Moz Local Listings 15 Months after Cancelling: Where Are They Now?

About a year ago I wrapped up a simple test on Moz Local (the paid version): do Moz Local-controlled listings disappear if you cancel?  No, from what I can tell.  I had tracked the listings for for an ex-client, and 3 months after cancelling they were still up.

I did that post in October of 2016.  Since then, some commentators on that post and other astute people have asked me, “Where are they now?”

Here’s a snapshot of how they looked a little over a year ago, 3 months after cancelling:

And here’s a snapshot of the listings for the same business now, almost 15 months after cancelling:

None of the important listings has disappeared in the past year, from what I can see.

In the name of “trust but verify,” I just checked those listing manually.  You might notice the gray bar on the left, representing important InfoGroup.  Turns out that listing IS up still (that discrepancy between the 2016 and 2017 snapshots is just a hiccup on Moz’s end).  The unimportant HotFrog listing may have disappeared, though.

What’s interesting is that some of the “enhanced data” that Darren Shaw in his comment thought might get stripped out did in fact seem to disappear into the ether.  The LocalEze and SuperPages listings no longer display the business’s website URL.  Though I’m interested to know whether those listings or other listings decay a little more 2 or 3 years after the fact, I probably won’t do another follow-up post on it.  I don’t want this to become like the 14th KISS “Farewell” tour.

It seems to be as Jim Stob in his comments said: accurate listings for valid businesses stick around.  Their shelf life is at least that of Chef Boyardee, and perhaps even equal to that of a Slim Jim.

Moz Local is a good service in many cases, particularly for new businesses or new locations of a business.  It’s a low-cost and low-effort way to thin the herd of listings you need to wrangle.  If your listings on sites in Moz’s network went up (or got fixed) without much trouble, I suggest keeping it around.

Still, if for whatever reason you cancel it, your listings should stay up – though you should reclaim those listings manually and re-add any additional info (e.g. your site URL) that might have gone missing.

Any questions?  First-hand experience with cancelling?  Leave a comment!

Do You Really Need to Clean up That Local Citation?

https://www.flickr.com/photos/donwest48/27214819893/

Local SEOs excel at nitpicking, trading in superstitions, and billing for busywork.  Nowhere is that more true than when it’s time to clean up local citations.

You’ve got dozens (or hundreds) of local listings online, and not all of them have the correct business info.  You’ve heard it’s important to have correct and consistent info on those listings.

Do you have to take the time to fix all of them – or do you need to pay someone else to?

No.  Not all local listings matter.  Having the cleanest listings doesn’t mean you’ll outrank anyone or get any more customers.

The danger of going overboard on your listings is that you feel burned-out after doing a bunch of work that doesn’t matter, and don’t have the time or the energy or the will to do the steps that do matter.

When should you bother to correct or to remove a business listing on a given site?  If you answer yes to any of the following questions, go ahead and clean up the listing.  (Skip it if you can answer no to all of the following.)

1. Do you see the listing on the first page (or first couple of pages) of Google’s results when you search for your business by name?
If the incorrect or duplicate listing shows up prominently for a brand-name search, fix it or remove it.

2.  Do you see the site on the first page of Google’s results for a search term you want to rank for?
Maybe your incorrect YellowPages listing (for example) doesn’t stick out like a sore thumb, but if YellowPages.com ranks for a local search term you care about, it’s worth bothering with your listing(s) there.

3.  Is it on InfoGroup, LocalEze, Acxiom, or Factual?
Google and other sites in the local-search ecosystem trust these four sites – known as “data aggregators” – as sources of accurate business info.  Make sure your listings there are accurate.

4.  Is it on a government site?
It’s likely that Google Maps and the data-aggregators (see point #3) trust the business info on government sites (e.g. State Secretary of State).  It may be a pain, but make sure your “official” record is accurate.

