosen photographer and move on to complete the photo shoot. The still photos, or composite panoramic view, can then be prepared and uploaded to your Google Places and/or Google+ business page. In less than a week, your new photos can be online and working to promote your business.

Again, because of some of the special requirements, we do recommend hiring a Trusted Photographer for optimal assurance that the work will be properly done.

List of Google Trusted Photographers

To help you get started in the right direction, you may be interested in viewing this List of Google Trusted Photographers. Make a few calls and learn more about their services and rates for Google Business Photos.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Post Penguin Recovery Tips

Post Penguin Recovery Process – part I

Published on by: James H. Hobson

In the wake of the Google Penguin update, there are literally hundreds of thousands of site owners who are desperately seeking information on how to recover after Penguin. Although there is no quick fix or silver bullet solution, there are things that can be done to amend the offending issues. This article will provide a Phase I approach to solving website ranking problems.

Google Penguin made a loud statement about unnatural backlinks, and related backlink patterns that seem spammy or dubious. Working to manage backlink issues is the first step to solving your problems. Most likely it is NOT going to be quick or easy, however it is an essential process – unless you want to start completely over with a new domain name.

Penguin Recovery Step 1

Check backlinks to identify potential problems. You can use free backlink checker tools to generate a list of backlinks to your domain. Most of the free backlink checker tools do not provide a truly complete list of backlinks however they are extremely useful. You want to look for patterns such as an excessive number of links from a single site or domain, links from site that appear to be totally unrelated as they may be part of a link farm, and links from article submission sites.

DISCLAIMER: Below, we are showing EzineArticles merely as an example of a WHOIS lookup for an article submission site. We are not implying or stating that use of their site has or can cause search engine related problems. Google has not specifically identified this site as a source of ranking issues.

Penguin Recovery Step 2

Remove backlinks that are spammy or questionable. The removal of backlinks is the most challenging part of the process. This is true because it takes a lot of time to manually access and remove each link, and many of the links are on site where you do not have the direct ability to remove links to your site. When you do not have control access to a site where a backlink exists you can use a WHOIS Lookup Tool to identify the owner of the website (URL). Some WhoIs lookups will return incomplete information, and other queries will not yield information if the domain owner is using any type of privacy protection. For those domains where the can find the site owners physical address or email address you can send correspondence to request that they remove links to your site.

Link Removal Request Text

To request removal of a link you should make a sincere and polite request to remove links. We advise against using any threatening or emotionally charged language. A sample message is as follows:

Dear Site Owner,

A WhoIs lookup indicated that you are the owner of the domain name XYZ.com (insert domain of site showing link to your site). We request that you remove all links from this site, or any others that you control, which may point to YourDomain.com.

Sincerely

Your Name Here

Your expectations for site owners to remove links should be rather low however any actions are better than no actions. Remember that these site owners have no motivation, beyond being respectful, to help your cause. If a paid service has placed these links on your behalf it is difficult to imagine that they will devote free time to undo their work.

If your website has experienced significant rank losses after Penguin you cannot afford to be passive, and think that all will be resolved on its own. You should be proactive and take this time to clean up the loose ends in your internet marketing.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Authorship On Google and Google+

How to Establish Authorship on Google

Published on by: James H. Hobson

Establishing authorship on Google is an important part of SEO in 2012. Besides the SEO benefits, authorship can protect your online content from being wrongly claimed by others and become a valuable tool in building your online reputation and brand image.

The Steps For Authorship

  • Create a Google account, and set-up a Google+ page
  • Establish a personal or business blog or website
  • Create an "About" page on the blog or website
  • Use special links to associate these pages
  • Use a special byline or meta tag on your online content

How to Create a Google Account

A Google Account is free and requires only a few minutes to create. Use the following link to Create a Google Account. You will later want to explore your Google account and add some of Google's nifty services such as YouTube, Blogger, Analytics, and Webmaster Tools. Be sure to write down your Google account login information!

Creating Google+ Pages

With a Google Account you can enjoy numerous free Google tools and services including a Google+ page. Use the following link to Create A Free Google+ Page or you can simply login to your Google Account and find easy to follow directions. When you have created your Google+ page you need to edit your profile and add complete information. Specific and important information that you must add are your name and a headshot photo that is at least 250x250 pixels in size. Providing profile information that is complete and accurate is strongly recommended.

On you Google+ page, find and click on the Profile icon in the left hand sidebar. Next, click on the Edit Profile link and then complete your profile. When this is done, use your mouse to scroll over and from your address bar, copy the url that looks something liks this: https://plus.google.com/107575251123935558983#107575251123935558983/posts. You will use this URL to create a tag to place in your blog's or website's Head code.

Your Website or Blog

On your website or blog you need to have an "About" type page from which you can be identified for Authorship. The following text will show you how to create the tag to place on websites or blogs where you are an author or contributor. Having authorship on multiple sites can substantially increase your online presence and authority reputation.

Use the URL that you copied to create your own authorship tag. You may need to be truncate the URL to remove bits of code. Your copied URL may look like this:
https://plus.google.com/107575251123935558983#107575251123935558983/posts but needs to be shortened to this:
https://plus.google.com/107575251123935558983/ and inserted into the HTML code to create a tag that looks like this:
Google Authorship Tag

Be sure to change the items shown in RED to your own information. Now add this bit of code to the HEAD section of any blog or website where you desire to have authorship of content.

