LOC@L SEO GUIDE

LOCAL SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION & ENTERPRISE SEO MADE SIMPLE

 

THE TOP 5 USES FOR THE REL=AUTHOR TAG

August 28th, 2014

1. Stick under wobbly table legs

2. Supplement for low carb diets

3. Bitcoin alternative

4. Keep kids occupied at restaurants

5. Wrap dead fish

http://searchengineland.com/goodbye-google-authorship-201975

 

→ 3 CommentsTags: Google
Posted by Andrew Shotland

Why Fixing Bad N.A.P. Data Issues Sucks

August 25th, 2014

Nyagoslav (think Cher, Michael, Brittany, etc.) gets all OCD on my recent post where I used our NAP Hunter extension to surface some bogus N.A.P. data issues. He really peels back the rotten onion:

“The NPI registry is one of the most trustworthy data sources in the medical industry, so the chances that this was the initial source of the bad data are very high. What is of particular interest is the fact that the NPI record was last updated on December 15, 2011, more than two and a half years ago, and there are still listings online that feature that outdated information.”

and

“Since I know that Citysearch gets data from InfoGroup, this lead me to guess that there was a listing on Infogroup that might have featured the incorrect information, but had been updated at some point in the past on ExpressUpdate.com. And, if so, it’s possible that the data made its way to Google via Infogroup, which is an official data partner of Google.

But I was left with the remaining questions:

  1. Where did Infogroup get the data from?
  2. Where did Factual get the data from?”

I have four reactions to Nyago’s work:

  1. I agree that my superficial analysis may not have solved the mystery
  2. While InfoGroup and Acxiom may have direct feeds into Google, Nyago does not take into account that Google’s crawlers may have found the data on its own from any number of sources and taken it as the source of truth. Only Google knows for sure at this point.
  3. Solving problems with bad N.A.P. data sucks. It’s the equivalent of taking a pork chop to a gun fight.
  4. Nyago should seek professional help for his unhealthy obsession. I am thinking a G+ Hangout Intervention this Wednesday at 11am PT. + me if you’re in.

→ 10 CommentsTags: Local Data
Posted by Andrew Shotland

Do HTTPS URLs Impact SEO?

August 25th, 2014

A couple of weeks ago Google announced that it would be using HTTPS URLs as a “lightweight ranking signal”. I have not switched any sites yet, but I thought it would be interesting to observe what has happened to client sites that were already using HTTPS URLs.

I took out a few outliers – one site had a lot of publicity, another implemented some SEO upgrades – but the rest had not done anything out of the ordinary to make their traffic go one way or another. There also may be some seasonality at play, but six out of nine HTTPS sites are on their way up.  It’s also interesting that most of the “product” e-commerce sites are down while “service” e-commerce sites are up.

So the answer is…maybe.

Google Traffic to HTTPs Sites 8/3-8/23 v 7/13-8/2

Directory Site: Up 40% From Small Base
Screen Shot 2014-08-24 at 9.50.38 PM

Service E-Commerce Site: Up 14%
Screen Shot 2014-08-24 at 10.14.11 PM

Travel Site: Up 9%
Screen Shot 2014-08-24 at 9.56.52 PM

Service E-Commerce Site: Up 5% After Flat For 2 Months
Screen Shot 2014-08-24 at 9.49.23 PM

Service E-Commerce Site: Up 4% After Flat for 1 Month
Screen Shot 2014-08-24 at 9.52.52 PM

Clothing E-Commerce: Up 3%

Screen Shot 2014-08-24 at 10.03.46 PM

Product E-Commerce Site: Down 1% But Trending Upwards Since 8/3
Screen Shot 2014-08-24 at 9.43.45 PM

Food E-Commerce: Down 3%
Screen Shot 2014-08-24 at 10.02.31 PM

Clothing E-Commerce Site: Down 4%
Screen Shot 2014-08-24 at 10.13.05 PM

 

→ 6 CommentsTags: Technical SEO
Posted by Andrew Shotland

Google Local Desktop SERPs Continue To Get More Mobile

August 18th, 2014

Seems like every day we stumble onto a new Google Pigeon test bucket.  Here’s a desktop SERP for “ft. lauderdale movers” that looks pretty mobilicious:

Ft. Lauderdale Movers

When you click on the “More movers” link (which had disappeared in a lot of post-Pigeon SERPs), you get another mobile-looking ordered list:

More Movers

And of course it’s full of Pigeon Poop SPAM.

