Google Updates

Google has a couple new elements going on in its results pages. The first one is the addition of brand links for some queries.
In the ones I've seen, they appear near the top of the results, just below the top paid listings. They are not links to the sites of these brands, however. They are links to SERPs for queries that incorporate those brands into them. For example, clicking "Wilson" in the footballs example will take me to results page for "wilson footballs".

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Google Expands Tag Advertising for Local Businesses


Last week Google changed the Local Business Center to Google Places, and along with that change came some new features for local businesses. We looked at those here.

Among those changes was the addition of Google's tag advertising. For $25 a month, businesses (in certain cities) can use Tags to highlight their listings on and Google Maps. These are yellow markers that let you promote important aspects of your business. They can be used for things like coupons, photos, and other select features. They don’t affect the rank of search results, but they give customers more information and may prove beneficial.

Google Tag advertising - new feature for Google  PlacesGoogle promised that while the offering was starting out in a limited number of cities, that number would be expanding. The expansion process is underway. Google has now announced the addition of 11 new cities.

The new cities are: San Jose, Houston, Austin, Atlanta, Washington DC, San Diego, Seattle, Boulder, Chicago, San Francisco and Mountain View.

"You'll notice that we’ve added Mountain View, CA to the list of cities participating in the trial," says Product Manager Shalini Agarwal. "Because we are still tweaking the product a bit, we thought we’d make it available in our hometown so we can get quick feedback as we work on new features."

Businesses in the available cities can sign up for Tags from their Google Places accounts.

In a couple weeks, Google says it will launch a new tag type: "post to your Place Page". This will be a freeform text field that will let business owners highlight custom messages announcing sales or events.

The company did not indicate when more cities will become available, but I would expect the feature to make regular expansions in the not-too-distant future.

Google Gets Favorable Ruling In Rosetta Stone Case


A lawsuit filed by language software firm Rosetta Stone against Google for copyright infringement has been dismissed by a federal judge.

In its lawsuit, filed in July 2009, Rosetta Stone alleged that Google allowed third parties including individuals involved in software piracy to purchase the right to use Rosetta Stone trademarks or other terms confusingly similar in Google's Adwords advertising program.

Google said the ruling was "consistent with a growing line of decisions" about the Internet.

"Users searching on Google benefit from being able to choose from a variety of competing advertisers, and we've found no evidence that legitimate use of trademarks as keyword triggers or in the text of advertisements confuses consumers. We're pleased that the judge has ruled in Google's favor, consistent with a growing line of decisions in the Internet space," Google said in a statement.

Tom-Adams-Rosetta-Stone Rosetta Stone expressed its disappointment about the ruling, charging that Google does not do enough to stop such practices on its AdWords platform.

"We are deeply disappointed that Rosetta Stone was not given an opportunity to present at a public trial the facts underlying Google's practices and the motivation that led Google to adopt its current trademark policies," stated Tom Adams, President and CEO of Rosetta Stone Inc.

"Google has a corporate responsibility to protect consumers and promote trust in its search results. Without question, Google knows that counterfeit software is being advertised in its Adwords program and takes no effective steps to stop this illicit activity."

Rosetta Stone said it plans to review the decision and will consider an appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals.

Facebook Finding More Ways to Compete with Google


Apparently Facebook is not content with only taking over the web, but wants to get some penetration into the physical world as well. Taking a cue from another dominant company, Google, Facebook is now giving brick and mortar businesses decals to put in their windows. While Facebook tells WebProNews the decals are currently only a test with a small number of businesses, I would expect this to be expanded in the future.

Is Facebook a worthy competitor to Google? Tell us what you think.

Increasing Competition with Google

Google Favorite Places - Decals Google has been sending decals to businesses as part of its Favorite Places program. In fact, they even just announced the expansion of this last week. Whereas Google's decals include a QR code pointing to the business' "Place Page," Facebook's include a link to the business' Facebook Page.

Google has its fair share of competition from a variety of angles. Apple is getting a great deal of the attention in this regard (making two big moves yesterday), but Facebook is up there as well. Facebook is already a key competitor in terms of where people spend their time online. Facebook expanding its presence all over the web only increases that, and will likely play a big role in the diversification of how people obtain information - in other words, maybe a little less Googling. Some of us have even speculated on the possibility that Facebook could one day create it's own AdSense-like network.

Google Making More Changes to the SERPs


Google has a couple new elements going on in its results pages. The first one is the addition of brand links for some queries. For example, if you search for "watches" you might get links for Citizen, Nixon, Rolex, Omega, and Fossil. Or if you search for "footballs" you might get links for Wilson, Nike, Rawlings, Spalding, and Dallas Cowboys.

In the ones I've seen, they appear near the top of the results, just below the top paid listings. They are not links to the sites of these brands, however. They are links to SERPs for queries that incorporate those brands into them. For example, clicking "Wilson" in the footballs example will take me to results page for "wilson footballs".

Yahoo CEO: "Google Is Going To Have A Problem"


It's no secret that Google has, on a very steady basis, dominated its competition and managed to return big profits. And Carol Bartz may be in no position to question the company's methods. But Yahoo's CEO nonetheless chose to point out a potential weakness this week, and she may be on the right track.

Does Carol Bartz have enough credibility to criticize Google? Tell us what you think.

Carol BartzBartz told Jonathan Fildes, "Google is going to have a problem because Google is only known for search. It is only half our business; it's 99.9% of their business. They've got to find other things to do."

Also, in terms of how Google will be judged as it attempts to find those other things, Bartz observed, "Google has to grow a company the size of Yahoo every year to be interesting."

The 99.9 percent figure is obviously an exaggeration. Still, if you figure that Google has a market cap of around $169 billion and Yahoo's market cap is closer to $24 billion, the second remark doesn't seem too inaccurate.

So as Bartz indicated, that puts a lot of pressure on Google to succeed at something other than search. Whether that something's Android, Google Apps, the TV Ads program, or a different product doesn't matter, but in this light, Yahoo's rather scattered network of properties starts to look a little more attractive.

UPDATE: A regulatory filing has revealed that Carol Bartz received $47.2 million in compensation for her work in 2009, which is far more than either Eric Schmidt or Steve Ballmer collected.

What do you make of Carol Bartz's remarks -- and her compensation package? Let us know in the comments section.

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SEO - Learn how to get more traffic

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Now let's get back to search engine optimization. Many of us started out with a simple free blog, from Blogspot or a similar site, and then wanted to grow. The next step is to buy your own domain. So how do you switch over your content to the new domain and web host without risking a duplicate content penalty and the lost of all that link juice? Check out the two-part series we ran this week on SEO Chat for the details. If you're just getting ready to do SEO on your site or wondering why it isn't working as well as you think it should the article we ran on Monday may answer your questions. It covers what you need to do to prepare your site for SEO.

Once you've been doing SEO for a while, you may decide that you want to try to grab more than one spot at the top of the SERPs for your keyword. Is that best done with one site or several sites? This week's thread considers the question of whether three sites are better than one. Why not stop by the thread and add your experience?

And while you're checking out our sites and forums, you might enjoy paying a visit to Tutorialized. You'd find tons of content related to website design and development, including more than 120 tutorials on SEO. Learn how to get more traffic, how to recover a fallen ranking in the search engines, how to do keyword research, and much more. If you're feeling generous and want to share your expertise, it's easy to submit your own tutorial.

Our Spotlight, just for readers of our newsletter, ponders what is more important: onsite SEO or offsite SEO. The answer might surprise you. Scroll down to the Spotlight to find out.
. As always, thanks for reading.

Until next time,
SEO Chat Staff

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