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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How Should You Ask for Online Reviews? The Pros and Cons of Each Approach

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There are no “solutions” – only trade-offs.  Your task is to pick the trade-off – or the combination of them – that works best for you.  That applies to most areas of local SEO and marketing (and life), and it applies to your effort to get more good reviews from customers / clients / patients […]

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Dumbest Terms and Concepts in Local SEO

You’re more likely to get the results you want out of your local SEO effort if you don’t waste time on steps that won’t help, if the work doesn’t drive you crazy and make you stop because it’s not what you expected, and if you don’t hire a company to do the wrong kind of […]

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Using a Shortened URL to Ask for Google Reviews? Goo.gl May Cut You Down

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A good way to make it easier for customers / clients / patients to review you on Google Maps is to send them a link straight to the “Write a review” popup. You probably send a shortened URL (like https://goo.gl/qQgbjT), because it’s tidier than the full URL. That is most likely to be a problem […]

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Photos Now Allowed in Google Maps Spam-Reporting Feature

Pull up a Google My Business page that shouldn’t be on the map, click the “Suggest an edit” link, and you’ll see a new feature: the ability to upload a photo as evidence to back up your request. You don’t have to include a photo, but it should help tilt the scales in your favor.  […]

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