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Search Engines Picking Up Local Long Tail?


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#1 Ken Fisher

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Posted 04 May 2013 - 08:07 AM

I've haven't focused on local search lately because I haven't run a brick and mortar business for five years.

 

My Question:

 

I do see local results (not Goolge Places) popping up for money terms where they did not exist five years ago unless your included city, state for example in a query.

 

Anybody noticing small local businesses showing, or replacing the bigger content sites for long tail queries today?



#2 iamlost

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Posted 04 May 2013 - 09:39 AM

Welcome to personalisation!

 

Even when not logged in to G it often uses one's IP as implied locality. Then if it's dictionary has specified a term as generally 'local' in nature it will combine that localisation with your IP giving local results. Local is where the 'real' money is and so expect the trend to continue.



#3 Ken Fisher

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Posted 04 May 2013 - 10:17 AM

Agreed Lost! I've noticed that for awhile. But let's get to the meat.

 

So what can we do to take advantage of it? Let's do some serious thinking here, or are we guarding secrets?

 

I haven't done much testing because it messes up the results I am seeing if I click on a result for a particular query. I used to be able to copy the url and put in a new window. I'm not even sure if that's not tracked today either. I'm thinking no? Quite frankly I don't compare much anymore because I don't know what may be the common result others may see. The Gorg sure has many played eh?

 

These days one never knows how to test or do we? Use grandmas PC who is not searching for the same stuff we are?  For instance if you continually look (check serps) for how you compare in a certain industry, or keywords even without clicking any results I would think you're being personalized.



#4 iamlost

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Posted 04 May 2013 - 12:05 PM

Yes, personalisation can be a feedback loop.

Many/most webdevs and SEOs are in denial of the real kicker point of personalisation: term SERP is passe and has been for quite a while. Yes, one can calculate an 'average' (I understand that G's WMTs offers this?) but as with TBPR now a measure of practical use only in reports to ignoramouses. Instead I recommend using term/page traffic numbers. What you receive is always a better metric than one on some else's site. Even better is correlating said traffic with conversion(s).

 

I don't do much with local as my sites are niche general information not local sales vehicles. However, some of my advertisers like to run local (more granular) compaigns in tandem with their broader ones so I've done some research to accommdate their needs. 

 

The most basic research is to build your own dictionary of terms and label each something along the lines of local, regional, national, global (vary as per your requirements).

Note: there are SE differences so if not simply chasing Google the effort is somewhat more.

 

How you then write or re-write copy to leverage localisation is a matter of testing. Is it worth it? Maybe. The more local your niche and the more mobile visitors you (want to) receive the greater the probable value.



#5 clandestino

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Posted 06 May 2013 - 01:43 AM

Google Geo-Targets Some Key Phrases That They Think Would Be Purchased Locally

 

A couple of years ago, google started to return Local Search Results for key phrases related to products or services that would most likely be purchased on a Local basis.  If I search for -- party supplies -- for example, even though I haven't included a geo-modifier, the Local Search Results will be geo-targeted for businesses in the proximity of my ip or, when a searcher clicks "Search Tools" at the top of the search results and changes their location, in the proximity of that location.  Google believes that searchers will receive the best experience if they can search for "party supplies" locally in this case. 

 

That may be the best search result for someone that wants to put on a small party and wants to go to the store to see what's available first hand.  Or, if I want a piece of pizza for lunch, I usually won't want it shipped in from New York so google will find someone near my ip or if I'm searching from a mobile device, from the location of that device (if Location Services are set).  That may not, however, be the best search result for an individual or a larger entity that wants to buy "party supplies" in bulk and wants to purchase from anyone in the United State that offers the best deal.  Regardless, google is going to provide geo-targeted results for the Local Search Results and there's no getting around that.  Look to the Organic Search Results for companies outside your Local Area. 

 

Below, I talk about what to do after you've lost your position 1 - 7 Organic Search Results because of this.

 

If you aren't a large company with locations in most major cities, you will wish they didn't do that.  Sometimes they show Local Search Results for key phrases related to products or services that aren't necessarily purchased locally.  This will create a problem for companies that sell nationally but only have one location or maybe a few regional locations.  Now the Local Search Results show up above the Company's Organic Search Results, fill the coveted 1 - 5  Search Results positions, and if the searcher's location is outside the Company's Local Area, the Company won't show up in the Local Search Results.  If the Company doesn't have multiple locations nationally, their listing won't show nationally in the Local 1, 3, 7 or 10 Pack -- which Search Pack will be returned is a subject for another thread.  Also, I won't go into how google determines the Local Area from which they will select Local Search Results, which would be a topic for yet another thread.

 

Sometimes the Local Search Results will be shown before any Organic Search Results.  Sometimes two to three Organic Search Results will show before the Local Search Results and the Local Search Results will usually be a 7 pack.

 

In the latter case, you will want to make sure your Organic Search Results are in the top two (to make sure you show every time), possibly 3.  Your other planning consideration would be that this key phrase is one for which you may want to establish an AdWords budget -- damn!

 

If google ever gets the "New Places Search" to work the way google publicized it (seems they've been having so much fun torturing everyone with penalties that they lost track of this one), the Local Search Results would always be shown before Organic Search Results and two or three Organic Search Results would show below the Local Search Results on the first page.   Then your goal would be to be in both the Local Search Results and the first two or three Organic Search Results.  For searches not within your Local Area (your Local Area can be quite large and cover parts of more than one state,  a topic for another thread), however, searchers won't see your Company in the Local Search Results, damn!, so being in the top two or three Organic Search Results becomes even more important -- unfortunately, the positioning of your Organic Search Result will be the equivalent of an 8th to  10th Organic Search Result position, double damn!!

 

Hope that helps.


Edited by chuckfinley, 06 May 2013 - 02:03 AM.
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#6 Ken Fisher

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Posted 06 May 2013 - 06:13 AM

Thanks Chuck:

 

Now I'm seeing things a bit clearer, but have been confused with the terminology. I did do a little more digging and discovered Google + pages seem to be gaining importance, or at least having one. It looks like the advantage is an additional marketing source within a listing in Google Places that includes a link to a company's + page link. That's my take on it so far. Looks complicated...for now.