5.  Have you heard of the site?
If so, I’d fix it.  Unless it’s Yahoo.  Yahoo is for the birds.

6.  Do you have reviews on another listing on the site, or plan to ask for reviews on the site?
You don’t want customers to review the wrong listing.

7.  Has a customer ever seemed confused by info that’s on the listing?
Easily the best reason to fix or remove an incorrect listing.

8.  Is it clear that you can update the listing with relative ease, and for free?
If it’s controlled by Yext or otherwise requires you to pay to make any changes, I would say it’s not important to fix or to remove.

But let’s say it’s a free listing, and you can fix it or remove it easily if you want to.  Should you?  If it passes the other 7 tests I’ve described, I wouldn’t say you need to – at least not for citation-consistency purposes.  Do it if it’s just gnawing at you, and if fixing one won’t cause your OCD to flare up and compel you to fix 100 other rinky-dink listings.

Do you have a local listing you’re not sure whether to clean up?

Can you think of criteria for deciding when to bother with a listing vs. when to skip it?

Leave a comment!

Local Business Directory Support-Team Email Addresses: How to Reach a Human When You Need Help

https://www.flickr.com/photos/trailimage/12826185203/

For reasons that may or may not have to do with local SEO, you need to fix your online listings.  Maybe you want to fix 50, or just one.

All these sites all make you jump through hoops.  You’ve done everything they’ve asked you to.  You’ve filled out their forms to submit new listings as directed, and to make fixes as directed.  You’ve waited.

That process has probably worked for most of your listings, but you’ve got stragglers.  Either the form’s broken, or you get an error message no matter what you do, or the changes don’t stick, or it’s been 5 months and they still haven’t processed your listing.

It’s time to bother a human.  Someone who works at the site.

That’s only fair.  You may only have a free listing and not pay the site directly for a primo listing, but they can only make money from ads if they have a business directory big or good enough to get them traffic, which they boast about in order to sell the ads.  Your business info is part of their directory, and therefore part of their sales pitch.  They owe it to you to make basic fixes to your listing, if they don’t give you the means to do it yourself.

But most of these places don’t give you an easy way to reach someone who can help.  (Hey, time is money.)  So how do you reach someone?

I’ve compiled a list of support-team emails for various local directories, search engines, and data-aggregators.

Many of these addresses my helpers and I have used successfully.  Others are for sites we’ve never needed to contact by email.  All should reach someone who can help you, or who will refer you to someone in a neighboring cubicle who can.

Please email wisely:

  • Use a domain email if at all possible (yourname@yourcompanysite.com). Consider setting up one, if you don’t already use it for your citations.
  • Be polite. Maybe you hate the yellowpages-type company, but the support rep didn’t do anything to you (and can always find a way to decline your request if you’re nasty).
  • Make it clear exactly what you want, so they can oblige you without wasting your time or theirs on back-and-forth.
  • Make it clear you’ve tried everything else, including the normal channels.
  • Don’t email them 5 times in a day because they didn’t get back to you within the hour.
  • If for some reason they can’t say yes to your request, ask how you can get your listing fixed.
  • If you have 75 locations, first ask how you should go about getting those listings fixed en masse.
  • Don’t email them constantly. If you pee in the pool, we’ll all have to get out (but might want to throw you back in).

Here are the support emails, from A to Z, for 21 sites you might be wrangling with:

Acxiom / MyBusinessListingManager email:
mblm@acxiom.com

Angie’s List emails:
angieslist@angieslist.com or memberservices@angieslist.com

Apple MapsConnect emails:
mapsconnect@apple.com or mapsconnect-business@apple.com

Bing Places email:
placesfeedback@microsoft.com

City-Data.com email:
errors@city-data.com

CitySearch / InsiderPages emails:
myaccount@citygridmedia.com or customerservice@citygrid.com

Cylex email:
info@cylex-usa.com

Factual email:
accounts@factual.com

Foursquare business email:
support@foursquare.com

InfoGroup / ExpressUpdate email:
contentfeedback@infogroup.com

LocalEze emails:
support@neustar.biz, support@localeze.com, or localezesupport@neustar.biz

Manta email:
help@manta.com

MapQuest email:
supportteam@mapquest.com

MerchantCircle emails :
toplevelsupport@merchantcircle.com or support@merchantcircle.com

ShowMeLocal email:
support@showmelocal.com

SuperPages & DexKnows email:
customerservice@supermedia.com

Yahoo Local email
listings-support@yahoo-inc.com
(If Yext won’t help you – and you’ve tried their free-fix method – you can email Yahoo.  We’ve had success in getting duplicates removed this way.)

