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An Open Letter From Google To Local Directory Sites (Parody)

yelp-SERP-clustering To:           Local Directories From:     Google Re:            Local Search Rankings Hey guys... You may have noticed that over the past year, a lot of the organic traffic to your sites has been... well, we guess the right word is "tanking." As you know, it is our stated goal to organize the world's information while simultaneously doing no evil. And, while you certainly have helped us manage the world's information (thanks for adding schema to all your business listings and reviews so we could figure out how to beef up our Google+ Local listings!), we are starting [...]


GetListed Tool Relaunches As Moz Local

Moz Local Last year, David Mihm's GetListed service was acquired by then SEO Moz (now Moz). Today, it relaunched as Moz Local. It's a similar service with a number of enhanced capabilities, the most important of which is local listings submission. Agencies and business owners can use the tool to research where their listings appear online, manage claiming and verification and listings submission. Moz Local has also mapped Google Places categories to headings or categories at other directory sites (this tool is free). The back end of GetListed has been upgraded to manage submissions to a range of d [...]


Which Is The Most “Generous” Search Engine To Local Businesses?

local-search-featured Earlier this month, one of our customers asked an interesting question in a training workshop. They wanted to know which search engine displayed the most local results for different types of search terms. Google gets the lion's share of focus in the SEO world, particularly in Local. They also have the most developed local search product (vs. Bing and Yahoo), but does this mean that they present more local results to searchers? We discussed our own assumptions on this matter and did some digging online but couldn't find any research that compared the display of results on Google vs. Bing vs. [...]


10 Local Marketing Myths Hamstringing Your Business

Local Online Marketing Myths - Local SEO Myths As an internet marketer, I frequently encounter local business owners (and large chain store companies with many local outlets) that haven't had time to really understand online marketing. Many of them have latched onto some myth that's completely false -- and which can keep their businesses from soaring as high as they otherwise might. It's not surprising that local business operators can lack knowledge about online marketing, or that they can get exposed to misapprehensions about how local marketing should be conducted. Google's CEO has been quoted as saying that the world is now generati [...]


5 Tips To Kill The Competition In Local Search

local-search-map-featured If your business has a local presence -- anywhere -- you must take advantage of Google+ Local. Creating and optimizing Google+ Local profiles is a critical marketing practice for local small businesses, multi-location enterprises, national franchises and companies with a single physical location. It will help you reach the 97% of consumers who search for local businesses online. Google+ Local not only helps web searchers find and share local business information, it can also help your business get displayed near the top of Google SERPs. When a search is made with local intent, Google typi [...]


Local SEO Scam Of The Month: Craigslist SEO

scam-featured Most SEO consultants I have met are pretty decent, hard-working folks. But there are plenty of SEO con artists out there, and it kills me every time I see a small business (or a big business) get taken. Recently, I had the privilege to witness a true Picasso of SEO con artists. I am sharing this with you, dear reader, so that the next time you are jonesing for that cheap, quick SEO fix, you might calm yourself down and add some great content to your site instead. I was consulting for an agency that builds websites for local businesses. One of their clients had lost patience waiting for the [...]


There’s No SEO Without Mobile SEO

Mobile-share-of-organic-search-RKG-2013-600x391 It's 2014, which means we are officially one year away from the year that Kelsey Group predicted mobile search will eclipse desktop search. Are you making your mobile resolutions to ensure you're ready for when that time comes? [caption id="attachment_70213" align="alignright" width="360"] Mobile share of overall search traffic was nearly one third in Q3 of last year according to RKG.[/caption] I'd like to start the new year with a short reflection of how far mobile SEO as a discipline has come in less than five years. When I started researching mobile SEO back in 2005, Motorola Razr [...]


Yelp Turns Up The Heat: 285 Consumer Alerts Issued Over Fake Reviews

yelp-alerts-featured It's been almost a year and a half since Yelp began issuing Consumer Alerts when a business on its site has been caught trying to get fake reviews; but after a cautious start, that program appears to be turning up the heat. According to an interview with CEO Jeremy Stoppelman in The Telegraph, Yelp has now slapped 285 businesses on its website with Consumer Alerts. When Yelp issued its first set of Consumer Alerts in October 2012, only eight local businesses were hit. Then last August, Yelp revealed that it had issued its second round of alerts. No specific numbers were shared, but the c [...]


62% Of Marketers Say Local Search Is Getting Harder

local-search-map-featured During the recent InsideLocal webinar series, I've had the chance to gather the opinions and feelings of the hundreds of search agencies, consultants, "in-bound" marketers and business owners who logged in to listen. We ran a number of on-the-spot surveys (or polls) during each webinar, which helped to complement the expert views provided by our speakers. In these polls, we addressed a number of issues ranging from "Is SEO getting harder?" through to specifics of "Review Strategy" and "Optimization for Service Area Businesses." The following charts represent the results of these polls an [...]


How To Leave Anonymous Business Reviews In Google+

CreateaPage For a long time, I've had some doctor friends complaining to me that once Google Places changed over to the new Google+ format, all their patients lost the ability to leave anonymous reviews (thus hurting their business and their rankings). They asked me what to do; and I, in turn, asked my fellow SEO friends what to do. No one really had a good answer, except to start leaving reviews on doctor-specific sites like healthgrades.com and vitals.com. That never seemed like a good answer to me, so I kept searching. Even answers from Google staff (in Google Groups) don't shed much light on th [...]


