This post on Why Are So Many Social Media Managers Dipshits is so good. My father always said “If you don’t have something nice to say about someone, don’t say anything.” But let’s face it, Social Media Managers may just be to SEOs what New Jersey is to New York. I keed. I keed.
November 4th, 2013
October 30th, 2013
For those of you not familiar with Jill, she has been a steady voice of high quality SEO in the industry as far back as I can remember. I certainly have grabbed tip or two from her over the years. Here’s her announcement.
Kind of like Michael Jordan going out on top.
Thanks for the great advice over the years Jill and good luck on your new project. Just please don’t announce next year you’re joining the Wizards or doing a Space Jam sequel.
October 29th, 2013
If you don’t already follow Michael Dorausch, you are missing out on the Local SEO equivalent of expert spinal manipulation. So simple, yet so effective. Here’s his latest Pubcon presentation, 2013 Local Search Rankings:
Key takeaway: Purchase a camera and use it! (slide 33)
October 18th, 2013
Brother Blumenthal preaching the gospel when asked if there was any SEO benefit to varying your business’ description on different local directories:
“If there is a benefit, it would be quite small. Although there is no exact understanding of how Google uses directory descriptions, it would seem to be a minor or non-issue.”
“As a proof of the low esteem in which Google holds descriptions, look at how little the Google+ description field is actually used by Google itself. The descriptions entered by the business owner only appear on a page that is hardly seen at all by users. Since reviews have been pushed to the front page and Places search was removed, a user needs to click between two and four times to get to the Google+ “About” page where the description resides and that just isn’t going to happen.”
That said, I have a bone to pick with this assessment
“I have seen no indication that strong directory entries like Yellow Pages, Superpages or Yelp are not shown in search results due to a duplicate description.”
The key word here is “strong”. Strong sites can basically do what they please. It’s the not-so-strong sites that would benefit from having unique business descriptions, in the same way that a 2nd tier online retailer would benefit from having a different product description than Amazon’s.
Mike has some interesting thoughts about IYP categories as well.
(via Max Minzer)
IS THAT A PLEDGE PIN?!!!
October 17th, 2013
Source: British Premium Sausages (Yum)
Howard Lerman, CEO of Yext, just unleashed There’s No Such Thing As A Permanent Record, one of the best posts I’ve seen in a long time about why local business listing data is so damn screwed up.
“A common misperception in the local search and data industry is that publishers have a single “permanent” or “master” record for a given business listing. The misconception goes deeper: many people think that claiming a business causes a publisher to update a permanent record for that listing.”
On the process of trying to fix the data at the source:
“Historically, to manage a businesses local data, experts have advocated a “spray and pray” approach. The strategy behind this approach is that, since the public has no real idea which sources any given publisher uses, and no idea how those sources are ranked, the best idea is to simply “spray” your local data to every known aggregator, update your web site, claim your business, file with all gov’t agencies, etc. Then you “pray” that you guessed every source a publisher uses, that their matching process works, and there is no idiosyncrasy that causes your listings to show wrong data.”
Looking forward to the emails from InfoGroup, Acxiom, Neustar Localeze, etc. telling me why this will never happen, but I love this:
“I will leave you with a controversial idea: I actually think Google could solve a lot of their problems by implementing a similar program to the Yext and charging a reasonable monthly for businesses who wish to directly control their data. Who wouldn’t want to pay Google a bit every month to guarantee that their listings were up to date?”
Full disclosure: I publish The Yext Quarterly for which Yext offers me my choice of currency
October 15th, 2013
“For the question “What is more important – quantity or quality of citations?” I would have answered that although quality is crucial, if you do not have sufficient quantity of citations, quality won’t suffice. In many cases people set their profiles up on Yelp, Yellowpages, Yahoo! Local, and even Bing and Nokia, stuff them with as much information as they all, and expect the job is done. Unfortunately, with citations, quantity is also an important factor, at least yet.”
As SEOs, it’s all too easy to find yourself always parroting the “quality over quantity” pitch. We all want that to be true. But my experience has been that quantity of ridiculous, virtually useless citations, particularly “unstructured” citations (e.g. UGC pages that contain a business’ NAP + keywords) can still move the needle for local keywords.
At some point this tactic may stop working – and the most sustainable SEO still relies on quality all around – but as Nyagoslav says “Unfortunately” quantity too often trumps quality.