We’re also seeing a service radius in the Knowledge Graph box for one of the listings. Don’t recall seeing that before:  (As Linda points out in the comments, this has been around for a while. Didn’t have my coffee yet when I posted.)

Service Area Local Knowledge Graph

Anyone else seeing these or other variations?

*Update - 

When you click on one of the tiles in the pack it does a branded + geo search like in the screenshot below:

New pack results trigger a branded + geo search

→ 7 CommentsTags: Google Pigeon Poop
Posted by Andrew Shotland

Google Local Icons & New Real Estate Snippets Spotted

August 12th, 2014

As Google morphs SERP design from desktop to mobile, it appears that it has decided that reading words is perhaps too much to ask of our educationally-challenged fellow users. And so it is now testing icons in the mobile results as shown below:

Google Local Icons

I guess it’s easier to click on a cute picture than try to read text while you’re driving right?

Rivers Pearce of Boomtown ROI just sent me this screenshot. It’s from results from the iOS Google Search App. The “Send to Mobile Phone” and “Driving Directions” icons appear next to a personalized result (but they are not clickable so WTF?). Angela Tice of Boomtown is in River’s G+ circle and had posted a link to LiveLoveMaryland.com on G+, so the icons may be triggered by the G+ connection and/or the implementation of Schema.org markup and/or Live Love Maryland’s Google My Business Page.

We are also seeing open house times and location snippets appear with real estate aggregator results in the SERPs. I have not seen that one before:

Real Estate Snippets

It’s getting interesting out there folks…

→ 4 CommentsTags: Google · Google Maps
Posted by Andrew Shotland

Paid Local Pack Results?

August 12th, 2014

Our friends over at Moz saw a new SERP feature pop up in their MozCast.

Paid Local Pack?

Notice the lovely paid ads dressed up as a local pack result? While this is a test, and nothing but a test, is it also a continued acknowledgement from Google that their current methods of dealing with Local search results suck? Or maybe it’s an acknowledgement that local data sucks and Google isn’t making enough money from local to throw serious resources into attempting to crack that nut.

→ 5 CommentsTags: Google
Posted by Dan Leibson

Is Pigeon An Acknowledgement That Google & SMBs Suck At Local?

August 7th, 2014

Steve Shackford‘s tweet got me thinking:

 

We are definitely seeing a lot more national-local directory type sites showing up at the top of local SERPs as a result of Google removing or de-emphasizing the local pack results. For the most part I am seeing strong brands like Yelp, TripAdvisor & Zillow basically maintaining their high rankings now often unencumbered by those pesky Google My Business pack results.

There has been a lot of speculation, particularly by me, that this update is a continuation of Google’s drive to bias the search experience in favor of mobile users. But I wonder if this update is also an acknowledgement that people actually prefer these national-local directory type sites v. having to hunt through a seemingly random collection of local business pages or Los Links?

Song to ponder this to: Sabotage

→ 6 CommentsTags: Google
Posted by Andrew Shotland

Google’s Top Heavy Ad Algorithm & The SEO Catch-22

August 6th, 2014

Catch 22 cover

 

The SEO Catch-22:

  1. You’ve done all of the typical technical and content SEO stuff but your organic traffic keeps trending downwards
  2. Your SEO guy suspects the culprits are the above-the-fold in-content Adsense units designed to look like content
  3. Problem is they are your top performing ad units by a factor of at least 10x
  4. Fix the ad units and maybe your traffic will turn around, but for sure your revenue will dive before then
  5. Don’t fix the ad units and maybe your traffic will continue to tank and your revenue will dive

 ”…a concern for one’s own safety in the face of dangers that were real and immediate was the process of a rational mind. Orr was crazy and could be grounded. All he had to do was ask; and as soon as he did, he would no longer be crazy and would have to fly more missions. Orr would be crazy to fly more missions and sane if he didn’t, but if he was sane, he had to fly them. If he flew them, he was crazy and didn’t have to; but if he didn’t want to, he was sane and had to.” 

