Why the Yellow Pages is not an Internet Marketing Strategy

no-yellow-pagesPeople are continually asking my opinion about the Yellow Pages. My first question is “Which Yellow Pages”? Are you talking about the book that shows up each year (that ends up in my recycle bin) or are you asking about YP.com, Superpages.com, Switchboard Yellow Pages, Yellowbook.com, yellowpages.aol.com, or even some mutant local yellow pages site like the one provided by our local newspaper.

What exactly are you buying when you buy the yellow pages?

In my local area, the Yellow Pages means YellowPages.com or YP.com. They have an army of people with the sole purpose of convincing you that they’re the perfect choice to build your website (seriously?) and market your business online. Their employees go through extensive training on how to convince you that if you don’t stick with “old reliable” that you’ll be lost to the world.

The problems with The Yellow Pages:

The Yellow Pages is a machine that’s built to sell. But what they don’t tell you is that their influence is waning… and they know it. That’s why they’re being so aggressive with their sales and marketing. It’s the last battle charge before they get mowed down by the conquering army. Read More…

Setting up multiple fake offices to get Google listings – Hades Awaits my friend

faking-locations-google

Image credit and tutorials here. Pretty kick ass image, No? http://tinyurl.com/cx8kys

You may be tempted to try and setup multiple fake offices around town or in your region — maybe even in other cities so you can have a presence there. It makes sense. If you can get an actual address and phone number then you can do almost anything — including setting up and optimizing multiple Google+ pages for your business.

There was a detailed discussion of this practice in NYC when I attended GetListed Local U. The guy from Google was there and they obviously frowned on this practice. From their perspective you should be able to call a local number for a local business and drive there to get service. If not it’s going to be bad for you

Here’s the big issue that you should be concerned about. Google has minions overseas that randomly verify businesses. They’ll call the number listed and if they can’t speak to a real person, they can’t get directions to that address or that they somehow find out that the business is not actually located there, they will instantly zap you from the listings and your listing for that location will burn in Google hell for all eternity. It’s happened to people like lawyers and doctors that try to setup multiple “offices” but route the phone number listed to the real central office. If the minion calls and asks for directions to the location and they give directions to another office it will be bad for you. Read More…

Ooohooo… Local Search Engine Optimization Tools!

local-search-toolsLinda Buquet over at The Local Search Community recently launched the Local Search Tools section of her popular forum. I LOVE tools so this is right up my alley. Get over there, participate and check out all the goodness.

Right off the bat I was reminded to check out placesscout.com (which I will in due time) It looks great and is only $200. Here’s the thing though. I think it runs on your PC and it’s not web-based. In today’s SAAS world this is surprising. But if it kicks ass, then it kicks ass and I’ll consider using it. More to come. Thanks Linda.

Local Search Tools Forum

The Big List of Local SEO’s (Hat tip to Mike Ramsey)

mike-ramseyI recently met Mike Ramsey (Briefly) at the GetListed.org Local University (#LocalU) in New York City. I don’t know Mike and I would hesitate to even consider him a friend at this point. But I was thankful to make the connection and maybe we’ll connect in the future. His company Nifty Marketing is a great example of a firm to follow in the future.

I was fortunate to hear Mike speak on local search and specifically his tactics related to improving internet marketing agency processes. Mike took the time during a round table conversation to offer me some great advice on taking my business to the next level, and, although I already knew the things he recommended to be true, it was great to have another professional echo and support what I already knew. It all helps to light a fire under my ass and continue to do the things that I know are right — regardless if they’re painful or not.

Some of those things include: Read More…

Yelp reviews are being distributed to secondary sites FAST

yelp-white-pagesYesterday I was reviewing a client’s citation listings and I noticed that a review that I placed for them on Yelp.com (Yes, it was an honest, real review because I actually used their services) was already distributed to WhitePages.com the very next day. I thought this was pretty cool and was quite impressed at the efficiency of their data distribution.

Yelp has got their $h@! together and they’re really becoming a force to be reckoned with. If you are not claiming your business listings on Yelp and optimizing them in every way possible you’re missing the boat.

