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How To Do a Local Infographic Right Airbnb Style

March 25th, 2014

Airbnb just released a beautiful interactive infographic on the local economic impact the company has had on nine cities. If you are considering using content to attract links, for both national and local SEO, this would be a good piece to study.

Airbnb Local Economic Impact

The design is beautiful, but the interaction and “scrollability” is what sets this apart from your typical everything-but-the-kitchen-sink approach to infographics. It’s also responsive and the different elements work nicely on a mobile browser:

Airbnb Responsive Screenshot

Calling this an “infographic” really doesn’t do it justice. It’s more like a work of art that also has information.

They took an interesting approach with the geo information. With local linkbuilding, you want to drive inbound links to a page that targets the specific geo. The idea is that you get anchor text with the city name (e.g. “economic impact in New York”) which should help all the “New York” pages connected to that page. Airbnb took a slightly different approach. At the bottom of the page, there are links to info about the different cities they studied:
Airbnb Cities Economic Impact

But these link to a single page with anchors for each city like http://blog.airbnb.com/airbnb-economic-impact/#new-york.

This allows linkers to link to New York specific content with New York specific anchor text, while links from others to other cities on the same page do the same for those cities, and combined, it all adds up to a lot of links to one page that they then funnel down to different neighborhood pages in those cities via internal links:

Airbnb New York Economic Impact

My only quibble is that the anchored URLs might not be so obvious for some linkers. But all in all a really nice job that is already paying off in high quality links.

Hats off to Dennis Goedegebuure, Airbnb’s SEO master. He is on a content/story-telling roll these days.

Disclosure: I own a small amount of Airbnb stock from my role as an advisor to Nabewise, which Airbnb acquired. Go Airbnb!

 

 

→ 2 CommentsTags: Linkbuilding · Local Data
Posted by Andrew Shotland

The Moz Local Tool 1.0 Review

March 18th, 2014

Moz Local

A year and a half after Moz’s acquisition of GetListed, David Mihm’s local listings baby has finally burst out of the womb. Business listings management is one of the trickiest aspects of local SEO and David has long been focused on trying to simplify the process for SMBs. So let’s see what Moz Local can do for you out of the gate:

Price: $49 per year per location

The heart of the service is business listings data submission to the main local business listing data aggregators (these guys definitely need an acronym):

  • Acxiom
  • Factual
  • Infogroup
  • Neustar Localeze

It’s interesting that in his announcement post David lists Foursquare as a data aggregator, which I suppose it is in some way, but, well that’s for another post.

Moz Local also allows you to claim/update a listing on the following local directory sites:

  • Foursquare
  • SuperPages
  • Best of the Web Local
  • eLocal

Where they don’t have a relationship with the publisher (e.g. YP.com, Yelp or Facebook), Moz Local crawls the site and provides links to those sites to update out of whack profiles. According to David, they will be rolling out more publishers in the Spring and Summer.

The site has very simple interface. Here’s how it works:

  1. Search for your business using the name and zip:
    Moz Local Biz Search
  2. Select the most accurate listing in the results:
    Moz Local Results
  3. Check for “Completeness”, Inconsistencies and Duplicates
    Moz Local Completeness Score
    The system basically looks for things like whether or not you have a photo on a specific profile, the wrong phone #, different business name, etc. You can easily scroll over the bar for each site and see what the issue is, or you can click on the different tabs to get a list view.From this interface, you can then purchase a “listing” and submit the updated data along with various enhanced content such as hours of operation, categories, etc.The tool also provides a csv template to upload multiple locations. The csv is formatted to match the Google+ Local data format. I particularly like the “category override” option where you can specify a category that is not offered by Google to override the standard categories. And the tool has a nice UI to allow you to search Google’s categories. Alas, you can’t use “SEO consultant” as an override :(
    *****