Special Links for Authorship

To be identified as the author of specific content, such as a blog post, article or pdf document, simply add an HTML byline, below the title, to each article or blog post. Be sure to change URL to your Google+ link and insert your name where indicated. Your code should look similar to this:

Google Authorship Tag

This will display on your site as: Written by

You can make modifications to this code to include date published and other bits of information. When you believe that you have completed everything, you should use the Google Rich Snippets Testing Tool to confirm that everything is properly configured.

When Google indexes your article or information, it will now give you credit for the information and in many cases, display your profile photo adjacent to your blog article or website page listing. If you would like us to do this for you, simply send us a message.

Other Authorship Info Sources

If you enjoy a visual learning environment, you may want to view this OzDogWeb video on YouTube: How To Create Authorship on Google.

Best SEO Strategies 2012

2012 SEO Tips - Add Value, Not Spam

Published on by: James H. Hobson

SEO in 2012

In the past, organic SEO relied heavily on massive time investments in low user value tactics such as link farms, spammy article writing, link dropping, mindless blog comments and similar methods that shared the common goal of increasing backlinks. Unfortunately, this allowed volumes of websites with minimal useful content to be ranked high on search engines. With ongoing algorithm changes and refinements in the ability of search engines to associate content, the best way to improve your SEO work in 2012 is to polish your methods and focus on user value.

Leveraging Social Media

Although many business owners and managers (and internet marketing companies) debate the value of spending time and money to use social medioa platforms to generate leads or sales, social media can definitely have a profound indirect benefit to your internet marketing results. Search engines are increasing their consideration of the "social engagement" of business websites. There are obviously a plethora of social media site, and Web 2.0 properties, where your business can actively participate however we have a core group which we believe offer optimal value. Every business should establish a business page on Google+, Facebook, Linkedin and YouTube. We strongly recommend establishing accounts or profiles on othe top sites for the purposes of protecting your company name, brand and online reputation.

The "core four" listed above (Google+, Facebook, Linkedin, YouTube) should be added to your business website with their respective icons and a link to the appropriate page on those sites. Your business should actively seek to build your Followers, +1 Circles, Likes and other types of user participation, validation and approval. Proven tactics for making this happen are to get your employees, friends and vendors to join your pages; frequently add truly useful information (not just sales pitches), and reach out to other social media pages. Often getting a new person to join your site is as simple as first joining their social media page.

Useful Content Contributions

Taking time to create articles and other forms of useful content is usually not a top priority with business owners and managers. To better ensure that this happens, we recommend setting aside a specific time each week to write about something that you find stimulating or of sincere interest. When you have a real interest, the words flow easier and the end result is usually much better. To get the most from any article, blog post or content that you create you should always add a byline which gives you authorship, and possible include a link within the article to your site or the source sites for your cited information.

What Are "Useful Content Contributions"? Online users seeking business related information need to solve a problem, buy a product or service or otherwise become informed. Articles and content that are predominantly sales pitches are far less useful than content which provides specifications, how-to instructions, comparisons, explanations and overviews, etc. In the course of providing this type of content it is certainly appropriate to include links to any website that can further help the user - including a link to your own site if it is relevant.

Authorship

By now you should have noticed that many search results pages on Google include a persons photo adjacent to the listed item. To make this happen you need to complete a few easy steps to confirm authorship. When you establish authorship, search engines then know that the information posted is original content, attributed to you, and overall this increase your online reputation and authority presence. Click the following link for step-by-step information on how to establish authorship on Google.

We recommend taking time now to polish your SEO in 2012, and take at least 30 minutes each week to post content on your social media sites, and become a valued contributor to blogs and forums within your industry. Within a few months you should notice improvements in your internet metrics and general visibility. For more information or consulting you can contact our company and speak with a helpful social media consultant.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Google Places Added To Google + Pages

Google To Merge Google Places with Google+


Published on by: James H. Hobson


Google has made another bold move in online content structure by deciding to merge Google Places into Google+.  Industry analysts belive that the strategy behind this change is to position Google to increase market share in the rapidly growing, and highly profitable, world of mobile advertising.  Many of these people also see this as a way to "encourage" more people to join Google+.


Here is a video that shows you aspects of the changes:




About the New Look

When Google+ users login to their Google+ home page, they will find a sidebar link for Google Places.  Google+ is becoming a very personalized asset for accessing the online information that you need, all from one central point - your own Google+ page.

Google Places will now include Zagat's reviews instead of the previous 5-Stars rating system.  Google owns Zagat's and has now found an excellent manner to leverage its authority reputation.

The new online presentation is a much richer user experience, and provides a very ample amount of relevant information about a particular business.  It does appear to be a format that is going to be more advantageous for a business which can afford to create high quality content (including videos) versus the small business which may not have the budget to market in a robust manner.

Google+ Advantages and Opportunities

As with any change, there are opportunities which can become advantages for those who are first-movers.  The die has been cast, so this new format IS a reality.  Accordingly, the smart business owner or manager will contact an internet marketing company to get Google Places consulting and/or Google Places and Google+ help to leverage every part of this new situation.

Google+ and a Positive ROI?

For Google there certainly will be a very positive ROI, and there certainly should be for savvy business owners who have customers that arrive via mobile search . . . but then again, isn't this what local search advertising is all about?  The likeability factor of merging local search with social media may not initially be enthusiastic however people will adapt.  What may start out as no-big-deal could prove to be a huge traffic driver for many businesses. Certainly the industry stats on mobile use, advertising investments and click through rates indicate a steady year-after-year growth that has not shown any signs of leveling off.

The bottom line is that themerging of Google Places with Google+ is something that will impact your business.  Whether it impacts your business in a positive or negative manner has a lot to do with how quickly you react, and the actions you take to make the most of this opportunity.