30 things you might not know about Google Search

As you might guess, Google search is smarter than you think. Here are 30 tools that you can use to improve your search experience.

http://www.google.com/intl/en/help/features.html

This link will help you search with power in the following areas:

  1. Google Weather search
  2. Google Stock Quote search
  3. Google Time Zone search
  4. Google Sports Scores search
  5. Google Music search
  6. Google Sunrise & Sunset search
  7. Google Calculator
  8. Google Book search
  9. Google Earthquakes
  10. Google Unit Conversion
  11. Google Public Data
  12. Google People Profiles
  13. Google Synonym search
  14. Google Dictionary Definitions
  15. Google Spell Checker
  16. Google Local search
  17. Google Movie Showtimes
  18. Google Health Conditions
  19. Google Medications
  20. Google Poison Control
  21. Google Suicide Prevention
  22. Google Flu Vaccine search
  23. Google Flight Planning
  24. Google Currency Conversion
  25. Google Maps
  26. Google Plus Operator
  27. Google Related search
  28. Google Fill-in-the-blank
  29. Google Package Tracking
  30. Google Patent Numbers

For more information about how to appear on searches and use the web to your business’s benefit, contact me.

3 Ways to Overcome Bad Yelp Reviews

A special thanks to Tom Pellegrino for his contribution to this post:

Quote:

I actually have a few friends that work at Yelp have have talked to them about this exact thing … the criticism from business owners is that some user reviews are unfair, and there isn’t a proper mechanism in place to work out issues related to bad reviews (or bogus ones by people with an axe to grind, or even the competition themselves – which in the BMW case, some look suspiciously like a rival dealership). Yelp’s stance has always been – community first, consumer/user second and businesses last.

I can only recommend two things:

They can reach out to the bad reviewers via private message (but only once I think) … I suggest they do something more than just apologize or ask “what can we do to make you feel better” … actually invite them to the dealership for a free oil change or something similar, then ask them to post a follow-up review.

Otherwise, they’ll need to take a proactive approach to educating people about their business listing on sites like Yelp.com and citysearch, etc and ask for them to review their experiences at the dealership … perhaps even put a placard on the front counter, or a sticker in the window that say, “hey, we’re on yelp.com – review us!”

They’ll also need to constantly review their profile on sites like yelp, looking for bad reviews … I also suggest they get in a habit of sending messages of appreciation to positive reviews as well.

This is community building. At the end of the day, all dealerships are going to have pissed customers … it’s the dealers responsibility (and ours too as a service provider) to educate themselves on the tools out there and learn how to incorporate them into their everyday marketing efforts.

…. The third option would be to do business w/ yelp as an advertising business with an enhanced profile .. those negative reviews miraculously disappear or get buried – yelp’s been called out on the carpet for this many times. Sometimes they’ve even removed bad reviews the day before a sales call, only to have them put back up after a “no thanks”.

Google Site Performance Tool in Webmaster Tools

I recently discovered the “Performance Tool” under the Labs section in Google Webmaster Tools. I was pleased to find out that the sites that I host are faster than 89% of websites that are monitored by Google Webmaster Tools. To find the Performance Tool, log into Google Webmaster Tools, click the new “Labs” menu link and select “Site Performance.”

This tool will show a graph by day of the average loading time for pages on your website. It is also very helpful for suggesting ways of increasing your site’s speed. Here are a few of my favorite recommendations for speeding up your site:

  • Decrease photo size. Always optimize photos for the web. A great (free) program that lets you do this is: http://www.irfanview.com/
  • Be careful of embedded objects. Social media sites offer many embedded objects these days and it is easy to drag your site down with lots of plug-ins. Examples: youtube, facebook badge, sharing buttons, flickr slideshows.
  • Minimize DNS lookups. This is similar to the recommendation above, but if possible don’t frame in pages from other sites or display photos hosted on another URL.
  • Combine external CSS. Getting rid of bloated code is always helpful and will speed up any website. Consolidating server side files will decrease the number of lookups and increase your website loading time.