    Some random thoughts/answers to questions:Can Moz Local Really Fix Duplicates? Not Really Yet
    I was psyched to see the “Duplicates” tab. Squashing dupes is one of the tougher tasks in local SEO.  While it’s great that Moz Local helps you identify the dupes at the different publishers and aggregators, it still doesn’t actually allow you to squash them. It merely offers links to the publishers’ sites to ask them to squash them. The industry still needs a more automated way to do this across publishers and aggregators.  David tells me this is “coming very soon”. In my trials I found Moz Local’s dupe-matching algo missed a fair amount of dupes, but David assured me they are working “with a number of local experts” on improving that system. IT IS CRITICAL THAT YOU KNOW ABOUT YOUR DUPE LISTINGS AT THE DATA AGGREGATORS BEFORE YOU USE THIS TOOL ELSE IT COULD CREATE NEW DUPES.Photos & ReviewsMoz Local Photos & Reviews

    The tool displays photos and reviews associated with a business.  It also allows you to connect images from your website with your listings.  I didn’t see the ability to upload photos. This feature feels a bit tacked on at the moment, but I wouldn’t be surprised if this morphs into a more robust tool for managing this data.

    Real Time Updates
    According to David, the only real-time or near real-time updates occur on Factual and Foursquare. Real time does not appear to be a focus for Moz Local at this point.

    Verification
    In order to update a listing, the NAP data must match a business’ Google+ Local page or its Facebook page.  While this won’t prevent spammers from hijacking listings via ML, it does mean they have to hijack your G+L or Facebook pages first. A potential downside of this system is that you can’t implement tracking numbers through the service unless they match your G+L or Facebook phone numbers.

    Do Listings Get Overwritten Upon Cancellation?
    Based on my discussions with David, it sounds like the listing data will stick at the publisher site level as long as the publisher doesn’t do anything to overwrite it, which as you may know from experience is very likely to happen. While it’s good that ML helps you get the data right at the aggregator level, that’s still not insurance that the data will stick at the publisher level. Of more concern is the following statement from the FAQ about what happens when you cancel a listing :

    “Moz Local will simply report to the sites in our network that the listing is no longer under management by one of our customers. In this event, Acxiom and Neustar Localeze will revert your listings to their status prior to your Moz Local subscription.

    This means if you had bad data before you used Moz Local, you’ll have bad data when you cancel, and you’ll potentially have different data coming out of the different aggregators, which could be a big issue for you Google Local rankings. I guess this is no different than the problem you had before you used Moz Local, and you could argue that getting the data right at InfoGroup and Factual could be better than what you started with, but seems like there’s no need to “revert” back at the aggregator level. I am guessing this is driven by Neustar Localeze and Acxiom rules, but it is not ideal. I hope that Moz and the aggregators figure this out. If Google is looking at your business data at a meta-level, this has the potential to take your rankings back to square one upon cancellation. Moz’s assumption appears to be that Google trusts InfoGroup more than the other aggregators.

    What Happens If You Have Already Claimed A Profile At a Publisher Site?
    You will not be able to update your profile on SuperPages via ML if you have already claimed it on SuperPages.

    Final Thoughts…For Now
    Moz Local appears to have the makings of a great tool for managing your core business listings data at the aggregator level.  While the tool is still in its early days, it’s functionality, simple UI and compelling price point make it easy to recommend for basic updating of NAP data at the data aggregator level. It still needs some fine-tuning in its dupe and inconsistencies detection, but I would expect this to be solved in Moz Local 1.1 or 1.2.

    The tool also provides another handy free citation research tool to help detect dupes and other issues. I can see this quickly becoming one of the more useful Moz tools out there and it should be interesting to watch it develop.

    Congrats to David Mihm and his team at Moz! Check out Moz Local here.

→ 70 CommentsTags: Local Data
Posted by Andrew Shotland

Google’s “Organic” Algorithm Is A Lot Faster Than Google’s Local Algo

March 18th, 2014

On March 15th, the WP Total Cache plugin on this site for some reason started serving Googlebot 403 response codes (aka “Access Denied”):
403 Access Denied Errors

As you can see organic entrances to my site via the home page have tanked over the past couple of days:

Local SEO Guide home page organic traffic

While traffic to other pages was down about 20% on Monday, it hasn’t totally cratered probably because Googlebot hasn’t crawled most of the other pages yet and hit the 403s.