October 14th, 2013
From time to time, I like to post high quality candidates who are in the local search job market. It seems like this blog’s readership is often on the hunt for experienced people who can get the job done. With that it mind, I proudly present Robert Collins, GM of Surewest Media, one of the West Coast’s largest YP companies. I’ll let Robert’s LinkedIN profile do the talking:
“Senior Sales & Operations Executive with demonstrated track record driving exceptional revenue growth and creating highly profitable organizations within multimedia publishing companies.”
I have had the pleasure of working with Robert over the years and I give him an unfiltered 5 stars. If you are looking for SMB Sales help, he’s your guy. And if you are looking for Myrtle Beach, SC…(it’s a test).
And if you are in the market, either looking for a job or looking to hire someone, let me know.
October 11th, 2013
Local SEO Guide is looking for help in the Bay Area from someone who has experience in “big SEO data” analysis – don’t be intimidated – we’re talking about taking data from various tools and interpreting it into actionable recommendations.
You must be located in the Bay Area. We will not relocate you for this position.
This is a long-term assignment and could lead to full-time employment, if we’re mutually interested. Perfect for an independent consultant looking to pick up some steady work.
Interested? Contact me here.
September 23rd, 2013
NEW YORK — Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman today announced that 19 companies had agreed to cease their practice of writing fake online reviews for businesses and to pay more than $350,000 in penalties. “Operation Clean Turf,” a year-long undercover investigation into the reputation management industry, the manipulation of consumer-review websites, and the practice of astroturfing, found that companies had flooded the Internet with fake consumer reviews on websites such as Yelp, Google Local, and CitySearch. This operation also uncovered that many agencies selling SEO services do not know how to screen potential clients.
Posing as the owner of a yogurt shop in Brooklyn, representatives from Attorney General Schneiderman’s office called the leading SEO companies in New York to request assistance in combating negative reviews on consumer-review websites. During these calls, representatives from some of these companies offered to write fake reviews of the yogurt shop and post them on consumer-review websites such as Yelp.com, Google Local and Citysearch.com, as part of their reputation management services.
“While engaging in the practice of writing fake online reviews is reprehensible,” Attorney General Schneiderman said, “What’s really amazing is how these so-called ‘reputation management experts’ couldn’t easily figure out that the yogurt shop was a fake business.”
The Attorney General’s office has released the following set of recommendations for SEO agencies to follow any time they get a call from a business requesting a fake review program:
- Search Google for the business’ name in quotes. If there are no results, they could be a fake business.
- Search Google for the business’ telephone number in quotes. If there are no results, they could be a fake business.
- Search the website of the Secretary of State for the state where the business is located. If they are not listed in the state’s business database, they could be a fake business.
- Search Google Maps for the business at their given address. If they do not show up, they could be a fake. Do not try the same search on Apple Maps. It’s not a valid test.
“Unfortunately” said a noted reputation management consultant who wished to remain anonymous but had reviewed the recommendations, “These fake businesses don’t sound any different than most real ones.”
September 9th, 2013
UPDATE: Some of my better-read compatriots have pointed me towards Greg Sterling’s article from April about how Google is using the layout below to appease anti-competition complaints in Europe. So take my theories below as pure entertainment, as it should be.
I can’t find another example of this, or a full SERP screenshot, but I think there is one of two things going on here: 1) Google is doing this to address anti-competition complaints in Europe and/or – ACTUALLY THAT’S PRETTY MUCH WHAT IT IS – THE REST OF THIS IS JUST FOR FUN: 2) this kind of layout could be suggestive of Google’s desire to deemphasize local directories in the SERPs while still providing access to those users who want them. This is pure speculation, but over the past year, I have noticed that more and more truly local sites are showing up in the organic results for local queries.
This may be symptomatic of Google wanting to favor these sites over the national directories like Yelp and Yell, or it may simply be the fact that more local businesses are doing SEO. I have always felt that a well-SEO’d local business site should always be able to outrank most directories for any query in the non-local section of the SERP.
Perhaps this is Google signaling that your local directory better not be a generic set of business listings which adds little value to the SERP. If this, or some version like this, becomes the default SERP display, the implication is that you better have a brand that is going to make people click (and your brand name better be pretty short).
Some further reading on the matter: