The Duality of Local SEO – NAP Citations vs Organic Link Building

The topic of NAPs vs links came up in conversation this week. While I won’t divulge the recipe for our ‘secret sauce’ it is a commonly held belief that organic links should be as varied as possible. While this is often true…like everything in SEO the real answer is it depends. There has never been a true one size fits all solution for achieving lasting Page 1 results. Short lived results, sure. Lasting, nope.

However, one thing that is widely held and also has the virtue of being true is the extreme need for perfect consistency when it comes to Name, Address, and Phone citations.

— Spelling matters (of course)

— Punctuation matters

— Data reliability matters

So, if you aren’t seeing the local results you would like- do yourself a favor and perform a google search using your phone number. See any results with varied data? Try a search using your address. Business name. Variations of your business name. It is likely you will find some data sources that need fixing.

Promoted Pins: Worth it, or Not Worth the Time?

It may be too early to tell for sure how Promoted Pins have been performing on Pinterest since their October 2013 introduction, but it seems that the debate between what Pinterest markets as “tasteful” and “transparent” advertising and what users worry will sully the individualized Pinterest experience has yet to be resolved.

The only real observation to surface in tracking Featured Pins thus far is that three main analytics make or break whether this strategy is right for your business, and they’re the same as with any method of online advertising. Getting a large number of clicks per pin is a good sign, as is getting a large number of sharing, or “re-pins per pin.” Another metric to keep in mind is average visit duration, which should be on the longer side, as it indicates that more pages are being visited which points to more purchases being considered and brand loyalty. If these metrics are low for you, it may be best to opt out of the Pinterest gimmick altogether.

Google Maps News

Crowdsourcing: Open Source, or Open Scourge?

The mighty Google suffered the same fate as many open-source content sites (like Wikipedia) suffered in their early days this month, as a user renamed the well-known Theoduer-Huss Square in Berlin after Adolf Hitler on Google Maps. This change made it past a small army of volunteers and a moderator so keen on the change, he didn’t just list “Adolf Hitler Platz” as an alternate name for the location, but the canonical one.

This phenomenon is reminiscent of Mountain Dew’s “Dub the Dew” debacle. Crowdsourcing earned a new green apple flavored drink the suggested names of “Diabeetus,” “Hitler did nothing wrong,” and several variations on the theme of “Gushing Granny.”

Looks like the Goog might have a lesson to learn. For starters, they can set clear boundaries on the user-end side of their application before suggestions including “hot” terms don’t make it to an over-worked moderator in the first place.

Google Maps the Hottest Travel App of 2014:

Though there’s really nothing new about it, a contributor at Forbes Online just picked Google Maps as her #1 travel app for 2014. The reason why might be novel, as it has nothing to do at all with how it normally functions with Internet connectivity, but instead has everything to do with how it functions offline.

Essentially, if a user saves a page of their destination using a Hotel’s wi-fi, they save precious data plan allotments for another day. To the weary, data-poor traveler, this is an unintended functionality that serves as a huge boon.

The Importance of SEO Anchor Text

Although anchor text hasn’t been given an extreme amount of attention in SEO circles, it is an important aspect when determining Search Engine Optimization. It is definitely worth taking a[nother] look at as understanding it can elevate page ranking and help to more effectively track competition which is critical for determining which keywords work and which do not.

Understanding Anchor Text

Anchor text is the wording which people see on a website that, when clicked, takes them to another page on your site, or to another relevant web page. These hyperlinks are usually blue, underlined texts which appear within other text on a web page.

An example of html code for anchor text:

<xmp><a href=””>Anchor Text</a></xmp>

Anchor text is used by website owners, writers and bloggers to direct attention to other pages on their own site or others’ sites which have relevant information pertaining to what is being addressed. These links can be for products, services, other posts, news items, etc. Quite often, wording is used in the anchor text to explain what the link is leading to instead of a url so that the natural flow of the writing is maintained. This allows the visitor as well as search engine spiders to easily determine the nature of the page to which the link leads.

Anchor Text and Search Engines

Search engines rely on anchor text to determine the content of the hyperlinked page. Therefore, it is important that target keywords and keyword phrases are utilized in the anchor text as they will work to raise your search engine ranking. And, in actuality, these keywords are often as important as, or more so, than the keywords in the page’s url.

A great deal of importance is placed by search engines on anchor text which is external and links other sites to yours and a lesser amount is placed on links which remain internal to other pages on your website. This is what makes acquiring anchor text backlinks with target keywords and phrases so vital to the growth and flow of traffic to your site.

