Our ramblings about website design and other things

Posts tagged: google

Google Places entry not showing 100% complete

Many users get frustrated that when they complete their entry in Google Places for Business that the entry only shows xx% complete and they never seem to get to the magic 100% – the following table shows how google weight various parts of your entry. This of course may change but it is a good guide to assist you.

Field
% Contribution to Score
Required Fields, Company/Organisation, Street Address, City/Town, State, Post Code/ZIP, Main phone 40%
Email address 5%
Website 10%
Description: 200 characters or less 5%
Categories 0%
Hours of operations 5%
Payment options (any box toggled) 5%
Photo 1 5%
Photo 2 2%
Photo 3 1%
Photo 4 0%
Photo 5 2%
Photo 6 2%
Photo 7 2%
Photo 8 2%
Photo 9 2%
Photo 10 2%
Video 1 4%
Video 2-5 0%
Additional Details (one line) 6%

Browser Wars

At Bluewave we always test our solutions with a range of browsers, we find that still most users use Internet Explorer with Firefox close behind but more and more users are using Chrome and of course all the Apple fans are using Safari.

It is interesting to see the latest figures:

StatCounter’s monthly statistics for September show IE in the lead with 41.66% of the market, followed by Firefox with 26.79%, Chrome with 23.61%, Safari with 5.6% and Opera with 1.72%.

It seems Chrome will soon be number 2 for market share and it will be interesting to see if google can overtake Microsoft in this area of the market, we are old enough to remember the Netscape/Microsoft war and we know who won there.

Read more on this over on Network News

Does Google Like you?

Google continually change their search algoritmn and after their most recent Panda update many sites that ranked highly have been penalised, essentially the new update is to try and reward quality content with high rankings – Google published some questions to ask yourself:

Can your web page content be trusted?

  • Would you trust the information presented in your article?
  • Is the article written by an expert or enthusiast who knows the topic well, or is it more shallow in nature?
  • Would you be comfortable giving your credit card information to the site?
  • Is the site a recognized authority on its topic?
  • For a health related query, would you trust information from the site?
  • Would you recognize the site as an authoritative source when mentioned by name?
  • Is the website the sort of page you’d want to bookmark, share with a friend, or recommend?
  • Would users complain when they see pages from the site?

Is the content of your web pages unique?

  • Does the site have duplicate, overlapping, or redundant articles on the same or similar topics with slightly different keyword variations?
  • Does the article provide original content or information, original reporting, original research, or original analysis?
  • Does the page provide substantial value when compared to other pages in search results?

Do you check the quality of your web pages?

  • Does the article have spelling, stylistic, or factual errors?
  • How much quality control is done on content?
  • Is the content mass-produced by or outsourced to a large number of creators, or spread across a large network of sites, so that individual pages or sites don’t get as much attention or care?
  • Was the article edited well, or does it appear sloppy or hastily produced?
  • Does the article contain insightful analysis or interesting information that is beyond obvious?
  • Would you expect to see the article in a printed magazine, encyclopedia or book?
  • Are the pages produced with great care and attention to detail vs. less attention to detail?

Do you create web pages for your visitors or for search engines?

  • Are the topics driven by genuine interests of readers of the site, or does the site generate content by attempting to guess what might rank well in search engines?

Do your web pages contain enough real content?

  • Does the article have an excessive amount of ads that distract from or interfere with the main content?
  • Are the articles short, unsubstantial, or otherwise lacking in helpful specifics?
  • Does the article describe both sides of a story?
  • Does the article provide a complete or comprehensive description of the topic?

As you can see as we have sais many times before – content is king.

Content is King

When developing new websites for our customers we are often not given much content to start with and on many occasions we have to ‘squeeze out’ what we need. We get lots of questions about how to generate traffic and there are lots of SEO methods we can use to help with this but quite simply ‘content is king’

Successful websites have good useful content that users want to read, the content must be relevant to your subject and should be changed and updated on a regular basis. Care should be taken not to just try and push a product, try and include more information in your content, readers will quickly see you know what you are talking about as most buyers want to buy from an ‘expert’

Blogs such as this one are great for content and the information provided can be a little less formal than on your website, customers will see you know your subject but the style will also give them a little insight into the ‘behind the scenes’ elements of your business.

