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Archive for the search engines Category

How Google Understands What You Want [INFOGRAPHIC]

Have you ever wondered how Google understands what you want from it?  When you ask Google a question, how do those millions of results show up so effortlessly, ranked in terms of relevancy and authority?  Most everyone takes the process for granted – so in this infographic, Vertical Measures  takes a look at the inner mechanics of the Google search engine and shows you how.

How Google Understands You [INFOGRAPHIC]
Infographic by Vertical Measures

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Clarifying Google Places, which ‘plus’ service should you be using?

google-places The Search Engine People has published a useful guide to Google Places. Now that we have G+, it has become confusing to know which service is for what. Along side Places we also have Google Plus Local, Google+ Business Page and Merged Google+ Local Page/Verified Local Google+ Page. It’s important to know as local search is great way to pick up new clients and customers

From The Google Service Formerly Known As Places: Clearing Up the Confusion

There has been a lot of change in the local landscape ever since Google rolled out Google+ in 2011. From Google Maps, to Google Places, to Google+ Local and Google+ Business Pages it seems near impossible to keep tabs on what exactly local SEO’s and small businesses are dealing with when it comes to managing their local presence on Google. It all started with the conversion of roughly 80 million Google Places Pages into 80 million Google+ Local Pages and its all been downhill from there. Small business owners and local search geeks alike have spent days scratching their heads trying to make sense out of it all, but by the end of this post you should be able to look at the various listings in Google’s local landscape and know exactly what it is you or your business is working with.

Get your profiles ready – author rank is coming

Author rank

We already know that Google (Yahoo as well…possibly) is using MicroData to help identify authors. We know that Google is using it to adjust search results along with G+ button clicks. Before long, we will have ‘author rank’!

According to a recent article on Search Engine Watch, Want to Rank in Google? Build Your Author Rank Now

In “SEO Revelations for 2013″, I wrote this about rel=author: “This will be the big new ranking signal for 2013″. A mere 19 days later, a very interesting excerpt from “The New Digital Age”, the upcoming book authored by Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt, made some headlines:

“Within search results, information tied to verified online profiles will be ranked higher than content without such verification, which will result in most users naturally clicking on the top (verified) results. The true cost of remaining anonymous, then, might be irrelevance.”

Irrelevance? Wow! That’s a strong statement.

Here is the message: If you want your content to rank in Google, build your author authority (“Author Rank”) now. Google hasn’t taken this position solely to create a binary signal (got a profile, you’re good; no profile, you aren’t). How much authority you have as an author is going to be a big deal.

I have already mentioned a similar quote by Larry Page and discussed it’s importance. If you are not already taking steps to state your authorship and authority, then you better start on it now.

One thing that has not been mentioned but you can bet the dog on it that it’s coming – brand/business authorship. Even if it’s worth less than personal authorship, they will soon have to deal with it.

Microdata: The content, the business and the author

Microdata markup allows Us to lay claim to our content and websites. Google is using it for authorship and a few other things but it is also being used by other search engines like Yahoo.

This means we now need to rethink the ‘about pages’. With Microdata we can consider that there are three parts; the bio for the content author, the about page for the business and the about page for you and any other author.

Part one: The author – content link

The content that is posted on your business blog can be connected to an author. Each blog post written by you should have a small ‘bio’ at the bottom. My own bio contains links to my Google+ profile page as well as others. The coding looks like this…

<div itemscope="" itemtype="http://schema.org/Person">
<span itemprop="name">Bob Toovey</span> has been active on the Internet since 1998,
 a <span itemprop="jobTitle">blogger/writer</span> since 2006 and started dabbling
 with programming when he got his first Sinclair ZX81. He loves to blog about social
 media, marketing and food. You can find him on 
<a itemprop="url" title="”Follow" href="https://plus.google.com/u/0/115455121760764873658" rel="me" name="google_profile">Google+, </a>
<a itemprop="url" title="Follow" href="http://www.linkedin.com/in/bobtoovey" rel="me" name="linkedin_Profile">LinkedIn</a> 
and <a title="Follow" href="http://twitter.com/bobtoovey">Twitter</a></div>

It’s not really that complicated, copy it if you want and change it to point to your own profiles.

By doing this, you are identifying that the content on the page was written by you. So make sure it does not appear on guest posts! I have hard coded my ‘bio’ to only appear on content that I have written, until I have found a suitable plugin or have written one myself

Part two: The about page – for your business

This page should only be about your business. The aims, goals and the reason it exists. It should be a page by itself and not include anything else.

The code to link is simple…

<a href="https://plus.google.com/[yourpageID]"
 rel="publisher">Find us on Google+</a>

And you can find out more about it on the Google+ page support section.

Part three: The about page for your authors

While the bio is a snap shot, the about page needs to be fuller. It’s the page that explains why you are an authority. Your credentials as it were. The links in the ‘bio’ can be reused and perhaps expanded. Make sure it is only about you and not about the business.

Microdata and SEO

By implementing these three ideas, you are not just giving Google more information but you are also implementing good SEO. As the information will be used to adjust search results for your friends and in the case authorship – include an image against the result, we could actually call it Social Optimization. Perhaps we will see more of this in the future?