 

Btw I found a good source that. Perhaps some haven't. Kind of like an SEOMoz top ranking factors thing they update yearly. Not sure if there are other sources out there. It doesn't address how to grab long tail local searches, but as you mentioned it's pretty much a wild card.

 

http://www.davidmihm...g-factors.shtml

 

In your third paragraph I don't see that happening in my industry...yet. In my market and there are a couple of heavy hitters, or those that are national but don't have a local listing. I suppose it's only a matter of time they see the opportunity being lost.

 

BUT, I'm not logged in while checking these things. Mentioned above about personalization without clicking the results. Fear of really messing up what others may see, if there is some kind of generalization/average. I'm lost on whether or not I'll get the same results. 

 

Lost mentions..
 

 

Yes, one can calculate an 'average' (I understand that G's WMTs offers this?)

 

I don't know the answer to this.

 

Anyway, it's a fascinating area and I'm game, because some don't seem to be taking advantage of it, particularly having a places listing. And yet these listings have been a part of Google local for some time.

 

It's also a time to rethink my overall strategy with the Pandalized site I have. The Ninjas are working on it...I suppose. I have a 30 day waiting period to see what they recommend. It's been two weeks now. That site could conceivably be turned into a local site with a brick and mortar presence. Gets about 100 free visitors from the local area daily. I've run both online and brick and mortar with it before in a different state. But I can see some difficulty in approaching someone and saying "...I'd like to invest in your business with my website and it's presence" I'm thinking it would be a hard hill to climb in getting someone to see the value because I've already tested a similar approach on some industry message boards.

 

I need a pro to handle that part. But what kind of pro? Just like the video platform I've been working on. There seems to be so much opportunity in both areas but I cannot cold call people on it. I hate it. I can't get myself out the door and it takes face to face contact to show them the ideas. In the end I can realistically hear someone saying; "I don't know where I would be today if I hadn't taken you up on your ideas."

 

Sorry to ramble. Are there pills to overcome this fear?



#7 Ken Fisher

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Posted 06 May 2013 - 06:38 AM

Now trying LinkedIn Business Plus for a pro



#8 bwelford

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Posted 06 May 2013 - 09:14 AM

Mike Blumenthal has an intriguing post today on the dilemma Google has in trying to do the right thing with local search while favouring Google Plus versus Google Places.  This is all because of the European pressure on Google to be more even handed with its very much smaller competitors.

http://blumenthals.c...us-search-next/

 

I guess the best advice is keep watching this space. :)



#9 EGOL

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Posted 06 May 2013 - 10:18 AM

Anybody noticing small local businesses showing, or replacing the bigger content sites for long tail queries today?

 

Kind of interesting to try different variants of "pizza".

 

"pizza" is normally local if google knows your IP

 

"pizza shop" is hyperlocal

 

"pepperoni pizza" is not local

 

"pizza oven" is mildly local

 

======

 

once you add alcohol google starts discriminating.

 

"beer" is not local

 

"wine" is local

 

Google must think that it is OK to tell you where to buy wine but beer is some type of "evil". 



#10 Ken Fisher

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Posted 06 May 2013 - 04:43 PM

"wine" is local

 

We could probably look at this forever, but it gets me to thinking. I'm guessing wine is local because of wine tasting events etc. Time to see what keyword variations create local results, which I am sure many are doing. How about the Google + page itself. Do the discussions itself get picked up when keywords are used? I'm guessing no.

 

Time to dig deeper. Cool stuff..



#11 clandestino

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Posted 07 May 2013 - 03:38 AM

Thanks Chuck:

 

Now I'm seeing things a bit clearer, but have been confused with the terminology. I did do a little more digging and discovered Google + pages seem to be gaining importance, or at least having one

 

Indications are, in the US anyway, that google Places is on the way out and google + Business Pages are replacing that service.

 

google Places used to be a really easy thing to understand, but a really hard thing to manage because it didn't work right in many cases and there was no google support, except the help forum.

 

There are a lot of changes going on right now that make it a little hard to follow especially for someone new to the subject.

 

Btw I found a good source that. Perhaps some haven't. Kind of like an SEOMoz top ranking factors thing they update yearly. Not sure if there are other sources out there. It doesn't address how to grab long tail local searches, but as you mentioned it's pretty much a wild card.

 

http://www.davidmihm...g-factors.shtml

 

David Mihm is The Authority on Local Ranking Factors.  l would pay attention to what he has to say, even if he did just recently sell out to seomoz and join their staff.  He did a White Board Friday recently that will give you a little background on the history of Local.

 

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

I've been planning to do a series from A to Z under "Local and Small Business Marketing" here at Cre8asite Forums.  Looks like I better get going on that.  It will really help you to understand what the opportunities are for your business and how to do it.

 

Btw, stay away from the pills or you'll end up like some of the characters over at google.  I think that may be how they got to be the way that they are.  That can't be good. ;)


Edited by chuckfinley, 07 May 2013 - 04:07 AM.
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#12 clandestino

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Posted 07 May 2013 - 03:45 AM

Kind of interesting to try different variants of "pizza".

 

"pizza" is normally local if google knows your IP

 

"pizza shop" is hyperlocal

 

"pepperoni pizza" is not local

 

"pizza oven" is mildly local

 

======

 

once you add alcohol google starts discriminating.

 

"beer" is not local

 

"wine" is local

 

Google must think that it is OK to tell you where to buy wine but beer is some type of "evil". 

 

"Party Supplies" return a 7 Pack, but "Party Favors" don't?

 

Nothing google does ever works right and Local has had less support from google than other products so it's even worse. 

 

I don't think Marissa Mayer leaving helped much.