However, keep in mind that search engines (Google in particular) will only consider the first link of several which incorporate the same url. Therefore, it is extremely important to establish your target anchor text within that first link.

Determining Keyword Competition via Anchor Text

Since anchor text is deemed to be highly important for ranking a keyword by the search engines, it goes without saying that it is powerful analyzing tool for determining competition over any keyword or keyword phrase. Google considers it so vital that they even provide an allinanchor operator for such searches. Simply type into the search box: allinanchor: your selected keyword phrase and you will receive all pages using that particular keyword.

This is an excellent tool which helps you to determine a couple of valuable things. First of all, you are able to tell what pages are optimized for your particular keyword or phrase. This eliminates the need to search for your keyword in other areas of the text.

Secondly, you can view your competitors’ backlinks and determine which ones are using your keyword or phrase in their anchor text as well as the link’s strength. By doing this, you will be able to better determine how big of a contender your competition is as you plan your strategy for top ranking.

By placing more attention on anchor texts and the target keywords used within them when sculpting your website, the easier it will be to achieve higher ranking in the search engines.

What To Avoid When Link Building

This is a subject that is very near and dear to my heart.  As someone who has been the victim of some awful linking (in an effort by competitors to disturb my rankings) I am very cautious to monitor links.  But, when done right linkbuilding is a high priority in the SEO world and can be very rewarding. However, doing so incorrectly can be quite costly, both in time and money expended. Many mistakes are made by those wishing to link to other sites and the following are a few of the most common which should be avoided:

Avoid Sites That Are Irrelevant to Your Niche

This is one of the most common mistakes made by link builders. I suppose the thinking goes “more is better” and so links are placed helter skelter on as many sites as possible, even though they aren’t relevant to the home site. People who are looking for auto products, for instance, just aren’t going to be interested in a link to a fashion site. You can get lists of relevant sites to your particular niche by using the Backlink Builder.

Avoid Invaluable Links

Even though the site you’re linking to may be popular, if the links you are receiving don’t have good anchor text then they are not valuable. Keywords play an important role in all SEO marketing and back linking is no exception. Links should contain keywords which relate to your site and not worthless hype phrases. Refer to the Backlink Anchor Text Analyzer when you need to check out link quality.

Avoid Bad Links by Checking Them

A common practice by devious webmasters is to sell you backlinks to their sites and then don’t place them, place them but then remove them suddenly, or provide links which are listed as “nofollow”. You should check your links when received and then again periodically to make sure this hasn’t happened to you. I strongly advise against selling links-however many will do so anyway without the proper education or care.

Avoid Overly Crowded Sites

Popular, high traffic sites are highly desirable when linkbuilding. However, if your link is one out of a couple hundred links on the site, chances are extremely low that it will draw a worthwhile percentage of that site’s traffic. The exception to this rule is when you have an active link, but the majority of other links come up “nofollow”.

Avoid Sites with a Bad Reputation

Even more damaging than linking to an extremely popular site with a ton of links is hooking up with one which has a bad reputation. Doing so says to the search engines (mainly Google) that you support their bad behavior which can result in penalties being applied to your site as well. Staying away from such sites is the best advice for saving you a lot of grief.

Avoid Linking to Pages That Can’t Be Crawled

If you place good links (active and keyword anchored) on web pages which search engine spiders can’t crawl then they’re basically worthless. Sometimes, the other link sharing party will place your link on pages which don’t get indexed by the major search engines. Therefore, you need to make sure that the page you’re linked to is accessible to SE crawlers. A tool for assisting with this problem is the Search Engine Spider Simulator.

Linkbuilding can be a powerful tool for driving traffic to your site and increasing sales. However, these common mistakes need to be avoided and solid practices and tactics utilized in order to get the best bang for the buck.

Geotargeting For Local SEO

Google now gives you the option to mention your site’s relevance to a specific region with their geo-targeting tool. In the past Google used a few of their normal search parameters and signals to find out where in the world was a site located. They used to use signals from the top level domain (TLD) and the server location of the website.

Let’s take an example of a website which ends with “.cn”, this is the TLD for China and can tell Google that your site is more relevant in china. You may also have generic TLDs like “.com” or “.net” and your site is hosted on a server in china even though your site is relevant only to Americans and you reside in America, may be because hosting is cheaper in china. This will still tell Google to some extent that you have targeted the Chinese public as your server is based there.