Yellowbook emails:
team@hibubusiness.com or servicecenter@hibu.com

YellowBot email:
help@yellowbot.com

YellowPages emails:
ypcsupport@yp.com or customer.care@yp.com

Yelp Business email:
feedback@yelp.com

I don’t have a direct, non-phone-tree phone number for most of these (yet?).  If you also want non-email ways to contact some of these sites, here are a few great resources:

Be Where Your Customers Are with Local Business Listings – Max Minzer
(includes some phone numbers and extra detail)

Major Internet Business Directories – Mike Munter
(includes some phone numbers and extra detail)

Twitter Handles for Local Business Citation Sources – Bill Bean
(in case you want to try to get help via Twitter)

Thanks to Austin Lund for letting me know about some emails (see his comment).

Special thanks to Nyagoslav of Whitespark for telling me about a few emails I didn’t know about.  By the way, if the thought of fixing all your listings yourself makes you feel like Fred Sanford, consider hiring Whitespark to help clean up your citations.

Which sites have been helpful – or not helpful – when you’ve emailed them?

Any email addresses you’re still looking for?

Any emails I’m missing?

Leave a comment!

Do You Really Need a Facebook Page for Each Location of Your Business?

https://www.flickr.com/photos/ecastro/4936469618/

Last year a client of mine with multiple locations asked me whether she really needed to bother creating a Facebook page for each location.  She wanted to have just the mothership page, for her flagship location.  Simpler.  Less hassle.

Less benefit, too.

I suggested creating a Facebook page for all locations (which we did), and mothballed away my long answer for the next person who asked.

Then the question came up again on Google+.  I offered a chopped-down answer there, but figured it was time to release the director’s cut.

Here’s why you should have a Facebook page for every location of your business (or at least for the locations you care about):

1.  Customers want and expect to find a Facebook page for the location nearest them.

2.  Google is more likely to show the Facebook page for your nearest location when would-be customers people in that area search for you by name. People in NYC see your NYC page, people in New Jersey see your Jersey page, etc. – even if they type exactly the same thing into Google.  Google is pretty location-sensitive, and your strategy shouldn’t be any less so.

3.  It’s an excellent “barnacle SEO” opportunity.

4.  People don’t want to feel like they’re working with a satellite office, or with “corporate.”

5.  You’ll have a chance at ranking well in Facebook – which is important to the extent that would-be customers go there and actually use Facebook’s search box to find what they’re looking for. Most people don’t do that, but you want to be visible to the ones who do.

6.  It’s another place to get reviews, and a mighty important one at that. You don’t want only your “flagship” location to have Facebook reviews.

7.  Want to use Moz Local? For verification and anti-spam purposes, it requires you to have a Facebook page or a Google My Business page for each location you want to load into Moz Local.  Now, the tool isn’t always good at verifying you by looking at your Google page (for instance, you’ll run into problems if your address is hidden).  That’s when your Facebook page may come in handy.  Belt and suspenders.

8.  It’s a good local citation.

9.  Even you don’t create a Facebook page for a given location, one might be auto-generated for you anyway. If Factual gets it meathooks on your local-business data, it will feed that data to Facebook, which will pump out an “unofficial” page.  You may or may not want that page, which may or may not even have the correct info on your business.

10.  Wouldn’t you want the option of posting content that’s specific to one local market or the other? Rather than generic piffle that everybody’s supposed to like but that nobody really likes.