One of the more interesting results of this psycho plug-in issue is that it clearly shows the relative speed of Google’s “organic” or “non-local” algo v. it’s “local” algo. On any given day, this site typically ranks #1 or #2 for “local seo” in the “organic” results. And over the past year or so, Google has decided that “local seo” queries should trigger a local pack. When I search from Pleasanton, CA, I am usually #1 in the local pack as well. Now when you search, you can see I am still #1 in the local pack, but I am nowhere to be seen in the organic results:

Google Local Results for local seo

(click to enlarge)

So if you ever wonder why sometimes it takes a long time to dislodge the #1 listing in the local pack, one likely reason is that Google’s local algo just takes its own damn time.

PostScript: About 9 hours ago I fixed the problem on my site and resubmitted the home page to Google via GWT. I am now seeing it rank #1 for “local seo” again. That organic algo is pretty damn fast.

→ 5 CommentsTags: Google+ Local · Local Search
Posted by Andrew Shotland

Everything is Awesome in Local SEO!

March 3rd, 2014

I gave the following talk on local SEO tactics at SEMPDX’s Searchfest last week and thought you all would enjoy the deck. Searchfest is a great show in a great city. I was joined by Dana DiTomaso of KickPoint. Dana is the real deal. She gave a great talk on local marketing “beyond citations” that’s worth checking out. And thanks again to David Mihm for the invite.

→ 2 CommentsTags: Local Search
Posted by Andrew Shotland

The Definitive Top 10 Local Citation Sources for SEO!

February 24th, 2014

Than again maybe not

Six months ago, after 7+ years of being in business I finally got around to incorporating Local SEO Guide, Inc. A few weeks ago, I thought it would be interesting to create a Yext Powerlisting for the biz and see what happened. Today when I checked the indexation, I realized that given the freshness combined with the low level of activity around that business name, the rankings of the various directories for my business name should reveal the relative SEO strengths of each directory that had the listing, particularly for SEO-related queries.

So without further ado, I give you the definitive, ultra, Mashable-Reddit-Upworthy ready list:

The Top 10 Local Citation Sources for SEO:

  1.  Yelp
  2. Linktown.WCNC.com (powered by MojoPages)
  3. Switchboard
  4. Merchant Circle
  5. Yellowpages.StateJournal.com (powered by Local.com)
  6. Yellowpages.StarAdvertiser.com (powered by Local.com)
  7. SuperPages.com
  8. GoLocal247.com
  9. Wysk.com
  10. FindTheCompany.com

If you want to see the rest of the list, here’s the SERP – remember to use an Incognito Browser.

And I know – the results are biased towards Yext publishers, but if sites like Yellowpages.com can’t even pick up a new business listing within six months, well, that ain’t my problem.

 

→ 10 CommentsTags: Yellow Pages
Posted by Andrew Shotland

Is Apple Maps Phone Verifying Business Info?

February 12th, 2014

A business claims they were called by Apple Maps about their out of whack NAP. First I have heard of such a thing.

→ 2 CommentsTags: Apple Maps
Posted by Andrew Shotland

5 Ways SEMRush Makes Me Look Like a SEO Wizard To Potential Clients

February 11th, 2014

First off, thanks to SEMRush for providing me with a free account for the very long time it took me to write this. I appreciate your patience. For those of you in a hurry, here’s a two-week Guru SEMRush Promo Code to get you started.

I have used a lot of SEO tools over the years. It’s a fragmented, confusing space. So from time to time I thought it would be helpful to offer my perspective on those that I like.  Today let’s talk about SEMRush.  SEMRush monitors the search engines for something like 90,000,000 keywords across 25 countries. It then slices and dices that data in a variety of ways so you can get amazing insights into how domains perform against various keywords and competitors.