#13 clandestino

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Posted 09 May 2013 - 03:16 AM

"wine" is local

 

But,  -- Wente Grey Riesling wine -- isn't, go figure.  I'm right here in the Tri-Valley area where Wente Vineyards is located - you would think it would pop up as a Local listing.

 

Well, back to the slide rules, they gotta get better engineers over there at google, LOL!  ;)


Edited by chuckfinley, 09 May 2013 - 03:29 AM.


#14 Ken Fisher

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Posted 09 May 2013 - 06:10 AM

I've always been curious where Chuck was from. This is my first clue, but I don't read all threads.

 

Chuck. It could have something to do Google not having enough information to go by? I know nill about wine and your area, but the only thing I could come up with as far as a location was the area code from the contact us page.



#15 clandestino

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Posted 10 May 2013 - 02:40 AM

I hadn't really looked at the site.

 

They have the address here --> http://www.wentevine...ite/directions/

 

But, you're right, there are some really simple on-page factors that would really increase their visibility for Local, like including their Local address in the footer on every page.



#16 gabs

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Posted 10 May 2013 - 05:37 AM

One "trick" I use for local search is to include the directions but from local towns or cities not from north,south etc.... 

 

By just including these local areas I increased impressions 150 times..

 

Here in the UK if a local business is on major-ish roads (e.g. a high street) you can normally reach it from large cities within only a few turns.. 

 

Include directions from airports, railway and bus stations.. google and your users will love this as it solves a problem for queries like "menswear shop near heathrow ariport" 

 

Useful for user, useful for rankings.. win win..


Edited by gabs, 10 May 2013 - 05:37 AM.


#17 Ken Fisher

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Posted 10 May 2013 - 10:28 AM

Interesting. That can work for all sorts of things that people generally use to describe an area. In my case it could be like "near spaghetti junction." That's actually a crossroads for a few major roads in Atlanta and used frequently in discussion.

 

Thanks Gabs!



#18 clandestino

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Posted 10 May 2013 - 09:03 PM

Chuck. It could have something to do Google not having enough information to go by?

 
Gabs comment is good stuff.
 
Google has plenty of info to go by.  It's just not the best info. 

 

Wente is well established, has a popular restaurant and puts on concerts with big name acts -- Martina McBride will be here on June 26th.  And, that Grey Reisling they make is excellent.

 

They need to focus their Local Brand Presence and expand keywords.
 
This is a good example of how not to manage Local NAP (name, address, phone) which is critical to Local rankings.
 
I searched on google for "Wente Vineyards" and looked at NAP for the 1st page results -->
 

Website -- Wente Vineyards, 5565 Tesla Rd  Livermore, CA 94550  (925) 456-2300

Wikipedia -- Wente Vineyards, no address or phone

Facebook --  Wente Vineyards, 5565 Tesla Rd  Livermore, CA 94550  (925) 456-2300

Yelp -- The Restaurant at Wente Vineyards, 5050 Arroyo Rd, Livermore, CA 94550  (925) 456-2400

OpenTable -- The Restaurant at Wente Vineyards, 5050 Arroyo Rd. Livermore, CA 94550  (877) 263-3783

LivermorePatch -- Wente Vineyards Restaurant & Visitors Center, 5050 Arroyo Rd Livermore, CA 94550  925-456-2405

 
Look at all the variations of Name, Address and Phone. 
 
On Wikipedia they should have included address and phone.  Even using a period on the end of Rd., on Opentable, when it's not used on all the others is a problem -- I've had google produce duplicate Places pages as a result of exactly that.  NAP should be exact, not close, not the best that the Local Site will produce, exact.  If it's not, contact the Local Site and get them to update it.  If they won't, I have them delete the profile altogether.
 
NAP is critical, especially to start or when you're trying to consolidate a fragmented Local Brand Presence like this.  So to start, I make sure there aren't any variations at all, no matter how small.
 
The other thing that is plainly obvious, they aren't making any attempt at all to use keywords that can help them on the Local Sites above.
 
They're running on the basis that they really are popular, relevant and hoping the rest will take care of itself which is a strategy that will generate about 1/2 the revenue they would be able to if they managed it.  They do show 3rd in a 7 pack for the keyword "wine", though.  Having said that, however, they should be number 1 and they could greatly expand their net of coverage for less competitive keywords. 
 
Imagine what would happen if their Local presence was focused.  Just this and Gabs' comment would make a huge difference.
 
I've been able to regularly double sales volume within 2 years.  Both NAP and Gabs comment, or variations of it, are important parts of what I do to get there.


Edited by chuckfinley, 10 May 2013 - 09:38 PM.
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#19 Ken Fisher

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Posted 11 May 2013 - 06:07 AM

Good points Chuck, but how can they consolidate two entities being ten miles apart?

 

They're focusing on both the winery and restaurant separately.

 

I don't know how you could fix that in Google places? Completely separate names?

 

I'm thinking this one is unfix-able.

 

NAP is interesting.



#20 Ken Fisher

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Posted 11 May 2013 - 07:44 AM

Hmmn. I discovered something that proves accurate NAP as not being an important issue unless other factors are coming into play. See more below...

 

A local business has these addresses seen across the web:

 

Harrington Rd Suite A-326
Harrington Road , Suite A326
Harrington Rd NE
Harrington Rd Ste A-326

 

The above are coming from a number of sources that include BBB, Kudzu, IYP.

 

And even their Google + page shows different..

 

Harrington Rd NE a326

 

Website Address: Not on home page

 

Harrington Rd Suite A-326

 

Yet this particular business dominates the local listings for a variety of keywords. Could it be just that they have more ducks lined up compared to others?

 

As I've mentioned several times, my industry is always behind the times and is not too smart SEO wise. Except they do know to title tag and link spam. Some even still throw dozens of  keywords in the html meta tags.

 

Of course this company does have 121 reviews at kudzu, but the more I learn about that review site the more I think it's a watered down form of "protection insurance." 121 reviews is extremely difficult for this business unless you put a gun to ones face.

 

Other incidentals...

 

DA - 35

Linking Root- 88

Total Links -220

Site Online since 2007

 

I Don't Understand This from David Mihm's report?

