Archive for June, 2008

Good directions drive traffic to your website

You have a website and can’t figure out why it’s not showing up at the top of Google’s search rankings. You go to Google.com for some guidance but get lost trying to find answers.

Certainly, achieving visibility in Google’s search rankings can be a mystery. To help solve the riddle, USA TODAY sat down with Google’s Matt Cutts, an engineer and active blogger, who has five easy tips on how to “optimize” your site so Google (GOOG) and the rest of the world can find it.

1. Spotlight your search term on the page.

If you want to be found for your keyword, make sure that term is on the page you want to rank. The term should be at the top as well as peppered throughout your copy.

2. Fill in your “tags.”

When creating websites, Internet coding language includes two key tags: title and description. Even if you don’t know code, which is used to create pages, software programs such as Adobe’s Dreamweaver have tools that let you fill them in in plain English (rather than “<title>San Diego Chiropractor</title”).

There’s also a third tag, to add keywords, or search terms, but Cutts says Google doesn’t put much weight in its rankings on that one.

3. Get other sites to “link” back to you.

Google says it looks at more than 100 pieces of data to determine a site’s ranking. But links are where it’s at, once your search terms are clearly visible on your site and the title and description tags correctly marked.

In a nutshell: Google ranks sites based on popularity. If authoritative sites link to you, you must be good, and therefore you get to the top of the list. If you can’t get top sites such as USATODAY.com or The New York Times to link to you, try your friends. And what if they don’t have a site? They probably do. Read on.

4. Create a blog and post often.

Blogging is a great way to add links and start a conversation with customers and friends. It will cost you only time: Google’s Blogger, WordPress and others offer free blogging tools. With a blog, you can link back to your site and offer links to others. It’s also a great way to start building content.

5. Register for free tools. Google’s google.com/webmaster offers freebies to help get your site found. You can upload a text-based site map, which shows Google the pages of your site (create it at http://www.xml-sitemaps.com). Once that’s done, you’ll be registered with Google, where you can learn vital statistics — including who is linking to your site and how often Google “crawls” your site for updates.

Google’s Local Business center (google.com/local/add) is the place for business owners to submit a site so it shows up in local searches, with a map attached. Savvy consumers who use Google for searches know that the first 10 non-advertising results often are from Google Maps, so if you have a business and haven’t submitted it, you’re losing out on potential customers.

Don’t overdo it

In other words, don’t stuff your pages full of keywords.

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Google’s Agreement to provide Ad Technology to Yahoo!

Google announced a non-exclusive advertising agreement that will provide Yahoo! with access to our AdSense for search and AdSense for content advertising programs on their U.S. and Canadian web properties. In addition, they will work to enable interoperability between our respective instant messaging services allowing users better, broader communication online.

Google is proud of the advertising technologies they have built, which show users a relevant ad whether they are searching for a specific item or browsing the internet. This arrangement extends those benefits to Yahoo! and its many users, advertisers and publisher partners. Google currently provide similar services to sites like AOL and Ask.com as well as many other partners, and they work closely with all of our partners to ensure that our partnership drives their long term success.

Why did Google make this agreement? Quite simply, they think it is good for users, advertisers and publishers. By offering Google’s industry-leading technology to Yahoo!, the whole system becomes more efficient, and everyone benefits:

  • Consumers will see more relevant ads when they are looking for information and browsing the web. And with interoperability between IM services, users will have easier access to even more of their contacts.
  • Publishers currently in the Yahoo! Publisher Network will benefit from Google’s advertising technology, potentially increasing the revenue they earn from their sites.
  • Advertisers will have new ways to reach their target customers online more efficiently.

They also think this is good for competition. The truth is, this kind of arrangement is commonplace in many industries, and it doesn’t foreclose robust competition. Toyota sells its hybrid technology to General Motors, even though they are the number one and number two car manufacturers globally. Canon provides laser printer engines for HP, despite also competing in the broader laser printer market. Google and Yahoo will continue to be vigorous competitors, and that competition will help fuel innovation that is good for users.

It is important to say what this agreement is not:

  • This is not a merger. Rather, Google is merely providing access to our advertising technology to Yahoo! through our AdSense program.
  • This does not remove a competitor from the playing field. Yahoo! will remain in the business of search and content advertising, which gives the company a continued incentive to keep improving and innovating. Even during this agreement, Yahoo! can use our technology as much or as little as it chooses.
  • This does not prevent Yahoo! from making similar arrangements with others. This arrangement is not exclusive, meaning that Yahoo! could enter into similar arrangements with other companies.
  • This does not increase Google’s share of search traffic. Yahoo! will continue to run its own search engine and advertising programs, and the agreement will not increase Google’s share of search traffic.
  • This does not let Google raise prices for advertisers. Google does not set the prices manually for ads; rather, advertisers themselves determine prices through an ongoing competitive auction. They have found over years of research that an auction is by far the most efficient way to price search advertising and have no intention of changing that.

They have been in contact with regulators about this arrangement, and they expect to work closely with them to answer their questions about the transaction. Ultimately they believe that the efficiencies of this agreement will help preserve competition.

The Internet is a healthy, competitive environment where content creators, advertisers and users come together to access information, communicate and create new business opportunities. They think this deal extends these benefits — it’s good for users, advertisers and publishers and good for the industry.

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