Google Plus Direct Connect for SEO

Just watched a great hangout on setting up Google + badges and connecting your website to your Google + business page.

Big Whup, you say? You’ve already got the Google + button on your site, you don’t need no stinkin badge?

Well, do.  Here’s why.

Google Direct Connect.

Once you install this badge to your site and link it to your Google + business page (doesn’t work with personal accounts as of now…bummer), you are automagically added a brand new search feature known as Direct Connect.

To see what this is, just go to Google and start your search with +’keyword’, e.g. +cat. Here’s an example of what you’ll see.

google direct connect

According to Jenny Murphy over at Google, the keywords being pulled in for use are contained in the Title of the Google + business page. So make sure you optimize those business page titles, people.

Another cool feature of this is that once you click on one of the ‘plus’ results, you go right to the Google plus business page, where you’re presented with a pop-up to follow that page. Nice.

google popup notification for google plus circles Installing the badge on your site is pretty simple, it just requires a few lines of code. You’ll have to sign up for a Google + platform account first, then get the code from the Google + Platform developer page.

As long as you have the Google Plus button already on your site, all you need to do is add one more line of code:

<g:plus href="{plusPageUrl}"></g:plus>


How to Force a Refresh in Google Chrome

This one is for all the developers who are still pulling their hair out because they can’t get Google Chrome to refresh the page.

I’m thinking that this mostly applies to sites that have an ‘expires-header’ set, but I could be wrong. Regardless of what the core issue is – you just want to refresh the damn page, so let’s get right to it.

Forcing Chrome to Refresh a Page

Step One – Open Up Dev Tools (ctrl + shift + i) or hit f12.

chrome dev tools bar


Next, click on the ‘network’ icon inside the dev tools bar, then look for the gear at the bottom right of the dev tools.

chrome network settings gear icon

You are so close to solving this nightmare now. Click that gear icon and you’ll be presented with a bunch of options (many of which are supremely cool, but let’s not worry about all of that now).

disable cache option in chrome dev tools

Click the ‘Disable cache’ box under the Network heading – on the right side of the page.

Reload the page - Hallelujah! You’ve just refreshed your cache for this page.

Protect Your Reputation Online AND Offline

Review sites are everywhere on the internet today – local business directories such as Google Places and Superpages and social apps like UrbanSpoon and Yelp, and of course –  those strictly negative review sites like complaints [dot] com and RoR (I refuse to link to these sites). If you’re a business owner and you’re not actively monitoring your reputation these days, take a moment and do a quick search for your business name on google, then do it again and add review afterwards….or better still, see what Google’s autocomplete adds on it’s own.

Reviews, Scams, Complaints – oh my.

Even if everyone of our customers love us, that doesn’t mean the reviews being posted about your business will always represent that. It’s ridiculously easy to leave an anonymous complaint on any of these ‘review’ sites, and there are a lot of businesses that have taken the low-road and done just that to their competitors. If you’re one of those scumbags, just know that karma is a b*tch.

If the complaints are legitimate, however, then it’s time to pony up and get to work fixing that reputation before it does your business too much harm. Because unlike those days of old, nothing gets forgotten on the internet. Respond as best you can, and if that doesn’t work then go about producing a ton of content to bury those review sites past the first page of results.  It’s tough (and costly) work, but it can be done.

Offline Actions Can Lead to Online Nightmares

So the good news, if there is any,  is that you can control the visibility of those review sites on the internet to some extent – or at a minimum, at least post a response to their complaints.

But what do you do if your idiot employee does something ‘offline’ , like enter ‘lady chinky eyes’ as a description for a customer on a pizza take-out receipt?

This has got to be every business owner’s nightmare. How do you ensure that this won’t happen to you?

You can’t, unfortunately. But you CAN be pro-active about instituting a positive workplace for your employees, and help them treat your customers the way they should be treated – with respect and gratitude.

yacy search popularity

Can YaCy Compete Against Google?

You’ve heard about Yacy – the new peer to peer search engine, right?

In a nutshell, they believe that Google (and bing and yahoo – to a lesser extent) have become the ‘gatekeepers’ of information on the internet, allowing access only to the content they deem worthy. On their site they declare:

Only a decentralized search engine technology can ensure free access to knowledge

…and honestly, it’s hard to find fault with that statement.

That’s what YaCy is attempting to be. An open-source, decentralized, peer to peer search engine that eliminates both tracking and censorship. That’s right – this search engine is powered only by the processing power of the computers that are running it.

Always one to help out the open-source community, I decided to give it a try. After clearing out some hard drive space (it asks that 30 gigs of free space be available on the drive you’re installing to – I’m not sure why, and I’m not sure I want to know why, either), I installed YaCy without any real issues. Installation took less than a minute, and I’m running a Windows desktop. It also runs on Mac and linux, for all you hipsters and geeks.

Eco-saving, peer to peer powered search may sound great in theory, but in real life it’s pretty darn sluggish to use when only a few thousand people are running it. It also makes searching for anything an exercise in frustration as the content of the search engines itself and the ranking of the sites included is entirely left up to the community of YaCy users. After 5 minutes of attempting to get a single search result, I quit. Unfortunately, it continued to run in the background for another 10 minutes or so before finally closing.

