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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.

→ 6 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