11.  You don’t even have to spend time being active on all your Facebook pages (or any of them, for that matter). It’s nice if you do, but not essential.  The page just needs to exist, if only for the people who expect to find it, and as a vessel for reviews.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/evenkolder/16555476280/

 

12.  It’s quick and easy to create each page. Don’t do it if you have a good reason that I didn’t address, but don’t skip it out of laziness.

13.  You can always set up “Locations,” if you want what Facebook used to call a parent-child structure between your “main” page and your pages for specific locations. Here’s a great guide on Facebook “Locations” from Sweet IQ.

Can you think of reasons I didn’t mention?

Any arguments against creating a Facebook page for each location?

Leave a comment!

Amazon Home Services for Local Businesses: the Ins and Outs

https://www.flickr.com/photos/formatc1/4130309782/

I’ve wanted to write about “Amazon Local SEO” for a while now.  I had it planned out.  But then last year Amazon retired their daily-deals program, at which point 50% of my content became about as timely and relevant as MTV.  Oh well.

But the other part I wanted to write about was Amazon Home Services, which is relevant to your local visibility if you’re a contractor, and it’s a program that seems to be expanding.

Yours Truly had procrastinated for only about 2 months when Corey Barnett of Cleverly Engaged sent me some good lab notes (as he did last year).  His observations and insights impressed me, so I decided to accept a guest-post on this blog for only the 2nd time in the last half-decade of blogging.  (Colan Nielsen put together a mean quiz here 3 years ago.)

If you’re in the home-improvement space, you’ll benefit from these pointers on Amazon Home Services.  Here’s Corey:

Search results have become more crowded in recent years. National brands have earned more SERP real estate, often at the expense of local businesses. Even competitors to Google’s model (Facebook, Yelp, TripAdvisor, etc.) received increased visibility in 2015 as reported by Search Engine Journal.

The fundamentals have also changed, like with all seven packs decreasing to 3-packs. Sure, free directories are still very visible for many local terms: Yelp, Yellowpages, and recent entrants, Groupon, Houzz and Facebook.

Yet more paid lead-referral networks are starting up and gaining traction online, especially in specific industries. The auto industry has RepairPal, MechanicAdvisor, OpenBay and others. And the home services industry? Quite a few, including HomeAdvisor (previously ServiceMagic), Lowe’s Porch.com, Home Depot’s RedBeacon, Thumbtack, Adopt a Contractor – and Amazon Home Services.

I’ve dealt with Amazon Home Services for some clients, and here’s what I’ve observed:

1.  Amazon Home Services Is Still a New Kid on the Block

So new is Amazon Home Services, that the network appears quite empty for some services in large Metropolitan areas. The service launched in March of 2015. On their page, Amazon reveals which cities have a high number of services.

However, a simple search for HVAC services in Dallas only brought up a handful of providers. There were only about 20 service professionals either in the city of Dallas or that mentioned Dallas in their profile for all home services on Amazon.

(To research in your own city and avoid submitting a quote, do a search in Google like the one above.)

One of the HVAC contractors listed had 6 Amazon reviews and revealed they have had about fifty customers from the platform in the last year.

2.  But It Has High Standards for Acceptance

Unlike other lead networks, there isn’t a sales team that pesters you into an application. The email used throughout the application process – selling-services@amazon.com – doesn’t even seem to be managed by a live person. On top of that, there isn’t a phone number for potential pros to ask questions.

One requirement that scared away a few of my clients were background checks. The background checks don’t need to include every employee, only those responding to Amazon requests.

Yet the most frequent cause of denials is reviews. Within the application process, Amazon asks for links to 3rd party reviews. They give examples to Yelp and HomeAdvisor, which is odd because HomeAdvisor is a competitor and another paid lead referral platform.

Above is an example of a denial, which is often the result of poor online reviews. Having experienced both clients getting approved and denied, here are some insights.