To get rid of this issue permanently Google built the Geo-targeting tool which can let Google know if your site has specific relevance to your region only. This can help in better optimizing your site for certain keywords. For example you are a second hand car salesperson and if you have your own website you will want to geo- target it, because your services will be helpful mainly to those who reside in your region only. This can give you an audience of potential customers who may truly want to buy a car. It won’t affect your overall page rank because people outside the boundaries of your region will not be interested in dealing with you.

If you have a global website like that of a multinational company in which you have different sub-domains for each of the different countries that you serve. In such a case Google also allows you to individually go in and target each of these specific sub-domains to the regions which they are relevant to.

What you shouldn’t do is geo-target your site based on the language it is made in. If you have a site made in Korean, you should not geo-target your site in Korea as you will miss out on potential Korean speaking customers all over the world.

This geo- targeting tool can only be seen working when you select the “show pages only from….” Option. You have to verify ownership of the site to geo–target your link. If you have many sub-folders or sub-domains you should simple geo-target the main TDC and the ones under it will be automatically verified.

Question #3- Claiming Your Client’s Google Places Listing

Louise posted a question in the comments so I thought I would draft a quick answer. Here is here question:

this video was excellent – it explained many things about google places that I didn’t know.

I have a question – I have a local business directory site. Can I claim google places on behalf of business owners (if I have their permission of course), for the web address – can I direct it to their listing on my directory – as some of the businesses don’t have websites.

take care


Ok, lets take these questions in order.

#1. With permission you can claim a business on behalf of the owner. However, you need to be sure to do two things. Firstly, ALWAYS do so in a new Google Places account. Don’t mix multiple clients within 1 account. Doing so just puts all your clients at risk. We have been doing work with Google Maps for 5 years and have never had an issue. But, that is because we follow our own best practices so all our clients are safe and secure. Secondly, your client should have access to their account. It is their business and as such the account should be theirs to control. Many local seo providers use an account that they have setup as leverage to keep a client longer. To us that is simply bad business.

#2. You could direct a business that doesn’t have a website to your directory however a better practice is to build them a website that they own/control. We are able to create simple websites that our clients love (using WordPress so they can easily manage it) for $500, so the expense isn’t great to get them something that will really serve their needs.

Question #1 – What are Google Places Citations

This is the most common question I have received and it is also the most basic so I will answer it first.

The easiest way to think of a citation is as a reference to your business. In the offline world a reference won’t usually be a link. Instead it will be a mention of your business and will include the following:
1. Business Name
2. Business Location
3. Business Telephone Number

These don’t always need to be located together on the same page, but when Citations (within the context of Google Places Local SEO) are mentioned this is what is meant. Simple enough.

Local SEO Tip #3- Find the Best Keywords for Your Local SEO in Seconds

Local SEO (Search Engine Optimization) involves focus on two areas for local search. The first is a company’s geographic location, typically a city and state, and then their product or service specialties.

An example of a local search would be “doctors in New York City, New York”. The results from Google, or other large search engines would be a list of doctors within that geographic location. These search engines do not display only website links in a local search, they show a “local directory” result. This local directory filters the output to the top ten or less results, and displays a map location as well as a text summary – Google calls their version “Google Places”.

In order to rank well in these local search results, a company’s website – and their local directory listing – need to contain keyword phrases that the search engines determine are advantageous to internet users searching for local businesses. The local businesses also need to determine which of those phrases are searched for the most frequently, in order to attract the most customers.

Using the above example of a search for a doctor in New York City, we start with the service provider term: “Doctor”.

1. We enter that term into a free keyword ranking tool such as Google’s Keyword Ranking Tool found at the following website address.

These keyword tools show us actual results from real-world internet searches, so we do not have to guess what the most popular searches are.

2. Next we examine the results and look for related terms that have a large number of local monthly searches. The term “doctor” leads us to: “family practice”, “pediatrician”, “physician”, and the plural “physicians”.

3. These phrases should then be combined with the location “New York” to give us the final phrases to be inserted into our web pages and online directory listings. Examples would be “New York doctor”, “New York family practice” and “New York physician”.

Use these phrases in the business description fields of directories, in the title tags and content of your website, etc will help your online visibility. There isn’t enough space here to detail their proper use but, suffice it to say, once you have determined these keyword phrases, their effectiveness comes from using them frequently and in as many locations as possible.