Survey: Quality Of Citations Matters More Than Quantity

Local-Search-Ranking-Factors-2013-chart At the start of August, David Mihm published the findings of the latest installment of the Local Search Ranking Factors Survey. This year, the breakdown & presentation of survey results has been taken to a new level. Ranking factors are grouped by signal type (e.g., Place Page Signals), then further broken down by result type (e.g., Pack or Carousel) and technology (desktop vs. mobile) in a series of interactive pie charts. [caption id="attachment_172258" align="aligncenter" width="600"] Local-Search-Ranking-Factors-2013[/caption] I really enjoy reading the annual findings of this [...]


Key Metrics For Success With A Local Business Website

SEL LSA 3 There’s a lot of literature out there discussing what local businesses can do to improve their websites, ranging from boosting search visibility through targeted keywords to leveraging content like video to keep visitors engaged. But what's often missing from these conversations are broader discussions about the importance of analytics in providing local businesses with ongoing and targeted insights into which content, functions and flow are working on their websites (and which are not). No business owner, marketing guru or website developer can build and maintain a great website in an [...]


10 Tips For Using YouTube To Kill At Local SEO

youtube-featured Here's a local search optimization tactic that is a staple in the repertoire of many professional SEOs: YouTube Optimization. It's particularly effective in local search since relatively few businesses have created and published video promotions for themselves. Before launching into the technical tips for optimizing your YouTube videos for local search, it's worthwhile to mention the content itself. While my tips below will provide benefit somewhat independently of whatever the video is actually about, all benefit derived from the work will be magnified if the video is compelling. So, subje [...]


10 Questions To Ask Before You Hire A Customer Review Management Service

Thumbs Up & Down [caption id="attachment_170947" align="alignright" width="300"] Photo credit: Man Ray Shotland[/caption] I have been doing a bit of work in the reputation management space as of late, and the subject of customer review management comes up a lot. There are probably hundreds of review management services out there, and it's difficult to understand what makes one better than the other. With that in mind, I thought it would be helpful to provide a list of questions for those in the market for a review management service: 1. Do you syndicate content? If so, where? If the reviews actually go [...]


Logo Optimization: A Local SEO Stealth Tactic

When local businesses look to beef up their SEO game, they're often looking for some clever technical trick. But, one of the simplest and most elegant local SEO tactics is to optimize the site's logo. Since many businesses are unaware of it, employing it will amount to a "stealth" tactic, giving an advantage over competitors. I've written a number of times about SEO for images, and many sites and blogs do image SEO to one degree or another. The logo is one of the most important images associated with a website and with a company, so it should be the most consistently optimized image on webs [...]


Yelp Outs More Businesses With Another Batch Of Paid Review Alerts

yelp-alerts-featured Yelp's battle against phony reviews and unacceptable tactics to earn reviews continues today with the company posting another batch of "Consumer Alert" messages on business profile pages. This is the second time Yelp has announced that some businesses will be outed for trying to game its system. Back in October, Yelp put a message on eight business profile pages saying that those companies were "caught ... red-handed trying to buy fake reviews." The alert being posted today is slightly different. It tells consumers that Yelp "caught someone offering up cash, discounts, gift certificates [...]


Local Search Marketers Guesstimate 2013 Google Ranking Factors

local-search-chart Despite the annual changes in the local search ecosystem, the ranking factors that Google uses to determine its local search results haven't changed much over the past year. So say the 35 local search marketers that contributed to the 2013 Local Search Ranking Factors -- organized again this year by David Mihm, and published this year on Moz.com (his employer's website). The survey looks at general local ranking factors first, then dives into a long list of specifics (more than 100 in all) and negative ranking factors -- local search no-nos, you could call them. The most influential g [...]


7 Things I’ve Figured Out About The New Google Maps

PLeasanton Pizza Google Maps 2 Google has been busy changing a lot of the user interfaces for its local search services. Between the new Google Maps, the Google Local Carousel and the new Reviews Pop-Ups, they have certainly thrown the local search world into a tizzy. I have been playing around with the new Google Maps, and I thought I'd share some random observations about how to work inside the Matrix: 1. Want Traffic From Google Maps? Buy An Ad Below is a set of map results for "pizza" in Pleasanton, CA. As you can see, the purple & white ads stand out. In the queries I have tried, there are rarely more t [...]


You’re Dead… If You Don’t Integrate Social Media & PR Into Your Local SEO Strategy

The peppered moth (Biston betularia), once white with black spots, faced a strange challenge in London during the Industrial Revolution. Buildings and trees, stained with soot, turned black. The light colored moths could no longer hide against this backdrop, and were eaten up by birds. But some peppered moths survived -- by turning black themselves! To survive, you must adapt and change with your environment. Otherwise, you're dead. That's the powerful lesson business owners, marketers and entrepreneurs can learn from a humble moth. The Times, They Are A-Changin' A major shift has tak [...]


Study: Google Local Carousel Results Win 48% Of Clicks, While Only 14.5% Of Clicks Were On The Map

google-carousel-featured When using heatmaps to gauge interest levels for Google Local Carousel results, search marketer Matthew Hunt discovered that 48 percent of searchers surveyed clicked the Carousel results, while only 14.5 percent clicked on the map. Using the search term 'Chicago Restaurants,' Hunt asked 83 searchers to click on the area of the Google search results page that was of most interest to them. According to Hunt's study, 40 searchers clicked on Carousel results, while 12 of the 83 searchers clicked on the map. As you can see from the heatmap of the results page, as well as the image highlightin [...]


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