This Week in Drupal SEO News: Volacci at DrupalConSF2010, Whitehouse.gov Releases Code, and Introducing Google Places
It was a busy week for Drupalistas. DrupalConSF2010 officially ended Wednesday, but most of us are still there in spirit. An impromptu Drupal convention was successfully put together in Antwerp, Belgium for all the European Drupalistas who couldn’t talk their airlines into flying through volcanic ash! It was a fun week for Volacci as well. We gave away an iPad to a lucky DrupalCon attendant via an interactive search contest. Our SEO pre-conference training session was a huge success all around. And my session on Conversion Rate Optimization was a blast! For more news from San Francisco, Google’s new Google Places, and Whitehouse.gov releasing their open source coding, join me after the jump.
DRUPAL NEWS DrupalConSF2010 The Volacci’s DrupalConSF2010 experience kicked off with a pre-conference training session on Search Engine Optimization. It was sold out with 20 attendees, including people from four different non-profit organizations, MIT, and other Universities. We discussed link building, on-page optimization, keyword research, basic conversion analysis, content siloing, site architecture, etc. Volacci felt like it was a huge success all around. Volacci also hosted an iSearch for an iPad contest, which led conference attendees on an online scavenger hunt for clues from Volacci’s Twitter, Facebook Fan Page, blog, and conference booth. In the end, Gary Pryde took home the iPad! Congratulations Gary Pryde! Dries Buytaert, who was able to make it despite the international air travel restrictions, gave an amazing keynote speech, discussing Drupal’s last year, the future of Drupal, and Drupal 7. It was a very motivating, exciting moment for all Drupalistas in attendance. Unfortunately, there were some European attendants who weren’t able to make the conference due to volcanic ash in our atmosphere. So, instead, they went to... DrupalVolCon Antwerp, Belgium Millions of travelers have been sleeping on airport floors, showering in sinks, and eating out of snack machines due to the Eyjafjallajokull volcano. That also included nearly all Europeans who planned to attend DrupalConSF2010. The solution? DrupalVolCon, an ad-hoc organized Drupal conference for all Europeans who were grounded by volcanic ash. The alternative conference was put on in Antwerp, Belgium for the hundreds of Drupalistas who were stuck somewhere between San Francisco and their home country. Here is a map of all the Drupalistas stuck in Europe. DrupalVolCon, despite being impromptu, was still able to live stream keynotes and some sessions from San Francisco. They also planned sessions on the fly, in a very un-conference tradition, which is something the Drupal community excels at - landing on our feet. That is why I love Drupal! Whitehouse.gov Releases Open Source Code As you may know, in 2009, Whitehouse.gov migrated to Drupal in an effort to become more transparent. David Cole, from the New Media Team at the whitehouse.gov, gave Wednesday’s keynote at DrupalConSF2010 and discussed the whitehouse.gov migration to Drupal, and the government’s future plans to use Drupal and open source. And then it happened. David announced that Whitehouse.gov is releasing their open source code for anyone to review, use, or modify. By releasing this code, Whitehouse.gov officials believe they will benefit from more people reviewing and improving it. This is a big deal. The code that was released adds to Drupal’s functionality in several critical ways: Scalability David’s team created a module called Context HTTP Headers, which “allows site builders to add new metadata to the context they serve.” A second module they are releasing is called Akamai and it “allows (websites) to integrate with a content delivery network.” Communication Government agencies have specific email programs to communicate with the public. A new module, GovDelivery, integrates with the GovDelivery On-Demand Mailer service, and allows users to create more dynamic emails that tailor to the end users’ preferences. This module provides an easy and more efficient way for government agencies to communicate. And we all want our government to communicate more efficiently! Accessibility The Node Embed module was developed to make sure all images on the whitehouse.gov website have the appropriate metadata. It also makes it easier to manage photos and video content on websites that readers and spiders can both see. This is a big step in Drupal and open source communities. Whitehouse.gov is a direct online touchpoint with the Oval Office. By allowing the public to get their fingers into the coding of their site is about as transparent as you can get. This will only further build and strengthen the Drupal community’s presence in today’s accelerating digital society. SEARCH NEWS Google Introduces Google Places On Wednesday, Google officially gave Local Business Center an extreme makeover. Introducing Google Places, your new spot for local search. Google Places pages - which is the way businesses will be found today - enables business owners to better manage their online presence with Google. Google Places pages were actually launched last September, but was combined with Local Business Center to simplify local search. Some people have compared this new setup as “adding a Yelp-like feature” to Google Local Search. Businesses can now display photos, reviews, facts, and real-time offers and updates. Here is a closer look at Google Places. Existing Features: Create Your Own Business Page Track Visitors and Actions Post Updates and News Post Coupons and Track Impressions Mobile Coupons New Features Set Service Areas You can set your ‘service areas’ of business, or make your business online-only. If you travel to customers, you can establish your service area. If you are an online business, you can make your address private. An established service area will boost your local search rankings. ”Tags” for Paid Advertising For $25 a month, you can make your business listing more prominent on Google with “Tags”. Currently, Tags is active in three markets - Austin, Atlanta, and Washington D.C. - as well as availability in Houston and San Jose. In the next few weeks, this service will be rolled out to Chicago, San Diego, Boulder and San Francisco. Free Google Business Photo Shoots Not only will you know be able to upload your own photos of the business on your profile, you can now request a free business photo shoot from Google! Businesses in select cities can request Google to come and shoot the interior of their business to supplement existing photos on their Places Page. Here is a site with more information. Custom “QR” Codes “QR” codes are a type of barcode placed on business cards or other marketing material. Businesses will have the option of downloading a QR code unique to their business and place it on their Google Places dashboard. Potential customers can scan them with supported smartphones and it will take them directly to the mobile version of the Place Page for the business. Overall, Google Places extends the Business Local Center to be more dynamically linked to Google Local and Google Maps. It provides the ability to have real-time updates and coupons, more affordable advertising, more accessibility with QR codes, and doesn’t require the “brick and mortar” that SEO for local business can entail. Thanks For Reading! Did you find this post entertaining, useful, or interesting? Please repost, retweet, or redistribute to any of the social sites of your choice, and please subscribe to our RSS feed for daily fodder. For every RSS subscription Volacci gets, a kitten earns its whiskers. You like kittens, don’t you? Do the right thing, then. Subscribe. We also are very interested in what you have to say in response to this blog post. As always we are very grateful for you, our reader, and greatly value your input. Please start a conversation with a comment below.