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View Weather on Google Maps

Yesterday Google announced the roll out a new feature that lets users view the weather anywhere around the world in Google Maps.

The new feature offers users the ability to add a “weather layer” to any map they are viewing via Google Maps. When viewing the weather feature click on the weather icon for city and an info window will open containing the predicted forecast for the next four days and details such as the current humidity and wind conditions. All the weather information is weather.com.

Google Maps Weather

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To activate the feature click on the weather layer option in the widget contained on the top right hand corner of the map.

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Google+ for Businesses

Google+, Google’s effort to turn the entire search engine entity into one giant social network saw success for personal Google+ accounts. Although, Google has requested businesses to postpone creating Google+ profiles for the time being while they further develop + features for business profiles. Even so, several major brands including Ford, Mashable and Breaking News created profiles anyway.

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Google had not planned on reviling their business profiles for Google+ until later this year but due to the frenzy of businesses pressuring Google for business profiles Christian Oestlien, group product manager at Google announced on his blog they are running a test phase that businesses can apply for to be part of the testing. Be sure to apply for your business to be part of the test by going to http://goo.gl/zq95C. Applications to be part of the test phase end this Friday. We at Organik SEO have applied and so should your business.

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Is San Diego's future getting greener?

The 27th annual San Diego Economic Roundtable was held on Friday. This forum brings together a distinguished panel of experts who provide their outlook for the local economy. Presenters provided predictions on 2011 and also discussed some of the longer term opportunities and challenges for San Diego. Following are a few highlights from the event, particularly those relating to sustainability.

The overall tone of the meeting was positive but guarded. The general sense is that the worst of the recession is behind us. Supporting this was the Index of Leading Economic Indicators reported at a +0.4% (December). Not wildly positive, but nevertheless, positive.

There seemed to be a general consensus that the San Diego unemployment rate will soon dip below 10% but will remain relatively high in the short term. At least one presenter predicted that we won’t return to full employment levels until 2015. One shocking statistic presented was the unemployment rate of 25% for veterans 18-25. There are groups working on this issue and hopefully it will be addressed sooner rather than later.

For those of us involved in sustainability, there was good news. Several of the presenters are forecasting that green tech, specifically bio fuels, will be one of the areas to see job growth in the region in the near future. These jobs not only bode well for the environment but also have a positive influence on the economy as they tend to have higher wages. Those who are in the business of bringing companies and jobs to San Diego are targeting this industry.

It was pointed out that the trend in the number of start-ups has been positive over the past three quarters. San Diego boasts 6000 innovation companies. One particular sector among start-ups that is growing fast is the Environmental Technology.

While there are many challenges facing the county, 2011 looks bright, particularly for those of us involved in sustainability.

You can find more information about the roundtable at www.CTN.org

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Google's Hotpot: new location-based recommendation search engine

Google has just unveiled Hotpot, an early release of a location-based recommendation engine. As the owner of an online marketing company that helps many local businesses, this announcement is particularly newsworthy for us and our clients.

Local search and location based services is a fast growing segment and one that is particularly pertinent to our clients. To capitalize on this fast growing segment and stay ahead of the competition, Google has recently released several improvements in this area including those to Places, Images, Latitude and other services with location features. Hotpot is its latest entrant into the world of location-based services.

Hotpot takes all of Google Places’ ratings and reviews features and adds a more personal touch. Currently, Place Pages mostly aggregate review data from sources such as Yelp. With Hotpot, users can rate and review businesses directly from their Google-linked profile. Your ratings and reviews are tracked with a counter at the top of each profile, and likes and dislikes are remembered and used in Google’s recommendation engine.

Hotpot has an easy to use user interface geared towards the average consumer. It presents star ratings and images for each place in a grid format and doesn’t get bogged down with too many details.

Hotpot is also designed to capitalize on another big trend – social. Users can create a profile nickname to separate their Hotpot account from their general Google profiles. Google uses Gmail accounts and linked Google profiles to help users find their friends. Friends’ reviews and ratings will be visible, and users will get recommendations based on what their friends like.

When you search for specific places, such as “Italian Encinitas,” in Hotpot, you can filter your search results to see businesses or other places you haven’t rated before; you can also choose to see only places that have been rated by your Hotpot friends.

If you haven’t already set up your Google Places page, now would be a great time to do so. You want to make sure that your business shows up in local searches and that you give customers the opportunity to tell their friends how great your product or service is. Additionally, Hotpot should open even more location-based advertising doors for businesses.

Although Facebook is going after this segment with their recently released Places feature, it is likely, at least in the short term that most consumers will start their local business searches on Google.

If you have any questions about Hotpot or location-based search, contact us at OrganikSEO.com

Hotpot

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Google Maps in transition

So today google started rolling out changes in how they display map results on their SERP’s. I just opened up 3 different browsers (Firefox, Internet Explorer and Safari) and conducted the same search quiry (house painter solana beach) and the results displayed differently in each browser… YIKES!!!! In one case the map was on the right sidebar and map results looked very similar to organic website results….