You may be interested in this related article about Local SEO Analysis

Simple Local SEO Tip #2

Post your physical address in a HIGHLY visible place on your homepage. The footer is not the ideal location. The more visible the better as Google seems to acknowledge the location of your address and weigh it as more credible the more visible you make it. Of course, there is no need to put your location in 50 pt font. But, hidden in the footer is far from ideal.

The Importance of Analysis For Local SEO

Almost without fail the first thing we do for any new local seo client is to analyze their current site and previous promotion efforts. That is step 1. But, the valuable nuggets we find are not in that research but in our research of their competitors. This isn’t done in a format that client’s will be able to decipher in a report but for our work internally it is invaluable. Often we are researching competitors the client didn’t even know they had.

Let me explain.

Of course we dig into their market. That goes without saying. To do that we look at their town and what the other players are doing. We also look at the surrounding town and larger area. We then look at statewide players and those in their vertical but in other states. Finally, we look at those competitors that are nationwide. Most of my competitors stop their research at their client’s city. That is leaving all the valuable intel unused. That is the difference between ranking where you want and not. Or ranking in 2 or 3 months vs 9 months.

Now, this intel gathering is an absolute pile of work for my team. But, it lets us find what I call the ‘local seo pivot points’. Those things that are being done that are having the greatest impact. We can then leverage those to best our competitors.

Now, those of you who know me and know how I work know that we have a cadre of in-house tools to help us complete our work. This research is no exception. With those tools we often spend 10+ hours on this research Month 1 with a new client. Without those tools it would take 50+ hours and be impossible to do in the scale we do it. My investment in the technical capital of this business is my client’s gain.

With that said we are looking to release a related tool that will allow our client’s an ‘at a glance’ snapshot of some of this analysis. I won’t give away to many details until it is 100% ready for release, but I believe it will unrivaled in the industry. And the price (free) for clients can’t be beat.

The Travel Industry & Local SEO Is The Next Frontier

Gowalla-the local meetup service is getting into the travel game-in a small way.  They now know when you fly by looking to see where you have ‘checked in’ and they show it via some spiffy graphics.  So if I check in at dca and arrive at lax they will show it on the airport’s page.

I track these things however I don’t actually use the services.  The people who should know when I am flying, my family, friends, clients, know that because I tell them.  Not because a graphic on a page tells them.  I just, personally, have privacy concerns about this and similar services.  And I don’t need the ego boost to know I am “Mayor” of my local Starbucks to feel important.  But that is just me.

However, I will watch to see what moves they make in the industry so my clients are prepared and stay 1 step ahead.



The New York Times Style

On Search Engine Land: Must Read News About Search Marketing & Search … the post “The New York Times, Demand Media Edition” talks about the recent Demand Media IPO:

“Demand Media — widely described as a ‘content farm’ — went public yesterday and quickly racked up a valuation higher than the New York Times. I figured the news might cause some at the New York Times to wonder if they needed to be more Demand Media-like. “

Check out the mockup-pretty accurate for any of us that have ever come across when searching for an answer to a question.  BTW the stock closed over $22 up $5.65 from the open.  Not bad at all.

How To Track Mobile Visitors In Google Analytics

Andrew published a great post that features a Google Analytics tip.  The post “How To Track Mobile Visitors In Google Analytics” contains this nugget:

“If you are a Google Analytics user I recommend setting up an Advanced Segment that filters reports by visitors who are classified as Mobile. Here’s how:


Click on the ‘Advanced Segments’ link on the lower left hand side of the Google Analytics navigation

Click on ‘Create a new custom segment’ at the top of the page

Under the ‘Dimensions’ section click on ‘Visitors’

Drag the green ‘Mobile’ rectangle into the ‘dimension or metrics’ box.

Make sure the ‘Condition’ equals ‘Matches Exactly’ and the ‘Value’ equals ‘Yes’

Name the segment ‘Mobile’, test and save

Now you can view any report in Google Analytics with only mobile user data simply by choosing ‘Mobile’ from the Advanced Segment menu at the top of the page.

Cool Tip: I also like to create a ‘No Mobile’ advanced segment so that I can easily compare the different user behaviors. You can also create similar reports for different phones, mobile browsers and operating systems (e.g. iPhone v. Android)  if you want to really drill down into this data.”

I have some clients that enjoy the Google Analytics experience.  Many choose to use some other advanced tools.  Regardless, if you are using GA this is a great tip.

