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Can I Use One Google Search Console for Multiple Domains?


You can Google all-day-long and you will not find a definitive answer to this question. Why is that?

For clarity, here is the closest thing you’ll find on the topic https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/34592?hl=en

But we are not talking about Subdomains! We are talking about Domains aren’t we? Exactly!

I have been “doing this stuff” since Google was birthed (or became better than Altavista) @ 2001. I have seen all the evolution of methods to “do-these-things” with Google. These things I’ll call “methods”. They are simply ways to communicate with Google so they can do what they want to do bigger, faster, better (in that order). These “methods” are often called SEO (“White-Hat SEO” that is).

So there are millions of people (you) doing their own SEO or providing service of this nature. You read Google support pages like most people read the newspaper. You participate on forums – ask questions – write your opinions and experiences. All that gets indexed by Google.

  • Then how can a question like this remain ambiguous?
  • Exactly! Because that’s the way Google wants it. Now here is where the developer says, “I don’t understand?”. The marketing person says, “But of course! That’s marketing” (sometimes called BS). The business person says, “Of course! That’s the nature of proprietary information.”. So are we all clear on this now?

So I’m going to answer this question based on experience alone.

  • Question: Can I use one Google Search Console for multiple domains?
  • Answer: Its probably not helpful.
  • Question: Thats no answer. OK! Why should I NOT use one Google Search Console for multiple domains?
  • Answer: Because Google likes Accounts linked to websites. ( And so do you, SEO-webmaster, because it gives you more telemetry in your analytics reporting ).

Remember that an ACCOUNT is a gmail login. A website is a PROPERTY of the ACCOUNT.

  • Question: I don’t get what that has to do with setting up multiple Domains in Google Search Console?
  • Answer: Because Google links its Services (like Analytics) with Search Console, with Adwords, with GMB (Google My Business – God awful name that it is), and Adsense, etc.

Given all that linking between SERVICES, why do you think its a good idea to add to the complexity by adding multiple domains (Properties) to one Search Console (Account)?

  • (You are not supposed to ask US questions! You are just blowing smoke with this “Services linked to Properties, linked to Accounts”. What’ next in your complexity lesson? Worm-holes?)
  • (And YOU are not supposed to make demands!)

I have found only by relative search rank performance – there is no absolute benchmark I can offer – that keeping 1 Google Account (gmail) dedicated to 1 Domain (website), yields much better search rank performance ( also mistakenly called SEO. re “My SEO is now much better because I...” Sounds like a health problem to me).

  • Question: What else? Is that all that is floating around in your pea-sized brain?
  • Answer: No. Keeping 1 Google Account (gmail) dedicated to 1 Domain (website) also cuts down on management headaches, because Google gives you all the methods you need to setup your many Account/Domains in easy-to-manage ways, re MCC, ( …wait for it…) proving that Google is very aware of the difficulties in adhering to all these ever-changing “methods”, whether you can find it documented online or not. I rest my case.
  • Question: Will this post get indexed?
  • Answer: Yes.
  • Question: Will I be able to find it in search results?
  • Answer: Probably not.

The Harsh Realities of Online Commerce


Its not as though they are harsh, its just that reality may not be what you may have come to expect. This article is about your expectations vs reality in the world of eCommerce. Your expectations probably conflict with reality when it comes to running your own website with WordPress and an e-commerce solution. WordPress is free open-source software. HOWEVER…

e-Commerce solutions are not exactly given away for free. You may ask; but what about Woocommerce and the dozen or so other open-source solutions? Are those not free?

Sorry to burst your bubble, but, no! They are not COST free.

Shopify vs Woocommerce, the two most popular e-commerce solutions for the small business are quiet different in this way. Shopify is a one-stop PAID solution vs Woocommerce open-source FREE software.

This is a common misunderstanding to some people about open-source software. Its free to download. After that, you’re on your own. If you want it to work, you often need the professional help of the developers – that is how they make a living.

Some developers have not mastered the art of business or they may come from a culture very alien to yours. So you may encounter some weirdness in your dealing with them. That weirdness can feel like you are being scammed. Its happened to me. But at the end of the day, this ecosystem of open-source requires that you understand that, or you should use a paid-up-front all-in-one solution like Shopify.