Yelp is heavily scrutinized. You can include reviews to Google, Angie’s List and other platforms in the application, but they will look at Yelp regardless. For example, I worked with a fence contractor earlier this year on the application. They have hundreds of positive reviews on YellowPages, Angie’s List and Google. Google alone has close to 50 five star reviews. Yelp has always been troublesome for their business and they have a neutral to negative reputation from only 3 Yelpers. Needless to say, they were denied, with Amazon citing reviews as the reason.

Another client I worked with was in a smaller market: Lubbock, TX. Despite a neutral to positive reputation online and the highest rating of any Lubbock company in their industry, they were denied. This was truly odd, considering Lubbock only has 1 approved service provider.

Amazon is apparently willing to sacrifice revenue, denying a service provider that would be first in their category for a market.

3.  The Catch: You Pay a Referral Fee

The actual cost of paying Amazon for the lead varies, depending on your service. It’s best to educate yourself on their website.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/protohiro/3847864550/

4.  More Services Appear to Be on the Way

If you take a look at the application process, many more services are available than are currently on the website. Some border on the truly bizarre and specific including: Sommelier, Rubbish Hauler, Misting System Specialist, Mime, Fire Breather, Pet Waste Removal Service, Astrologer, Palm Reader and Paranormal Investigator.

Amazon has added coverage for new cities and expanded the line of services offered. But with a name change last year from Amazon Local Services to Amazon Home Services, perhaps the goal of site won’t be as expansive. In the application process, there is an entire section on business services, but none are currently offered in any city.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/skuds/4302240794/

5.  Should You Sell Services on Amazon?

A recent Forbes article asked a great question, “the best contractors are always busy, do they have time to apply on Amazon and send quotes to customers?”

This is really a dig at all paid lead generation services. A contractor always has time to answer a phone call from a potential customer, which could have come from Google Search, Facebook or due to positive reviews on Yelp. But selling on Amazon Home Services takes time to respond to quotes.

Customers also tend to use Amazon already for finding the lowest price on everything. If that’s not the type of customer you want to reach, it might not work for your business. The prices are set by Amazon and can’t be influenced by service providers, so make sure you have room to make a profit.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/comedynose/6247314317/

 6.  A Case Study on Using Amazon Home Services

If you’re still on the fence about using Amazon Home Services, then check out this interview with Bell Hops, a national moving company that has had success on Amazon.

Have you used Amazon Home Services?  What’s been your experience so far?

Any questions for Corey?

Do you have a favorite cat?

Leave a comment!

Now You Can Fix Your Yahoo Local Listing without Paying for Yext

It appears that you can – once again – update your Yahoo Local listing for free, without having to sign up for Yext PowerListings.

Yahoo completely turned over listings-management duties to Yext last year.  Over the course of several years, Yahoo had gone from a viable (if second-fiddle) local search engine, to a broken one, to one that no longer even tried to offer correct or new results.  You’d only pay to correct your Yahoo listing if your NAP OCD caused you to lie awake at night, bug-eyed and sweating into your pillow.

But now there’s a workaround!

Because it’s near-impossible to find, clearly it’s there by design, rather than as a loophole that’s just asking to be glued shut.  Kenny Hodges of Scott Snyder Dump Truck Service emailed me this fresh intel, and explained how to do it:

Phil –

Due to what is most likely a lawsuit in the works, Yext has now added the option for us to just fix our Yahoo listings for free.

This is interesting information that came about from a sales call from Yext.

My uncle received a sales call from Yext and he proceeded to berate them about the fact that they were ‘holding his business listings hostage’. After 15 mins on the phone with the sales person, he was told that there ​IS ​a way to fix his business listings for free. Although he was not given any specific information about how to do it, he thought he would try again for the 30th time. Upon going through the process, he found that it had changed. Lots of information now needs to be filled out prior to seeing your scan with the new format.