 

"Proper Category Associations"

 

In looking at the Google + page for this company there is no mention of them involved in the type business that I entered in the search queries. All it says is "flooring store" My keywords included "floor refinishing." Most flooring stores here in the states don't do refinishing, but Google doesn't know that.

 

Oh crap...I've been doing some research on this industry locally and I have clicked on all the websites. Does local search work personalization into your results when clicking Google Places? Or did I ask that already?

 

Thanks for listening.


Edited by Ken Fisher, 11 May 2013 - 07:58 AM.


#21 iamlost

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Posted 11 May 2013 - 09:09 AM

.

Oh crap...I've been doing some research on this industry locally and I have clicked on all the websites. Does local search work personalization into your results when clicking Google Places? Or did I ask that already?

 

Thanks for listening.

I still get bit that way as well. :( :D

 

The easiest way I've found to get a less pesonalised result set is to use StartPage. It is a proxy search of Google via the Netherlands. It often doesn't return as many results per query but if the first 3-10 result pages are enough it works very well.



#22 Ken Fisher

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Posted 11 May 2013 - 10:56 AM

They must be based in Brooklyn or the Bronx...NYC area? Or the USA proxy?  Those are the paid results I'm getting without using location.  I don't think I'd want many people to use this search engine if I was paying for premium listings.

 

I see some minor differences in what I've been looking at. Of course I was testing extensively about two months ago and not much recently. Thanks for the heads up lost! Very useful.

 

I suppose we'll never see local search results as they don't track your IP.



#23 clandestino

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Posted 11 May 2013 - 02:33 PM

Good points Chuck, but how can they consolidate two entities being ten miles apart?

 

In this case, since the restaurant is at a separate address, they should create 2 distinct enties with separate Twitter, Facebook, Youtube, etc. etc.

 

Any profiles related to the concerts should be headed up Wente Vineyards and in the description it would look like this -->

 

Wente Vineyards Concerts

 

The summer concert series blah, blah, blah.......

 

I would inlcude the concerts on the Wente Vineyards channels  -- Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, etc.

 

But, notice above that they have different names and telephone numbers for the restaurant.



#24 clandestino

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Posted 11 May 2013 - 02:38 PM

Hmmn. I discovered something that proves accurate NAP as not being an important issue unless other factors are coming into play. See more below...

 

A local business has these addresses seen across the web:

 

Harrington Rd Suite A-326
Harrington Road , Suite A326
Harrington Rd NE
Harrington Rd Ste A-326

 

The above are coming from a number of sources that include BBB, Kudzu, IYP.

 

And even their Google + page shows different..

 

Harrington Rd NE a326

 

Website Address: Not on home page

 

Harrington Rd Suite A-326

 

Yet this particular business dominates the local listings for a variety of keywords. Could it be just that they have more ducks lined up compared to others?

 

I didn't check that business but there probably isn't much much competition.  They would likely do better on the long-tail if there presence was better focused.



#25 Ken Fisher

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Posted 11 May 2013 - 04:01 PM

Competition in the form of properly structured Google Places listings?

 

The actual competition in the industry is fierce in this market. I can see that by the regular organic listings and the sheer number in the industry locally. That's why I am thinking few are focusing their efforts (ducks lined up) on local search, or obtaining positions in those local package (5-7 pack etc) listings.

 

There's even one listing for one query that has nothing to do with the industry.

 

By the way, the road name itself is fictitious.


Edited by Ken Fisher, 11 May 2013 - 04:02 PM.


#26 earlpearl

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Posted 11 May 2013 - 11:59 PM

Hey guys:

 

Nice conversation.  I've been one of the "experts" on David Mihm's annual local search ranking factors for the entire 5 years.  Miriam has been on it also for either the entire 5 years or close to it.

 

The results are the weighted opinions of all the people who respond.  David's methodology is similar to what seomoz has produced for years on overall web ranking impacts.  Its an aggregation of opinions.  

 

Its interesting.  I know and interact with a lot of those folks.  Its an aggregation of a lot of opinions based on what we see.

 

But boy oh boy...nobody has the crystal ball.   and Google is changing so much so frequently...its a real changing game.

 

Just to throw out one example of how much it can change week to week and month to month and has over time:

 

Suppose you have an smb business in the suburbs of a reasonable sized city with a ring road or beltway around it.  Suppose Google would show the PAC above organic results on a continual basis.  Lets say your city is Metropolis and you sell bicycles or jewelry.

 

Periodically over the course of the year, regardless of how strong the signals were to your business....google would simply change the "locationess" of the MAP and PAC.   For a period it would just cover the geography of the city.   If you had a powerful site with powerful signals but were located outside of the city but inside the ring road....YOU WERE LOST.   The Map and the 7 PAC dominated the above the fold results and because you were outside the city you couldn't get visibility.

 

Then bingo Google expands the geography of the map to include all the smb's inside the Ring Road surrounding the city.  ZAP BAM...Heavens are shining on you.  Your strong Signals NOW dominate the PAC...simply because Google decided to expand the geography of the map and the associated businesses within the PAC.     That could change periodically over the course of a year.

 

Tough nut to crack...huh???

 

One way to crack it USED to be to get such relatively strong signals to the site basically through outstanding links....that you had an organic result Above the PAC regardless of all other considerations.

 

Then...bam....Google starts taking that business listing and merging it into the PAC....OY...what issues.

 

Its a never ending difficult situation.

 

One thing that seems to have occurred a good bit in the last year...is that small businesses that had strongly optimized and had strong local rankings for years...got smacked for OOP's (over optimization penalties).    probably mostly as a result of relatively high ratio's of anchor text links going into the home pages.   I've suffered from some of that.   Some of that was mitigated by having relatively a lot of links going into interior pages.

 

Gabs strategy is a nice one.  I used it for years for a variety of businesses.   Write directions from North, South, East, or West and include major town names, or major identification points.