Since everybody does tool reviews these days, I am going to focus on some of my favorite uses of SEMRush instead of an overall TLDR review. And we all know listicles are the coin of the realm these days. So here’s how I use the tool to look like a SEO wizard to potential clients:

  1. Blow New Client Prospect’s Mind
    So I’m on the phone with a prospect like PrankPack.com. I pop their domain in SEMRush and immediately I can see a sample of keywords they rank for along with their average position in Google, estimated monthly search volume and average CPC:
    Prank Pack Rankings
    So I can see that they rank #1 for “prank gift boxes” which is great, but digging a bit deeper into the report I see this gem:
    Wake & Bake Dude!
    They only rank #14 for “wake and bake”, a term that gets 4,400 monthly queries. Within seconds I have a great assessment of how the site is doing SEO-wise and the beginnings of a content strategy – Thinking a Wake & Bake Griddle recipes post could be the way to go.The Wake & Bake Griddle
  2. Quickly Get An Idea of Their Overall Organic Traffic Via Average Rankings
    This little chart shows the average position of all of the keywords SEMRush tracks for the domain over a two-year period. A quick eyeball of this tool tells me that Prank Pack has been on the rise over the past year, but saw a downturn in Nov-Dec-Jan of 2013, which is troubling because that should be their big season. This data immediately causes me to inquire about whether or not PP has been engaging in any risky SEO behavior, which will help me craft a plan for them.Prank Pack Organic Traffic Trends
  3. Quickly Identify Competitors
    SEMRush’s “Competitors in Organic Search” report looks at the sites that rank for the same keywords as your site. This instantly can help you understand how tough the SEO task will be. For example, PrankPack.com is going to have to compete against Amazon, YouTube, Ebay & Pinterest.  Not for the faint of SEO heart, but you can do it PrankPack!  And BTW who is this PrankPlace.com upstart?
    PrankPack Organic Competition
  4. Drill Down on Competitor SEO Strategies
    Competitive site data is perhaps the best part of SEMRush.  I can quickly see that PrankPlace.com is doing a decent job of SEO by checking out their average rankings and top-performing keywords. This can give me a lot of quick ideas about new keywords PrankPack should consider targeting.  Looks like this Xmas there’s going to be some Obama Toilet Paper and Liquid Ass in the stockings (they go together like peanut butter and chocolate):
    Obama Toilet Paper & Liquid Ass
  5. Get An Idea of Ad Budgets
    Though we generally discourage clients paying for traffic, while we are waiting for the Liquid Ass Prank Pack to make it through the design committee, it might be helpful for PrankPack to start buying some Adwords. SEMRush makes it simple to quickly get a handle on PrankPlace’s ad strategy. It provides data for a domain’s Adwords campaign such as the target keywords, ad copy, estimated ad spend over time, etc. With this data in hand, I can quickly inform PrankPack, that we may want to consider budgeting a few thousand dollars a month for Adwords to compete with those bastards.
    AdWords SEMRush

    All of the above data took about two minutes to assemble and analyze. I find this stuff incredibly helpful for quickly steering calls with prospective clients in the right direction. There are many other uses for SEMRush, but I find that blowing a new client’s mind in two minutes is one of the better ones.

→ 10 CommentsTags: Enterprise SEO · SEO Tools
Posted by Andrew Shotland

“The SEO Butcher Is Not Working Anymore…”

February 5th, 2014

This gem just landed in the inbox. Remember when you thought serving SMBs would be cool?

