Natural Search Blog


Check Out New Google Maps Labs Features

Many Google Maps users may have missed the recently added button, allowing users to opt-in to try out some of the Google Maps Labs beta features. The Labs options can be accessed via the new little icon button found in the upper right of the user-interface, if you’re logged-in to your Google account:

Google Maps Labs Icon Button

The new features might also reveal some secrets of Google Maps ranking factors. It’s definitely a space that’s well worth watching for local search marketing experts.

New Tool to Annualize Google Keyword Data

Do you use Google’s AdWord Keyword Tool for your keyword research? If not, you might be missing out. Like all keyword research tools, it may not be the end all be all, and it isn’t without its own little quirks, but it is still rich keyword data whether you use it on its own or in relation with the other keyword tools you are using.

Google has modified the tool over time, and one of the great additions was the ability to see the monthly demand via a small little bar chart. This can be very useful for factoring in seasonality or growing demand for certain phrases. Wrapping your head around the actual numerical data is a bit more challenging. The Local number is just for the most recent month while the Global number is a monthly average. This is further complicated in that the Global number includes the world essentially while the Local number may factor in your campaign settings and locality (based on your AdWords campaign configuration).

To help tighten up data and provide a little more insight into the Local numbers, I just released an Excel spreadsheet that can take your Google Keyword Tool’s export and annualize the Local demand numbers. In some cases, this may dramatically change the order of importance of keywords to target.

Best of all, this tool is free to use so give it a play. The link below will take you to the download page for the tool as well as more detail about how it works and an example.

Google Keyword Tool Annualizer

SEO Tools: Using Xenu and Excel – Blindfolded SEO Audit Part 2

During Part 1 of the Blindfolded SEO Audit, we started learning how to use Xenu and Excel to begin our SEO audit and focused on the foundational element, URLs.

Now let’s move on to the most important signal a site’s pages can send to the search engines, the all powerful title tag. Like URL constructs, sites often have nearly as many constructs for title tags. Three things that a quick scan of our data will tell us:

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Blindfolded SEO Audit Part 1

SEO consultants spend a lot of time looking at websites. Moreover, like web designers, SEOs definitely “see” websites very differently than the average web user. Some days, it feels a little like the Matrix, where instead of seeing the streaming code, you see the people, cars and buildings that the code signifies. After doing web design, this is heightened even more, although perhaps inverted … instead of seeing shoes, cookware, and dog collars, I see title tags, heading tags, URL constructs and CSS.

Like any skill though, it takes continual honing and refining, along with the education. This is part of the concept behind the 60-Second Website Audit and training the eye to quickly identify key SEO issues and potential issues.

I’ve joked that, after so many audits, SEO consultants could probably do them blindfolded. So, whip out the blindfold and let’s put that to a test.

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Google Annotates The Web Through Sidewiki

Google has introduced a new feature in the toolbar called the Sidewiki. Users can post and read comments about any website that appear on a pane on the left hand side of their browser. An example showing this is presented below.

google sidewiki

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Website Optimizer – Great Tool For Tracking CRO

If you have a Google Adwords account, you have access to the Website Optimizer tool that is a very nifty application to get a great idea of the Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO). PPC campaigns nowadays do not come cheap and the crucial factor is to keep track of the conversion rate of your sales funnel.

The actual conversion process involves testing a landing page leading to a signup or filling in of a form or a thankyou page in the event of a successful sale of a product. With Website Optimizer, you can set up experiments that involve Multivariate testing or A/B testing to track which version of the landing page is pulling in the desired results.

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10 Practical Actionable SEO Tips To Boost Your Website Visibility

Today’s post covers ten practical actionable SEO techniques that can give your site a major boost and help it achieve better visibility in the major search engines. These observations are made by Whitespark, a SEOmoz member who attended the recent SEOMoz PRO Training series.

These tips are easy to implement and will suit a majority of the businesses on the web. With paid traffic getting more expensive with each passing day (and yet providing only 12% of traffic on the web), it is high time all website owners started ramping up their organic seo efforts. These tips will certainly help in improving a site’s natural search visibility which still accounts for 88% of the traffic on the web.

There are a few proprietary tools (created by SEOMoz) that are mentioned in the post. These tools do a great job of automating the mundane tasks thus saving valuable time and giving great results to help you plan your strategy. You have to be a paid PRO member to access these tools.

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Google Wave – Online Collaboration And Communication Revolution

Google Wave was released at the recent Google I/O event as a demo product. It is an amazing real time collaboration and communication platform with email, instant messaging and heaps more combined to form an awesome product.

The demo product is an HTML 5 applicaion built using the Google Web Toolkit. Wave is being released as an open source product. Its open platform encourages developers to build other Wave clients, extensions and embed waves in other web pages and platforms. The product is characterised by the 3P’s namely product, platform and protocol.

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Local Search & Social Media Company Praized Worth Watching

Praized LogoPraized, a startup that offers a social media app targeted to locally-oriented blogs and sites, is well worth watching. The app allows blogs to easily provide their constituents the ability to rate local businesses, and display the ratings alongside the traditional directory info of biz name, address, and maps.

Praized business listing for Pastis
(click to enlarge)

(Try out their local search engine to view businesses and ratings.)

Praized was built by some local search veterans from the Yellow Pages Group, and it’s already managed to nab small dribbles of acclaim — most recently, it was named a finalist in Red Herring’s Canada’s Top 50 Canada award which recognized the year’s most promising private technology ventures in Canada. (more…)

GravityStream Does Local SEO: Now Fixes Store Locator Pages

I’m pleased to announce that GravityStream can now optimize store locator pages for those retailer sites which provide search utilities for their local outlets.

GravityStream Compass Rose

As you may recall, I’ve written before about how dealer locators are terribly optimized and how store locator pages can be optimized. A great many store locator sections of major corporate sites are not allowing search engine spiders to properly crawl through and index all the locations where they may have brick-and-mortar outlets.

Most large companies seem fairly unaware that their store locators are effectively blocking search engine spiders and are making it impossible for endusers to find their locations through simple keyword searches. I’ve also listed out a number of top store locator providers which produce locational services like this for many Internet Retailer 500 companies.

Read on for details on our results…

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