 

It used to work real well for me.  Doesn't work as well any more.  Frankly I need more pages specifically dedicated to those towns and cities with title tags and more unique content.   When I've done that it works dramatically better.  Here is something else...somewhat spammy.   We'd publish a list of every town, zip code in our target region on the bottom of the web site.  It was for a business type that was regional with thin competition.   That worked in google till about 1 year ago.  Now it doesn't work.  We got rid of the town names and zips.   (btw:  it was still working in bing when we got rid of it)

 

Of course its always subject to the competition.

 

Ken:   Categories come up when you are filling out the info for a local/places/google + page.  Its part of the detail you fill out about the business.  Categories are very important.  If you are a dentist you want to add dentist of course.  But if you have specialties you definitely want to add them.  There will be specialties that come up all the time.  If you are a vet, you may want to list some of the special services you provide as a vet.

 

One caveat on that, though, is that as of early April this year Google dramatically changed its acceptable category list.   The only way you see it all is to get a local business, claim it and fill out the category list.

 

I haven't seen a new list of all the categories.  I believe Mike Blumenthal had an old list.  Not sure if he has updated it though or gotten access to the new Google list as of early April, this past year.

 

Ken:  I've had listings with pristine NAP and smb's without pristine NAP.  One of the issues is that I've some old businesses wherein there is a lot of old data on the web...some of which no matter what I did to clean up the NAP I couldn't get the third party website owners to make a change.

 

It did create problems at times.    One thing about Google is if you can identify the problem NAP info...or if you have a problem and the engineers look at it they might identify the problem and essentially "weaken the signal" or "disconnect" the signal from the bad NAP info.  I've done that in the past...and they have tools to do that.   Its best if you figure out what web NAP info is screwing up the info and direct report it to them.

 

Ken:  While you found an example with an smb with inconsistent NAP info that is showing strong I'd always suggest trying to clean it up.  There have been way too many problems over the years for too many businesses which were caused by inconsistent NAP.

 

Now having said that...Google is getting better at merging or supposedly merging inconsistent NAP info.   We'll see going forward.

 

Speaking of inconsistent NAP info here is a real mind bender.   Some of the "strong signals" that go into the "cluster" that supposedly gives your local presence strength come from google Map Maker.    Check out google Map Maker.

 

Map Maker is basically manned by a large number of Map Maker volunteers, including trusted senior map makers.   

 

In any case the fields for filling out address info in Map Maker were and are different from what was google places   now google + Local.  So sometimes Map Maker info...strictly based on differences in the fields for address info totally messed up local visibility.   I know it was terrible in 2012.   It might be better now...even as the fields for address information are still a little different.

 

 

So what works today???    Well Gabs' technique is working for him now.   Its not working for me now.   Maybe I should completely change those pages on those sites and do it with a new different twist.  LOL.   (Actually I'm thinking of a way to refresh those pages with better content and structure...so maybe there is a better way.  ;)  )

 

Of all the things that work well....I believe strongly in what I know EGOL believes in and practices...great content that naturally lands links.   But for a small business its not easy.  It takes time to develop a voice that gets "heard".  

 

 

I am actually parsing and rigorously studying a lot of pages now on a number of sites.  When I get some good answers I'll get back to you.  ;)

 

Finally, this one comes to mind, subject to Ken's original comments in the opening thread...these are a lot of money terms.  And in that context it turns up some awful brutal and ugly competition.

 

A couple of years ago I got into the google spam team when I reported some spam technique that was impacting google local results.   As a result every so often folks refer some vicious spam stuff to me and I send it in.

 

On one situation for a definite $$$ term, I saw some SOB going big time on spam.  he had webmasters of very credible looking sites inserting invisible links into highly credible pages on highly credible looking sites.  That one blew me away.  OTOH...there was serious $$$ being made every month on this smb/website---all local.

 

In other cases I've seen computer repair guys in one city complaining about an SOB planting brutal fake devastating reviews about all his competitors...car and auto operators set up incredible faked reviews favorable to their own operations and devastating to the competition....also claiming faked locations etc etc etc.    

 

They are $$ terms and they are also subject to some brutal dirty competition.   I've experienced some of that...and frankly got back at the SOB's who started the dirty little war.   Its not a pretty environment.



#27 clandestino

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Posted 12 May 2013 - 04:39 AM

Competition in the form of properly structured Google Places listings?

 

I am thinking few are focusing their efforts (ducks lined up) on local search, or obtaining positions in those local package (5-7 pack etc) listings.

 

Exactly -- Places and related sites that will help with Local SEO.

 

Very often, Local is like the old days for SEO.  It doesn't take that much effort to rank.  Sometimes I've had clients at the top of the listings for their core keywords within 20 minutes -- on a good day with minimum competition, i.e., nobody else knew what they were doing and actually in some cases where it was fairly competitive but I focused on keywords the competition wasn't focusing on.

 

To give you an example, my dentist asked me to look over what his SEO was doing.  He was thrilled that he was in 1st position in a 7 pack for the keyword "teeth whitening".  All his guy did was put that keyword on six different pages, didn't even interlink them and with no inbound links to those pages.  That's how easy it can be.

 

In the competitive niches, as earlpearl points out, the core effort for Local is a sound Organic program.  Content and links go a long way towards solving all of your SEO problems.

 

imho, gabs' technique and many others that I use may not skyrocket you to top positions, or they may depending on competition, but you need to find a lot of places to add keywords, you can't rely on just the Places page and it's categories.  The cumulative effect of all of those places you can tuck away keywords is that you end up grabbing a lot more long-tail keywords (and almost everything is long-tail in Local) and a lot more hits in different cities.

 

Any one of the techniques in David Mihm's Local Search Ranking Factors may not skyrocket you to the top, but in the aggregate they will get you good results and your search results will be much more stable if you implement a broad range of those factors.  Also your Local search results will be much more stable if you rank well organically.

 

earlpearl is so right, though.  I've had "knock your socks off" successes only to have google float an update and much of it was taken away as quickly as it came.  Then you look for the next opportunity.  And there will always be another opportunity.  To use a football analogy -- we just read the defenses google puts up and take what the defense will give us.  They can't cover every man all the time.

