Archive for the ‘Google Updates’ Category

Here is the best Hummingbird Joke I’ve got:

Why does a hummingbird Hum?

Why Does a Humming Bird Hum?

Answer: Because it doesn’t know the words! Dumb bird.

Hey it’ Google’s Birthday!!

The humming bird is set to make the search faster. Along with other updates google is 100% happy. And why not, it’s their birthday. So blow out the lights and make a wish.

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I updated my Google+ App on my iPhone and found this..

Google Plus Checkin for iPhones

Google Plus Check-Ins

I have never know google to not use information they collect to better their search results. I foresee Google+ checkins becoming a major part of Google’s Local Search algorithm. The Google+ Check In will add the user data that google is craving to make search results relevant to users. Google places has come a long way. At one time Google scrapped the internet trying to create it’s local directory. They abused Yelp trying to add in reviews. They indexed foursquare to make sure the results were relevant. Now they have their own system to do all this themselves. From reviews to location data, Google+ answers the local directory call.

Can Google+ capture the foodies?  As for the foodies, I am not sure, but I do believe Google has the means and drive to eventually beat down Yelp and Foursquare. While Yelp will have a long life and will still hold on to much of it’s elite foodie following, the annoyance and frustration from both businesses and the non-elite users will erode Yelp’s base. But what do I know.. I am just a pest control guy.

“Buy “Eye Of The Tiger” on: Google Play, AmazonMP3, iTunes”

So Goolge rolls out Google Play earlier this week. And sure enough, “Google Play” is the first on the list for downloading music from Youtube.

p.s. Some High School kids borrow my roach suites. Fun stuff, yes. But don't think the video is endorsed by Bulwark Exterminating.

“Cha-Ching” goes the Google Play account.

But is this Evil?

Google’s “Do No Evil” is often called into question these days. Apparently “Size Does Matter”. What has Google done other than amass the most powerful source for information today? Well Google is sitting on the biggest gold mine of data ever built. But wait, they aren’t just a data gathering search engine anymore… They are now “Google Play”, an online market place. They are an eCommerce store. They are interested in making money. And there seems to be a common sentiment about “the love of money being the root of all evil.” Google is just grown to be HUGE. And that scares a lot of people.

Honestly, I am just a Phoenix pest control guy reporting on what I observe. And if Google where deemed a pest, well they’d be too big for me to squash. But if you want a little entertainment then you can watch these cockroaches run through Walmart. …Gotta love Youtube!

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I was doing a little check up on my local maps section for Houston Pest Control, and I came across an ad space that I have never seen before. Google now places ads under a businesses name. Very interesting.

Residential Pest Contol Service in Houston

I wonder how effective this ad is. It does have the benefit of finding an audience that is searching for relevant businesses. Those that buy from Orkin would be potential consumers for Bulwark Exterminating. This could indeed be a great ad space. On the other hand, those that are looking for Bulwark will most likely not be interested in a competitors ad, so long as Bulwark is taking care of it’s customers. In which case this ad will perform poorly. I guess the only way to know is to test. If you are going to test these ads then you may want to consider long and hard about what you will use to differentiate yourself from your competitor. If Google would allow me to create a unique ad for each of my competitors then I could see this as being even that much more effective.

“Have you considered buying from a Family Owned Pest Control company?”

“We offer a guaranteed scorpion control service in writing, do they?”

“Does your service suck? Tired of Corporate pest control?”

“We are the only Houston Pest Control Service with an Angie’s Award.”

As always, test, review, improve.

And if you need Houston Residential Pest Control Service:

Bulwark Exterminating‎
10900 Brittmoore Park Drive
Houston, TX 77041
(281) 668-4930

http://www.bulwarkpestcontrol.com/houstonpestcontrol.php

Google+ has a new Favicon… in case you care about the details.

That’s it.  Kinda cool. I like the orange. I once heard that orange is a very strong color and that it is the most under used color for logos… of course that was about 8 years ago. And since that secret is now out there it’s probably been increasing in use thus decreasing in efficacy.

Google+ for Dummies

by Jesse Stay

And to add to that, the book “Google+ for Dummies” is already available! That is some serious speed publishing by Jesse Stay. I mean WOW. I thought it took 6 months to get a book ready to publish, but I guess when you are writing for dummies you can cut that time down a bit. Kidding. Jesse Stay has some great insight to social media, and I am sure that even the smarty pants out there could learn a tick to two reading his book.