Google Will Drop Real Estate Search & Listings From Maps – Top SEO …

This was never a popular feature of Maps, however it is a bit of a surprise that they will kill it completely in 2 weeks.  I know a few businesses who benefited from it.

Google Maps will drop its real estate listings search option on February 10th.

Real estate was one of the options available inside Google Maps since July 2009, when it added a similar search form like the ones available on many real estate-specific websites. Google’s real estate search wasn’t as advanced as some of those sites, but offered enough basics for most homebuyers to start the process of finding a new home.

Excerpt from:
Google Will Drop Real Estate Search & Listings From Maps – Top SEO …

The Most Misunderstood Facts About Ranking Your Small Business

There’s a lot of confusion out there about how search ranking impacts your small business. Don’t let these misunderstandings bog down your search marketing strategy.

Fact: Keywords are important
Mistake: Keywords are the most important factor in ranking
Yes, it’s vital to identify the right keywords for your business. Your site will rank better, and your visitors will feel comfortable when they see their own word choices reflected on your site. But if you’re worrying about keyword density, you should stop wasting your time. Instead, create readable content that actually communicates well. Don’t write for the search engines. Write for the humans.

Fact: Content is important
Mistake: Any content will do
Regular site updates improve your ranking, but too many business owners are stuffing their sites with boring, generic content that no one will ever want to read. Again, it’s all about making your site useful for the human visitors who end up there. Use fresh and authoritative content to establish your site’s credibility – not just with the search engines, but with your visitors and with thought leaders in your industry.

Fact: Links are important
Mistake: All links are created equal
If you’re working with an ethical SEO professional, you should already know that some link-building tactics are prohibited by Google and may get you banned from search results. “Link farms” – sites that exist only to generate lots of links in order to increase search ranking – are NOT a good idea. Remember that authoritative content we talked about earlier? Great content is the best foundation for building quality links. Promote your content through social media and work on connecting with other online authorities. Your ranking will see the benefits.

Fact: Ranking is important
Mistake: Search ranking is an end in itself
You know that searchers probably won’t find your site unless you make in onto the first page of Google. But when someone finds your site, that’s just the beginning of the process. Stop worrying so much about your ranking, and make sure your site delivers great results. Check that the page title, headings, and content on your pages are all consistent with the search term you’re targeting. Visitors need to find what they’re looking for on your site. Otherwise, they will leave in seconds. Your site analytics will tell you whether visitors are staying to look around or bouncing away without a second thought.

Fact: Traffic is important
Mistake: High traffic means high profitability
You could have 10,000 visitors a day, but your website won’t generate any revenue unless some of those visitors convert into customers. You should already know the most important thing that you want people to do on your site. Make your website easy to use by focusing your home page on that one key step in the sales process. Persuade your visitors to take that action, and you’re in business. Or, instead of directing all the traffic to your home page, consider having special landing pages for different search terms.

SEO Myths That Can Bury Your Site – Part 1


Bigfoot Going To Catch Some Waves

To many, SEO is a mystery that is part science and part black magic.  And while I have [mostly] tamed this beast a while ago (I have been doing local seo work over 10 years now); I have noticed that each client needs a certain amount of education.  This only makes sense since not everyone lives and breathes this stuff as much as my team.  This post will hopefully dispel some SEO myths that should be put to bed.  Plus, anytime I can educate current or prospective clients about the realities of this industry it simply helps set expectations.  So, if your SEO pitches any of this bullshit in a proposal run, don’t walk, away.

Meta Keywords – This tag came into existence in 1996 and within the next few years stopped being supported by most of the major crawlers.  Effectively, this has been dead since the late nineties.  So, please let this one go.  It doesn’t help with ranking and is just clutter in your code.  Delete it.  Even Google says to forget it on their blog.

Keyword Density – Another bit of non-sense.  Yes, there was a time when you could shove your keyword into a sentence and if your page was the same size as your competition and had it 10 times and the other guy had it 5 times you would win.  This is oversimplified, but you get the idea.  Do you really think that something as complex as Google’s Algorythm would use such simplistic logic.  If you are trying to become #1 for Widgets the following just won’t work anymore as it isn’t how they determine relevancy and rankings.

“Wow, I just found the best WIDGETS.  These WIDGETS are so amazing I just didn’t think that WIDGETS could be discovered so easily.  I hope you love WIDGETS too!”

Submitting To Search Engines – This is up there with the Keyword Metatag in popularity.  This has evolved from submitting for free, to paying for submission (Yahoo Directory), to submitting your sitemap.  All of it is bunk and has been for years.  The search engines like to discover your site, naturally, via links.  At best submitting your site does nothing; at worst it hurts your results.  Don’t do it.