 

I'll put together some threads here at Cre8asite under Small and Local Business Marketing and we'll get a chance to talk about the basics and some tecniques that have worked for me.  Maybe earlpearl and gabs will help me do it.


Edited by chuckfinley, 12 May 2013 - 05:15 AM.
sp


#28 clandestino

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Posted 12 May 2013 - 05:07 AM

I Don't Understand This from David Mihm's report?

 

"Proper Category Associations"

 

In looking at the Google + page for this company there is no mention of them involved in the type business that I entered in the search queries. All it says is "flooring store" My keywords included "floor refinishing." Most flooring stores here in the states don't do refinishing, but Google doesn't know that.

 

google gives you 5 categories you can include on your business page.  They are powerful ranking factors, but it's only 5.  You'll need to find lots of other places to include other keywords.

 

Above, earlpearl explains how to set up categories.

 

 

Oh crap...I've been doing some research on this industry locally and I have clicked on all the websites. Does local search work personalization into your results when clicking Google Places? Or did I ask that already?

 

I haven't looked at personalization in a while but I don't think you get personal results (for the most part) unless you're logged into a google account.  Luckily, most people don't search logged into gmail, say.

 

If you are logged into google, you can shut it off by clicking the -- World -- icon in the upper right corner -- Hide personal results.  You can also click the gear in the upper right corner -- Options -- and select -- Search settings -- to shut off -- Personal results -- and -- Search history.  Then you won't get personal search results.

 

There is one catch -- google still maintains 6 months (I believe) search history and some people believe that will affect your search results.  If it does, I can't tell it.


Edited by chuckfinley, 12 May 2013 - 05:08 AM.


#29 Ken Fisher

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Posted 12 May 2013 - 07:50 AM

Wow this is a lot of information to digest! Thanks for spending all that time earl!

 

Yea, that's what I thought categories were. I did have a listing six years ago in another state (business closed), but wasn't sure how it worked..forgot.

 

As far as the "ring" it appears having your business inside is pretty important. I'm still in some planning stages with something, but knowing the way the The Gorg changes, it could be a wasted effort.

 

I agree completely about the long tail. That's not much of a problem and lies my strengths. I'm just looking at all the potential angles. Looks like this one can be a real moving target. Time to collect screenshots and watch the progression in time.

 

I'm having difficulties finding what the consensus shows because I'm currently 90 miles north of the center of Atlanta. Essentially they have my IP pinned inside a small mountain town so I cannot see the "real" results. I've tried "keyword, keyword Atlanta" while being logged out, but not sure what that may be saying. But I do see some of the local results showing outside of the "perimeter." Perimeter is a word used in the area instead of beltway. Some of these results also do not have an actual Atlanta address. Could also be a consensus they are finding that most businesses of this type are based outside the perimeter or concentrated within a centroid itself that does not rely on the physical location? A region of business of this type?

 

It looks like the only real testing can be done traveling around the area hitting local wifi spots and see what kind of results appear.

 

You can also click the gear in the upper right corner -- Options -- and
select -- Search settings -- to shut off -- Personal results -- and --
Search history.  Then you won't get personal search results.

 

I'm not sure if I trust that either Chuck.


Edited by Ken Fisher, 12 May 2013 - 07:53 AM.


#30 earlpearl

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Posted 12 May 2013 - 09:54 AM

Wow this is a lot of information to digest! Thanks for spending all that time earl!

 

Yea, that's what I thought categories were. I did have a listing six years ago in another state (business closed), but wasn't sure how it worked..forgot.

 

As far as the "ring" it appears having your business inside is pretty important. I'm still in some planning stages with something, but knowing the way the The Gorg changes, it could be a wasted effort.

 

I agree completely about the long tail. That's not much of a problem and lies my strengths. I'm just looking at all the potential angles. Looks like this one can be a real moving target. Time to collect screenshots and watch the progression in time.

 

I'm having difficulties finding what the consensus shows because I'm currently 90 miles north of the center of Atlanta. Essentially they have my IP pinned inside a small mountain town so I cannot see the "real" results. I've tried "keyword, keyword Atlanta" while being logged out, but not sure what that may be saying. But I do see some of the local results showing outside of the "perimeter." Perimeter is a word used in the area instead of beltway. Some of these results also do not have an actual Atlanta address. Could also be a consensus they are finding that most businesses of this type are based outside the perimeter or concentrated within a centroid itself that does not rely on the physical location? A region of business of this type?

 

It looks like the only real testing can be done traveling around the area hitting local wifi spots and see what kind of results appear.

 

 

I'm not sure if I trust that either Chuck.

Ken:  I threw out the "ring road" simply as an example of one of the many ways Google makes it difficult to dominate.  But if a business is located 90 miles from the center city and well outside the ring road it will probably be very difficult to dominate for phrases inside the city.

 

One way, especially with 2ndary phrases, is to make them especially strong via on page plus links, (or at least relatively strong versus the competition).   that gives you an opportunity to sit above the PAC (even as I referenced that your page might get merged into the pac).  Sometimes you'll see those advantages of being above the PAC via strong internal pages or references to 2ndary terms...and sometimes you won't be merged.  

 

Testing, vis a vis current google/gorg personalization is a b***h IMHO.   One experiment had two users in the same building using the same corporate IP with the same queries and the same locations established...ended up showing some slightly different results.   That was probably b/c of the search history for each pc.  Ouch.   or maybe the gorg/google is randomly personalizing everything.  cripes!!!!

 

As to NAP, I've had totally clean NAP and problematic NAP.   I'd suggest trying to achieve totally clean NAP.   Historically it cuts out problems that can arrive from confusing data sources.   Realistically sometimes it hasn't created the problems that others have experienced...but I'd suggest trying to achieve totally consistent NAP.   I'm leery of what occurs inside Map Maker.  At the very least if you set up a B&M business check out what the Map Maker status is.   Changes from inside Map Maker can totally screw up a record.