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Here are some screen shots for the new Google local look. From gray place page markers to blue advertiser markers and down to red organic markers. The script highlights the organic marker while hovering the map. It will also pop up snippets for the organic results. Advertisers don’t get snippets. But they do get a cool blue marker after you scroll over the PPC ad. I searched Phoenix Pest Control first.

Screen shot for Phoenix Pest Control. Always nice to see pest control ratings in good standings. Way to go Bulwark Exterminating.

The above is the pop out for the listing. New as well is the feedback. All good companies look for feedback.

What the bug is this? Is that a spam parked page hosted by godaddyo on the first page and in the place pages for a Houston Pest Control search? Sounds like a real pest problem there.

Back to pest control ratings and reviews if you highlight the map there is the snippet. Bulwark Pest Control… 4.5 stars? Not bad for a Phoenix exterminator.

Oh… a little pest management would really help here. How does a page have 2 different review counts? Why is the screen shot for http://bulwarkpest.com show the home page of http://www.bulwarkpestcontrol.com? Why do you keep hitting the reset button?

A little scripting error here as well. The marker is highlighting Bulwark Exterminating in Mesa AZ, when it should be showing the scorpion control ad below for spray plus.


And yes, bug state has a real location. I am just surprised that the spam sites are not getting sucked up here. Pest control to the rescue!

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So doing a search for pest control this past week I came across a new type of listing in the search results, one that had bullets and snippets:

Hmmm… very interesting. This is really a big bonus for Service Magic as their numbers show up in the snippet. Check it out, right next to bullet one, Bulwark Exterminating, you get a service magic line. That’s got to be good for them. Insider pages gets the added bonus of the stars, which really make an impression. Albeit, the black stars look a little more negative than the shiny gold stars we grew up with.

How does this happen?

Well if you want to add snippets and bullets to your search listings then you want to read the following article by Dr. Pete:

How Do I Get Google’s Bulleted Snippets?

Thanks Dr. Pete and SEOmoz for saving me some time.

And yes… I work for Bulwark Exterminating. Insect Control Phoenix anyone?

Email:

Hello from Google!

For a limited time, Yellowbook will set up a new AdWords account just for you and build your online advertising campaigns at no charge.* And even better, you get a $100 Google AdWords credit to get started. This is a great opportunity for you to have Yellowbook professionally manage your AdWords campaigns….

Sincerely, Your Google AdWords Team

Did Google team up with a Yellow Page directory?

Per a rep from yellowbook, these emails were only going to people that had adwords programs and that had stopped. If these people picked up a 3rd party and began a new and different account then yes, they could be receiving a solicitation from Google endorsing YellowBook as an Adwords Partner. This is indeed a rare occasion that Google would actually email out and name a 3rd party partner. This also means that other adwords certified companies could have clients receiving this email from Google. And this potentially means that these other 3rd parties will loose clients to Yellowbook because of Google’s mention of YellowBook and seeming endorsement.

I imagine that Google’s position will be the same as when the in-house Adwords team solicited me, “I am sorry we can’t do business with you if you are an existing adwords advertiser with one of our partners.” But disenfranchised adwords clients may simply say, “I no longer do business with that 3rd party”, as they cut ties and move to the endorsed party. Further, the reps from YellowBook.com will have every monetary incentive to take clients even if policy states that they should not.

What Happened to Google’s Internal Adwords Team?

It is interesting to note that Google has revamped their internal adwords out reach team. Apparently that team has been dismantled. The rep from yellowbook seems to believe that Google is now trusting Yellow Book to be “their feet on the ground.” YellowBook is also offering SEO services. They guarantee a first page placement and then maintenance there after. Part of that strategy includes pages such as this: http://www.san-antonio-pest-control.net/ This Yellow Page Company wants to provide every marketing service a small business could desire, from phonebook to mailers.

Funny that Google seems to endorse a yellow pages company. Last time I checked Google…

Screen Shot from Google

Advice to Internet Marketers

My advice to internet marketers, keep your customers happy. Know how to communicate with them. Stay current with them and keep working for them. If you stop performing and reporting then you will loose clients to Google’s email. Because, yes, the field of internet marketing is getting tighter.

