Google Starred Results – A New SEO tool

Did you happen to see the new “Google Starred Results” on your last search? It would have showed up at the top of the search results. It’s like an interactive “favorites” button – but one that stays in Google and not necessarily on your computer.

My question about Google Starred Results (and I see Wayne Liew has the same question)  is whether they’ll play a part in the search engine’s algorithm.  Since the entire web is moving from “factual proof” to “social proof”, it only makes sense that Google will weigh these stars as “social proof” that a web page is good.

Right now “links” and “traffic” are the ways Google measures “social proof”.  (I’m way overusing quotes now, sorry). The more links a page has from other sites and pages on the net, the more likely it is that your page is “valued” by the general community.

As Facebook and Twitter take over as the leaders of social proof, will a combination of links from those sites plus the stars give a web page even more value to the search engines than either alone?

SEO is fun if you like puzzles. And I imagine being the guys that design the puzzles is  pretty fun too. If Google wants to remain the top search engine, it continually must prove it returns the best most relevant results.

The question for us SEO lovers is whether Google Starred Results is just another piece of that puzzle for them, or is it just an added feature purely for the enjoyment of searchers?

So your task, if you choose to accept it, is to star not only your favorite sites as they come up in the search results – but your own sites. And if you’re a company with employees, I’d ask that you have them do it too.

It’s a dog-eat-dog world – so don’t hesitate.  Step up and play ball.

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NAMS 4 – A website owner workshop

Hey hey, NAMS 4 is coming up this August. This website owner workshop is a perfect opportunity to learn from experts. If you’ve had questions about Google AdSense, affiliate sales, creating your own products, increasing traffic or even how to use a virtual assistant – this is a great opportunity to grow.

This website owner workshop begins on Friday morning (yes, you have to take the day off) and continues through Sunday afternoon. We’re talking about 200 people who are working toward financial freedom through their on-line business. It doesn’t get better than that.

Crazily, even though the workshop is packed with real “experts” and internet savvy gurus, I guarantee you’ll learn as much from the other participants as you do from them.

I’ve gone to the previous 3 workshops and have propelled my business 100x what I was doing before. From that I’ve even joined a “mastermind” group which has further propelled the learning. And having lunch with people whose actions have brought them 5,000, 10,000 and 20,000 visitors a day has been enormously helpful.

I can’t begin to tell you about all the things you’ll learn that you’ve never even considered before. Typically on Saturday there’s a session everyone attends about creating your own product. And in that 90 minutes, not only do we create an audio product, but we also create a website, sales video and give out affiliate links that pay a 100% commission. Within 90 minutes you’ll see how to go from nothing to making sales. That’s an education all by itself.

Have you ever considered teleseminars? I bet you have and decided it wasn’t for you. But what if you could learn how to turn a teleseminar into 30 other products, how to turn it into a membership site? a book? a real cd people can order (managed by someone else)? a giveaway AND have it increase your traffic and sales. I tell ya! the sky is the limit.

So come to NAMS 4. Prepare to be dazzled with things you can do while you’re there, things you know you’ll do when you get home and ways to make money from your current business that never, ever even crossed your mind.

If you use the coupon code NAMS4MAY – you’ll get a significant discount on the registration price. Go to the NAMS Registration page and see for yourself. I can’t think of a better time investment.

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Silly bands: A Lesson in Viral Videos

Silly bands are ridiculous. If you don’t have a kid under 10 years old, you might not know what these are. So, let me describe these silly bands. Picture a rubber band. Got it? It’s round and rubbery. Now, instead of round picture one in the shape of a giraffe. Thats it! That’s a silly band.

Now, these bands come in packs for 20 for $6. If you go to Staples, you can buy 2500 rubber bands for $4.50 – but Silly Bands – they command a premium. Similar to Talking Elmo and Cabbage Patch Kids, every kid has to have 20 of these bands on their wrist at all times.

So how do you translate this Silly Bands phenomenon into your next viral marketing strategy? You can’t. There’s no lesson to make this one of the great viral marketing examples. Why these rubber bands have gone completely viral among kids is beyond me. It’s beyond everyone actually.

If you’re the guy that created Silly Bands, please tell us what kind of revenue you projected to make when you came up with the idea. I doubt it was 1/100th of what you’re making now. If there’s a reason these things have gone completely nutty – please let us know.

It can’t possibly be marketing. First there was the pet rock. Then there was the hula hoop. And now – Silly Bands. I may just go outside and glue grass to kiwi – maybe that will sell.

How to get a double listing (indented) in Google

Have you ever wondered how to get a double listing in Google? Some people refer to them as indented listings, either is fine.  An indented listing is not often thought about during the web design process, but from a search perspective it can push your traffic through the roof.

A double listing is the culmination of two pages on your website ranking well for the same keyword. They don’t have to rank 1 and 2 for the keyword, but they do need to rank on the same page.  When they do appear on the same page of the search results, Google uses the indented listing to show they’re from the same site. It’s really just an efficiency thing for Google.

Double, indented listing in Google

So, how do you go about getting a double listing? As far as difficulty goes, it should be as difficult as it was to get your first page ranked for that keyword.  And then just a smidge harder.

If you want a formula, start with the title tag and description tag. For the page of your site that currently ranks on the first page of Google, how often does your keyword occur in both of these, and what percent of the total tag is your keyword?  Figure that out, then write a title tag and description tag for a second page that matches the number and density.

The key here is to use the same keyword, but write a different title and description.

The next phase is to analyze the components of the webpage itself. On the page currently ranked, what is the density of your keyword and where in the page does it occur? You’ll want to mimic both the density and placement on the second page. But again, keep in mind the rest of the content needs to be different. Just keep the numbers the same.

That was the easy part.

