Google "Plus Box" Puts Maps In Search Results

Google’s officially gained a new “plus box” feature that lets you see maps for local businesses right within the search results pages.

New Google UI feature: Plus Box from Matt Cutts gives more details on how it works and how local webmaster can make it happen for their listings.

Depending on the search query and your location, you may see a little plus sign and address information under a search result. When clicked, it opens up more details from Google Maps. The details include business information, a map, the address, driving directions and a phone number.

The feature was first spotted on Threadwatch last month. When I came across it, I found it very helpful.

So as a webmaster, how do you increase the chances your site shows this plus sign? Matt Cutts explains you need a local listing in Google. Here are help documents with more information about that:

Sometimes an address appears below some search results. Why? What browsers does the Plus Box support? My business address and phone number are incorrect or missing in the Google search results Plus Box. How can I change this?

Pay Per Post Reviews Acceptable By Some Search Engines

Search Engines Say OK to Pay-per-Post Services from Rand Fishkin at SEOmoz has him reporting from SES Chicago that search engines seemed largely unconcerned over pay-per-post programs, in terms of them being cover for paid links.

Specifically, Tim Converse from Yahoo starts off saying that “there would be no discount of link value for paid blog material.” The rest of the search engines, including Google, represented by Adam Lasnik nodded their heads, according to Rand. Now, this was not just shocking to Rand, I was shocked by the response after Rand told me this on Thursday.

Matt Cutts of Google tries to clear things up by commenting at SEOMoz saying;

Just to chime in and expand on Adam’s comment: Google wants to do a good job of detecting paid links. Paid links that affect search engines (whether paid text links or a paid review) can cause a site to lose trust in Google.

Now that is more like a Google response. So what to do as an SEO now? Tough one, no?

Matt Cutts On Google Rumor Debunking Rampage

Matt Cutts has a fun weekend debunking Google rumors at his blog. He covered rumors that the toolbar leads Googlebot to index pages, a story about Google funding terrorism (a topic I avoided on purpose), Google working with the CIA as a conspiracy, and Google cheating on AdWords for their own ads. He also wrote a bit about new features that were launched.

Toolbar doesn’t lead to page being indexedWatching a story, part IWatching a story, part IIDebunking: “Google in bed with CIA

Top Ten Ways To Contact Google

Reaching the Google web search team is not always an easy thing to do. That is why I came up with one of my few top ten lists, this one is named Best Way To Contact Google? I’ll give you my best way and worst way to contact Google.

Best: Go to Google Webmaster Help at Google Groups and call out Adam Lasnik’s name
Worst: Pray to the Google Pray tag

For numbers two through nine, you have to read the post.

Video With Google On Duplicate Content, PageRank, Sitemaps & More

WebProNews has an excellent video of guest interviewer, Rand Fishkin of SEOMoz.org and Google’s Vanessa Fox from the Webmaster Central team. Rand does an excellent job asking Vanessa about duplicate content, PageRank, Sitemaps and even discusses DaveN. This 17 minute video is well worth a listen to.

Google Explains Hacked Site Exclusion & Reinclusion Process

Matt Cutts of Google wrote an entry named How Google handles hacked sites. In that post he details on specific example of a site that was hacked, spam was placed on the site, the site was dropped from the Google index, and the site owner was upset and the story made it to Slashdot. Due to that, Matt felt it appropriate to explain how Google typically handles these types of issues, using that site as an example. You can see how the site was hacked, the type of spam placed on the site, the date Google dropped the site from the index, the dates Google tried to notify the site owner via Webmaster Central and via email and the approval of the reinclusion request. Matt’s post is well worth a read.

8 Googler Alternatives To Superstar Matt Cutts

If the search engine optimization world has a rock star, ironically the king isn’t an actual SEO but rather mild mannered Matt Cutts of Google. His
title of software engineer belies his role as spam czar from Google. If Google’s web search results are a castle constantly under siege, Matt Cutts is the one high on the walls, swinging his sword and calling to his fellow Googlers to repel the attackers with hot oil of site expulsions and link downgrades.

Of course, not all site owners and SEOers are trying to bring down the Google castle. Many of them are hard working villagers that want the protection of the castle but can’t figure why they aren’t allowed in past the gates. As a benevolent lord of the castle, Matt seeks to help. In fact, even to the so called enemies he’ll reach out, similar to the famous Christmas Truce of 1914, as he’s written.

As a result, everyone wants to talk to Matt. Here he is at the Google Dance, held at Google during SES San Jose last August:

As he went to get something to eat, a pack of fans — which I nicknamed Cuttletts some time ago — followed him wherever he went.

The man quite simply gets swarmed wherever he goes. And that leads to the point of this post, best illustrated with a compare-and-contrast photo:

Sitting over there on the left is Googler Vanessa Fox. She’s at the opposite end of the same stage where Matt is being swarmed. If the stage were a ship, all the passengers that ran over to talk with Matt would have been tilting it to dangerously low on their side, while Vanessa’s side would be high in the air.

That’s a lost opportunity. Vanessa, product manager of Google Webmaster Central, knows tons that will help site owners and SEOs. So do many other Googlers who make it out to conferences. That’s the reason for this post, to introduce people to Googlers they should seek out in addition to or as an alternative to Matt.

