Google hangouts has been around for a little while now. Of course it hasn’t been as popular as Skype but it certainly has it’s advantages when it comes to broadcasting something on the web with your audience simultaneously. In this video one newscast uses Google Hangouts to increase viewership and also bring the audience right on the set.

Google Hangouts Video

Google Places Optimization

Google Places classifies businesses by helping them define on the basis of the area they serve.

  1. If all Customers come to the business location?
  2. If the business serves customers at their locations?

If businesses are willing to serve customers at their locations Google Places gives 2 options to do this within the dashboard of Google Places.

A) Define a central location of importance for a business & then mark a periphery with respect to this central location.

B) Specify certain cities, zip codes or countries. This is done by individually mentioning areas/ cities/ countries important for one’s business.

The performance (aka ranking) of a Google places listing for a business is a function of a large number of factors. We define the sum of all these factors as the SEO (E)L which the Local SEO Energy of a business.

Google Places 1

The primary business location of a business is one of an important factor on which will contribute to the SEO (E)L of a business, when the a user does a local search for that location. We represented SEO (E)L on “Y” Axis & the primary location of a business on X axis (Origin). The locations which are in close geographic proximity to this primary location are also represented on “X” axis.

Google Places

When we set the Service Area & Location settings while the Google Places listing is in creation mode & when we select the option of“Distance from one location”, we have a view that when this setting is used we indicate Google that a business under consideration is defining its primary location & consequently would wish to focus all its SEO (E)L on that location.

Google Places


Let’s imagine a case where in a business has SEO (E)L as 100 units. We plot this on the graph we have mentioned above. The pictorial representation should be ideally follow the above exhibited structure. The point we are trying to make is the SEO (E) L should be ideally highest at its primary location & should reflect in the ranking the listing achieves when a search with a local intent is made in that location. This also means that as we are moving from the central location of importance, the rankings will gradually drop as the locations get farther & farther from the central location for that business. When we use the other option available for Service Area & Location Settings of specifying certain, cities, zip codes & countries while the listing is created we have a view that when this setting is used we indicate Google that a business under consideration wishes to equally distribute all of its SEO (E)L  among number of specific locations which a business owner is specifying manually.

For the hypothetical example we are considering the Max SEO (E)L is 100 & let us assume that there are 10 locations that a business owner has specified, consequently the SEO (E)L per location will be 10 units & the representation will something as below.

Google Places

For the above mentioned case no location under consideration is able to get full advantage since the available SEO (E)L is not focused on a particular location of importance for a business.

To summarize:

Location is one of the important factor amongst other factors which contributes to the SEO (E)L of a listing on Google PlacesSince we were working on a Local Listing Optimization project in the financial services vertical in USA, we created number of Google Places listings. We also had readily available data on which case is performing better. For each case we have worked on there is a primary location & which is highlighted on the Service Area & Location settings by defining a central location of importance for a business & then mark a periphery with respect to this central location (Say 20 miles).

As an example we had a business located at Westhampton Beach, NY.

The secondary locations for this are Aquebogue, Calverton, Center Moriches, Cutchogue, East Moriches, East Quogue, Flanders, Hampton Bays,  Jamesport, Laurel, Manorville, Mastic, Mastic Beach, Mattituck, North Sea, Noyack, Quogue, Ridge, Riverhead,  Shinnecock Hills, Shirley, Shoreham, Southampton, Wading River, Westhampton.

The locations mentioned above are located within 1 mile to maximum 30 miles from Westhampton, NY. For this case under consideration we had access to 5 business categories which we had used while creating the Google Places listing, so we have 125 (5 Categories times 25 locations) on which we tested the performance (rankings) for this Google Places listing on those 125 geography centric business keywords for that particular case. We found that as one moves away from the main location (in this case Westhampton, NY) the rankings for that distant location will fall gradually.

To elaborate ranking for a location which is 10 miles away from Westhampton, NY will be relatively low that the rankings for Westhampton, NY as the location. This means that when a business defines its “Service Area” central location of importance for a business & then mark a periphery with respect to this central location the listings have a much better chance of visibility at least in that location of importance which would not had been the case if the business would had defined its “Service Area” by specifying  certain cities, zip codes or countries. The corollary to the above mentioned will be if a business listing which defines its “Service Area” central location of importance for a business & then mark a periphery with respect to this central location & is not visible in its own location of importance there is a rare chance that it will be visible in other locations which are surrounding to that location. The rankings on Google Places are relative for any location under our consideration & it is virtually impossible to comment predict the performance of listings at an absolute basis.

Guest post written by Nikil Deshpande.

Google Plus

Say what you want, Google+ is awesome. Sure it might not be as popular in the mainstream media as Facebook but the reality is that Google has created something great. If you want to compare user numbers it is no slouch either. In this short Google+ video 5 different users discuss how their career and life have changed by using the Google+ social platform.

