The Common Sense Internet Gazette
from Ozdachs Consulting
August 31, 2010

The Common Sense Internet Gazette highlights tools for your website and Internet developments that affect your organization's online life.

Web design and Internet Promotion by Ozdachs
In This Issue
Get on the Map... Really!
#1 Clients
How Flash Hurts
Don't Try to Fool Google
Turn Your Electronics Into Gold
Quick Links
If You Want to Be on Top in Google, Get on the Map!

Search results for San Francisco Gay BarBeing #1 in Google no longer means just that your web site comes out on top of all other web sites. Being #1 also requires having your business listed as a local business in Google.

The picture on the left shows Ozdachs' client, 440 Castro, on the top of a search for their industry. 

There are two other entries on the map before the first web site shows up.  Obviously, being in the local listings in Google is very important to showing yourself off to potential clients.

Google has some tinkering to do with its results (there's a Japanese restaurant that is third on the map above).  But, it's clear that Google is headed toward integrated map, web, video, photo listings in its results.  You have to tune your site, grab your local listings, and play on social media sites to have the best chance of being seen.

I mentioned Google's local business focus last month.  Since the July newsletter publication I've seen more categories of searches result in a map display instead of a list of web sites.  If you haven't claimed your business' local business listing, do it  - or have Ozdachs do it - ASAP!
Speaking of #1 Clients ...
Boiler room Search Engine Optimization (SEO) businesses call up web site owners and guarantee that they'll make sure that the mark's site shows up #1 in Google. I have gotten hit by the fallout from this questionable sales technique when potential clients have asked me how many of my clients are #1 in Google.

My gut reaction is that the answer isn't going to be useful or tell anything about my skills. (I say something else, of course.)

Patty's Set the Stage is #1 in Google for the Right Words
Set the Stage is #1 in Google for its Money Words
Here's the reason why the number of #1 sites is meaningless: Every site is going to be #1 for some terms.  I can truthfully claim that each site I've designed is #1 in Google.  I just have to find out for what search the site comes up on top.

What you really want to know is how the sites show up for the money phrases (whether "money" means cash or members or whatever you're trying to attract with your site).

Ozdachs Clients on Top

During the second week of August I checked where some clients were for phrases that we'd targeted.  I was impressed!  Here's a sample of successful tuning for search engines:

PhraseClientGoogle Rank
Seattle Home Staging Set the Stage#1
San Francisco CPA Sterck Kulik O'Neill#1 web sites
San Francisco CPA Sterck Kulik O'Neill#3 on map
Ashland home customizations Hamlett Construction#2
Ashland home builder Hamlett Construction#7
San Francisco Gay Bar 440 Castro#1 on map
Marin estate planning attorneys Law Offices of Julia Wald#2 web site and #1 map

These rankings in Google mean that these sites are showing up when potential customers are searching for their goods and services.  Congratulations to these businesses!

Yes, SEO is important.  But, counting the number of #1 placements in Google doesn't really tell you if a site is effective or if the SEO business knows its stuff. You have to dig deeper to see if the site is tuned and visible for the money words.

Is Flash Hurting Your Organic Ratings?
Flash product logo Sometimes I worry that my personal dislike for web pages that move, beep, quiver, and twitch colors my judgment about the suitability of Flash for most web sites.

On one hand, Flash is popular for many corporate sites and it can provide great-looking interactive pages.

Still, on the other hand, Flash is not understood nor indexed well by search engines like Google.  It's blocked on most iPhones, iPads, some corporate networks, and by Firefox add-in applications (including one called "Flashblock").  It takes longer to display on a visitors screen, and some people will click away before the page finally shows up. And, creating Flash content takes longer than developing regular web pages, so web development is more expensive.

But, don't just take my word...
Don't Try to Fool Mother Google
Google's rules for webmasters
Google's Webmaster Central
Google has strict rules about what techniques you can use to advance in its rankings. (See their Webmaster Guidelines for the details.)

One of G's dictates is that links to your site have to be natural and meaningful.  You're not supposed to pay people to link to you. Nevertheless, there are companies that will sell you links to your site.  They'll tell you that more incoming links will move you up in the search engine results.  And, more incoming links is one of the factors Google looks at when they position web sites in the results list.

Unsuspecting web site owners assume that if that something is for sale, then it conforms to the rules of getting to the top of Google. Not so! 

Selling links is not illegal, but it is against Google's law.  If you're caught buying links, Google will kick your web site out of its listings!

If you need convincing to avoid link exchanges and buying links to your site, then read this cautionary tale.
Turn Your Electronics Into Gold
Cash for your old computers
Sell Your Old Electronics
Gazelle wants to change the world - one cell phone, one laptop, one iPod at a time.  They buy your old electronics and then either resell them or recycle them.

After looking over our piles of old computers in my garage, a friend thoughtfully sent me a link to the Gazelle site. I read the third-party reviews and their policies, and I liked what I saw.

I'm still not sure I can part with the Pentium II Dell desk top or the 13" CRT monitor.  Therefore, I haven't used this service myself yet. 

So, if you try Gazelle, write and let me know your experience.  I suspect that at the very least you'll wind up with a cleaner garage.

Ozdachs Consulting is an independent San Francisco business focused on helping your organization with common sense websites, Internet solutions and marketing support.  Please contact us for a free, no-obligation discussion.

Galen Workman, owner
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