Now when you finally get to the pricing schedule, you will find ​a new link, which is
the solution to the Yext stranglehold on Yahoo business listings. You DO need to make a Yext PowerListings account, AND verify that account through email, and agree to the terms. Yext PowerListings claims that even though it’s a free account, you will be in full control of your claimed Yahoo Business page. Prior to claiming your business you will need to find the proper Yahoo business categories through another source as there is no dropdown or multiple choice or suggestions.

Here are the basic steps to get to the “fix it for free” button:

1. Search local.yahoo.com for your business.

2. Hover your mouse over your business on the left. The results on the right are what you’re looking for.

3. Click on “verify your listing,” right under the name of your business, where it asks “is this your business?”

4. Yahoo/Yext PowerListings will open, where it will send you to a “free business listing scan.”

5. What you need to do is go through the entire process as if your are purchasing one of their plans. At the end, after you have entered all your information, just under the “packages” in very small print, it will offer a “just fix Yahoo for free” link.

That is how we were able to fix our listing on Yahoo for free, without paying Yext.

Kenny

It sure is buried.  After you fill out Yext’s form – as though you’re signing up – you’ll see the link if you scroll down and squint:

(Here’s that URL: https://www.yext.com/pl/yahoo-claims/free-claim-checkout.html)

Then you’ll see this screen:

Now just “check out.”  At this point, you should be done for the moment, and your edits should be under review by some combination of Yahoo / Yext people.  I don’t yet know how long those take to process.

You’ll immediately get an email from Yext, but it doesn’t appear to require any action on your part if you only want to fix Yahoo.

Nyagoslav tells me that Yahoo requires phone-verification before your edits go live.  I’m guessing there’s a second email that prompts you to verify, but I haven’t confirmed that yet.

Anyway, this is a good development.  I just wish the link wasn’t so buried.

Have you tried the free-fix on your Yahoo listing yet?  Run into any issues?

Leave a comment!

Who Provides Facebook’s Local-Business Data?

I’ve never created a Facebook page for Local Visibility System, LLC:

Sure, I created a Facebook page for myself about 10 years ago (and haven’t spent any time there in probably 7-8 years).  But I didn’t make one for the business, because I prefer my site and email list to be home base.  Call me crazy.

Some years ago I created listings on the basic sites.  Lest the shoemaker’s son go unshod, every now and then I do a quick check on my basic listings / citations.  As a true local SEO geek, I like to see which listings are new, which have changed, which have gone the way of tie-dye and free love, etc.

My first stop was (as always) Moz Local, where I noticed that seemingly new, threadbare Facebook page for the first time.

The first thing I noticed about the Facebook page was that it didn’t include the “LLC” at the end of my business name.  I always include the “LLC” in my business name (not that it matters for SEO purposes).  That tells me that Facebook is probably grabbing my business info from a place where I’m listed simply as “Local Visibility System.”

So I checked out the usual suspects.  Turns out I’m not on Acxiom or LocalEze.

Then I checked InfoGroup.  I’ve been listed there for a long time, but the name doesn’t match.

So what site caused Facebook to squirt out a business page for me?

The answer is…Factual.

It was a Moz Local scan that alerted me to the name-match in the first place.

If I was paying attention a couple months ago I might not have had to do any gumshoeing.  Turns out Factual announced (quietly) its local-data partnership with Facebook.

I know I didn’t have a business Facebook page before then, so it all makes sense now.

According to David Mihm’s Local Search Ecosystem graphic, it’s possible that other sources still feed Facebook directly.  But the Factual-Facebook partnership is so new that maybe it’s now exclusive.

Anyway, on a practical level, why should you care that Factual feeds business info to Facebook?

  1. It can help you clean up duplicate Facebook pages – which are a common burr in the saddle.
  1. If you’re having problems making changes to or removing a Facebook page, try to update Factual (manually, or through one of its trusted partners, or through their API if you’re a hardcore geek).
  1. If you do not want a Facebook page for your business, try to squash it at Factual.
  1. If you don’t want your address showing on your Facebook page, try to get the address concealed at Factual.
  1. In general, Factual may be more important than you’d think. (It’s long been a data-provider for Apple Maps, for instance.)