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New Facelift - Review Button, Photo Button, Best Ever Badge

New Facelift - Review Button, Photo Button, Best Ever Badge

Google Places gets some upgrades

A – Write a Review Button

The “Write a Review” button is a new feature. They have had something similar in the past, but with the advent of Hot Pot this call to action was not so clear over the past few months. In fact the second item marked A was the only call to action for a review with the previous Hot Pot facelift. It was  by far one of the most discouraging updates from a user standpoint. Trust me, being someone that works with promoting online reviews, the previous click the stars to review idea was a complete nightmare. Users could not figure out how to add reviews.  The new button is very, VERY, clear. Good job google on the new “Write a Review” Button.

Sign in to rate

Very Clear instructions Google. Kudos.

It is also complemented by a clear “Sign in to rate” button when not signed it. When signed in it mirrors the “Write a review” button.

B – Upload Photos

The upload photos button is another great addition to Google Places. The search engines value user created content. This button and these photos, in my opinion, will add another trust signal to a location. In fact, there are examples of locations ranking very well despite the outside the metro city limits disadvantages due to geo tagged photos associated with that location. You can find my uploaded photo of the Seattle Conference Center (Map Rank E as of this post). The photos are reviewed prior to approval and appearing on the places page. Hopefully this eliminates abuse and spam of photos. Yes, photo spam in google places will be attempted.

Screen Shot from Search: "Phoenix Bug Control Bulwark"

Photos are showing up in search. This just adds to all reasons that you want to claim your place page on Google, so the owners images can show up here.

 

c- Best Ever Badges

The Best Ever badge. While this isn’t entirely new I thought I would take a second to catch up on this feature. The Best Ever badge shows at that top of the places page as marked C in the first image. The badge at the top tallies up the total number of best ever badge. It also shows in the review section as in the image above. While this isn’t a game changer it does give a nice additional shout out from users. For those that willy-nilly hand out 5 star reviews, perhaps this badge might be saved for the Best Ever. In fact, we should all make an oath to only ever assign 1 best ever per category. If you promise, then add a comment now with your pledge. If you make that promise then you can read on….

Only Found in Hot Pot

How to get a BEST EVER BADGE

Hot Pot. It is an option in Hot Pot. to add a Best Ever Badge. It would actually be nice to be able to sort by Best Ever Badges, but Google places reps have told me that the sort by reviews was removed due to review spam. So I imagine that searching for services with best ever badges will not be an included feature. In the mean time, it does add a  little flare to the google places section.

The Smile and Frown Facelift-

This is a cross over from Google’s Hot Pot as well. As you can see in Google’s Hot Pot, there is a dislike like section. For a the restaurant this includes Food, Service, Atmosphere, Value. Google has added similar ratings to its Google Places reviews. So now you can like or dislike the Service. Users can like or dislike the Value. If you choose to select the smile next to Service or the smile next to Value a bolded “Liked Service” or a bolded “Liked Value” will appear at the end of your review. If you choose to select the frown next to Service or the frown next to Value a bolded “Disliked Service” or a bolded “Disliked Value” will appear at the end of your review.

Click Smiley face, get liked section.

Disliked Button - Not Smiley face

Overall, this is a good move toward improving Google Places reviews. Once a user is trained to look for the Liked/Disliked section, they can see at a glance if the value and service of a company was liked or disliked. More importantly, a Google Places user may see a pattern that is not so obvious through the traditional star rating system; perhaps a company provides great service but the value of the service is questionable due to the cost. Plus you may think a service or restaurant deserves a 5 star review while still disliking something about the company. In the image above the review for the restaurant was 5 stars, but the reviewer disliked; “Value”. With two easy clicks of the mouse, a reviewer can qualify his or her review and make it much more useful for the end user.

One con with the new Liked/Disliked button is that it is not easily seen. A suggestion might be to change the color of the text or to add a graphic depiction of their choices. In my opinion, it is important to differentiate the Liked/Disliked section from the text of the review. But they aren’t calling me for Phoenix bug control.

And the Favicon

– Yes, just giving a shout out to the new Favicon in google places. I like it. That’s all.

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It’s really nice that Google will tell what you want to know.

Screenshot from within Google Boost today. Pretty funny. Just another small bug they are dealing with in the recent updates to local. Beyond the shock of pending ads and Google’s candid answer about Google Boost, local search is taking another leap forward. … I wish I could take credit for the recent jump, but alas I cannot. I can only take satisfaction in it.

And to quote an amazing programer:

“Its amazing that you can go online and search for an answer on anything, but its even more amazing that there are so many people that are still as dumb rocks out there.” -Yes Dude