From: [REDACTED]
Subject: SEO

Message Body:
I do not mean to waste anybody’s time, nor do I wish to ask a taxi to drive me home for free, I have questions and spend countless hours thinking I have something figured out only to realize after spending a night on what I thought was the way to Los Angeles and wondering why I am in New York. I do appliance repair in [CITY REDACTED], I have exhausted endless nights trying to get something going on the free sites such as merchant circle, blogger, etc. now after about two years of spending endless nights learning stuff, I have found word press was working until Google made their change and what I did have on the first page has disappeared, surfacing on the fourth or fifth page and I realize I am really just a butcher that has no idea how to trim a cow to get the most meat. I’ll apologize now, because this is starting to feel like another one of my novels and I do not know how to just get to the point I guess, such as my business is appliance repair in [CITY REDACTED], I am a service technician that can repair any make any model appliance in any home If I may, is it better to target refrigerator repair [CITY REDACTED] or does appliance repair [CITY REDACTED] cover refrigerator repair [CITY REDACTED] better? I have been using word press and targeting the high-end appliances because I make more money repairing a Viking Range Refrigerator Repair [CITY REDACTED] or Sub-Zero Repair [CITY REDACTED]so I’ll spend a entire night trying to make a blog look like a webpage and as I said I am self taught and have, in my mind done well being a SEO Butcher that is until Google did whatever they did I used H1, H2, H3 the title in H1 would be Viking Certified Refrigerator Repair [CITY REDACTED] then I’d do it in H2 Viking Certified Refrigerator Repair [CITY REDACTED] then I’d go H3 below it Viking Certified Refrigerator Repair [CITY REDACTED] I’d even go as far as the first sentence in Paragraph Viking Certified Refrigerator Repair [CITY REDACTED] and then Leon Seserman would try and write something decent to get my 300 words using Viking Certified Refrigerator Repair [CITY REDACTED] throughout the 300 word page. I would add pictures of beautiful kitchens equipped with Viking appliances and I use Viking Certified Refrigerator repair [CITY REDACTED] for the picture title and the alternate title as well. I even went as far as listing Viking Certified Refrigerator Repair [CITY REDACTED] at the bottom of the page a line in Italic, one underlined, one bold, one in each H1, H2, H3 so at the bottom of the page I’d have it listed like six times in a row and then I would make the text color white on a white background so it was not noticeable to most people, I hoped anyway, That is how I labeled myself a SEO Butcher because within three days on average I’d see Viking Certified Refrigerator Repair [CITY REDACTED] on the first page anywhere from 3 days to a week it would be first page or it was not going to make it to the first page and I figured that one got busted. Honestly I must have written a hundred probably two hundred blogs that way over the two years or so, which worked enough that I’d get two calls a day maybe average six or eight calls a week off the word press. I hope you haven’t fallen asleep or just tired of this novel I always read about links how important they would become but could not really figure them out I’d link my main website to the blog in the text I’d have a ling and on the side bar another link going to my main website [URL REDACTED] and I would link my blog the same way [URL REDACTED] even my webpage’s [URL REDACTED] and [URL REDACTED] the four links I just listed a webmaster did for me he designed the main site and the blog and he just like made the other two a webpage at the address but all the other pages send you to az home appliance repair He has really helped me so much that I feel like an ass asking him to teach me his business it just is not right and writing this novel to you is not really right either but I have gone as far as I can night after night and so other technicians that need a webmaster I tell them to hook up with chris, which he thought would get me upset but nobody likes to work for free unless they are volunteering. I spent all this time trying not to associate all these blogs except for the mentioned links and I am not even sure if those are the type of links everyone is talking about. Now I am trying to build a web presence after staying anonymous all that time, now I spend endless night trying to become a expert in my field trying to use face book, Google plus and twitter writing blogs. I am going nowhere fast and to top it off, this is being honest all this has been and see I have a novel and really haven’t accomplished anything but shown you how desperate I’ve become. I don’t have the money required to pay a professional and in 2012 I spent 5 months in a county hospital with Phosphine Toxicity or agent orange but not from Vietnam I got it from welding in compressors when I use a torch to weld the compressor the residue of the Freon is phospine poisoning I was breathing and after 40 years it took its toll, to top that off two weeks after they released me from my 5 month stay I fell down a flight of stairs and while in the hospital from that they gave me some drug that killed me, seriously I laid dead for twenty some minutes while my wife watched and the doctors scrambled doing CPR breaking 7 ribs and I spent two weeks in a coma before I came to then I could not do anything could not even put a fork in my mouth I talked as if I was retarded it was awful to say the least so I lost everything my home cars service truck even my bike my wife had to move in her daughters and I finally got to move into a shed in the backyard of a family I met because they had no air conditioning last summer and I fixed it for free they found out I was sleeping in my truck and they offered their work shed behind their trailer. I am desperately trying to come back up and lost my truck for driving on a suspended license I don’t know why I am crying on your shoulders or if your even still reading I am just hoping I might find information, someone that will just point me in the right direction and I have managed to write a book just as I feared and for that I apologize sincerely I do. [NAME REDACTED] has been great and has left my website up even though I haven’t paid him for the last year which I am thankful for but I cannot ask him to do more for me when he has done so much so I turn to a stranger hoping you can feel I am being honest and not just pounding sand and maybe you can give me a few tips or point me in the right direction, if for no other reason than you do not want another book sent to your e-mail If you live in [CITY REDACTED] or know someone that does and they have no air conditioning or a broken fridge I would certainly do the labor at no charge long as they bought the necessary part. My name is [NAME REDACTED], I use the name [NAME REDACTED] on the internet and say he is my brother he’s the boss, really I don’t even know what I am asking you to do for me, but if you can give me your expertise and maybe write me a book telling how to do it because the SEO Butcher is not working anymore and you are the lucky person I felt the energy to ask, I guess this is a little more that drop you a line but if your too busy or it just doesn’t appeal to you, I understand really I do I am just asking for your knowledge I do want to find an ending for this book , I don’t even remember your name, sorry but either way I hope everything is great for you and your family and may all your dreams come true. I thank you for listening, Godspeed Good night well Good Morning again thanks, [NAME REDACTED] aka [NAME REDACTED]