Any Facebook or Factual fiascos you’d like to share?

Do you know of any other little-known data-feeding relationships between sites?

Questions?

Leave a comment!

Groupon Gets (More) Serious about Local Listings: How to Get Listed without Offering a Groupon or Being Pitched

Groupon, long infamous for its daily deals, has let non-deal-offering businesses get listed for about a year now.

But Groupon’s “Merchant Pages” sounded like a real hassle to claim, and you’d have to run a gauntlet of advertising pitches that only a GoDaddy customer could bear.

Apparently it’s less painful now because Groupon is getting its [BLEEP] together, according to some intel that Corey Barnett of Cleverly Engaged Marketing sent me the other day.

It sounds like Groupon has finally got used to honoring requests for free listings, and realizes that many times it’s SEOs and other marketers calling on behalf of their clients to add a listing.  As a result, apparently now it takes less than 45 minutes, they don’t require owner-verification, and don’t pitch you on ads or to start offering a Groupon deal.

You just have to spend a few minutes on the phone talking with a live rep, who notes down your info and presumably later makes sure it’s not bogus.

Corey described the process:

I found out when I was working on a local campaign for a client of mine and noticed all of a sudden they had a Groupon merchant page for all their locations, without even doing a Groupon. Then I compared it to my other clients and same thing, I knew these clients had never done a Groupon and yet they had Groupon merchant pages.

Also, I’ve been watching this for some time and have emailed Groupon’s team if they would roll this out to all businesses. They told me they would, but never gave me a date.

Once you click on “claim a page,” you should get a phone call from a rep and can email them updates and changes. If your client isn’t listed yet, you can also email their support team and they will create a page for you.

When I claimed my client’s page, a rep contacted me and told me I needed to email him changes, a description that can be added, the website link can be updated, photos and more can be added…. He told me they literally just rolled this out late last week.

Here’s his contact info if you have questions:

Rohan Sinha
Product Specialist
600 W. Chicago Ave, Chicago, IL 60654
Desk: 312-459-5160

Here is what a page looks like that I have claimed and filled out; notice the description and photos:

https://www.groupon.com/biz/lubbock/mcwhorters

Corey was told that this newer, easier process is part of a larger effort on Groupon’s part to list more businesses:

[Rohan] confirmed that the data on Groupon’s site is being rolled out in batches being pulled from public sources and data aggregators (wouldn’t disclose which) and has been doing this for only the last 2 months. Groupon has not yet announced the change publicly, because it is still in beta mode. They haven’t added all businesses in the U.S. but that is their goal to offer a free merchant page for every business.

That squares with what I’ve found.  I’ve seen a couple of clients listed on there who I know for a fact haven’t offered a Groupon.  Must’ve gotten picked up from some other online source.

Some things you can add to your Groupon page now for free (through your support rep:

  • Any edits to your business details.
  • Images (under 1 MB) you’d like added to your page.
  • A short, accurate description of your business.
  • Any current specials you’re offering, such as happy hour or half-price items.

The only downside is that it seems you don’t get a “follow” link anymore just for showing up – as Dan Leibson described in his post from last year (which I mentioned earlier).  I guess it was the Groupon equivalent of apology flowers.

Have you tried getting listed on Groupon?  What do you think of the process?

Have you seen your listing on there, even if you haven’t added it or offered a deal?

Leave a comment!

Apple Maps Local Business Category List

Apple has finally given business owners (and SEOs) a self-serve way to add or edit listings on Apple Maps.  You can do it at MapsConnect.Apple.com.

For over two years there have only been workarounds that don’t always work.  So the recent news was good news.

But you’ll still have to make sure your listing has the right categories – whether you’re adding a new listing or claiming and fixing an existing one.  There’s not too much more Apple Maps SEO you can do, so you’d better nail your categories.