→ 1 CommentTags: Google
Posted by Andrew Shotland

“There Is Really No Way To Optimize For This Algorithm Because The Results Are Random And Make No Sense…”

August 5th, 2014

My initial review of Google’s Pigeon results, Picking Through Google’s Pigeon Droppings…, was posted on SEL yesterday, but it was written last week and a lot has changed since I submitted it. I was going to write an update here but Linda Buquet’s massive review of pre and post Pigeon SERPs does the job well, so let’s leave it to her. Here’s her take on what you can do for now, but read the whole post:

1) Google is in control, so not whole lot we can directly do to change things.

BUT they do everything for users! So there is something with this algo that they believe would offer a better search result. (Which is why I’m calling this collateral damage. I don’t think the innocent businesses that are getting hurt are the target.)

2) I don’t think Google really cares much what a bunch of SEOs think, so our complaints may fall on deaf ears.

They do however care very much for what users think!

So on the examples above and any other bad results you find where spam or bad results (dead listings or bogus listings) are ranking, use the “SEND FEEDBACK” link at the bottom of the SERPs.
It will let you explain and select part of the screen.

Do it from the office. Then do it again from home. Get friends to report bad results too! Someone does read these reports, in order to get an aggregate view of how accurate results are.

3) If you see really spammy listings or bogus listings with parked pages and disconnected numbers, try reporting them and try to get them taken down.

Even if mods won’t deal with the problem maybe if they see a big uptick in spam reports, they’ll realize that this algo is surfacing too many bad listings.

4) If you have a client that suffers due to spam in the SERPs, explain it’s a bad update and reassure them it won’t last forever and will likely be corrected. Repeat #3 if there are bad listings knocking them out of the SERPs. You could also point them to this thread so they realize it’s not just them or not something you did. 

5) Continue to work on all the best practice stuff, just like you always have. When this algo shifts to something more logical and fair – you will benefit.

6) There is really no way to “optimize” for this algo because the results are random and make no sense and again it’s changing almost daily.

So turn off your ranking reports and stop looking at SERPs til this thing blows over.
Or as Mike would say “Take 2 beers and call me in the morning!” 

Read the full post: Google Pigeon Collateral Damage & What You Can Do About It

 

 

 

→ 7 CommentsTags: Google
Posted by Andrew Shotland

How To Find The Source of An Auto-Generated Google My Business Page in 30 Seconds

August 5th, 2014

A dentist called me a few minutes ago with a request to help get rid of a Google My Business page that had been automatically created by Google. The page was for his nephew who had considered joining the practice but never did. Somehow Google got hold of his data and created the page. It will be easy enough to get Google to shut the page down via GMB support and I could quickly check the main data aggregators, but I wanted to make sure we also nipped this problem at all possible sources of the data. But how to find them?

This is where our free Local SEO productivity tool, NAP Hunter, comes in:

STEP 1
I put the nephew’s name and the office location into NAP Hunter and hit “Hunt”:
NAP Hunter Screenshot

 

STEP 2
The app quickly generated browser tabs of Google SERPs for different combinations of the NAP elements.

Here’s one for NAME + ADDRESS:
Name + Address

The first result from ucomparehealth.com had a full listing for Alexander Jubb at the business’ address:
ALexander Jubb Uhealthcompare

 

 

I then found this listing, strangely, in the NAME – ADDRESS SERP:

Alexander Jubb Angieslist

Here’s the complete profile on Angieslist:
Alexander Jubb Angieslist

And a CitySearch profile:

Alexander Jubb CitySearch

Knowing how these sites source data quickly led me to Factual which of course had a profile for Jubb:
Alexander Jubb Factual

And voila, mystery solved, in about 30 seconds, thanks to NAP Hunter.

→ 12 CommentsTags: Citation Research
Posted by Andrew Shotland