Google Local Results Are Taking Over The World

December 18th, 2013

Many of my international clients have been living without Google+ Local results I guess because Google couldn’t license a reliable set of data to bounce its crawl info off of.  A common discussion with international yellow pages clients is whether or not they should license their data to Google (IMO I think they should.  Better to get in bed with the beast before your competitors after all).  And now it looks like Google+ Local is methodically making its way around the globe.  This morning a client in Greece alerted me that G+L results are now showing up:

Google+ Local Pack in Greece

Here’s a view of the full SERP:

Google+ Local Results in Greece

Looks like a Big Fat Local Greek Wedding…Opa!


→ 3 CommentsTags: International SEO
Posted by Andrew Shotland

About Your Conference Presentation…

December 3rd, 2013

A client recently asked for notes on their draft presentation for an upcoming conference. I have attended a number of conferences lately and, like the rest of you, have had to sit through some pretty poor presentations. While I don’t claim to be God’s gift to Powerpoint, or even Greg Gifford, I am at that point in life where if your presentation sucks, I am going to get up and walk out, or even worse, like everybody else, check Twitter.

So in the hopes of helping everyone raise their game and making conferences tolerable, I thought I’d share my response:

My initial reaction: This is fine for a [Conference Name Redacted] show; and that’s my major problem with it. Time for some tough presentation love, emphasis on the “love” :) .

Have you ever actually paid attention to a [Conference Name Redacted] presentation? Probably not. Me neither. Most of them are text-heavy repetitions of the same “[Presentation Theme Redacted] is hard” themes with the speaker reading the slides. While yours has some decent info, it’s basically the same as most others I have seen. I think people will tune out pretty quickly.

I’d like to encourage you to rethink your presentation style. Lose most of the text that no one is going to read (or is able to read), industry jargon, confusing graphics and animations that slow down the flow. If you are going to put text on a slide, use as little as possible and use it to reinforce a point you are speaking.

If you want your capabilities to really sink in, I recommend just walking us through an actual campaign, showing us each major step and how it performed. That’s what people really want to see IMO, and what better way to illustrate what you do?

If you want to see an example of what I am talking about, check out this presentation.

Notice how the slides are so simple and interact with what the speaker is saying?

Like I said, it’s a [Conference Name Redacted] conference, so the bar is pretty low, but if you can engrain even a little bit of this style into your presentations, I think they’ll be a lot more effective, a lot more memorable and a lot more fun to do.

→ 1 CommentTags: Uncategorized
Posted by Andrew Shotland

Apple Maps Is Starting To Make A Dent in Google Maps

November 11th, 2013

Sending a little love over to AppleMapsMarketing.com: 63% of iPhone Owners Use Apple Maps Says Comscore

Since Apple Maps was released, Google Maps usage on the iPhone in the U.S. has dropped by about 29 million monthly users. Dios mio!

→ 4 CommentsTags: Apple Maps
Posted by Andrew Shotland

Cloudy With a Chance of Pending: Google Local Ranking Weather Report

November 6th, 2013

Mike Borgelt over at 51Blocks just released this very cool Local Search Weather Report
Google Local Rankings Weather Report

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

But Some of My Best Friends Are Social Media Managers….

November 4th, 2013

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.

DOVE Social Media Campaign

“DOVE body bar, now in new Desperation Sweat scent.”

→ 9 CommentsTags: Social Media Optimization
Posted by Andrew Shotland

Jill Whalen, Queen of SEO, Retires From SEO

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.

→ 1 CommentTags: Uncategorized
Posted by Andrew Shotland

If A Chiropractor Can Do Local SEO, So Can You

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)

→ 1 CommentTags: Local Search
Posted by Andrew Shotland

“Google Now Sees Owner Written Descriptions As Pretty Much Worthless”

October 18th, 2013

You're All Worthless and Weak

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)


→ 3 CommentsTags: Local Search
Posted by Andrew Shotland

How The Local Data Sausage Is Made

October 17th, 2013

How Sausage Is Made

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

→ No CommentsTags: Local Data
Posted by Andrew Shotland

Local Citations: Quality v. Quantity?

October 15th, 2013


Source: BrightLocal Citation Building Survey 2013

Nyagoslav Zhevkov has a great overview of a survey on local citations Bright Local conducted in September.  There are a few good insights in the post, but this one stood out for me:

“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.

→ 1 CommentTags: Local Data
Posted by Andrew Shotland