Take a few minutes and familiarize yourself with this tool. If anything, you will make your visitors happier that the page appears quickly. I know I’m frustrated by this when I’m accessing sites from my tethered cell phone.

First Page Google Ranking is an Old-School Popularity Game

First page Google Ranking is an old-school popularity game. If you are the most popular person at the party and everyone else thinks that you are THE dealer in town, you will be listed on the top by Google. Remember, it is never enough to just add Meta tags and do search engine submissions to a million search engine indexes and directories. Instead do a search on targeted keywords and you will see the leading site in search engine rankings. All you need to do is to be better than that number one site. The critical success factor to help you beat your competition in high ranking for desired search keywords is an effective ranking and placement methodology. You can list your website high in “first page search results” by the use of appropriate keywords that are sure to increase web visitor counts. And the first step in obtaining significant web visitor counts is to create a “content-rich” site.

Here is the framework for maximizing the number of web pages to be successfully indexed:

  • The Google Success Framework
  • Identify competition
  • Link tracking
  • Identify keywords
  • Combine keywords
  • Add keywords to Content
  • Tune keyword list
  • Submit pages to Search Engines
  • Check Search Engine Submission
  • Check Placement
  • Repeat the process and start again.

Managing SEO is a full-time job for someone. It takes careful research, web analytics, close attention and a strong defined strategy. A good indicator is your Google Page Rank. The next question becomes: “Once I gain first page listing on Google, how can I knock my competitors off the page so that I stand alone?” This is more difficult but it is also a strategy that we implement by achieving high-ranking secured links such as press releases and social media pages that achieve viral recognition. Please note URL ranking results change week to week due to competition. So maintaining SERP requires constant keyword monitoring and information rework.

3 Steps to tracking external ads using Google's URL Builder

Google’s URL Builder Tool

Need: to track the source of a banner ad or link from an external source into Google Anlytics.

Example: Yahoo ad

Solution: Tag your URL with Google’s URL Builder so that the source is easily shown within Google Analytics.

Step 1: Go to:
http://www.google.com/support/googleanalytics/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=55578

Step 2:
Enter campaign Data:
Campaign Source: Yahoo
Campaign Medium: banner
Campaign Term: (list your keywords unless your account is connected to Google Adwords)
Campaign Content: (used for AB testing, enter a unique description for each ad)
Campaign Name: My Yahoo Promo

STEP 3:
Click “Generate URL” and then use this URL in your Yahoo banner ad to link back to your site.

Result from example above:
http://www.nathancaskey.com/blog?utm_source=Yahoo&utm_medium=banner&utm_term=nathan%2Bcaskey%2C%2Bblog%2C%2Bseo&utm_content=MyYahooAd1&utm_campaign=My%2BYahoo%2BPromo

Presto! You now have a verifiable source from external advertising campaigns.

Google Analytics vs. ClickTracks Reporting

http://www.google.com/analytics/

The now widely popular Google Analytics system is now being used around the world for accurate reporting of website statistics and metrics.

I have a word of caution: Take this with a grain of salt.

Why?

There’s a simple reason: cached pages. Google Analytics shows statistics for your cached pages only. Many people overlook this when using numbers and statistics from Google Analytics. Even those who use this system on a daily basis may forget this simple truth.

The reality is that even if you have great site maps, a good crawlable website, and a high google indexing rate, you may still have pages, even entry pages to your site, that are not being counted in the Google Analytics number. That is one reason why there is such a disparagement of data when comparing two analytics tools. For example, Google Analytics will always show a much lower hit count than a log-file based tool like ClickTracks that counts every visitor to every single page.

Now, before you go out and dump your Google Analytics, be aware that even log-based tools like ClickTracks are not fool-proof. Log-based analytics systems can skew numbers by counting visits to pages multiple times while Google Analytics does a good job of tracking the user through their entire website visit experience.