There are 671 Apple Maps categories to choose from.

You can pick up to 3.

Have no fear.  I’ve put together a list of all 671 Apple Maps categories.  Here it is, on Google Drive:

http://goo.gl/lsqfEU

As you can see, it’s broken up into 3 columns.  That’s because – as it is when you’re picking out your categories on Yelp and on other sites – you have to pick a category in the left column, then a subcategory in the next column, and then a sub-subcategory if applicable.

Flip through the categories list and see if you can find your perfect 3.

Any gripes about Apple’s category selections?  Do they have a category for you?

What’s been your experience with Apple Maps Connect so far?

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A Map of the Local Search Turf War: 5 Big Boys vs. Goliath Google

Lots of companies want to be the place customers turn to when searching for local businesses.  It’s a battle a between Google on one side, and every other search engine and major directory on the other side.

Greg Sterling recently said it’s between Google and Yelp – that they’re like Spain and Portugal back in the day: empires dividing up the world.  Professor Maps said it’s more like the US versus the Taliban.

I’d say the situation is that Yelp has made itself indispensable.  It’s at the center of a gang-up on Google that includes Apple Maps, Bing Places, Yahoo Local, and YellowPages.  They’re only small compared to Google.

These 5 Big Boys exchange reviews, business data, now ads, and presumably money.  They do it to get more local search “mindshare,” and ultimately more ad revenue.

Their relationships to each other and to Google are messy.  They’re easier to draw.  So I thought I’d map out the turf-war over the local map:

(click to enlarge)

It’s a rough sketch.  There are other big players in local search, like the CityGrid network.  But none that’s ganged up on Google – at least that I can think of.

Quick explanation of the arrows:

Yelp feeds reviews to Apple Maps, Bing Places, and Yahoo Local.  So if you have 5 reviews on Yelp, you have 5 reviews on those search engines.

Yelp also feeds business data to Apple Maps.  (I almost forgot this point when drawing the doodle; thanks to Darren Shaw for reminding me.)

YP has just entered into a deal with Yelp in which its ads show up on Yelp, and some of its data on local businesses is fed to Yelp.

Bing and Yahoo share organic results and ads, of course.  But I’m not aware of any union they have in “local.”

Here’s the kicker: Yelp, YP, and to some extent Yahoo depend on Google for survival.  Yelp in particular has organic rankings in Google out the wazoo.  Most people who go to those 3 sites come from Google.

Google can’t just squash these guys.  YP and Yahoo consistently show up highly in the organic results because of the size of their directories, and because they’re old, more or less trusted sites.  And Yelp is a destination.  Rarely can Google not show Yelp.

What does all this mean for your local-visibility strategy?

Practical Lesson 1:  Yelp may not be profitable (even after 10 years), but I can’t see them going away.  They’ve made themselves indispensable with the (relatively) high quality of their reviews.  You don’t have to like Yelp.  But you can’t ignore your presence / reputation there.  Well, you can, but that’s not smart.  They’re the glue holding the other 4 big players together – against Google.

Practical Lesson 2:  Start worrying about your Yelp rankings, if you’re not already

Practical Lesson 3:  Yelp’s advertising deals may become more compelling soon.

Practical Lesson 4:  Don’t totally ignore YP.  Not a good idea to begin with, because it’s an influential site.  I’m not saying you should pay them for ads.  For now, just give your listing(s) a good tune-up.

Practical Lesson 5:  Get serious about Google+ reviews.  As I’ve written, Google has been pushing reviews hard, partly to squeeze out Yelp (so that Yelp isn’t the de facto place to read reviews).  For a while it’s been in Google’s interest to make them more rewarding for you, and that will be even truer as time goes on.

How has this “gang-up” against Google affected your visibility strategy?

Has it influenced the way you’re trying to “Google-proof” your business – or has it made you focus even harder on Google Places?

What do you think might happen next??

Leave a comment!

P.S.  Thanks to design dude David Deering for another great graphic.