If you want to get philosophical about it, this is exactly how Apple and Microsoft became what they are today. There were always free open-source operating systems (Unix, CPM, DOS) to run your computer, but enough people wanted a one-stop solution that worked right out of the box and had a friendly interface that you could use within minutes – no huge learning-curve (but you had to PAY up-front).

The battle rages which is the better business model. But now you know how to think rationally about the cost of your online e-commerce options.

Who is Really Winning the Maps Game

by Troy Hartenstine in Google, Local Search Comments: 0 tags: Maps

Copilot seems to be tops for serious navigators – especially where driving and avoiding major traffic jams on the Autobahn(s) is concerned. OpenStreetMap in Europe is solid and has legs. And there are many apps spawned from OpenStreetMap, such as Locus.

Geofencing vs Hyperlocal Search Confusion


There is a bit of confusion about Geofencing anyway, given that it is a new advertising methodology. That newness has lead to confusion about the use of the word geofencing and should not be confused with the act of searching using a mobile device.

We do not, thus far, get involved in Geofencing, but we are all about hyperlocal search. So let’s see if we can’t clear up some marketing BS.

Geofencing assumes you are talking about an app on a mobile device (that may change, but for now it requires an installed application designed to recognize “the fence” – a geographic boundary). re. I get an alert on my mobile device that a product near me is on sale. That is very different from searching for a product and finding one is for sale nearby. This latter example (searching) would be the result of an ad (in Adwords) displaying in your search results page because you are in the vicinity of a business advertising in Adwords. Thus far, Adwords cannot alert you. You must search first.

Look at it as passive vs active. You have an app that alerts you. That’s passive. You didn’t do anything (except install the app and then move into a certain geographic area). Search requires that you actively typed something into your device.

Geofencing is about advertising to an audience that happens into your targeted area (usually hyperlocal). So far, this requires some application that monitors your location and alerts you to something nearby. Android has some training that is useful to understanding how it works.

Now here is that example; how a so called professional in the local marketing business does not understand that geofencing has nothing to do with search. (or maybe its how marketing people just cant help themselves when the ability to use misleading context arises. You know. “Baffle them with bullshit”.)

In this post 3 Geofencing Stats You Need To Know:

#3 is > 51% of smartphone users have discovered a new company or product when conducting a search on their smartphone.

Yes, that statement is true, but…it has NOTHING to do with geofencing.

Note the word “search” there? It is outright misleading to include this item in the list of benefits of geofencing. Search is how you FIND new businesses. (I guess we just needed 3 bullet points because 2 just seems soooo weak) Geofencing by itself does not help you FIND new businesses.

Here is another in my diary of marketing companies that either don’t know what they are talking about or they should just not blog. You decide.

What Is Geofencing and Does It Matter? in which they write “The smallest location you can target in AdWords is a one-mile radius.”

What? A radius in Adwords is not a geofence (nor is it a recent innovation). And there is a lot of other useless information in that post too. In the article is a Premier Google Partner badge. I guess you can trust anyone with a badge.

Long-Tail vs Short-Tail Ad Campaign Considerations

by Troy Hartenstine in Adwords Comments: 0 tags: Adwords

After a recent experience with a (3rd party/agency) PPC vendor that specializes in product-level ad campaigns, I can make some observations about such services.

Product-level ads mean; automatically generating long-tail keywords and creating ads with links to those product pages. Because when there are 10’s of items (perhaps thousands) or there is high inventory turn-over, this job is not something a human can keep on top of. Thus the 3rd party that specializes in this sort of service, with black-box tech of course.

Black-box or Mechanical Turk?

Automated PPC services are typically two services packaged together that should be analyzed separately. There is keyword & ad generation. There is also campaign management. It turns out, the later is the really tricky part.

So we look at efficacy – can the “black-box” do what it claims to do? (turn inventory pages into ads with long-tail keywords) In that narrow description, it appears so, but the human-to-black-box interface presented obstacles.

There is a lot more mechanical-turk going on at the campaign management layer than is admitted. That means there is a human behind the black-box doing a percentage of the work. This was the first area of dissatisfaction as the “magic” required a human being with “expert” skills (the mechanical-turk) at PPC campaign management. Then we found the application layer between the black-box and the mechanical-turk prevented certain fine-tuning – tuning we would have done ourselves except the application would not accommodate our tuning. We were left knowing what to do to get better results, but unable to put those changes into effect.