PPC Helps Organic – I have spent thousands testing this and have never seen any positive bumps in rankings.  If a keyword generates money for your business than you should invest in it.  Organic or PPC-it doesn’t matter.  The only thing that matters is what it costs to get the traffic.  For ex.  if you sell a widget for $50 and sell 1 out of ever 100 visitors you have a 1% conversion and each conversion is worth $50 (assuming every sale is 100% profit).  That means if you can spend .49 or less per click you are making money.  So, by all means, spend money on PPC.  It will only bring you more traffic and more sales.

SEO Is Static – SEO isn’t a thing its a process.  So, you don’t do it once and never do it again; you have to continue doing it daily. Otherwise, your top 3 rankings will become top 10 when your competition picks up the slack and surges ahead of you.  Plus, once behind its harder to catch up and recover the momentum you have lost.

No One Can Hurt You – I call Bullshit on this one.  There are more than a few ways to sabotage a competitor.  So there is always the chance someone will do this to your sites.  I don’t think it is common but it does happen.  We don’t utilize these type of tactics since they are -more than- pathetic.  If you can’t get up without pushing someone else out of business you don’t deserve the ranking.  Which is why we won’t go into more detail on how to employ this tactic here. Karma is a bi$&#.  (The author of this post must apologize to Karma for calling her a bi$&#.  Karma you know we have something special.)

Well, if you liked these SEO Myths Part 2 is just around the corner. Just give me a few days to put it together.

15 Things You Should Never Do At An SEO Conference

Conferences are a great way to pick up new ideas but more importantly are a chance to talk “SEO” without people around you screaming with boredom!  SEO conferences are generally laid back affairs but be aware the following 15 actions may get you blacklisted from any future events.

1. Try to Seduce SEO Chicks


There are two good reasons for this

1. Most are married to top SEO’s!

2. You’re an SEO not Neil Strauss

Yes.. its true that women exist in SEO but that does not mean you need to try that new chat up line you found in the latest seduction eBook you’re flogging.

Check out SEO Chicks!

2. Get Paralytic at the Bar

Any sensible person knows the bar is were the majority real SEO activity occurs during a conference. Attempting to drink your own body weight in Gin and trying to show off your new party trick is not a good idea.

3. Give Away that Amazing Niche with No Competition


You’re in an SEO conference, enough said.

4. Try and Sell Yourself or Your Services

bad salesman

If you try and sell links, domains etc all you’re gonna do is piss people off. You could try to sell your body but I know of no domain or link that is worth that feeling you feel in the morning.

5.“Do a Borat” (run naked through the conference)

naked borat

Yeah it’s funny on film, but if you try it for real like you’ll find it’s the quickest way to meet the security team and waste your entrance fee. I know what you’re thinking, but even if you get a thousand back links every one in the SEO world will have seen your wiener, not good if it’s a cold day!


6. Going on, and on, and…..


You’ve been asked to give a talk at an SEO conference, your is head spinning with ideas. You envisage Rand Fishkin looking up at you with awe and respect..all this is understandable. It does not, however, mean that you have to be one of those guys who spends two and a half hours explaining how you spent six months getting a pr 7 back link. Keep it short and to the point, after all isn’t that what you would want if you were listening?

7. Wet Yourself When You Meet an SEO Idol


Ok, I know you probably spend hours blog commenting, tweeting and following every word of Fiskin et al, but you have to remember that the Danny Sullivan’s and Michael Gray’s of the world are REAL PEOPLE and not demigods. Treat them as such.

image source

8. Suck Up to The Speaker

It’s only natural that you want to make an impression, we all do. Repeatedly telling the speaker how amazing he (or she) is, but endlessly waffling about how incredible their talk was is not the way to go about it. In fact you’ll probably find the buffet a very lonely place, as nobody will want to talk to you.

9. Over Use Slides With Too Much Text


The human attention span is very limited. To combat this, it’s best to think you are presenting to an audience of Homer Simpsons, keep the slides to a minimum (less than ten), use lots of pictures and go easy on the text. Even the most die hard nerd won’t read all your slides on maximising in the SERP’s if  you have 100 slides packed with 10 bullet points per slide.

10. Be That “Question” Guy


You know the one…that guy who asks loads of pointless questions over and over….No? Then you’re him. If you feel the need to ask a question about what makes an article link bait for the 169th time, just take a second and feel the hatred emanating your way!

