Tag: google

Google Apps for Work

GAppsForWork_thumbDrySpark is proud to announce that they are now certified as Google Apps for Work and Education Partner.  We have helped our clients “go Google” for many years, but we have now completed Google’s requirements to be an officially recognized Partner.

If your company is looking for professionally branded email, online calendars, document sharing or cloud storage – please contact us today for an overview of this amazing product suite.

Priced right at $50 per year / per user, this industry standard product costs less than your daily latte.  More than 5 million businesses have gone Google – let us help you to be next.

AppsforWork_thumbNot sure you want to buy today – ask us about a free 30 day trial of Google Apps for Work.

 

 

Have you tried Google Consumer Surveys?

Analytics are all the rage and being able to get direct and easy feedback from your website visitors is a huge plus.  Today Google announced “Google Consumer Surveys.”  You can read the full write up on their Google+ page however the bottom line is simple.  Cheap, easy and direct feedback.

The surveys are affordable, as default questions are free and you can customize the questions for your own use for just a penny up to five dollars.

The surveys are four questions in length and remain open until they receive 500 responses.  You can even set them up to reoccur so that they automatically start over 30 days after your 500th response was received.

Swing over to http://www.google.com/insights/consumersurveys/publishers to check them out.

Google’s Carousel – A new spin on local search

Starting today, when you enter a local search query into Google you should start seeing a new carousel or results displayed on the top of the screen.

 

 

google carousel search

 

 

Just a few things that we noticed with this great new feature.

1.  Our friends at Swan Hill Bed and Breakfast got a pretty good placement when we searched for Polson hotels.

2.  Reviews are once again driving results.  The more reviews that you have on your Google+ Local page, the better your ranking seems to be in the new carousel results.

3.  If you search for restaurants, you are seeing the Zagat score, along with the genre of the restaurant and $$ scale of the cost to dine.

4.  When you select an option from the carousel you do not go that specific webpage, but to Google’s search results for that business.

 

Things to consider:

1.  Your Google+ profile image just became that much more important.   By incorporating a visual in with the textual search results – searchers have one more way to choose where they click.

2.  Don’t be afraid to ask for reviews on your Google+ local profile.  In the next few months, I think that you will see these reviews become much more important than other third party sites like Trip Advisor or Urbanspoon.  Because they are going to driving search and effecting your placement in the results.

3.  With Google’s specific search displayed when you click on a link general web presence is that much more important.  Make sure that your information is listed correctly, or better yet, have DrySpark check it for you.

 

 

Google+ Local featuring Zagat

We have been talking up the need for small businesses to have a Google+ page for the past few months. Today, Google gave us another reason why this is so important. The search giant who purchased Zagat back in September 2011, is incorporating the world renowned review service in with their new arena – Google+ Local.

Full Google release here.

The new iPhone commercial shows John Malkovich asking siri to help him find a pasta restaurant. Siri lets him know of a few in the area…what siri does not tell him is a summary or review score of those establishments. Google+ Local does, and does it well, because they use your social circle to first get reviews from your friends or people in your circles.

When you log into your Google+ account you will see a new Local tab – you can search local and get results based on a 30 point system. If you are not asking your customers to do reviews for your business – now is the time. It does look like Google has rolled over the reviews from their Hot Pot service that slide into the corner a few months back.

Google+ Local example

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

These reviews and scores look to be incorporated into search and maps, as well as on both Android and iOS devices. This is huge for local businesses.

Google+ Local in Google Maps

 

Google+ Local mobile example

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This last part is directly from Google’s release statement itself (link above) and is far too important to paraphrase.

“Today is just the first step, and you’ll see more updates in the coming months. If you’re a business owner, you can continue to manage your local listing information via Google Places for Business. Soon we’ll make it even easier for business owners to manage their listings on Google and to take full advantage of the social features provided by local Google+ pages. Get more information on our Google and Your Business Blog.”

Stay Tuned.

The Knowledge Graph

As Google’s search gets smarter – your website needs to as well.  The Knowledge Graph is great for research on a topic, but let us take a few minutes to ponder the potential for this in the arena of local search.

If you search for “how to install a sprinkler system,” yes a query for someone planning a DIY, but what if the knowledge graph populates your right column with local sprinkler companies.  It is not that far fetched.  Google already knows your location, and integrating their knowledge graph in with google places the potential is amazing for small businesses.

Make sure that your website and your Google Place Page are updated with your correct contact and business information.  I know that Google has not released this feature yet, but I really feel that it is only a matter of time.

Google+ tries a simple makeover

They are stopping short of calling it version 2.0 but the new layout for Google+ is a great improvement over the original version that over 170 million people are using.  Google is billing their changes as “more functional and flexible.”  I have to say that I agree with them, at least from my first 24 hours of using the new layout.

