Merry Christmas! Here Are Some SEO Goodies!

Merry Christmas!Merry Christmas!  I hope you are enjoying this time of preparation for Christmas and life is allowing you to keep your mind focused on the celebration of the birth of Christ.

In addition to all gifting that is going on with your family and friends, the search engines thought they would get in on action and give some gifts as well.  So, this month’s SEO update is not so much about algorithm changes and penalties, but about new features the search engines have recently released that can help you with your organization as well as have a little fun.

I’ll tell you all about it in this month’s SEO update:

Video Transcript:

Merry Christmas!

I’m Kurt Steinbrueck with OurChurch.Com, and this is your SEO update, keeping you informed on what’s going on in the search engines.

There’s been several feature updates in the search engines this month in Google and Bing, but nothing as far as an algorithm change. But the feature updates are pretty interesting, so let’s talk a little bit about those. We’ll start with Google.


Google Places Review How To Step 3Reviews Around the Web:
Google+ Local has a new feature within the admin of Google Places for their reviews around the web. If you’re familiar with reviews around the web, it’s basically just where Google goes out and they find the reviews for your organization that are on all the different review sites, and sometimes they’ll show them in your Google+ Local page. Sometimes they’ll just have them internally, and they use that for their algorithms.

Well, now they have an admin feature in Google Places that you can see everything that they’re finding in terms of reviews and ratings. You can log into your Google Places, click on “reviews around the web,” and there you’ll see this list of all these reviews that they found, as well as the ratings, and then you can see stats like your total reviews and your average rating and things like that. You can also click through and immediately respond to any new reviews that are out there. It’s a nice little tool to be able to monitor what reviews are out there and respond to them as people post them.

It’s not immediate. Google’s got to find it first, to be able to report it. So, there’s going to be some delay in there. If you’re someone who really wants to respond to things within a day or something like that, you’re probably still going to want to keep up with the various review sites themselves, so that you get any new reviews immediately. But if you’re someone who only checks periodically, maybe just once or twice a week, it’s okay if there’s a delay in your response, then this is probably a good way to just make this nice and easy for you to check all in one place.

The one exception to this is Yelp. There are no Yelp reviews in the Google reviews around the web. This is probably because Yelp and Google have not gotten along very well. Yelp actually sued Google awhile back because Google was getting information from Yelp and using it for themselves. So, they were getting organization information and reviews and things like that and just sticking it over on Google Local and Yelp didn’t like that, so they sued them. Why they didn’t do it [include Yelp reviews in Reviews Around the Web]? It could be because they don’t get along, it could be because Google legally wasn’t allowed to actually go get the content from Yelp; but either way, Yelp, you’ll still have to go to the Yelp site to see those reviews, but everything else you can see on Google+.

Santa Claus tapping a smart phoneSmart Phone Specific Crawl Errors:
Another change is Google, in their Webmaster Tools, has started reporting smart phone specific crawl errors. They’ve been reporting crawl errors for awhile now in Google Webmaster Tools, but now you can see things that are specific to smart phones. So, if there’s something that doesn’t display properly on your site because it’s being shown on a smart phone, Google is now reporting that so that you can take care of those issues.


Connected Pages:
In Bing, in their Webmaster Tools, they have a new feature called Connected Pages. What this is, is you can go and submit the various pages that you have around the web that are not actually on your website, so that they know that they’re all connected. This might be your Facebook fan page or your Twitter page or Google+ page or something like that. It’s mostly going to be social network pages, but it could be other things.; maybe you have a blog somewhere or just various pages that are connected to your site.

You can tell Bing about that and they’ll know, first of all, that they’re connected, so if someone’s linking to those or liking those pages, that that actually influences your organization. They also will provide some search stats, are these pages showing up in search results and things like that. So, that’s a new feature that Bing has in their Webmaster Tools.

New Bing Map App:
The North Pole is not that wayThey also released a new map app, the Bing Map App, which is a pretty cool little feature. It’s basically this 3D rendering of our world, or at least, 70 cities of our world, as they continue to expand that.

But they take real world photographs, both street view and kind of bird’s-eye from a plane type view, and they’ve then applied that to 3D renderings of the place. They basically got a bunch of gaming programmers in there that know how to create 3D environments, and they apply those pictures to it, so it’s like this virtual world, like a gaming world, but it’s with the real world photographs, so it looks like the real world and you can kind of move around through there.

It’s designed specifically for tablets and smart phones and things like that, so there’s touch controls and tilting and different kind of interaction that you can do with that. But a lot of cool features that are in that. You might want to check that out. I actually wrote an article about that in the Christian Web Trends Blog recently, and so you can read more about that there.

Bing Photsynth:
Snap 2013-12-13 at 11.32.00Lastly, in a related update, Bing released a new feature called Photosynth, which is very related to that map app. Where the map app was taking photographs and applying it to these 3D renderings; Photosynth does the same thing except you can go and view different locations that people have mapped and you can create them yourself.

They have instructions on how to do it, but you basically can go around, take photographs of these places or objects or whatever, and upload it. And it will generate this 3D image of it that you’re able to rotate around and move through the image and things like that. It’s a pretty cool little feature; nothing really to do with search, but just a neat feature that I thought I’d share with you.

So those are the updates that we have in Bing and Google, and not really any other updates to talk about. But remember, we live in this internet age, and so it’s important that you stay strong in the search engines so that you can achieve your goals and missions online.

Merry Christmas, and God bless!

Share Your Thoughts:

  • Do you monitor and respond to reviews?  If so, what do you think of Google’s Reviews from Around the Web admin feature?
  • Do you have a mobile site and track smartphone crawl errors?
  • What do you think of Photosynth?

14 Responses to “Merry Christmas! Here Are Some SEO Goodies!”

  1. That's a great idea about the smart phone Specific Crawl Errors, another great reason to use Google Webmaster tools. Thanks for the information.

  2. It has been late from my side to read this blog but I noticed these changes of Google local reviews after reading your post but I was aware from the Bing map application which is getting much appreciation from the SEO specialists. Every search engine wants to provide best search results to the researchers so different updates are done for this regards. Those people who are not yet aware from the latest updates made by Google and Bing, your post is pretty helpful to take a view.

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