New Google My Business Hours Requirement?

July 28th, 2014

The other day I was doing the local SEO thing and called Google My Business support to get a client’s duplicate listing removed. After a pretty standard conversation about merging this dupe removed we hung up. A few minutes later I got a call, and it was the Google rep I just spoke with letting me know that their “Places Consult Team” had requested that we add hours of operation for the business to the My Business listing.

Hours of operation

Seemed like a pretty random request so I asked what that had to do with getting a dupe removed and was told that having hours of operation listed is a requirement for My Business listings and unless we add it they won’t merge the listings. Now I am pretty familiar with the local guidelines, and other then stating that you should be able to serve customers during you listed hours, or that you should be available for phone verification during your listed hours there is nothing about requiring business hours in that document. The rep volunteered to send me some documentation explaining the requirement, but so far that hasn’t happened. There were some other choice nuggets that I am going to assume are because the local support team is undertrained and over worked, but since I got a call back over the business hours I’m wondering if there isn’t something else going on…

→ 13 CommentsTags: Google My Business
Posted by Dan Leibson

Schema.org/SPAM – Google Should Get Rid of All of It

July 18th, 2014

I have a client who had implemented schema incorrectly and received a notice from Google that they needed to fix it “if you would like it featured in Google search results”. Of course they didn’t provide any specifics and Schema.org documentation is often confusing:

Then I noticed this very helpful review of Wisconsin Health Insurance, because so many people, well at least 2, are reviewing Wisconsin Health Insurance, which is actually not anything…except a valuable keyword of course:
Rich Snippet SPAM

And if you look at the URL in Google’s Rich Snippet Testing Tool, er, I mean the Structured Data Testing Tool, you see that it employs hreview-Aggregate markup:


And if you look on the URL, you’ll see a sentence about these ratings nicely tucked away on the right hand side of the page, where it’s sure to be really really helpful to users:



A few weeks ago Google did away with author images in the SERPs “to make the experience better” or some such thing. And while the message Google sent to my client shows it is clearly trying to clean up the schema SPAM, I have seen way too much of this crap in the SERPs.

I vote for getting rid of all of it.

→ 5 CommentsTags: Uncategorized
Posted by Andrew Shotland

The Night Google Took Pity On A Client…

July 8th, 2014

Yesterday a client pushed out a new homepage without telling us. I found out because late last night I got this email in my inbox from an actual living, breathing member of Google’s Search Quality team:

Google Notification 2


Say what you will about Google (and clients who double-noindex their homepage), but this is pretty awesome.

→ 12 CommentsTags: Google
Posted by Andrew Shotland

NAP Hunter! Lite now in the Chrome store

June 26th, 2014

Hey local SEOers! NAP Hunter! Lite, our Chrome extension for citation research and audits, is now available in the Chrome store. This should streamline installations, so you can get to automating. For more info on how to run the extension check out the “How to Run NAP Hunter! Lite” section at the end of this page.

→ 2 CommentsTags: Citation Research
Posted by Dan Leibson

Yext Duplicate Listings Suppression Launches (aka Powerlistings Über)

June 23rd, 2014

Yext launched a duplicate business listings suppression service today they are calling Powerlistings Über. That’s fancy talk for saying you can now kill duplicate business listings on publishers in the Yext Powerlistings Network with extreme prejudice. For those of you who have tried to squash duplicate citations and found it to be an endless and expensive game of whack a mole, you may want to check out Yext.

Here’s how it works:

  • Yext automatically identifies duplicate listings on a particular local search site in Yext’s dashboard. In the case below, the “Suppress Duplicates” option would appear next to a listing that has been flagged as having dupes.

Publisher Level Suppression

  • Clicking “Suppress Duplicate” brings up a screen that shows the listings for a specific NAP on the publisher site. Select the listings you want to torch and click “Suppress this Listing”
    Unlimited Suppression
  • The request then gets reviewed by both Yext and the publisher to make sure the user hasn’t made a serious mistake (e.g. deleting all their listings). Once it passes the review, it’s toast.
    Supression Status

Some key points about the service:

  1. You must be a Yext Powerlistings subscriber to get access to the duplicate suppression service
  2. Yext is pricing Powerlistings Über at a 25% mark-up to the retail rate of Powerlistings (a similar mark-up applies to resellers).
  3. The price is for an annual subscription and covers unlimited dupe suppressions. So even if the dupe reappears, you don’t have to pay to kill it again.
  4. When a dupe gets suppressed the publishers have the option to 301 redirect the dupe to the canonical listing on their site and potentially can merge reviews and other data from the dupe. Not all publishers will do this, but for those who do, this could have some SEO benefits.
  5. You can un-suppress a suppressed listing at any time
  6. If you cancel your Yext subscription, you unlock the dupe suppression and it is likely that over time the dupes will reappear

Last month Yext published a white paper I wrote on how to deal with duplicates where I suggested that given the problems with how local search services and the big data aggregators work together, the best solution for solving duplicate business listings is to lock the dupe at the publisher level. This is how Yext’s service works and in my view is the only way you can reliably squash dupes and keep them squashed. And the fact that Yext can do this automatically for potentially hundreds of thousands of listings at once means that it is an incredible solution for large and small multi-location businesses. If you consider how much it costs to manually clean up duplicate listings, this service starts to look pretty cost-effective. Check it out and let me know what you think.

Full disclosure, I do some consulting work for Yext and have been on their asses for a year to build this :) Oh and check out their Whack a Dupe game too.

→ 12 CommentsTags: Yext.com
Posted by Andrew Shotland