→ 11 CommentsTags: Small Business Marketing
Posted by Andrew Shotland

“Your Ad Rep Turned Down A Job At A Gas Station – Just To Help YOU With Online Marketing”

February 4th, 2014

Phil Rozek has been spending too much time on this blog. Great post – IYP Advertising & Local SEO: How Badly Does It Suck?

If you are not familiar with Phil’s work, spend a few hours on his site. It’s Local SEO gold.

→ 4 CommentsTags: Local Search · Yellow Pages
Posted by Andrew Shotland

Too Bad Most SMBs Can’t Afford Superbowl Ads

February 3rd, 2014

Earlier today I thought I had uncovered evidence that GoDaddy faked it’s “real” SMB quitting their job Superbowl Ad. Perhaps I posted too soon as further research revealed that the profiled puppeteer is in fact real. So let’s use this tempest in a teapot as a teachable moment shall we and provide PuppetsbyGwen.com with some local marketing advice.

  1. Use Your Location On Your Pages & In Your Title Tags
    Not done.
  2. Make Sure Your Business Name, Address & Phone Number Appear in Text on the Site, Ideally Wrapped in Schema
    Well, I do see a phone number.
  3. If You Serve Several Different Cities, Create a Page For Each
    None.
  4. Claim your Google Places for Business Page
    Gwen hasn’t
  5. Make Sure Your Business Data is Present/Up To Date on Google+, Yelp, Apple Maps, Other Top Local Search Sites & Business Data Aggregators
    Puppets By Gwen Isn’t
  6. If You Know You Are About To Get Millions of People To Your Site, Have Content Prepared That Helps Potential Customers Decide to Hire You
    I know the site is pretty new, but you’re appearing on the Superbowl and talking about how much business you do from your site maybe don’t have an empty Events section; maybe have some blog posts about your shows; maybe have some actual videos on your YouTube channel, etc.
  7. Make Sure Your Old Domains Redirect to the New One
    Gwen’s aren’t. This will help Google figure out that your new domain is the right one to rank.
  8. Don’t Let John Turturro Into Your House
    He can come off a little creepy at times.

I could go on and on.

The good news is that with the amount of backlinks Gwen’s site has received over the past day, all it should take is a little help and Gwen should be ranking for all sorts of stuff.

We can’t all have million dollar Superbowl ads for our business, but surely all of us can get the basics of Local SEO right.

→ 6 CommentsTags: Local Search
Posted by Andrew Shotland