Im not sure whether Google are testing out a new way to display Google Maps in the main search results or if it is a permanent change. In the past for certain searches, a massive map would be displayed below the top 3 ppc ads meaning that even if you were in first position you were still being shown at the bottom of the browser page.
When checking some results today I noticed that the map seems to have been moved to the right hand side of the screen and now hovers and moves as you scroll down the results. One strange result of this is that it now covers up some of the PPC results which is surely going to anger some people!
People who are appearing on the maps and also have a top 10 listing, now have a red marker next to their listing indicating where they are on the map.
Is anyone seeing this new way of displaying the Google Maps or is it just us?
The new way Google seems to be showing the Google Map
Many of you will probably have noticed that the Google keyword tool has officially switched over to the new interface. But after using the new version (well new to me as I always preferred the old interface), I started to notice some strange results. Figures much much lower than I had seen before. So I decided to do some digging and came across this article R.I.P Google Keyword Tool. It looks like other people are having problems with the tool aswell. It seems that Google have also admitted the tool now has a filter on it where it will only show data on commercial keywords. This is bound to make Keyword Research much harder if they are only giving data on certain keywords. Only time will tell whether this is a permanent change or will Google change the tool due to the public reaction.
Alternatives to Reciprocal linking, selling Sea Shells on the sea shore??!?
While reading the blog over at SEOmoz, I came across the great post called Hands on Tips for Link Building. In the blog, Paddy Moogan talks various tips on finding sites to get links from, which is a great post. But the one part that caught me attention was the alternatives to reciprocal links. In the post, he talks about how you can try offering links back to people you are trying to get a link from in the form of a link in an e-mail list or a micro site you run.
We all know the score when trying to build backlinks, you find a great site that would be perfect for your client, you shoot them an e-mail. The response is that they usually want some form of payment or want a reciprocal link back. While not completely bad if both your sites are related in theme, a reciprocal link isn’t as powerful as a good old one way link.
So what other alternatives are there that you could barter with when requesting a link? If you have a lot of Twitter Followers or Facebook fans, you could offer a plug through one of those sites. If you host your own industry Podcast, you could again give a shout out to your new friend. These both obviously rely on you being fairly popular or influential in the first place. Paddy’s idea of offering a link on an alternative site is a great one, especially if it is one you have control of. Blog’s are great as you could write a small review for the person in exchange for your back link. This may seem hard work in some cases, but next time you are requesting a link and they ask for a reciprocal link or payment, why not suggest an alternative pay back for the link.
Just incase any of you don’t know how google works, they have produced a nice simple beginners video hosted by Matt Cutts. This might be a good video to use incase you ever have to explain to a client in very simple terms.
Wired.com have recently published an interesting look at google and it’s algorithm. One of my favourite parts of the article is where it breaks down the Key Advances the company has made over the years. To read the rest of the article, click here
Backrub [September 1997]
This search engine, which had run on Stanford’s servers for almost two years, is renamed Google. Its breakthrough innovation: ranking searches based on the number and quality of incoming links.
New algorithm [August 2001]
The search algorithm is completely revamped to incorporate additional ranking criteria more easily.
Local connectivity analysis [February 2003]
Google’s first patent is granted for this feature, which gives more weight to links from authoritative sites.
Fritz [Summer 2003]
This initiative allows Google to update its index constantly, instead of in big batches.
Personalized results [June 2005]
Users can choose to let Google mine their own search behavior to provide individualized results.
Bigdaddy [December 2005]
Engine update allows for more-comprehensive Web crawling.
Universal search [May 2007]
Building on Image Search, Google News, and Book Search, the new Universal Search allows users to get links to any medium on the same results page.
Real-Time Search [December 2009]
Displays results from Twitter and blogs as they are published.
SEOmoz have launched their new website/tool with the Open Site Explorer. This backlink analysis tool and link popularity checker aims to continue what they started with linkscape. The team hasn’t got round to fully trying it out yet, but we will be implementing it in our February work. For information on what the tool offers take a look at the SEOmoz blog explaining it all.
Google have a great hour long video on how to bring more users to your sites through the search engines. You might know a lot of the information, but there could be a few new things you have yet to discover.