Google Hotpot just launched yesterday and I got to tell you, it’s pretty cool. You can very quickly rate all your favorite restaurants and businesses. Even better, you can friend all your Google contacts and then compete to see who rates the most businsses. If you have an Android phone with location based services enabled it even suggests places you’ve already been.
Category Archives: Google News
This week, Google announced some new changes to improve local search and promote Maps listings. Well, that sits just perfectly with us. Here at OrangeSoda, we’ve been offering organic search optimization for four years and local optimization for nearly two years. Google Places marks an important change that will bring those two things together and—just in time—we’re announcing CitrusBlast, the best of both worlds. Read On
The Google Instant feature has been around since late August, but near the beginning of this month, a new element has emerged along with it: the blue arrow. It has already been written about by other people, so I don’t want to focus on the novelty or functionality, but rather on how this can affect the way people search.
In case you haven’t read about the blue arrow yet, here is a quick rundown:
- The blue arrow is a feature of Google Instant; if you turn off Instant, the blue arrow won’t display.
- The function of the blue arrow is to navigate down the search results with your keyboard’s arrow keys.
- The blue arrow starts at the first search result.
- As you keep clicking the down arrow on your keyboard, the blue arrow will navigate down all 10 of the organic search results and then start from the top at the sponsored links (in the right side bar). Read On
For the past few years there have been huge advances in moving the internet from your desktop to your pocket. Right now there is a big battle to dominate the mobile space–the hottest players are Google and Apple. This battle ensures a bright future for mobile advertising and Apple, Inc. wants a piece of the pie. On July 1st, Apple will bring a new kind of advertising exclusively to their devices. They call them iAds.
You might be wondering why Apple would want to enter the mobile advertising business. Well, it turns out that Apple has a ginormous portion of the mobile smartphone market and it wants to leverage that market share to make tons of money.
- Upload your bike so you never have to walk anywhere
- Upload a can of gasoline so you never have to worry about running out of gas
- Store your sunglasses so you’ll always have them when you need them
There are hundreds of uses, but you have to ask yourself, “What’s the catch?”
This sort of service doesn’t come cheap. Topeka is committing highway robbery with this service, charging a whopping $.10 per kilogram.
If you uploaded everything in your home, you’d likely end up spending close to $30. Seriously, who has $30 in this economy?
Topekans Topekanites, if you’re reading this, please price your service for the masses! I’m going to go out on a limb and say that the convenience of having everything I own at my fingertips whenever I’m online is not worth a one-time payment of $30.
I guess this is one more technology that will be reserved for the super rich. Topeka – you’ve let me down.
It looks like Google is
rolling testing out a new layout for their search page. This one includes easier navigation on a persistent sidebar. The sidebar features quick links to different Google search engines. As of this writing there are six 10 sections with an optional more button. Read On
Contests and giveaways have always been a great way to promote your product or website. With the advent of twitter, contests gained the power to flash over the internet in an instant heat wave. Recently (as of this writing recently means two hours ago) a company that I like, SparkFun Electronics, held a giveaway. They pledged to give away $100,000 worth of merchandise in $100 orders. Basically the first 1,000 customers would get $100 of stuff free.
Sparkfun skyrocketed to the top of google trends. They snagged a dozen links from blog posts and the traffic to their site must have been enormous because their servers slowed to a crawl. Yesterday Sparkfun didn’t have a single @reply on twitter, today they have over 500. The promotion started at 9am and instantly people started complaining on twitter. Read On
As an SEO I often cringe when clients use extensive Flash on their web sites. Many times whoever is in charge of the web site (VP level or higher often) believe using Flash will make them seem more cutting edge and savvy. However, Flash can often hamper your efforts for be found online, and if your web site is found, chances are greater that people will quickly click off your site within seconds.
I worked at a web design shop in the 90s and most of our sites were built entirely in Flash and they were slick then. There are still pros and cons to using Flash. Today Google clarified how they index Flash pages.
Benefits of Using Flash on Your Web Site
- Flash can convert better because it can provide a better user experience and can give more control over the look and feel of a site.
- Many CMS (content management systems) utilize Flash. While clients can more easily manage their web sites through a CMS they may lose some ability to customize their site. Flash may be built in by default.
- Photographers, designers, and other professionals can display their work more elegantly with Flash.
- Ads created in Flash are often more effective.
Drawbacks of Using Flash on Your Web Site
- Flash hasn’t been searchable by search engines. Search engines read text not images and that can hurt your search engine rankings. Also, you may just get listed for your home page and not for other content on your site. This means lost opportunity to get rankings on each page of your site.
- Flash can increase how long it takes for your site to load (load time). This can affect bounce rates – people leave the site rather than wait for the Flash file to finish loading. Even if the Flash file is cached, you may lose first time visitors.
- Flash is entertaining or interesting the first time you go to a site. After that it can get tired. It can also be overly busy and take up valuable site real estate “above the fold.” Here is an example of a site that uses Flash and is quite busy. To me, one of the worst offenders I’ve seen recently is Noodles & Company (but I like their food). Note how long you have to wait and search in order to find a restaurant near you.
Google Indexes Certain Elements Contained on Flash Web Sites
Google is improving their ability to index Flash web sites so they’ll come up in search results. Google is developing a new algorithm for indexing the words in Flash files. This includes indexing menus, buttons and banners made in Flash. It also applies to entire sites made in Flash. It doesn’t mean that Yahoo or MSN will index these elements, but since Google gets the majority of traffic, this is a good start.
Unfortunately though Google’s algorithm cannot doesn’t index images or video and you are limited in how you can apply search engine optimization principles.
“If your Flash files only include images, we will not recognize or index any text that may appear in those images. Similarly, we do not generate any anchor text for Flash buttons which target some URL, but which have no associated text. Also note that we do not index FLV files, such as the videos that play on YouTube, because these files contain no text elements.”
In most cases I’d still steer clear of Flash except in limited applications. However, OrangeSoda does work with companies who have Flash on much of their site and some, especially larger companies, can still rank well even with Flash-heavy sites. The Google Webmaster’s blog has a helpful Q&A to further satisfy your curiosity.