May 2007


Google Inc. said on Wednesday it is combining its different Web search services into one “Universal Search” service that will present Web sites, news, video and other results on one page.

This was a significant overhaul of Google’s widely-used features, and took effect  Wednesday, they also say that this exciting move will be  improved over time, executives told reporters at the company’s “Googleplex” headquarters.

Notice some interesting comments:

I think of it as a pretty natural evolution, with the one interesting thing being the video side of it,” said Martin Pyykkonen, an analyst with Global Crown Capital.

The thing everyone is wondering right now is what will an advertiser be willing to pay for a video link,” Pyykkonen said. “From the advertiser standpoint, I think they will be interested in how to hook their customer better.

What does “Universal Search” mean? Simply this, typical or standard Google searches will draw results from other properties such as news, images, local information, books, and video, 

It’s breaking down the silos of information that have been built up. It’s a broad, long-term vision that will unfold over the next few years,” Mayer said. “We are really excited about what Universal Search could evolve to in the future.”

You may have also noted that Google has changed the appearance of their standard home page, have you seen the changes?  What are they?

Well for one, I noticed that they have included more navigational links.  This comes at no surprise given the fact that Google has been adding “Google” products & features like crazy and hardly the general populace sees them.  Look below and check out the new layout or you can read an interesting story and see these screen shots from Danny Sullivan, “master SEO dude” check it out.  Danny also a good article on this universal roll out, as does CNN.

 

                                   Old                                                                                New

More Drop downs

One final thing I noticed, was that in search results, they added a little grey gradient color change right below the search box?  It may seem like a small change, but take into consideration Google has not altered the look of their results page in many moons, (other than recent sponsored listings box)

Bottom line, this was a HUGE announcement in the search engine arena…… 

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It’s not too easy but I have found a way with a little help from headquarters. 

A client of mine owns the local Budget Blinds in Wilmington, North Carolina, and pretty much corporate headquarters controls most if not all SEO, PPC and traditional print / TV ads. 

Recently this company did begin “modern” search engine optimization within their site by restructuring their URLs from dynamic to static ones, this is the best move they could have done from a search engine perspective, they also submitted a sitemap feed to the new Sitemap’s initiative (www.sitemaps.org).  Awesome!

Here lies the problem, most of the readable (text) portions of the site are still controlled dynamically and pre-determined according to the city of the franchise including the most important tags of all, the Title and meta description tags!

The problem with this clients site was that the program that fills these fields (Title & Meta) do not include the state, nor the abbreviation of the state of the franchise location which gives search engines no relevancy to searches. 

For example, if you were to search for “window coverings Wilmington, NC” my clients Web site would not stand a chance at showing up organically above the fold because just think of how many “Wilmington’s” there are?  True, search engines do track IP addresses, however without the “NC” or “North Carolina” in the tags, the chances of their site being above the fold is not good.  Well, guess what?  We actually spoke with the person in charge of Budget Blind’s IM, and it appears they listened to us!  The letters “NC” now appear after “Wilmington”.. One victory, and he is already yielding top 5 organic results in Yahoo.

The next trick was to find out how to tweak the meta description tag because corporate told us it could not be done!.  HA! Well, after a little experiment, we soon realized that by changing a certain field that can be edited by the franchise owner, this dynamically changed the meta descrip tag!  Woo Hoo!

Now the challenge was to sprinkle keywords and phrases into the content or “copy” which had previously not been possible, or at least didn’t know he could do this.  The owner found out he was able to login and customize up to 5 marketing paragraphs to his choosing, so bingo!  I suggested he take advantage of this by distributing keywords and phrases I determined from keyword research and PPC logs, such as Bamboo blinds, window treatments, window coverings Wilmington, NC etc.. at a keyword density level of 2 mentions of the keywords per 100 words of body throughout these customizable sections.  It is working…So far Yahoo has been kind to him but Google wants to check them out a little more.

He also adjusted the “Coupon” tab ad copy, so now he can customize monthly specials with keywords in them as well!  There are other white hat tricks I implemented, but hey I can’t give out all my secrets!

In summary, if you own a franchise that includes a web site, make sure you are fully aware of every editable portion of it, if you don’t know call corporate, do keyword research and then find ways to add this research into your Title & Meta Tags, and ad copy.  It’s that easy!  If you need help, drop me an email.

By the way, if you are in the market for great window blinds, shutters window treatments, check him out if you are in Wilmington, North Carolina.  Right now he has a pretty good special on window blinds!

Yes…Web Marketers get ready; Google is expanding their Internet advertising network to the print world in a gutsy move to capture traditional ad dollars. Are we ready for “Google Print Ads”?  Read on below screenshot.

Google makes 99 percent of its revenue from Internet ads, but now is beta testing print advertising sales. Google continues to position itself to becoming a one-stop shop for online and offline marketing. This is the first attempt for Google to dabble into offline ads and could perhaps be a tremendous portal for marketing agencies to offer complete packages.

Advertising and marketing agencies using Google Print Ads can devote more time providing high-level service to clients instead of spending time on a vast array of multiple print ads within a plethora of markets, this is in part due to the fact that “Google Print Ads” is built into the Google Adwords PPC dashboard.

Let’s find out a little more about this new feature – From Google themselves!

What is Google Print Ads?

Google Print Ads is an online marketplace that makes it easy for advertisers and agencies of all sizes to run ads in newspapers across the U.S. – whether you’re buying space in one paper or a hundred.

Why newspaper advertising?

Newspapers remain a vibrant and popular medium that speaks more directly to local markets than most other media. When executed well, newspaper advertising can make any marketing campaign stronger.

How does Google Print Ads work?

Running newspaper ads with Google Print Ads is easy – you use a simple online interface to select newspapers and place bids for ad space in them. The papers you’ve selected approve or decline these bids (and give you direct feedback about their decisions). After your ad runs, you can see electronic copies of them on the page.

So there you have it.  Yes this is still in beta, but with Google’s recent partnership with DoubleClick, one if the largest digital marketing groups, who knows where Google will go?  I guess that’s why it’s exciting to be in this arena.

Ty’s Perspective..

Recently I have had requests for tips and directions on putting your local business into search products that Google, Yahoo, MSN and many others offer.  Well, I thought instead of compling this myself, my good friend and colleage at Hippo Internet Marketing has already created fantastic articles relating to this.

Please read these articles below, it’s a virtual “Honey hole” of local search info!

http://www.thejunglemap.com/post/77

http://www.thejunglemap.com/post/88

If you would like consulting, let me know what you need!

(Special thanks to Bryan)

Guess what I noticed today?  Perhaps I am the last one to see this but I am going to write a quick post anyway, and at least it will help my audience from getting bored because I have not posted in a while.

Ok, so check this  out:

 

This screen shot is kind of fuzzy, however you will notice under the sponsored ads it say’s “Most popular products for……..”  Below this it reveals three  (Hmm, sound familiar..Froogle) product results complete with prices (Hmm, sound familiar..Froogle).

Well, if you click on these products it takes you to MSN Shopping where Amazon.com has a strangle hold on these types of searches.  If you have not submitted your products to MSN shopping, now may be a good time to think about it, especially if Amazon is kickin tail in there.

Keep posted, I will be sharing more articles on local searches and how to submit to all local search features of search engines…