And the hard part. . . maybe. . . where are the links coming from that are going to the original page? Backlinks? Blog links? Other interior page links? One way links? anchor text links? etc. . . (You may want to use Market Samurai or the SEO Quake tool bar to help figure this out).

Once you do figure this out in a quantitative way, the goal is to mimic what you did on the first – without using the same sites. You can use some of the same sites to link to the second page – but ultimately you’ll want different links with simliar pagerank.

The folks at Google aren’t idiots. They may just notice if everything is duplicated. The key here is to create a natural web of links to both pages. And the second key is to have the patience to not expect results tomorrow. Do these things then wait a bit and see what happens.

If you’ve had luck with double or even triple listings – and have a “secret”, we’d love to hear it.

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Google Local: How to ‘optimize’ your local business


So what is Google Local? To start with Google Local is now called Google Places (I think. I see both in different places). Anyway, Google is a search engine who’s trying to provide relevant results for your search question. If you live in New York and you type “residential plumber”, Google believes that providing the relevant, local results would likely be what you’re truly looking for.

Go directly to Google. Do not collect $200

So, on searches where Google Local is activated, a map shows up on the first half the page with stars showing you the locations of the local businesses that you might be looking for. Look up “auto body repair Hudson MA” and you’ll get a list of auto body shops nearby.

Google Local

So, how do you make sure your business shows up on this map and in these listings? First and foremost you have to go to http://google.com/local and register your company. That’s the very first thing. (Wait, don’t leave yet – it’s the very first thing after finishing this article).

The second part is optimizing what you tell Google.  There are 23 different things you can tell them. Ideally, if you give them all the information and the form is 100% complete – you’re optimized. So here’s a quick breakdown of the 23 things and their importance:

  • 40% – Address and Company Name
  • 5% – Email address
  • 10% – Website Address
  • 5% – Description in less than 200 words
  • 1% – Categories
  • 4% – Hours of Operation
  • 5% – Payment Options
  • 5% – Photo 1
  • 2% – Photo 2
  • 1% – Photo 3
  • 1% – Photo 4
  • 1% – Photo 5
  • 2% – Photo 6
  • 2% – Photo 7
  • 2% – Photo 8
  • 2% – Photo 9
  • 2% – Photo 10
  • 4% – Video 1
  • 0% – Video 2 – 5
  • 2% – Additional Details (in one line)
  • 4% – Reviews
  • That’s the important one to do on its own because of the search traffic it brings in. But you should also go to the other local directories and fill out their “information cards”.  Specifically, you want to hit Wcities, Infousa, Yelp,Localeze, Placelocal and Merchant Circle.  (Then make sure to “bookmark” each of these listings once you are done with a service like Ping.fm or Onlywire)

    Get out of jail, and go to your website

    Don’t stop there. A place on the map with a little link to your website is great – but that’s not going to push up your retirement. So head back to your website and make sure your full address, phone number and company name are clearly visible on your site – and not just the front page.  Your best off to put it in the footer.

    Now if you’re truly adept at code and your website, make sure to place the Google Webmaster Tools verification code and Analytics code on your website as well. This is one of the few, free ways you’re going to see exactly which keywords are bringing people to your site. Wouldn’t it be nice to know that St. Paul Plumber is actually paying your bills; whereas, people looking for Minneapolis plumber are just exiting your page without contacting you.

    Finally, we get to the railroads

    Connections. That’s what railroads do. They connect cities – but only the important ones. Imagine if the train from Memphis to Milwaukee stopped in Tuscola, IL but not Chicago.  What would that make you think about Tuscola? To some degree that’s how Google feels about websites. If nothing is linking to your site, if there are no connections – how important and valuable could your page really be?

    Since none of your local competitors are doing it, work on link building. Ask vendors to put a link on their site, customers to praise you in their blogs with links, and friends to tweet about your site.  To keep this post under 600 words (whew!), I’ll leave it there. But if you want to know more about how to do this. . . ask me right here what it is you need to know to get your site going.

    How to Add the Facebook Like Button – A Daunting Decision

    Please "like" me

    So I added the Facebook Like Button to my site today. And now I’ve got a couple hundred posts that haven’t been “liked”.  I wonder if I was better off a few moments  ago.  (pssst. . . I include “how to add the Facebook like button” at the end of this post.)

    Contrary to the advice I give clients about starting Facebook Fan Pages, I didn’t tell anyone about it before adding it to the site. And let me tell you how embarrassingly awkward it looks when every single posts has the words “Be the first to like this”. . .  Arghhh. . .

    So my mom came to the rescue and “liked” a few posts.  That’s what moms are for “Doncha know?” Now I’m wondering, will the “like” button cut down on the comments section? Will it actually increase the number of people who do something when they’re here – the ones who don’t even comment.  Maybe it’s just me. . . I’m curious.

    So think about this daunting move before you decide to create a Facebook fan page or even add the button to your company site.  Fan pages are a bit “delicate” when it comes to the start up.  Ever show up at a fancy restaurant only to find you’re the only one there? What kind of impression does that give you?

    So if you’re going to learn how to add the Facebook button with the intention of doing it, contact some of your existing fans and see if they’ll “Like” you before you announce the change. Don’t press the button yourself or get all the employees in the office to do it – ask your clients, fans and vendors. They’ll like it that you “owe” them one, anyway.

    If you can get 10 people to “like” your blog post or 50 people to join your Facebook Fan Page before you really announce it, you’ll be looking really good. That ball will start rolling downhill immediately – and no one will feel awkward being the first.

    OK, so how to add the Facebook Like Button to your blog – you can do one of two things. You can go to “plugins” and search for “Facebook Like button” or you can e-mail me and I’ll send you the zip file. But please, before you go, please, please, please. . . . press the “like button”.

    You’ll make my mom happy. :)

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