More clues to Googles direction in social

During the week this image cropped up on Google Plus,it’s taken from the article ‘Larry Page On How To Become Part Of The Google+ Knowledge Graph‘…

Larry page quote

To me this confirms what I have been thinking…

They know more than we think…

For the man in the street, it must seem like Google knows everything  For those of us who work on the Internet, we know their algorithms are pretty dam good. However, as good as we think they are, they are much more ahead in understanding the real world (when it comes to search) than any one really knows.  Where as Facebook is creating a social graph of their own little world, Google is creating one for the Internet, albeit it’s currently focused around Google Plus.

Rich Snippets and Microdata is an important tool

As Google implements more and more of their own social graph, it’s going to be come much more focused on people. Microdata will allow authors to own their content. This detail will not only show up in search results but will have an impact on search itself. What are friends like and how we connect will influence what Google puts in front of us.

Google Plus is here to stay

Many are saying that Google is betting everything on Plus and it own implementation of the social graph. If you take a look at the many products Google has put out in there, just how few have survived! Is it a case of keep testing until you find something that works or do they keep getting it wrong? For all the naysayers out there, no – Google is not failing time and time again. In fact how may people have been inspired by the saying, ‘if you want to succeed, fail and fail again’.

I think Google has been testing the waters by dangling products in front of us to see what bites. How different is that from any other modern company?



Google+ authorship – the importance of Microdata

Microdata markup results

We all like to be identified with the content that we write, most of the time.  As Google+ makes itself felt through out the Google empire, this identification will become more important.

When we conduct a search for something, if one our G+ friends (those in your cirlces) has written something relevant, their ranking in the search results will be made higher. But that only happens if you are logged in to G+, you will get ordinary results otherwise. Read this great article about the full implications - Your Google Plus Network Is More Powerful Than You Know

You might seem something like this, a picture of the author along side the result…



One of the many tools Google provides is the ability to declare your authorship. This is achieved using Microdata. It makes use of existing HTML and provides extra information about a page. So far Microdata is used for a few things; recipes, events, people, authorship etc.

When it comes to authorship though, Microdata is very handy…

  • Declare your ownership of the content you have written
  • Link your website to Google+ business pages
  • Get your image associated with your content in search results (as per the example above).

For all the content that I write and that appears on my sites, I have now included a ‘bio’ that includes the Microdata markup.

Bob Toovey has been active on the Internet since 1998, a blogger/writer since 2006 and started dabbling with programming when he got his first Sinclair ZX81. He loves to blog about social media, marketing and food. You can find him on  and Twitter

Each link has extra data that identifies it as being a profile. So for example, this page you are reading has links to my social networking profiles.  Therefore Google now knows that I am the author, if this page appears in my G+ friends search results then my G+ profile picture will be included. Even Google Analytic’s has a labs section on author stats.

This all sounds like a Google special and to get the benefits you need a Google account. Not true, Schema.org states that…

Search engines including Bing, Google, Yahoo! and Yandex rely on this markup to improve the display of search results, making it easier for people to find the right web pages.

You could consider the inclusion of Mircodata markup as G+ enhancements. However, if it’s seen as a way of, “making it easier for people to find the right web pages.“, then it’s also SEO.

If you are a user of Google+ then you really should consider using Microdata. It could give you the edge you have been looking for!

Google’s new ‘rich snippets’ Data Highlighter tool is a must have for business

Google has just made available a new tool, Data Highlighter, to create rich snippets (also know as structured data markup) from webpages. It sounds rather technical but it’s an easy way to show Google  what’s important and how to find extra hidden detail.

So far, it’s setup to for calendar events, such as concerts, sporting events, exhibitions, shows, and festivals. Other types of information are to follow, as is other languages. So far it is only available in English. One of the more interesting aspects is that once you have shown the system some examples, it will learn how to find the events from your site automatically. Once done, Google takes over.

Get a better idea of what it’s all about with this video…



So why is it important to business? Use it to tell Google when you have sales, demonstrations, shows, training days and more. You will also get more out of it…

  • if you have already setup your website with the right meta tags to show where you are located
  • registered your business with Google Places

The reason you will get more out of it is because Google will mix in events with search results. So if any one does a search on the town where your business is, your business will be mentioned because of it’s location and your events will also get listed.

An example of just your listing with events mixed in…

Google rich snippets example

If you have not already done so, sort yourself out a Google Webmaster tools account.  The tool can be accessed from there, under “Optimization” link in the left sidebar, and click “Data Highlighter”.

Find out more from the official blog, Introducing Data Highlighter for event data. A little more detail is available from the Data Highlighter help page.


5 tips on guest posting

There is a mixed view about guest posting. There are those who think writing guest posts is not worth it, some will not accept them and others think it’s a great idea. I side with it being a great idea. Not so much for link building but that it can help with credibility. However you see it, it has worked in the past.

If you are going to write a guest post for a site…

  • Make sure it is unique and original, don’t spin articles
  • Don’t write a post that reads like you stretched it the minimum word limit, 300 or so
  • Write on topic!
  • Make sure it reads like you have real knowledge of the subject
  • Most sites will reject a guest post if you are only trying to promote a client (like SEO agencies etc). Write your post for you

Matt Cutts discusses these points and more…

[youtube] http://youtu.be/IMxC3wQZOyc[/youtube]


Google doodle for Halloween!


The search engine has created a scary and interactive doodle for Halloween….

Video:Gentle overview of how Google search works

Have you ever wondered how Google search works? Here is a video by Matt Cutts that explains how it works but with out the confusing detail…