Cost of these services is a critical consideration. A greatly improved ROI cannot be guaranteed when the service costs between $600 to an unlimited (thousands) per month fee. A basic campaign of short-tail keywords can work just fine if one has an unlimited budget, so we only consider implementing a complex service such as this in order to sell more products. Right?

So our quest for a better ROI by using long-tail keyword, more relevant ads and deep links to our inventory comes down to selling more products for the same or a lower cost of advertising.

Remember that click-share is only a matter of the overall budget, whether it goes to long or short-tail keywords. We can always spend more money to get more market-share irregardless of “method” to get it. So we need to see significant increases in conversions = increase in ROI if we are to justify another layer of agency-service.

I cannot easily publish numbers here without revealing sources, so suffice to say, the devil is in the details. In our case, while the increases in CTR and ad position improved, we found the service to be a bit too expensive because we did not see an increase in sales.

Google Awords Tracking Phone Calls How To and Code

by Troy Hartenstine in Adwords, CTR, Google, PPC, ROI, Webmaster Comments: 0 tags: Conversion

Use conversion tracking to help you see how effectively your ads lead to clicks on your business phone number on your mobile website.

https://support.google.com/adwords/answer/6095878?hl=en&authuser=1

Use the following command if the phone number is shown as:

a text link:

Below is sample text link with a phone number. You need to replace the number with your own phone number and the CALL NOW text with the text you want to hyperlink.

a onclick="goog_report_conversion('tel:800-123-4567')" href="#" CALL NOW/a

an image:

Below is sample image dialing a phone number. Replace my_phone_button.gif with your button image and the phone numbers with your phone number

img src="my_phone_button.gif" alt="Call: 800-123-4567" width="32" height="32" onClick="goog_report_conversion('tel:800-123-4567')"/

a button:

Below is sample button with a phone number. Replace all call buttons in your page with the code below and replace the phone number with yours.

button onclick="goog_report_conversion('tel:800-123-4567')"Call 800-123-4567/button

Remarketing Pay Per Click Explained in Plain Terms

by Troy Hartenstine in Adwords, Google, Internet Marketing, PPC Comments: 0 tags: Remarketing

Remarketing is a term you’ll hear most often from those selling PPC services. They usually recommend allocating some of your budget, in addition to what you are already spending on Pay-Per-Click ads, just to Remarketing ads. ( read between the lines, and it means “let’s spend more” )

Employee Policy Handbook for the Search Engine Marketing Age


These days, or in this post search engine marketing age, what employees do online can have serious impact on a business’s success or failure. While I have no story to share about a business getting blacklisted by Google due to the actions of an employee, (which would challenge any business’s viability), I have plenty of stories of employees doing things that inadvertently hurt the business’s online presence, which must certainly cause some financial loss that is hard to quantify.

(If you have such a story, please do share it in the comments)

Clients request guidance in this area all the time. Therefore it would seems obvious to do a quick search to locate a template from which to start writing your own Employee Policy Handbook (because I’m not a lawyer and nothing here may be construed as professional legal advice). As is often the case, that’s about as effective as trying to drink from a fire-hydrant. Here’s one example:

  • Company employees are expected to use the Internet responsibly and productively. Internet access is limited to job-related activities only and personal use is not permitted.

Duh! we need lawyers to write stuff like that, but that is not what we need to pro-actively help our employees do the right thing. And the other 100 commandments that go with that are not going to prevent employee related search rank mistakes from occurring (and the financial loss that goes with it). Yes, that boiler-plate stuff is good for the employee handbook, but not real-daily-life.

So I have put together a tangible-effective-non-legal set of rules that should achieve our goal of communicating to employees what is right and wrong, and therefore what is dangerous to the business’s well-being. It is important to not only have rules, but also an explanation regarding the reason for the rule.