 

@Chuck:   As to Gabs' methodology.  If I understand it...and this is how I used it...if I had an SMB located in one town..say Centerville   and I wanted to attract search traffic from places like Easttown, Westtown, NorthTown, Southtown, Littletown, BigTown, Teenytown...and all the other suburbs around there...let alone for searches using high identity locations (like a local airport)...

 

I gave directions to the SMB and referenced a lot of town names in those directions with content and titles that established my smb business type.

 

That worked for me for a long time.  It doesn't work as frequently or well now for me.  Nowadays I have to create pages using town names in titles to get them to show.  Mix the town names with the business service.

 

One other thing that is frustrating which is a generic problem for all site analysis not just local...is how much traffic now shows as Direct as opposed to detail connected to Search and keywords.

 

Since Apple put out the IOS6 in September and started showing all organic traffic through that technology a DIRECT rather than through search...it has made it ever more difficult to analyze keyword activity.  Add that to "Not Provided's" when people are searching while signed into gmail....and boom that really cuts down on the amount of data you get.

 

That can kill your understanding of efforts with the long tail, especially, as by definition long tail traffic will be smaller.  You just won't see much data.   About the only way to get a feel for that..especially with the long tail is to look at landing page data through analytics and infer what the keyword searches were.



#31 Ken Fisher

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Posted 12 May 2013 - 10:19 AM

Earl. You misunderstood, but that's okay..

 

But if a business is located 90 miles from the center city and well
outside the ring road it will probably be very difficult to dominate for
phrases inside the city.

 

This is where I live. I don't get to the big city that often. Long haul and expensive with gas prices at 18 mpg. The business would not be here...but there, somewhere in the "sweet spot"...if there is one.  In planning stages. Clean NAP and all.



#32 Ken Fisher

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Posted 12 May 2013 - 10:42 AM

Oh, hey. I have another question. This is more about the competition, but I'm not sure if anyone has answers. I did a comprehensive study of all the companies in my industry a few months back and noticed a few have more than one website. The domain spammers for lack of a better term, or perhaps some just forgot they had a WordPress blog. I'm thinking that doesn't bode well (duplication) for a local listing or good organic visibility. I can't recall exactly where they came up in the SERPS because I dug past page five in my research. I could always leak a black hat SEO secret ..somehow...and watch 'em fall over each other...or maybe just a couple. Most would probably believe having more than one site works.

 

Any takers on that one?


Edited by Ken Fisher, 12 May 2013 - 10:44 AM.


#33 earlpearl

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Posted 12 May 2013 - 11:32 AM

Ken:   I've never done it.  I've seen a lot of cases where its helped smb's.  The sites wherein its helped don't have duplicate content.  Over time I've seen different strategies used, some of which may still work, some I don't know.  I don't follow this closely.  

 

In some of the cases with secondary sites....the advantages they provided conveyed to the other site via google optimizing methods that may no longer work.  Just haven't looked at it closely or recently.

 

OTOH, recently I saw a site take some bad hits and it has two sites, both hosted by the same group, with some interlinking.  The rankings for key phrases fairly recently took some big bad negative hits.   Was that the reason?   Not sure.   

 

Certainly there are clever ways to do this...some of which are pretty involved and I've seen them work.

 

I know auto dealers can experience multiple sites for a type of auto.  The dealer will have a site and the manufacturer will have a site for that manufacturer at that dealer's site.  I doubt those will create issues insofar as auto manufacturers are a special breed that advertise so heavily on google they will get special attention.  

 

In other cases Google the Gorg might be out sniffing for stuff that looks overly manipulative.

 

BTW:  I just did a search on a term wherein I saw a strange application of the benefits of multiple sites.  Frankly I couldn't find what I was looking for.  I did notice two competitors whose sites ranked highly for some competitive local terms a couple of years ago...and they are still ranked highly at least for the phrase on which I searched.  I'm not sure if the firm with "strange" application was one of them.  I might have to try and find this in some email if possible.

 

In any case of the 2 firms I looked at both had more than one site and both some sites with some "interesting"  :D URL's.   Basically the 2ndary sites for each firm were URL's with topical descriptions and then some geo terms, etc.

 

Its worked in the past.   Is google hacking away at it....???   not sure.


Edited by earlpearl, 12 May 2013 - 11:50 AM.


#34 earlpearl

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Posted 12 May 2013 - 12:39 PM

Let me add something.

 

One thing that google "might be cracking down on"  are methods whereby SEO's found organic applications to power PAC rankings.  I've used that in the past.  There was a time it had sort of a "steroid" type effect on PAC rankings.   I've seen others use these things in a variety of ways!!!

 

That might be boomeranging against firms, especially with regard to the PAC.  Could be hurting us.  I've got to look at it more closely.

 

OTOH:  I was just going back to recheck a competitive ranking for an smb in a city that has maintained high ranking visibility for some years.  

 

The extraordinarily high rankings are still there.  Currently they sit at the top of PAC rankings for the key industry phrases.   That firm does have relatively strong DA and PA (to use that moz proxy for link strength evaluation--> :D  )     Previously they always used to sit above the PAC...which in many ways is better IMHO.

 

The links come from very creative content.   They are not anchor text type links...and the relatively strong links did not go to the home page.

 

ATTN:  EGOL....now doesn't that sound reassuring and confirming of some long term beliefs!!!!!  

 

 

Now that's clearly not comprehensive research...but I think OOPs (over optimization Penalties) are working their way into the PACs.  That is from a variety of searches in different industries in different sites in different places. 



#35 iamlost

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Posted 12 May 2013 - 01:24 PM

.The links come from very creative content.   They are not anchor text type links...and the relatively strong links did not go to the home page.

 

ATTN:  EGOL....now doesn't that sound reassuring and confirming of some long term beliefs!!!!!  

 

Sounds good to me, too. :)

 

 

.Now that's clearly not comprehensive research...but I think OOPs (over optimization Penalties) are working their way into the PACs.  That is from a variety of searches in different industries in different sites in different places. 

