Feb 252014
 

A thought to self: “I value honesty highly. Probably higher than almost everything. Unfortunately, this virtue is rarity nowadays.” A few months ago (August 2013), I wrote an article named “What Actually Happens When One Cancels Yext“. It was based on a case study I conducted about the consequences of canceling a Yext PowerListings subscription. In that article, I also promised that I would be following up with the results of a manual citations clean-up I would complete in order to fix the mess left after Yext (you could see the state of the citation profile of the business in the original article). Fast-forwarding to January 2014. I am now part of Whitespark. Howard Lerman (CEO of Yext) mentions to Darren Shaw (Owner of Whitespark –> my employer)  that “Yext did a waaaay better job fixing listings than Nyagoslav”. A few days later Howard also decides to post publicly something that (read more)

Jan 062014
 
Why I Am Moving On

Some of my readers that have been following my blog for long time might have been expecting that around this time of the year I would post the “Best Articles of the Year” compilation (like I did in 2011 and 2012). Unfortunately, I will not. Instead, I am writing this official announcement for the closing of NGS Marketing. I will start with the reasons and I will try to be as thorough as possible: 1. The business My business has been growing well over the last two years. After I left OptiLocal, the first few months were difficult, but afterwards everything “skyrocketed”, I hired a few people to help me with the workload (full- or part-time), and in October I had 2 full-time and 3 part-time employees. Thus, one of the reasons is definitely not the lack of business or the lack of opportunities. However, there were two major problems (read more)

Nov 272013
 
Yahoo Starts Pushing Yext PowerListings (White-Labeled) Aggressively

Just when I thought Yahoo! Local couldn’t get worse, they surprised me. A few days ago I noticed that the usual “Edit business details” link under the business information on a Yahoo! Local listing has been substituted by “Publish your Yahoo listing on 40 more top local directories” (check here what this means). This practically means that Yahoo is ready to sacrifice the accuracy of their business information, and more specifically – the user-based and business-owner-based feedback part of the process of keeping the information accurate, for the sake of fast cash. For a comparison, imagine a case where you go to your/your client’s Google+ Local listing, click on Manage this page, and you are redirected to a paid solution similar to AdWords Express, instead of a page where you could edit the information and submit it for verification. However, this “inevitability” sales strategy is neither unique, nor employed for (read more)

Nov 112013
 
How Little Do Yahoo Care About Local?

Yahoo! Local seems to be going from bad to worse. When a few months ago owner verification was introduced to substitute the preceding moderated manual-only verification, I still had hope that things at Yahoo! Local are improving. Later on, when I realized that the turnaround times for the local listings to get verified, approved, updated are close to unacceptable, that hope started dying off. Today my hope is completely gone. A few days ago Yahoo posted the following message in their Local Listings Help Topics center: Currently the review time for Enhanced Listings is 3-5 business days and for Basic Listings the turn around time is between 8-10 weeks. In other words, if you are not using their paid service, you might need to wait 2+ months for any sort of update. This, combined with the fact that Yahoo! Local’s verification postcards take between 4 weeks and never to arrive, (read more)

Nov 042013
 

The business data interconnections among the players in the local search industry are as complicated as they could be. There are many layers of data and which one would be displayed to the front-end user might depend on the trustworthiness of the source, the completeness of the data, the recency of the data, or simply on how much you pay to the particular business directory. However, in some cases, the relations between data providers and “data displayers” are so tight that they could be called dominated, or one-provider networks. The power of the sole data provider in such networks might vary from “total domination” (i.e. no other player is allowed in any way within the network) to “pay-to-play” (i.e. it might be possible for someone else, including business owners, to infiltrate the network, but they would usually have to pay in some way to do so). But before going into (read more)

Oct 272013
 

On Friday, Imprezzio Marketing reported that they are seeing “shrunk” Google+ Local search results in the organic local search results pages. At first I thought that might have been just a design change Google implements in an attempt to diminish even further the prominence of the +Local listings. However, when I looked into a number of search results, I realized this might not be the case, and what actually happened seems more like an across-the-board reversal to the old “7-pack” or “pure” local SERPs. For the ones that do not remember (or have never heard of) what these are, here is some history: – Until September/October 2010, there was only one type of search results – “pure”. The rankings within the business listings search results in the organic SERPs were heavily influenced by factors such as completeness of the Google Local listing, number of citations, number of reviews, and (almost) (read more)

Oct 152013
 

The guys at Bright Local recently did an interesting survey. They invited 15 local search professionals, some of whom thought leaders in the industry (full list on the survey page), as well as myself. The questions revolved around local citations and citation building, and covered some more frequently asked questions about the best practices in this matter. While all results in graph form could be seen in the article Myles Anderson of Bright Local dedicated to the survey, I would just outline some of the intriguing findings: – Citations are critical to local search rankings (check here for further reference) according to almost 70% of the respondents. None of them thinks citations are not important. – Citations are rising in importance according to 44% of the respondents, while only 6% (which practically means 1 person; did they misclick?) think they are getting less important. – Quality is more important than (read more)

Oct 102013
 

Bing’s equivalent (and rival) of Google Places (+Local) – Bing Places, has finally been rolled out for countries other than the United States, a few years after its initial launch (as Bing Local Listing Center). The winners are Canada and the UK. Up to now, there were different workarounds to get a business listings on Bing Maps for some countries outside the US (and I presume these ways would still work): 1) For Canada, the UK, Germany, and India: via Nokia’s Here PrimePlace Check the explanations on this page. A couple of great step-by-step guides on how to set up these listings here and here. 2) For Canada only: via YellowPages.ca Yellow Pages feeds Canadian business data directly to Bing (see here). 3) For the UK only: via 118 Information Similarly to Yellow Pages in Canada, 118 Information feeds business information directly to Bing in Canada. You could add your (read more)

Sep 042013
 
Enhanced Local Citation Building Webinar

I was recently invited by Myles Anderson to participate in “Enhanced Local Citation Building” – a webinar organized by InsideLocal (a cooperation between Bright Local and Local Search Forum). The webinar’s main topic will obviously be citation building, and the sub-topics will include: – Why citations are so important to local search – Enhanced optimization of local citations – Researching & managing citation campaigns My focus will be holistic citation building strategy – from the research process, through the actual implementation, to ongoing monitoring. The webinar will be held on September 11, at 2pm EST (11am PST).  If you are interested in joining it, you could register via this form. You could also send questions that will be tacked during the Q&A session via the form here.

Aug 212013
 

A few days ago ICANN approved 95 new generic top-level domains (gTLDs). Among these were the first ever city-name TLDs – .hamburg and .cologne. I initially read about this in an article by Dennis Tippe (in German), which made me think seriously about the implications these TLDs could potentially have on local SEO. It is well-known that one of the main ways for search engines to determine the relevancy of particular website to particular country is by looking at the TLD. For instance, it is relatively certain that the domain joeshairsalon.ca is owned by a Canadian person/business and most probably caters to Canadian audience. Here is an interesting video of what Matt Cutts says about TLDs and how they help Google understand the relevancy of the domain to particular language or region: Here is another video answer by Matt Cutts on how Google would be treating the new TLDs: Additionally, (read more)