Aug 122013
 
What Actually Happens When One Cancels Yext

A few weeks ago I wrote about the difference between manual citation building and an automated service, such as Yext. The article sparked a discussion specifically around one of the main comparison points – what happens with the already created listings once one cancels or stops paying after particular period for the service. Here is what I wrote: Yext’s subscription period is 1 year. After 1 year, unless one decides to continue subscribing, the listings are taken down or revert back to the stage they were in prior to the initial subscription. This is something I wrote about recently. Most manual citation building services are one-time offers. This means that once the process of claiming/submitting/editing is finished, the listings will not disappear or revert back to how they were (incomplete, incorrect, unclaimed). Furthermore, ours, and other citation building services, allow for ongoing citation building, i.e. adding new citations every month (read more)

Aug 112013
 
Small But Important Clarifications to the Google Local Quality Guidelines

Google just made some small, but important clarifications to their Quality Guidelines for local listings. The clarifications are related to some situations that weren’t previously covered, or were covered obscurely, by the guidelines. The first clarification reads: Do not create a listing or place your pin marker at a location where the business does not physically exist. P.O. Boxes are not considered accurate physical locations. Your business location should be staffed during its stated hours. Exceptions to the above are self-serve businesses such as ATMs or video-rental kiosks. If adding these locations, you should include contact information for customers to get help. We already knew that post office boxes, or virtual offices were not allowed to be placed as business locations on Google Maps, but I feel this rule comes mostly in relation with the ongoing confusion with service-area and especially home-based businesses. What is meant by this rule is (read more)

Jul 252013
 

One of the most frequent questions I get (especially after this review on Yext) is how a manual citation building services, such as ours, compares with an automated listings distribution service, such as Yext. I will cover the comparison points one-by-one below. 1. Reach Yext’s network currently consists of 42 platforms, and they have less public relationships with a few more. For instance, I have noticed that one of the most active “users” on Brownbook.net is “Yext”. It is to be noted that Yext offers its services only for US-based businesses (although some time ago Howard Lerman, CEO of Yext, mentioned to me that they were looking into expanding internationally in 2013). A manual citation building service could potentially cover as many platforms as necessary. Some businesses might already be found on a number of sites, so these might also need to be excluded from the process. At the same (read more)

Jul 222013
 

When Marissa Mayer was named CEO of Yahoo, many people (including me) believed that she might put serious effort into resurrecting the rather forgotten by the previous management(s) Yahoo! Local. And while there has definitely been some movement in that department, not many changes benefited the average user. A. Issues with time frames for verification. One of the first more notable changes was the introduction of “Marketing Dashboard“, together with a two-step verification process. And here is where the major confusion comes. There wasn’t (and there still isn’t) a clear explanation of how the verification process works. The feature was added all of a sudden and Yahoo! Local’s help files are, ironically, of no help. However, having to do this at least a few hundred times since its introduction, I figured out the process generally goes like this: 1) Claim an old listing or create a new one – you (read more)

May 222013
 
How to Understand If a Listing is Claimed or Not (Part 1)

In my daily citation building work I encounter a lot of different cases. Sometimes, the business I work with has absolutely no online presence other than a 1-page website. In other cases, the business is found literally everywhere – from Google and Yahoo, through Facebook and Twitter, to smallestrandombusinessdirectory.net. Most of the cases are, of course, somewhere in the middle. In some of them (rather rarely) the client kept neat record of where they enlisted their business and what usernames and passwords they used. In the majority though, clients have set up tens of accounts by themselves and never bothered to track their progress. If they made sure all their business information was correct, and they planned to keep it that way forever, everything would have be fine. But as we do not live in a perfect world, it is specifically the clients that had to, for any reason, change (read more)

May 162013
 

As previously noted by Mike Blumenthal, Google effectively closed their Places support forums in all languages other than English. Obviously this situation is not perfect for users around the world, so since yesterday Google started offering email support for Places/+Local issues for users in the following languages: Spanish German Portuguese Dutch Russian French Italian Polish Japanese And apparently the ones in Chinese (Simplified and Traditional) are still under construction. I haven’t tested those myself yet, so I currently have no information on how much the response time is.

May 132013
 

Probably most of the regular readers of my blog have noticed that I am unusually inactive recently. With only 1 post since 27 February, this is by far the worst period for me in terms of writing productivity. The reasons for this are complex, but I want to stress on one in particular that is so significant that it is practically affecting my entire business – the Internet. My wife and me moved to a new condo about 6 months ago. Although I have office space that I rent monthly, I go there very occasionally for meetings and training with my team, and there isn’t even constant Internet access there. In 99% of the time I work from home, so the move meant that I also moved my office. Unfortunately, it became clear very soon (a few days before the move) that it might be a problem to find a (read more)

Apr 262013
 
How Google's Local Search Results Will Look in Europe

Google has been the subject of antitrust investigations in Europe for some time now. The reason has been allegations from competitors about some anti-competitive practices of Google, especially related to vertical search. While a similar case has been settled in Google’s favor by the FTC in the US, the European Commission, claiming that Google’s market share in Europe is much more significant, has “pushed” the company to change their search results for some specialized verticals. The verticals included are Google Shopping, Google Places, Google Hotel Finder, Google News, Google Finance, Google Flights, Google Maps, as well as all future verticals that Google would roll out. Google finally came out with a proposal on Thursday. For me, naturally, the most interesting part of the proposal is the one related to local search results. Google offered the following format of the local search results on desktops: And here is the proposed format (read more)

Feb 272013
 

Since I wrote my first (and only, up to now) e-book (Citation Building Guide) about 3 months ago I’ve been having a lot of requests for additions and I’ve been receiving questions related to topics that for one reason or another are not covered in the current version of the e-book. That is why I decided to prepare a “second edition” of a sort. This second edition is scheduled to be issued on 18 March. What will change and what will be added Besides some changes to the structure of the content, there will be the following additions and updates: 1. Information about citation building in countries other than the United States – I have rightly been blamed that the guide focuses too much on the case of the US. And I agree. That is why there will be many improvements that could be beneficial to Internet marketers and regular (read more)

Feb 262013
 
Who Is Who in Local SEO

This is an article I have been planning for very, very long time. Although there are a few great lists of local SEO specialists I frequently refer to (David Mihm’s, Mike Ramsey’s, Matthew Hunt’s), there is no single resource which gives more insights into who the people behind the names and the websites actually are. In fact, this is a problem not just with local SEO in particular, but with the online marketing industry as a whole. On the one side are the customers, for whom it is often very difficult to determine which SEO to choose. Traditionally, the cornerstones have been testimonials, recommendations from friends, and general awareness of the reputation of the service provider. But in a business where the “seller” and the “buyer” could be as far from each other as tens of thousands of miles (in my case for example), these traditional guides could sometimes be (read more)