11. Say in passing “ SEO is not Rocket Science”


Do you remember the stink Dave Pasternack caused when he said that “SEO is not Rocket Science?” It’s unlikely to earn you any friends if you start spouting out this phrase and it’s likely that you will find an SEO competition for your name when you get home!


12. Turning up stinking like some who hasn’t left the “office” in 48 hours


An SEO spends many an hour on their computer, however you’re not in your mom’s basement any more, and the conference goers aren’t going be forgiving as she is. Get in the shower!!

12. Whilst having a talk with Danny Sullivan give him a nudge an wink and say “ yeah but, SEO is all snake oil ;)..”


I’d be nervous, hell we all would, but try and crack this joke and I’d bet my bottom dollar he isn’t going to laugh.


14.  Ask Danny Sullivan for a History of SEO Whilst He is Waiting for the Toilet

toliet queue

There are a few times when a man needs peace and quiet, waiting for a porcelain throne is one of them. Leave him (and anyone else) in peace!

15. Be Someone You’re Not

Purple Suit

Don’t try and be cool by wearing a purple suit and shades for the conference, you’ll just end up looking like a weirdo. Just be yourself, share some ideas, make some friends and above all have fun!

Google Maps Citation Service- Google Places Local Directory Submission

Every day we get leads who want us to take over their SEO for their business.  However, we also get contacted by business owners who are doing ok and would love to be doing better, but who can’t afford a monthly budget for local seo.  We understand and have come up with a service that gets our clients amazing results and is something that doesn’t have a very high cost.

A large part of Google’s Algorithm to determine who shows up next to the map in those precious top 7 results has to do with citations.  Essentially, the more people they see ‘talking’ about your business the more trust they give your business–and the higher they rank you.  Of course, this is an overly simplified version.  But you get the idea.

For our clients we do 10, 20, 30+ hours of work month one to maximize their results, get them citations.   We do everything possible…and then do a bit more so that their competitors can’t catch up.  And they don’t.  But there is a cost associated with that.  For most clients the cost is very reasonable, usually they make it back with their first new client or customer.

However, one part of that initial work we do is to make sure our client’s data is shown in every relevant business directory and aggregator (think Yelp, Yahoo, InfoUSA, etc).  Almost without fail they see a bump in business because of this.  Now, for our full clients we have a few valuable tricks that we do to really push things however the submissions themselves help quite a bit.

We submit to over 50 sites for clients however there are 20 that we consider to be the most valuable.   For a limited time we will submit your site to those top 20 sites.  If you were to do this yourself it would probably take you 10 hours.  Plus, you would have no way of knowing which 20 are the best use of your time.  We have a system in place where we can do it in much less time so you see results quickly-usually within 10 days.

The price for this is only $297-One Time-and depending on demand that price is likely to rise.  To get started just click the Buy Now button below.  We will contact you within 1 business day to get your details and to get started.  And, if your results are like our client’s results you should see progress within weeks.

This is a great ‘thank you’ we just received:

Another Testimonial From A Happy Client:
“Jonathan has helped me acheive and maintain the #1 position on Google Maps for the keywords in my industry when no other SEO provider could. Many of them were able to get me there, but staying there was the problem. I would be at # 1 for 1 week, maybe 2, then I would drop back down again. Jonathan’s exceptional performance and expertise in his field has landed me in the # 1 position 10 weeks ago, and still standing strong. He has very rapid response times each time I communicate with him, and his customer service is second to none. I HIGHLY recommend Jonathan for those who are serious about their search engine rankings. After trying other SEO providers for the last 18 months, I have found that Jonathan is by far the best and well worth his reasonable investment.”

-John C. in Lexington

So, if you want results like these please order below. Or contact us to discuss a more comprehensive monthly marketing plan.

Number of Citations

P.S. If you have any questions or want to make sure this is right for your business, just drop me a line using the Contact Page at the top.


Local SEO Tip-Using Your Webcam To Get A Leg Up On Competition

This was a post I had written that was published on a fellow SEO Consultant’s site.  However, I think you guys would enjoy it as well.  Keep in mind that this tip won’t apply to everyone. However, if you have a business who can creatively use this method to benefit the local community as well as your business then by all means do so.  So here it is:

There is a great quote by Jerry Rice that says:

“Today I will do what others won’t, so tomorrow I can accomplish what others can’t.”