I am hoping that google will have this worked out by tomorrow but as of right now their is no consistancy. For example, our client (Barton Custom Painting) is displaying in possition 2 on 2 browsers and possition 6 in another…. Overall I am hopeful that these changes are going to be good for local small businesses but we will have to wait and see.

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Cedros Works Open House 9-15-2010

Looking for office space in San Diego? Come check out CedrosWorks.com (in our building). Cedros works is a great new workshare office space for startups and mobile professionals. There is an Open house tomorrow so come see what all the talk is about! FREE SOCIAL MEDIA AND SEO EVALUATION WITH ME (Julien) FOR THOSE THAT STOP BY!

444 South Cedros Ave.
Solana Beach CA 92075
10am to 5pm 9/15/2010

Check out the facebook invite here

- Julien Brandt CEO
OrganikSEO.com

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Why SEO is important for businesses

People are looking for your products and services. When a potential customer needs something, they often turn to an online search engine. If your website doesn’t return at the top of the search results, your customers won’t be able to find you! Their attention, purchases, and loyalty will be lost to another business and you will have missed out on winning over a lifelong customer. That’s the value of SEO. It ensures you are top of mind in the minds of potential customers, enabling them to come to you for what they need.
There are, unfortunately, a lot of misconceptions about SEO among small businesses. Owners of small businesses may think that SEO won’t fit into their budget, or that SEO experts can’t be trusted because they don’t understand the search engine optimization process. Some people even think that SEO can’t help them until they become a major brand name. Nothing could be further from the truth! The internet has actually made competition possible across companies of all sizes. Even the smallest business can compete with the industry leader through a properly implemented SEO campaign.
How? Read on to find out.
1) It’s reasonably priced.
In fact, SEO is one of the most economical marketing strategies available! SEO can fit into almost any budget, particularly when it is targeted to generate results for specific terms or a defined local market.
2) It encourages creativity and allows for experimentation.
SEO allows you to tweak your online marketing strategies and marketing plans for optimal performance at any time. You can experiment with content, tags and links and change strategy based on the results without incurring costs or wasting effort. SEO allows small businesses to be nimble and flexible and respond to results with ease.
3) It’s powerful.
SEO is a great investment that can provide huge returns in brand recognition and sales. SEO naturally attracts people who are looking for you, and helping get your services and products into the hands of your target consumers.
Having a web site without employing SEO techniques is like having a sale without posting it anywhere. No one will find you or take advantage of what you have to offer if you don’t actively promote your business.
4) It creates well-structured websites.
The foundation of SEO is creating great websites that are filled with useful, high-quality content that are easy for consumers to use and for search engines to understand. It sets up websites correctly from the beginning so that they’re accessible, easy to find, and beneficial to both businesses and consumers. By optimizing the basic construction of your website, you can improve both customer relationships and your ultimate ROI on your online presence.
5) Your competition uses SEO.
Many small businesses have already turned to SEO to boost search engine rankings and attract customers. The longer that these companies have to tailor their strategies and gain loyal customers, the more difficult it will become for other businesses to catch up. The sooner you get into search engine results, the sooner you gain a competitive advantage.

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The Hidden Power of SEO

Search Engine Optimization or SEO is commonly thought of as merely a method of driving traffic to a website. It is actually much more than that.
Without a doubt, SEO is one of the best ways to generate traffic to a website. But more than that, site visitors and owners benefit from SEO techniques because they match users with the products and services they need, provide a better website browsing experience and ensure a site functions optimally.
Quality Web Traffic
While many marketing techniques focus on getting as many visitors to a website as possible, SEO techniques focus on matching people to those sites that they will find most useful by including the words and phrases that potential customers are searching for in a website’s content. By narrowing in on a company’s target market, increases the likelihood that site visitors will stay a site longer to explore what a company has to offer. Longer site visits translate to increased site participation, more purchases and more visitor exposure to banners or affiliate advertisements.
Usable Site Content
Search engine optimization also improves online content and site usability. By carefully crafting a site’s content to be useful and relevant, site visitors are greeted by exactly the information they want and need, which fosters a positive impression of the company that has provided it.
Elimination of Unnecessary Content
SEO techniques also eliminate unnecessary content because such content can drag websites down in search engine rankings. Elimination of unnecessary content also benefits users because site navigation is made easier and faster. Users experience less frustration because they are no longer forced to browse through numerous pages to find the content and services they need.
Faster Loading Time
In addition, SEO techniques require outdated web structures be replaced with structures that present content in a format that is more easily read by search engines. This practice both raises the site’s search engine rankings as well as makes the site load more quickly. Fast loading times have a positive impact on the number of individuals who will take the time to browse a site upon arrival, rather than quickly moving on.
Better Organization
Another SEO technique involves organizing content by using a clear title and heading structure, as search engines often put a lot of importance on the content in these sections. Heading and sub-heading divisions make a site more organized, easier to navigate and simpler to manage.
When properly executed, SEO ultimately results in a better browsing experience for visitors, an easier site management for webmasters and a better marketing ROI for business owners.

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