  • You MAY NOT CREATE an online account for the Company, or use the Company name in ANY online account.
    • Why? (Really? you need me to spell this one out?) Lawyers will tell you that the Company name is a property. Since you don’t own it, its like stealing.
    • The other reason; these accounts will be indexed by search engines and displayed in search results in ways that may hurt the real business listing(s).
  • Do not use the Company name in ANY personal online account TITLE. For instance, you MAY NOT TITLE your Facebook account as “John Doe My Company“. You may use only your name in the account name (title). You may indicate that you work at My Company in your profile, but ONLY in your profile.
    • Why? Because the title will be indexed by search engines and compete in search rank where it is vital the company is displayed to customers searching for the company or its products.
    • Note this applies to ALL online accounts (re. Social Media accounts Pintrest, Google+, Twitter, etc.)
  • Do not click on the Company’s PAID ADS. You may occasionally see ads run by the company while searching  for something or reading articles in a trade website. DO NOT CLICK on any Company listings you may encounter.
    • Why? These listings cost money for each click. They are designed to bring customers to the website, and convert into sales. Your click amounts to a waste of valuable resources.
    • If you must search for the company’s website, scoll down the page to find the natural results listing. Ads are usually clearly marked.
    • Note you should bookmark the URL in your browser instead or simply type the URL into the browser address bar. Its quicker.
  • Do not post online reviews of yourself or of the Company. Reviews should come from real customers.
    • Why? There are several ways Google can tell its a fake review and penalize the Company website accordingly. Also, Most self-reviews are easy to recognize and it could serve to turn people off.
  • Do not try to “Claim” the Company website on Google+, Google Maps, Bing, Bing Maps, etc.
    • Why? The website/business listing is already claimed and managed by the appropriate person in the Company. You will be required to provide a phone number to verify the account and it will be easy to identify you. You don’t want that 😉
    • If you wish to help keep the Company profile fresh with photos and posts, please talk to your manager. Often they will welcome your help.

While this is not a robust list yet, the intent is to grow this non-legalese version of an Employee Policy Handbook for the Search Engine Marketing Age, so that this can be appended to your Official Employee Policy Handbook. These rules may be copied without permission or attribution. (but linkbacks are very welcome)

Your contributions are welcome and will be added so long as you agree to also share without permission. I will give attribution via linkback from this page if you like.


Some notes for Managers and Owners

  • Create Sub-accounts for Employee-Managers
    • You should already have your accounts ( GoogleMyBuiness, Google+, Youtube, Twitter, etc. ) setup with a webmaster (email) account. Employees should not be given access to webmaster accounts (if possible). Rather, best practice is to create sub-accounts that are given permission to manage the same account, thereby making a disgruntled employee departure much less dangerous.
    • Write it down! While regularly maintaining your online accounts makes it easy to remove a manager who has since moved on, you will forget who has permissions to what. Better to keep a log.
  • Use a good password manager (per the prior item)
    • I like Keepass to not only manage passwords, but to also keep notes on who has access to what.
    • It also has a document attach function – very handy

What is a Blog Post Worth


Does blogging really payoff? Here is your real-world-local-business answer. Not only can we see exactly how many clicks a blog post is bringing every month, we can calculate the exact value of those clicks, and therefore calculate the exact value of a blog-post.

Adwords How Do I Find My Invalid Clicks Report

by Troy Hartenstine in Adwords, Google, PPC, ROI Comments: 0 tags: Click Fraud, Invalid Clicks

google-adwords-invalid-clicks-report

This is not new information here. I am simply creating this post as a bookmark and perhaps a better path to find what the ordinary person is looking for – quick and simple answers to a basic concern.

About Invalid Traffic

Does Google have a Invalid Clicks Refund Policy?

http://www.google.com/ads/adtrafficquality/invalid-click-protection.html

How does Google guard against click fraud?

https://support.google.com/adwords/answer/2454071

How Do I Find My Invalid Click Reporting in Adwords?

Invalid clicks / Invalid click rate
These columns indicate the number and percentage of clicks that were classified as invalid and automatically filtered from your account. You aren’t charged for these clicks, and they don’t affect your account statistics. Data for invalid clicks is only available after January 1, 2006. Learn more about invalid clicks. This column is available on the Campaigns and Dimensions tabs only.

How To Display Invalid Clicks
  • Sign in to your AdWords account
  • Click the Campaigns tab.
  • Click the Columns button above the statistics table
  • Select “Modify columns” from the drop-down
  • Under Modify columns > Select metrics
  • > Performance
  • > Invalid Clicks ( >> add to your Column List )

adwords-invalid-clicks-reporting-setting