Using Google Alerts

Create a new account

I came to web design many years ago from a public relations background – I worked as Account Director at a couple of agencies and also ran my own PR company. In those heady days we billed our clients a small fortune in costs incurred from press clippings services. Unless you are seriously interested in traditional hard copy media coverage for most small to medium size businesses this isn’t necessary.

You may not even be that interested in seriously


promoting yourself via public relations… However, it would be very reckless not be aware of what’s being said about you online on this small island where reputation matters so much (or anywhere else for that matter)! Especially if it’s FREE to monitor.

This is where Google Alerts come in. Totally free and


absurdly simple to set up! Using Google Alerts you can monitor names and phrases and receive emails letting you know what’s being said about you, and also letting you know what your competitors are up to online.

  1. If you don’t already have a Google account – open a new account – extremely simple to do, fill out the form and follow the instructions.
  2. When you have opened the account you will be logged in (or if you have already got an account with Google login from the home page). Click on ‘My Account’.
  3. On that page you will find ‘Alerts’ under the heading My products. Click on it!
  4. Fill in the form with your chosen keyword or phrase like in this example – and viola. It’s that simple.

You can create as many alerts as you like to gather information on what’s being said about you, your competitors, your industry or even your hobbies….



Is my site banned by Google?

In order for your website to be found via a search on the internet, it needs to first be accepted by the search engines. However, if it contravenes any of the search engine’s rules – then it may get banned… resulting in it not showing up in those important results.

For the purposes of this article, we shall concentrate on Google – after all, it is the biggest!

We are very proud to say that we have NEVER had a site banned by Google. Not any of ours, nor any of our clients. However, a couple of years ago we did buy a domain that had been registered by someone else (who no longer lives on the Island) and found out very quickly that they must have broken some criteria laid down by Google had resulted in the domain being banned. This banned domain was Lanzarote Business

Getting a site unbanned by Google is not particularly easy. First of all, Google won’t tell you why a specific site has been banned. However, it does give you some ways to ensure that a site doesn’t get banned in the first place, so going through these step by step can help you to check that you are following best procedures, then leaving you to approach Google and ask for reconsideration.

So how do I know if my site is banned by Google?

There are a couple of ways to try.  Start by going to Google and typing in site: followed by your domain name, minus the www. For example:

If it gives you search results… then all’s well, and your site is not banned. If it returns no search results, then it is not listed in their archives. If this is the case, then do a search for “Google banned checker tool” – there are plenty of free ones out there – and here is a link to just one of them: Google Banned Checker Tool

What could have caused it?

Getting a site banned by Google isn’t that common really – so you must have done something pretty bad if that has happened. There are a number of reasons why Google may have banned your website, and here are just three of them:

  • Using Black Hat SEO techniques
  • Linking to”bad” sites, such as gambling, pronographic or link farms
  • Duplicate content. Copying another website’s content can definitely harm you, which is one of the reasons we take plagiarism very seriously indeed.

How can I fix it?

The best way is to open a Google Webmaster Tools account. It is free, and only takes a couple of minutes. Then you submit your website, validate it by placing a small piece of code in your website, and you can start using the tools that Google has provided. There is a tool in there that can resubmit your site to Google, and offer it for reconsideration.

The offending site that we had was looked at in less than a week, and is already commanding many useful search terms… all on page one of Google results. We simply proved to Google that we were new owners, and that the site was full of useful content – and Bob’s your auntie’s husband.

Don’t risk getting your site banned, by urilising bad practice – and do certainly be careful who you get to build your website!

Typos can be good!

A few days ago we stumbled on a number one position on Google for one of our sites. More by good luck than planning in this case, the number one position was for a phrase very relevant to the site in question – but it was a typo – and a VERY common misspelling…

Should you find this at any time – don’t fix it – this is a good thing. Your site will no doubt have your search terms duplicated elsewhere, so no need to worry.

Don’t be afraid also to include common misspellings within you keywords and descriptions. Find a really common one and it can work very well for you…

Google AdSense – how closely targetted is it?

On a lighter note than usual – it brought a smile to my face recently when I was working on a domain of ours which includes the word EARTH…

In adding some AdSense to the site and whilst testing without any content up on the right hand side pops something like… “Visiting Earth – For all you need to know visit Trip Advisor for everything you need to know about Earth”.

Perhaps they see the advantage of targetting any aliens about to visit and looking for reviews of hotels they can rest up in before the invasion? 🙂

What is Google Page Rank

Many people confuse Google Page Rank with the ranking their site has in Google search results.

The two are very different animals however, and do not always match each other. For example – you may have a Google Page Rank of 4 or 5 (it goes 0 to 10 – with 10 being the highest) but you still do not come up at the number one spot for their chosen search term in Google results.

Google says that Google Page rank is determined by a high number of factors… but are reticent about listing them all. One of the most deciding factors however, is the number of backlinks from external websites referring to a particular page. The rank is always allocated to a page, rather than the whole website… so you will usually have a higher page rank on your home page, than to an internal page – this is usually because people will usually point to your home page when referencing your website.

Recently our guide to moving to Lanzarote achieved a Google Page rank of 4. This tells us that Google views the site as beneficial to readers, because there are so many links pointing towards it.

Our nightlife website Canary Nightlife has a page rank of 3. However, some of its internal pages also rank well… such as the Island pages and town pages inside the website.

So how do you raise your page rank? The first place to start is by getting lots of people to link to your website – or to a particular page. You can do this by a variety of methods… such as reciprocal linking, article writing, posting on message boards and much more. Ensure that your content is engaging, and of interest to lots of different people. You might think that you have written a masterpiece – but if nobody else shares your interest… then it’s not a lot of use. Aim to get your link listed on pages that already have a good rank themselves, as their “vote” is respected more highly by Google.

Be wary of websites that email you for a reciprocal link – claiming that they have a high page rank… but then shove your link onto a page on their site that isn’t even acknowledged by Google. This doesn’t help you – and only benefits them.

One thing to always remember though – is that content is vital for the health of your website. Keep it current… keep it fresh… keep it relevant… keep it updated!

To check the Google Page Rank of your own website – either install the Google Toolbar direct from Google… or you can enter your site address into this tool below.

Check Page Rank of any web site pages instantly:
This free page rank checking tool is powered by Page Rank Checker service

Both options are free of course.

Lanzarote Google searches

We found this summary on how people are searching on the three main resorts of Lanzarote quite interesting. Does it reflect the popularity of the respective resorts in general terms?

The following relates to searches on Google through the month of November 2008.

Playa Blanca Lanzarote – 27,100
Costa Teguise Lanzarote – 14,800
Puerto del Carmen Lanzarote 12,100