I’m back from beautiful Santa Monica, California, where there was the one-day intensive “Local U” Advanced. I like to fancy myself as “Advanced,” though so often I find it’s the basics that matter, especially (but not only) with Local SEO. Here are some random musings about what I learned at LocalU (in no particular order). Continue reading
Google, oh Google. You just seem to be a ‘star crossed lover’ when it comes to local. First it was Google Local, then Google+, then Google+ Local, now back to Google local. You had Google guides (sort of like Yelp elite), and then when that program flopped you quietly killed it. You make it easy to see reviews, then hard, then easy, and now hard again. Now, in the San Francisco Bay Area, you’re rolling out an “experiment” for local services in which vendors pay to be included, and users can no longer see the real reviews, nor the non-paying vendors.
What a mess. Here’s my video explanation of the train wreck that Google is creating for local customers, and local businesses. Yelp anyone?
Watch the Video
Watch Google Local Trainwreck on YouTube
Finding Vendors for Fremont Furnace Repair
So, here I am – it’s January and my furnace isn’t working… so I am looking at online reviews, and trying to find a ‘furnace repair fremont‘. What do I find? Well –
- The big hijack. ALL I see are sponsored results – no “free” or “organic” results in the local snack pack. Compare it to ‘pizza repair fremont.’ Here, we see the ‘free’ results vs. just ‘paid ads.’ Let’s face it: people are very SKEPTICAL of paid results.
- Reviews? Where are the Reviews? On the ‘furnace repair fremont’ results, you can NOT even read or see the real reviews. So even though these guys have reviews on Google, it’s hard to actually ‘find’ them in the interface. You have to realize that there is a ‘review tab,’ and then check that out.
- Their websites? You can’t jump from Google TO their websites, so you can’t actually go check them out “on their own terms.”
All of this with the huge caveat that – as a consumer – I want to see unbiased, unfiltered results… generally the organic and not the paid advertising. So I’d prefer to skip any paid vendors and go for the organic vendors. As a vendor, I realize how critical organic / non-paid results are because consumers TRUST organic more than they trust advertising.
No Thanks Google
No thanks Google. As a consumer, I’ll use Yelp for ‘furnace repair Fremont‘, and as a vendor I’ll just pull my hair out as this change to Google+. Google continues to do a terrible no good, rotten, horrible job with Google local. Sigh.
I like to think of SEO (Search Engine Optimization) as a competitive sport, like swimming. There’s a lot of hard work, strategy, and physical fitness that goes into being an Olympic swimmer like Michael Phelps, but we can ‘reverse engineer’ the steps taken by our competitors to succeed.
Keywords drive SEO and AdWords. Users input keywords into Google, and even if they “talk” into their phone, Google parses their sentences to identify keywords and infer what they really want. Continue reading
Although Google+ is pretty much dead as a social network, Google+ Local (or Google My Business as Google calls it) remains a) incredibly important for local businesses who rely on Google to get customers, and b) really confusing for the average business owner or small business marketer. Continue reading
Reviews are incredibly important for success both in terms of SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and Social Media Marketing? Why? Well, here’s why: Continue reading
Local search is more important than ever. So is local SEO. People go to Google type in keywords like ‘plumber,’ ‘probate attorney,’ or ‘wedding shops,’ and the question is whether your business shows high on the search screen, in the top results on Google’s local listings – called the ‘snack pack.’ Continue reading
Reviews on Google (Google+) are worth their weight in gold, no platinum, in terms of your local marketing and SEO (Search Engine Optimization). Google – not surprisingly – favors its own reviews over those of competitors like Yelp, TripAdvisor, YP.com, etc. So, as a small business owner or marketer, it is very important to ask “happy customers” to write a review for you. I am not recommending that you fake reviews; however, you generally need to ask a happy client, to “do you a favor” and go online and write a review. Continue reading
You’re a business owner: perhaps a hair dresser, a divorce attorney, a massage therapist, a local Sushi restaurant or any of the myriad of local businesses that depend on Google and Bing searches, as well as local reviews, to bring in new customers. Continue reading