But Yelp is a Restaurant review site you say? Yea, not so fast. According to Yelp, 23% of all reviews on the site are for restaurants. Yes my friend, that’s the facts. 23% of the reviews are for shopping related businesses. The next largest at 10% is home services. So people do consider Yelp for more than restaurants.

Apple+Yelp+Mobile is going to be big too. Say what you want about Apple Maps now, they’ll eventually get their $h@! together too and Yelp will be positioned along side a behemoth that’s going to take them into the stratosphere. Claim your business listing there now and do everything you can to get your customers to review you there. Having those 5 hot red stars next to your listings in the search results and on mobile search is gonna be gold!

Ways that a local business can benefit from an optimized Google+ page

Google-Plus-local-logoEverybody knows that Google is the 500 pound gorilla of online search. If you want to be found, make sure you’re found here. But Google is a complicated animal these days and there’s different levels of visibility if you’re a local business. Sometimes the little things count.

Many of these little things originate with your Google+ local business page and how well it’s optimized. WHY you rank on Google depends on many factors that I’ve discussed previously. The subject of this post is WHERE you might show up on the page. It’s not as simple as you might think. Below I’ll show you how an optimized Google+ page can give you that little extra push that will make you stand out from the crowd.

The examples below show one of our local clients Jennings Heating and Cooling (a great furnace and air conditioning company by the way). You’ll notice that Google displays results in different ways. Why they do this for some searches and not others is quite a mystery but it’s important to understand. Read More…

Local search ranking factors (Distilled down for consumption)

local-search-ranking-factorsWhat does it take to rank locally? Just like traditional SEO there are potentially hundreds or even thousands of factors that combine together and influence why you show up on page one vs. your competition. We only have so much time in the day and so much budget in the bank. So how do we attack it?

David Mihm has done an excellent job for the last few years working with the local search community to identify the local search ranking factors. This is a comprehensive, exhaustive and valuable collection of information but it’s a lot to digest. Most business owners and SEOs need a real-world way to attack this today.

So, I’ve taken it upon myself to distill this into a list of priority factors that you can use as a checklist. For most business owners and SEOs, this is your action list. This is probably all you have time for. Honestly, this is more than even most professional SEOs have time for unless you’re working with a company that has a signification budget. If you’re that lucky then please refer to David’s list. If you’re like the rest of us I hope you find this useful. Read More…

Google+ and the state of the internet (Love to The Oatmeal)

google+I love The Oatmeal. It’s fun and pretty twisted sometimes which brings out that real, rare (and much needed) LMAO that is sometimes lacking in my days.

He recently posted his latest take on the state of the internet (which is part of an ongoing series). One of the sections dealt with Google+ and I must say that he gave the service a big, fat slap in the face. His take is that nobody uses Google+ and if I’m being honest with myself, I think I might agree at the moment.

Now, saying that NOBODY uses Google+ is unfair. I know there are people that are highly engaged and using it all the time. But it hasn’t hit the mainstream yet and that’s a little concerning to me. Have I helped in any way? Nope. I barely have my account setup and optimized, much less using it on a daily basis. So I really can’t come down on anybody else. Read More…

How to merge two Facebook business pages

sanctuary-media-group-facebookHave you made the effort to setup a unique Facebook business page? If so you might want to take a few minutes to see how your page is showing up in the search results on Google. Something strange might be afoot. These days many potential customers and clients will make the effort to seek you out and follow you on Facebook so you should confirm that your page is appearing correctly.

We recently noticed that our actual Facebook business page was not being indexed correctly by Google. A rouge business location page on Facebook was showing up instead. Crikey! What to do? Read More…

The benefits of getting listed on Acxiom

acxiom-listingsAcxiom is one of the largest data distributors online and one of the only services that actually charges a fee. Is the cost worth it?

At the end of this post about how to submit to Acxiom it explains the $50 cost to submit and distribute data through Acxiom. Basically it comes down to giving you the ability to properly optimize and manage your listing which is extremely important. Currently Acxiom distributes to many priority sites and services like yellowpages.com, and others. Looks like their data might be used by Apple and Siri as well (according to David Mihm). Here is a visual on the main ways that data is distributed through Acxiom and others.

$50 doesn’t seem like a lot if you have one location or if you’re a large profitable business. But what if you have hundreds of locations? This could really add up for even the largest businesses. So is it worth it?

Read More…

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