July’s been a busy month for Google so we’ve rounded up some of the main stories that caught our eye:
The Bank of Google
Google reported impressive Q2 2011 results with revenues up 32% from Q2 2010, search and ads products is the core driver for the company’s revenue (over 96% of their revenue comes from advertising). Reuters reported that Google is starting to test a Google adwords credit card with select US customers. The card which is reported to have no annual fee and a competitive interest rate will allow small and medium-sized businesses to buy search advertising on Google.
Watch your CPC
Boost, (a simplified version of adwords) has also been renamed as Adwords Express, Barry Schwartz has spotted a help thread suggesting that the new advertisers gained by this name change campaign may have a negative effect on your CPC.
Google Places reducing reviews count
Matt McGee reported on Google’s updated place pages. Sites with local business reviews e.g. TripAdvisor had complained that Google had taken their content (reviews) and used it on Google’s own places pages. Google has now removed these reviews resulting in some businesses seeing a decline in their review numbers.
This move doesn’t seem to resolve the overall complaint as Google still appears to place their places pages above those of competitors in search engine results. Although the change makes it harder for researchers checking out citation sources, this article from Rand Fishkin describes the alternate ways for SEO-ers to research local citations.
Google Offers extended
Groupon may not be worrying too much yet but Offers are now available in New York City, Oakland and San Francisco with additional cities about to be added: Austin, Boston, Denver, Seattle and Washington, D.C.
The need for speed
Earlier this summer Google added site speed reporting to Google Analytics. Continuing this focus on speed, a limited number of Webmasters are now being offered Google’s new Page Speed Service for free and it looks as if price deals will be available for a bigger audience after this initial “pilot”. The webmasters will have to sign up and point their site’s DNS entry to Google and the service will fetch the content from servers and then serve it onto viewers. Thom Craver suggests that Google is wanting to become your web content hosting provider, what do you think?
…okay so that’s some of the other stories, now on with those relating to Google Plus!
+1 Button Changes, Google+ Help Center
Want to keep up to date with the latest changes to the +1 button? Enroll in the Google+ Platform Preview and you will be able to test updates before they get launched, the first set of changes feature hover and confirmation bubbles. Also updated is the load speed as Google has began to deploy changes that will make the wee sociable button render up to three times faster. Even better is that webmasters need take no action to gain this update, if you want it faster head over to Google to get the asynchronous code version.
Wanting more help? Frank Reed has spotted that if you click on the gear icon when you are in Google + you’ll see a new Help Center and Mashable reports that in response to user feedback Google has set up a section specifically for Google + feature updates.
Circles benefit SERPs, automated circles and bought +1’s
When you’re logged into Google, content from people you’ve circled ranks higher, Danny Sullivan shows this with his connection to Ford. With +1 annotations being shown in search to signed out users as well, it was only a matter of time before +1 clicks were up for sale and Frank Watson describes the pitch from the website offering this “service”. Meanwhile Sarah Perez reported on a bot which adds people to circles and Google’s response to such automation which could be put to good use by spammers.
Real Names and Brand Names
The reaction to Google+ insisting on real names thunders on and even the UK BBC website ran a feature on the issue raising some valid points for the discussion; including those individuals living in countries where expressing political opinions could have implications on their personal safety. Matthew Ingram looks at both Google and Facebook in his article on the question of identity v. anonymity.
Google+ appears to be allowing some brands to retain their online profile, Ford has been spotted as having a “Test Account” banner. Have you spotted any others? Google+ has said that brands will be allowed on later this year, but Facebook appears to be taking advantage of this by promoting https://www.facebook.com/business it isn’t a new service, but a gathering of existing guides and support materials for businesses wanting to get online with Facebook.
Google+ one month in
With the first month under its wing, Google+ has grown impressively to over 10 million users by the 15th July and was reported as exceeding 20 million towards the end of this month. We’ve included reviews from Mashable’s Ben Par and Search Engine Land Contributor Greg Finn on this month’s activity. Although there has been bugs and controversy including the privacy settings, anonymity vs real names & brands being blocked, we think the new social network’s performance over this month should be recognised as impressive, but this isn’t a short distance race so we won’t be closing our Facebook or Twitter accounts!