Want to know more about Matt? See this nice interview of him last year at Google Blogoscoped, this list of 20 trivia facts about him or read
Matt’s blog. Want to know more about the other Googlers? Let’s meet them!

Amanda Camp
Position: Tech Lead, Google Webmaster Tools
Location: Googleplex Kirkland (Seattle)
Hails From: Tuscon, Arizona
Musical Talent: Plays the trumpet
Favorite Movie: Ghost
Favorite Book: Matilda
Favorite Google Product Other Than Search: Google Calculator, uses for her taxes
Favorite http code: 308 (not yet defined)
Favorite Drinkbait: Bailey’s & Coffee
If Google Were A Superhero, It Would Be: Inspector Gadget
Her Super Power:
Flying

Dan Crow
Position: Product Manager
Location: Googleplex New York
Hails From: Oxford, England
SES Chicago 2006 Sessions:
Musical Talent: Absolutely none
Favorite Movie:  Dr. Strangelove
Favorite Book: Atonement by Ian McEwan
Favorite Google Product Other Than Search: Google Docs (aka Writely)
Favorite http code: 406 Not Acceptable
Favorite Drink: Theakston’s Old Peculier
If Google Were A Superhero, It Would Be: Justice League of America
Unusual Trivia Fact:
Has eaten crocodile, considers it too rubbery

Trevor Foucher
Position: Engineer, webmaster tools
Location: Googleplex Kirkland (Seattle)
Hails From: Anaheim, California
Favorite Movie: Groundhog Day
Favorite Book: Ender’s Game
Favorite Google Product Other Than Search: Gmail
Favorite http code: 200 OK (who wouldn’t like OK?!)
Favorite Drink: Rum & Diet Coke
First Computer: ZX81
Unusual Trivia Fact: His wife is a stand up comedian who also plays the banjo

Vanessa Fox
Position: Product Manager, Webmaster Central
Location: Googleplex Kirkland (Seattle)
Hails From: California
Musical Talent: Flute and very bad singing
Favorite Movie: Breakfast at Tiffany’s
Favorite Book: Favorite book is very difficult. Maybe the Chronicles of Narnia. Which is more than one book. But you can get them as a set. So it counts. Because I said so.
Favorite Google Product Other Than Search: Google SMS
Favorite http code: 203 – shifty content
Favorite Drink: Margaritas with good tequila
Unusual Trivia Fact: Have run a Buffy site and a couple of Buffy message boards for years.

Adam Lasnik
Position: Search Evangelist
Location: Googleplex Mountain View, the MotherPlex
Hails From: Thousand Oaks, California
Musical Talent: I’ve played piano since age 4.  Dabbled in orchestra conducting.  Done arrangements for vocal groups and a jazz band.  I have perfect pitch which is both a blessing and a curse.
Favorite Music: A cappella!
Favorite Book: Books? Like things with lots of paper…but not for school? Such a sadly distant memory! Can I just claim a oldie-but-goodie
Favorite on Asimov’s stuff on the whole?
Favorite Google Product Other Than Search:
G-Implant. Oh, er, I’m only supposed to choose something that’s PUBLIC, right? Um, then I’d have to say GMail, absolutely a Godsend for dealing with large amounts of mail…and finding the actual important stuff fast!
Favorite http code: 302 Found. I mean, heck, it just gives me warm fuzzies. ’twas lost and now it’s found. Who can argue with
that?!
Favorite Drink: When I’m not at webmaster events: Mojitos and Caipirinhas. Also wine, especially red. Not beer though. This did not go over well during my year in Germany.
First Computer: Apple II+
If Google Were A Superhero, It Would Be: Mighty Geek! Leaps tall server racks in a single bound. Saves small children. Has a sensitive side that not many see.

Maile Ohye
Position: Developer Support Engineer
Location:
Googleplex Mountain View, the MotherPlex
Hails From:
Cupertino, California
Musical Talent: Sings badly
Favorite Movie: She prefers TV, Oprah and NFL live
Favorite Book: Only reads non-fiction books about death
Favorite Google Product Other Than Search: Google Calendar
Favorite http code: 200 -Success is always nice
Favorite Drink: Mojito
Unusual Trivia Fact: Went to college on field hockey scholarship. Reads books about death (non-fiction). Can make a more meaningful life by leaning about death (reverse engineering)

Evan Roseman
Position: Software Engineer
Location: Googleplex Mountain View, the MotherPlex
Hails From:
Birmingham, Alabama
Musical Talent: Plays Trombone
Favorite Movie: Airplane!
Favorite Book: 1984
Favorite Google Product Other Than Search: Gmail
Favorite http code: 410 gone
Favorite Drink: Jones Soda
If Google Were A Superhero, It Would Be: Batman

Jonathan Simon
Position: Webmaster Trends Analyst (track what webmasters are worried about on forums, blogs, etc. See more here).
Location: Googleplex Kirkland (Seattle)
Hails From: Louisiana
Musical Talent: Plays guitar — writes his own songs and sings!
Favorite Movie: Little Big Men
Favorite Book: Jitterbug Perfume
Favorite Google Product Other Than Search:  Google Maps
Favorite http code: 200 OK
Favorite Drink: Greyhound or Patron, straight up