Once you have a new stylish and well laid out website then if you are a small business set some time aside each week to make an update, this can be a simple review of a page or changing the graphics or photos on your site, and remember search engines such as google love relevant and changing content.

Which Browser ?

Clients often ask us about which browser should they be using and which browser we optimise our sites for.

In terms of market share Microsoft still dominate with Internet Explorer having a market share of around 60%, second is Mozilla FireFox with a market share of around 23%, third is Google Chrome with around 8% (and growing) and fourth is Safari with 5% and behind that is Opera with around 2% and various other browsers with minor market share.

So generally we test all our sites with Explorer, Firefox, Chrome, Safari and Opera but the real growth area is in mobile access. Most mobiles can happily view websites designed for PC access but it is possible to have browser detection for web pages optimised for mobile devices and this is becoming a regular request for us.

Many Website developers take the view that testing with Explorer and Firefox is more than enough and I guess covering around 83% of the market is the majority but in our view one of your customers may have a less popular browser and if your site looks ‘wrong’ then they will not put their hands in their pocket to buy from you.

Goodbye Googlemail Hello to Gmail

Followers of Gmail may remember when a few years ago Google stopped using the gmail address in the UK and started using googlemail instead, this was due to a trademark dispute between Google and British firm Independent International Investment Research dating from 2005.

It seems this dispute is now solved and all users of googlemail.com addresses will be given the option to change to gmail.com

We really like gmail and all the features it offers in fact we use gmail to collect our mail from our host of email addresses that we seem to accumulate over time – you can always contact us on bluewaveweb@gmail.com

Have a look at the tongue in cheek announcement over on the Gmail Blog here

Google Places

We have been talking a lot about Google Local Business – we promise to stop talking about it as Google have now renamed the service to Google Places 🙂

The service will run as before with a few enhancements planned:

Service Areas: allows you to identify the geographic areas that your business covers.
Enhanced Business Listings: certain US cities will be able make their listings stand out in the listings with Tags.
Free Business photo shoots: businesses from specified cities in the USA can request a free photo shoot of the interior of their business.
QR code: Businesses in the USA can download a QR code (similar to a Bar Code) that is unique to their business, which can then be included on marketing materials. Customers will then be taken to the businesses’ mobile site once scanned with a mobile device.
Favourite Places: As part of Google’s Favourite Places program, 50,000 window decals will be sent to businesses around the USA These will include a QR code that can be scanned and will direct users to the mobile Place Page for the business.

A lot of the above will initially apply to the US only but we will have to wait and see if the services will roll out for UK businesses, one thing for sure is this is a great free service.

Google Local Business Problems

Google have a free directory called Google Local Business that ensures your business will appear on Google Maps when searched for and this is a great service for your business.

Recently we were working with a client to add their details but we found that there were already some listings for their business and these had been unverified, various searches on Google told us we should be able to edit the listings but this did not prove so. The solution we found was to go to our Google Local Business Account and then add a new listing but we made sure this listing was 100% the same as the existing listings and once we did this Google gave us the option to Claim or Suspend this listing.

The temptation is to suspend the listing but think twice before you do as this may have an adverse effect on your Google rankings, we suggest you claim it and once verified you can edit it to suit you.

One point to bear in mind is that when you claim the listing it has to be verified either by phone or by post but the details used by Google will be those already on the listing so if these are incorrect then you have a problem, we believe you may have to contact Google for that one but not sure what response you will get.

Google Local Business

Most new businesses get worried about how they are going to appear on Google Search results, despite everything we read Google offer many ways for you to help yourself.

The first step is to get your business registered with Google Local Business so that you will appear on Google Maps, the process is simple just go to here and register your business, put as much information as you can such as opening times, photos etc and make sure you verify the listing, the quickest way to do this is via telephone confirmation.

This simple task will promote your business online and make Google more aware of your Business. It is amazing that many businesses do not take this simple step.