Google+ Video

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Google Maps Advancements

Google Maps has morphed into something really amazing. Since day one Google Maps has revolutionized the way people find just about anything locally. Their maps tool and system has helped people in a way that I don’t think Google thought would when this product first started to roll out years ago.

This is a great video from Google that goes into the steps and process of how Google Maps has evolved and also where it is going. As their maps system becomes even stronger than it already is it will put an even stronger emphasis on local search engine marketing for businesses of all shapes.

Google Maps Video

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Should I Use Google Webmaster Tools?

Yes! Well, you should at least get it onto your website at the very minimum. Google Webmaster Tools gives website owners valuable insight as to how their website is interacting with the web and overall health of a website.

Google wants the community to really understand the technical behavior of their websites so they can properly market them and drive valuable targeted traffic. Not that long ago Google launched Webmaster Academy where website owners can learn even more about the interaction of their website and the technology of Google.

Here are some important reasons why you might want to use Google Webmaster Tools:

  • Helps you understand search queries
  • Crawl errors
  • Overall health of your website
  • Website optimization
  • Site performance

Google Webmaster Tools Video

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Google Webmaster Academy

For those of you who wish to learn a bit more about how Google operates and what you can do as a website owner to further your reach online you are now in luck. We have always said that eventually Google will start to offer some sort of training for people to understand how to properly marketing their websites within the beast we all call Google and that day has finally arrived.

Webmaster Academy gives the community just a bit more help to better acquaint themselves with the technology of Google. Currently the Webmaster Academy is broken down into three sections:
  • Google & You
  • Webmaster tools
  • Businesses

Users will learn everything from how Google works to how to be a proper webmaster. Perhaps this can be the beginning of an official Google training program? If there is anyone that can put a benchmark on the community it is Google. We will just have to wait and see if this evolves into something much larger.

Here is a screenshot:

Webmaster Academy

Bing has been doing an amazing job at trying to keep up with the strength of Google over the years. Even when Bing bleeds out money and is still in the red zone when comparing the money invested Bing continues to grow and evolve in amazing ways. For the folks who are loyal Bing users and wish they would make some bolder development choices here you go. Bing is officially — the new Bing.

Bing Screenshot

Excerpt from the official Bing blog:

“Our aim has always been to help you do more with search, and over the past three years we have made exciting strides to realize that vision. Today we are taking a big step forward as we begin rolling out what is the most significant update to Bing since we launched three years ago. Over the coming weeks, we will be introducing a brand new way to search designed to help you take action and interact with friends and experts without compromising the core search experience.”

Bing Video

Similar to the space race from the 50’s through the 70’s there has been a new type of race over recent years, a social race.

Google and Bing have been feverishly pursuing a social agenda and the winner that gets their first could steal a great deal of market share. There is no doubt about, being social is important. Even loyal Google users are starting to make the shift over to Bing just from the user experience. More people are sharing their experiences and thoughts on a daily basis and the numbers are quite staggering.

We love when Google gives us valuable insight as to how their search engines evolve and change from month to month. A little while back Google started really giving the community some great information as to how their algorithm is being updated, which is great news for web marketers. With that said, Google is not going to give out the whole kit and caboodle because frankly, why would they? We should be grateful they give us the amount of information that they do. Do your best to really understand the info they give to make better search marketing choices for your brand.

Why does Google give us this info?

Google wants professional marketers to use their search tool with ethics and a right state of mind. They are working hard to rid the world of spammers who flood their search pages with useless pages and information. Google wants businesses to understand how to properly market their websites pushing their brand proactively through the pages of their search engine. The better the approach the better the user experience.

Here is a snapshot of some of the updates but to read them all visit the Google Inside Search blog post to read all.

  • More authoritative results – Authority comes with influence and strong branding, time to get cracking!
  • Keyword Stuffing – Google now gives out penalties for improper use of keywords, aka keyword stuffing
  • More efficient generation of alternative titles – Giving an even stronger importance on page content
  • More comprehensive predictions for local queries – More emphasis on local business
  • Better query interpretation – Google search is getting smarter
  • No freshness boost for low-quality content – Low quality content will get no love

To read all of Aprils search updates visit the Google Inside  Search blog and get a better understanding as to what is happening with search.

How are these choices made?

The Google algorithm tends to be this enigma or mystery to many people trying to market their businesses online. For the most part most of the algorithm runs by itself but that does not mean some humans don’t stick their hands into the pot here and there to tighten the bolts.

In this Google video Matt Cutts describes the process of how human raters get into the system to clean things up just a bit more.

Google Search Quality Video

Google Plus

There has been a ridiculous amount of online chatter over the last few months surrounding the Google + project and just how it will impact the social community online. Google has been feverishly attempting to push forward into the social light ever since Facebook & Twitter really started making waves regarding how people communicate on the web.

In this YouTube video below Byron Gordon interviews Google Developer Advocate Timothy Jordan regarding the Google project and his speaking engagement at SES Conference San Francisco.

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