Why Clunky Sites (Often) Punch Above Their Weight in the Local Search Results

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By “clunky” I mean a website of which you can say some or all of the following: Doesn’t look smooth. Not mobile-responsive. Built on an old or less-common CMS, or is hand-coded. Doesn’t have an SSL certificate. Has some cruft, like pages with overlapping content, messy URLs, wordy title tags, etc. At least in my experience, […]

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Generic, Local-SEO-Friendly Business Names: the Pros and Cons of Using One

You’re considering a change of one size or another to the name your business, in the name of better local rankings.  The basic plan is to get a “keyword” and city or other place name into your name. To make that change you might feel the need to keyword-stuff your Google My Business name, to […]

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Can’t Fix a Spammy Google Maps Name? Try a Partial Edit

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Let’s say you have a local competitor with a Google My Business page with a spammy name like “Your Best HVAC Company Cleveland.”  You know the real name of their business is “Harry’s Heating,” and you’ve submitted the real name as an edit in Google Maps, but Google didn’t approve your edit.  Google is too […]

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How Long Does It Take for a User-Submitted Yelp Page to Rank on Page 1 for a Branded Search?

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One week or less, from what I’ve seen. A 7-Eleven opened nearby last year, but Yelp didn’t have a page for that location.  The locally-owned convenience store that used to be at that location had and still has a Yelp page.  (Nobody’s reported it as closed, and Yelp hasn’t de-duped.)  But the 7-Eleven didn’t have […]

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Scraping Gray SEO Barnacles off the Local Spam Flotilla

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“Barnacle” SEO, or the process of getting a page other than a page on your site to rank well in Google’s local organic search results, can be a great way to grab extra local visibility.  If your competitors get barnacle SEO to work for them, more power to ‘em – if they do it in […]

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What Kinds of “Contacts at Google” Can Local SEO Companies Have?

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Some local SEO companies tout “contacts” at Google who can straighten out problems (like competitors’ spam or a penalty you think you’ve received).  Sometimes that suggestion is plain untrue, other times it’s an exaggeration, and most times it’s irrelevant and won’t help you. Knowing the specific type of “contact” your company has (or claims to […]

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5 Types of Google My Business Descriptions That Go Boom

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Few business owners have used the Google My Business “description” field, now that it’s returned.  Even fewer make their description do any work. Google wiped out businesses’ descriptions when it retired GMB descriptions a couple of years ago.  Most ranged from spam to clutter.  Given the cyclical nature of everything in Google Maps, I’m sure […]

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Google My Business Description Gets the Catbird Seat

Google appears to have moved the new-ish “description” field to the top of the right-hand sidebar (AKA the knowledge panel). For the few weeks since Google reintroduced Google My Business descriptions, the description had showed up near the bottom of the sidebar.  Now it’s above even the most-basic business info, like the address and phone […]

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4 Ways to Read Google’s No-Cherry-Picking Policy on Google Reviews

Google recently added the following to their seldom-enforced list of preferences policies on Google Maps reviews: “Don’t discourage or prohibit negative reviews or selectively solicit positive reviews from customers.” The basic meaning seems clear enough: Google doesn’t want you to cherry-pick reviews.  Fine.  Got it. But what’s Google’s definition of “discouraging or prohibiting” a negative […]

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Google My Business Now Lets You Specify a List of Services

This is the first I’ve seen of the “Services” area in Google My Business. (Update 4/6/18: A few people saw this first a few days ago (h/t Nyagoslav Zhekov), but the rollout seems to have been tiny until now.) The input is pretty structured, as you can see. Only the “name” field appears to be required.  […]

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