So, is there a chance that YaCy can actually gain momentum and be a small ray of sunshine to fight back the ever growing shadow of our dark search overload – Google?  For the answer, let’s check out the search volume query popularity of  ‘YaCy’ during the last 30 days and see how much steam it’s gained.

yacy search popularity

Well, that sucks. Guess we can just move on, now.

Use Psychological Motivators in Your Web Copy

You’ve just spent the last 2 hours reworking the content for a client’s landing page to help improve the desired conversion. Unfortunately, you’ll be re-writing it again in just a few minutes after you realize you’ve forgotten to employ these all-so-important tactics in your copy. But remember, with great power comes more money, …or responsibility, or something like that.

smartphone user search query activity 2011

Does Ranking Position Matter for Smartphone Users?

You’re trying to create a search marketing strategy for smartphone users, and you’re struggling with which marketing channel you should focus on. Of course there are a multitude of paid ad networks for mobile out there, you could also develop an app and try and promote that. There’s always social interaction, but what about good ‘ol SEO?

Does first page ranking matter as much on a smartphone?

We all know the stats on how users interact with the SERPs on desktop systems, but what about on their mobile device?  Let’s go ask Google’s new think insights center.

According to the stats, 30% of all mobile devices in use today are smartphones, and that percentage is growing at a rapid pace. We also know that the vast majority of users with smartphones only browse the internet for relatively short periods of time each session.  For more info on smartphone usage, you can check out my ‘in-progress’ docs presentation.

I didn’t bother asking whether or not people use their internet-enabled smartphones for searching, because,… well….duh. Of course they do.

But just how likely is it that those individuals searching Google on their phone will actually venture past that first all-important page of results?

smartphone user search query activity 2011
Pretty close search behavior, if you ask me.

Ok, well us smartphone users certainly like to search with our phones, that’s a given.  What’s ‘kinda’ surprising is that almost half of us will venture past that 1st page of results when looking for an answer to a search query.

Now the only thing left to ask, is WHY?

Are there fewer search results per page on a smartphone?

No. You’ll find the same number of results on a smartphone search using Google as you will with the desktop search.

Are there more ads?

Not really. Of course the sidebar ads are all gone, but Google typically only shows 2 paid ads at the top of the results and 2-3 ads at the bottom of the page, before the pagination. They’ll also include universal results – youtube videos, news, etc. as well as ‘relate search queries’ just above the paid ads at the bottom.

That’s a lot to get through. And still –  almost 1/3 of smartphone users will click the next page(s) to find that result they’re looking for.

What do you think? Is it worth pursuing SEO for mobile devices at this point, or is it better to focus on other channels? Let me know!


Mobile Blogging Using Dragon Dictation

Internet marketers working today would most likely agree that there is less and less time to manage all of the different aspects of the typical search and social media campaign. That’s why I thought in this post I would share with you a handy little tip to help you trod through some of that sludge a little bit faster.

One of the more time-consuming tasks we often struggle with as marketers is blogging. You know you have to do it, whether for link building via guest posts, building your own personal brand, or creating keyword rich blogs that no one will ever read.  And unless you’re paying someone to create the posts, you’re the one who has to pony up and get to it. So let’s see where we can trim some time on that.

I bring you the dragon dictation app.

It’s free, currently works on the iPhone and probably android though I haven’t checked it out.

Here’s what you do- after downloading the app, gather your thoughts. breakdown two or three bullet points and start blabbering. I’ve found the Dragon dictation app to be surprisingly accurate. Much more so than trying to type on the iPhone. The only downside is that it limits the number of characters that it transcribes during each session. Though I haven’t noticed any limit to the number of sessions you can have while using it so you can close -reopen, close – reopen, close….well, you get the point.

blogging with iphone by dictation
Yell at me all you want. I won't yell back.

If all you’re looking for is a quick and easy way to post up an image with a paragraph of copy,  if combined with the very good WordPress mobile app for iOS – this will definitely do the trick .  Just tap the copy button on the Dragon dictation app after you’re done talking, open the wordpress app and paste in.  For longer posts, I find copying and pasting to the notes app first is faster. When you’ve got the words in wordpress, do a quick editorial run through, as you’ll likely need to add some punctuation here and there – correct any proper nouns and bad grammar, etc.. Upload an image from your iphone photo library or snap one from within the app, and publish.

Booyah, you’re done – and all in less than 2 minutes.

screen shot of dragon dictation app on iphone
hey look, Ma. No-hands!

Is this a perfect solution?

Uh, no. Not by a longshot. I used the app for the whole section above using it, but decided to finish up on my main computer, at my desk.

In fact, it’s likely much quicker to just type out a post on your laptop or desktop computer than trying to re-edit mangled dictation on a mobile device. You’ll also need to edit the alt attributes for the images you upload, add tags to the post, etc…all of which is much better accomplished when at a real keyboard.

But as a way for quickly gathering your thoughts, and throwing into a draft for later – it’s great. Nothing’s perfect in this world, but anything that helps even a little can go a long way…

What about you?

Do you blog via dictation, either on your mobile device or while sitting in front of your monitors? What’s the most effective way that you’ve found to blog?