 

Some things that business owners will see right away is a need to update their main photo banner at the top of their profile, much like they had to do with Facebook’s timeline banner.  For Google+ the imaged will need to be 940 x 180 which is a very odd image size.  Your profile icon is going to overlap about 1/3 of those 940 pixels, and we found that our logo actually fit very nicely into the space.  I am sure that you will see many businesses hire designers to incorporate their banner logo with their profile icon in some very fun formats as we have seen with Facebook.  Click here to see some great use of that space.

 

Google has spent a lot of time with all of their applications in the past few months tweaking the “ribbon,” whether it be the black ribbon at the top of your Gmail, or other native Google programs, or the new left bar ribbon on Google+.  The ability to prioritize this ribbon has been another very popular feature to many users, simply drag and drop to move the bar around to your liking.  The chat bar has moved to the right and that has left a surprising amount of real estate in the middle for impressively vivid photos and video.  Having full seamless YouTube integration is a huge advantage that Google has over Facebook and until we see how Facebook plans to fully incorporate Instagram I have to say that I think that images are displayed much better in Google+.

 

We have long said that Hangouts are the best thing that Google+ has going for itself and they too have a new home with this new design concept.  It is easier to see who is hanging out and who wants to hangout with you, including public hangouts.  If your business is still holding conference calls – someone really needs to turn them on to the world of hangouts.

 

All in all I am very impressed with this upgrade.  It still remains to be seen what will become of Google+ but one cannot deny the fact that Google is putting a ton of resources into this social project, and that in itself is reason enough for your business to do the same.

 

For a closer look at the new changes, enjoy Google’s new promotional video.  Fair warning, the song is catchy as heck.

Google’s Place Page

So much of Local SEO revolves around the Google Place Page of the business.  Today I found myself curious if Google themselves led by example.  I pulled up their place page and here is what I found.

 

Their title and address are correct and a true local phone number is provided.  (I am finding myself curious who or what answers when I call it).  They have uploaded numerous images of their campus and have chosen their category wisely, almost wagging the finger who thinks that Google is about search, android or super awesome glasses from the future.  :  “Marketing Consultant”

They have numerous reviews and not all of them positive and uses a nice Wikipedia reference for their business description.  Full Wikipedia description here.

I cannot say that I expected Google to have a sub par Place Page, but things such as office hours are noticeably missing as is the “owner verified” check mark at the top right of the page, perhaps Larry Page has been too busy to claim his listing.

Google gains more ground

When the numbers got released the braintrust at DrySpark was not surprised to see that Google had increased it’s search engine market share in the month of March.  We have heard rumblings that Google is not focused enough on search as they develop their multiple side projects, the fact remains that the working public still trusts the results out of Mountain View over any other provider.

What we did find impressive was the size of Google’s market share gain.  Picking up nearly 5% more, from what looks through the data like directly from Yahoo.

Yahoo continues to become more and more of a content creator now breaking sports news as well as other arenas.  For the use of our data we also lump Bing and Yahoo into one 21.15% piece of pie, as Yahoo’s search is powered by Bing.

The ebb and flow of search percentages  should remain quite constant in 2012, but I would not be surprised to see Bing lose more ground with the difficulty of finding basic items such as local businesses in their search.

Search Engine March Report from Chitika

Credit to Chitika for the graphic

Clarifying the world of search

We love Inc. Magazine, it is one of our constant go-tos for news in the business world. Today on their twitter feed @inc they posted a great write up by Erik Sherman about the upcoming “semantic search” changes that Google is looking to make. We encourage you to read the article in full on Inc’s website.

Our biggest take away from this article and what we can make of the changes that Google is making is that: Content is still king!

SEO is important for websites, but there is nothing more important than just making sure that your small business site has not only great content, but accurate content.

Google could correlate social networking and personalization data about users as well as information about people, places, and things that it got when it acquired the open database Freebase. In theory, by understanding the content of websites and queries, Google should be able to deliver answers tailored to specific users.

The second part of all of this is back to our core quest at DrySpark and that is making sure that your content is listed correctly in the most important places. Resources in small business are limited, make sure that you are applying your resources in the correct places.

Google+ your business = a smart choice

As I have mentioned before, in the world of search with almost 70% market share, Google is king.  With that, a huge part of having your local business found online is adding content that is going to be indexed by Google.  As many of you know Google + is Google’s answer to Facebook.  At almost 90 million users, Google + is a platform that is worth getting your business on.  The people over at Blue Glass put together a great info graphic that really explains the benefits of Google + and your business.  It is definitly worth the sore finger you will get from all of the scrolling down you will have to do to view this bad boy.  Enjoy.

 

DrySpark can help you get your business on Google + so drop us a line if you are interested.

 

Google+ Infographic