 

Sounds reasonable, as something is seen to work elsewhere it migrates to other search segments.

 

I have sometimes thought that SEO stands for SE Overdoing as in if one is good and ten is better a million must be superlative. No sense of proportion. And proportion is critical when dealing with an algorithm - all inputs are measured against variable thresholds; which is why, for instance, having zillions of identical money term anchor text became a problem to many. Sadly, those who excess in one area likely excess elsewhere as well... such sites suffer from a mindset problem more than anything else.

 

While I do little with site localisation myself I enjoy reading your posts and those of others who specialise therein as, despite (or because of) the slings and arrows of outrageous Google, it is where the real action has been for some years now. More general sites such as mine, unless they fall below rising crap thresholds, are pretty much straightforward. I get to largely ignore Google and spend my marketing efforts outside of search when in need of head scratching weirdness.

 

Sometimes I feel the urge to dive into local with a new site just for the fun of it...and then empathy channelling too many folks anguish reminds me that I don't need the additional angst.

 

Thanks for a great thread...it just keeps getting better and better, lots of meat. Even for one not partaking.



#36 earlpearl

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Posted 12 May 2013 - 02:26 PM

Iamlost:  I've known EGOL longer than you.  ;) and have weaseled out of him some of the stuff that works even as I don't have the foggiest idea what his site(s) are.  LOL.

 

but I was thinking of you too, when writing that line.   :D

 

One interesting tidbit is that somebody (I forget) published a list of most expensive adwords.  Its dominated by local phrases.  It goes into the $ hundreds per pop for some esoteric legal issues that might generate huge fees.  But it can be quite high for various (primarily local) services that are expensive.

 

I certainly have not been above what is today considered Over Optimization.  (shrugs).   I've taken some hits these days.  OTOH, I've often spread around link juice into internal pages and have even come up w/ some out of the box clever links that are not anchor text manipulation...at least a few.  :D   Its often difficult with more mundane local topics.

 

Who needs the additional angst.  

Sounds good to me, too. :)



#37 clandestino

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Posted 12 May 2013 - 08:06 PM

@Chuck:   As to Gabs' methodology.  If I understand it...and this is how I used it...if I had an SMB located in one town..say Centerville   and I wanted to attract search traffic from places like Easttown, Westtown, NorthTown, Southtown, Littletown, BigTown, Teenytown...and all the other suburbs around there...let alone for searches using high identity locations (like a local airport)...

 

I gave directions to the SMB and referenced a lot of town names in those directions with content and titles that established my smb business type.

 

That worked for me for a long time.  It doesn't work as frequently or well now for me.  Nowadays I have to create pages using town names in titles to get them to show.  Mix the town names with the business service.


Hi earlpearl,

 

Not disagreeing with you.  I'm drinking it up, keep it coming. ;)

 

I'm just just using a best guess that even though a technique doesn't produce "rocket" results, all the efforts to get keywords on-page have a cumulative effect.  In my work, I can see search results showing up from a lot of different places that don't produce much.  I don't think I'd get as good of results if I didn't use them all.  All little bit from each technique can add up to a lot of results.

 

Does that make sense?

 

The basic idea is, instead of trying to find what I call "the phrase that pays", i.e., that one marketing method that blows everybody away, use 20 methods and get a little bit of results from each.  The sum of all of it may equal that "rocket" method that everyone dreams about.  Better yet, if the next update kills one or two methods, you've diversified your approach.

 

Another thought is that the small players don't put together comprehensive approaches.  I think the compreshensive strategy helps build authority because the "one trick ponies" don't go there.  As a result, I do it all, even if a specific approach doesn't seem to be producing results.  Maybe I'm working too hard, but maybe not.   ???  I think it does help establish stability in your rankings unless its a purely spam approach, of course. 


Edited by chuckfinley, 12 May 2013 - 08:10 PM.
sp


#38 earlpearl

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Posted 13 May 2013 - 06:33 AM

Chuck:

 

I agree.   We have some $ terms.  We compete to get to #1 in those...and if not #1 than #2...and we keep working on #1   We have a lot of long tail opportunities.  

 

I think you are right.  Some competitors put up a site and don't do much else.  Hitting all the opportunities through long tail...like Gabs' method can work.  

 

our categories have some bigger $ terms.  We definitely work on those.  We work on the long tail in a lot of ways.  We work on those.  The aggregate of the longer tail is greater in total than are the $ terms.  gotta work on all of them IMHO.



#39 EGOL

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Posted 13 May 2013 - 11:47 AM

.The
links come from very creative content.   They are not anchor text type
links...and the relatively strong links did not go to the home page.

 


ATTN:  EGOL....now doesn't that sound reassuring and confirming of some long term beliefs!!!!!

It sounds like they enjoyed the content and wanted to share it.

 

That's what I am working on every day.   Carry on!

 

Thanks for sharing your thoughts.



#40 clandestino

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Posted 13 May 2013 - 04:02 PM

We work on the long tail in a lot of ways.  We work on those.  The aggregate of the longer tail is greater in total than are the $ terms.  gotta work on all of them IMHO.

 

I do all of it.  If it gets keywords on pages, profiles, etc. and serves visitors, I'm all for  it.

 

After I wrote that last comment I was thinking back and remembered that getting results for cities in which you are not located got a lot harder when they started floating the "The New Places Search" updates.  It used to be as easy as including those cities on a Local page.  I still get exposure in other cities just by including them on the Local page but it takes more work sometimes, depending on competition.  I find that anchor text links work nearly as well as title tags.

 

I have to do some research on the New Places Search.  It seems like it got about half implemented and then forgotten just around the time that Marissa Mayer left.  I did a quick search for articles on it and nothing.  I'm surprised more people aren't talking about it. 

 

They removed the Places link from the More drop down menu on google search.  It looks as though they may be gearing up to bag New Places Search and go a different direction.  Any ideas about which direction that may be?





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