That quote perfectly summarizes today’s tip. I have been involved in SEO since 2000 and the longer you look at local SEO results the more you see that you don’t beat competition by a mile you simply nudge them out by a nose. So doing what they won’t do or what they don’t know how to do is the only way to guarantee the results you want for your, or your client’s, site.

So, with that in mind know that todays tip won’t be as useful for everyone. If you are in a very small town it may not make as much sense as the guy with a business in a big city. However, it can be used by you and it will help your results. Even it if it just a nudge in the right direction.

Fire up Google Maps and search for the city where your business is located. Google Maps-Washington DC It should look like the image on the left.

Next to traffic on the top right you will see the “More” Menu. If you click it will bring up several options.

Select Webcams.

If your city is like most of the ones I deal with you will see some results from Webcams.Travel. These webcams are often referenced as citations, so by setting up your own webcam you can get a highly valued citation with about 5 minutes of work.

The steps involved are all fairly simple:

  1. Signup with Webcams.Travel
  2. Add Your Webcam– Your Webcam should have some value to tourism. So, if your in a bigger city you can simply show the street that your business is on. Just point the webcam out your window and that adds some value. If you are in a very small town the value is negligible but it still exists. Even if people use your webcam to see if the grass is growing it is providing some value.
  3. Keep your business credentials consistent. Your webcam’s name should be your ‘business name’ + ‘name of street’ or ‘name of view’. The address should be your business address, etc.
  4. Use your camera to get a default image of your webcam’s view. In a pinch you can take a screenshot from google street view if you don’t have a camera handy.
  5. Use MeBeam to broadcast your webcam. The same rules apply-make the name of the room as the name of your business.
  6. Copy-Paste your MeBeam URL into Webcams.Travel to complete your listing.

That is all there is to it. Your webcam will get approved in about a day and I suggest to my clients to simply use a spare computer with a webcam attached. So far everyone has had the equipment lying around that they were happy to put it to use.

Very simple geo-targeted local seo citation, that provides value to those who see it while helping your business. A win-win.

Does Call Tracking Really Hurt my Ranking?

There has been quite a bit of discussion as to whether call tracking really does hurt a business’s local search results. Though this is not a cut and dry issue, from what I have seen it does hurt results for any of my local seo clients that have tried it.

Local search is still in its infancy and companies like Google are working hard to come up with valid and effective ways to rate the credibility of business listings found online. At this time, one of the most important factors is still consistency. Since matching a business’s name, phone number and address is one of the most important indicators of consistency, having multiple phone numbers for the same business confuses the search bots and leads to a lower ranking. Though this is not a perfect system and is likely to improve in the future, for now it’s the only one we have.

There are some things businesses can do to track their advertising success without resorting to call tracking. Though it has been temporarily discontinued (pending improvement one would think), Google previously offered a widget for websites that would connect a customer through the businesses Google voice number. This allowed businesses to determine from where the call originated. This isn’t a cure all since it only works for online advertising and probably only more advanced computer users will utilize the feature.

Another technique that many businesses are using that has proven effective is the use of coupons with special tracking codes. Each advertising source will have a coupon for a service with its own unique code that can easily be tracked. This approach has the added benefit of adding a way to attract customers. At the present time, if you really need to track customer origin, this is a good option.

Many marketing companies still insist that they can offer call tracking without affecting local search but, as of right now, I have never seen it work. As local search matures this will change. Also, Google and the other major search providers are constantly improving search algorithms and coming up with new ways to determine popularity and validity.

Google Places – How to Find Citation Sources

We’ve been discussing the importance of citations when it comes to local business listings, especially Google Maps and Google Local Business Center.  Today we will discuss how to find more sources on which to get your business cited.  Remember that consistency is king in local SEO and your citations need to be the same across the board for them do have the most success.

Free Self-Listings

The first step is to get your business listed on as many sites as possible that allow you to add your own citation.  These include Yahoo,,, infospace, anywho and dozens of other major, popular sites.   There’s no excuse for not taking advantage of these free listings.  The major sites are also rumored to carry more importance when it comes to Google page rankings so get started going down that list.  In a future article I will add a list of other possible citation sources.

Keyword Searches

The next step is to get on Google and the other search engines and start searching using all the relevant terms a potential customer might use to search for your type of business.  Don’t pay so much attention to the local listings that will appear at the top of the page in the Google Places 7 Box, but rather focus on the more generalized listings further down.  These are often niche results that contain directories to a specific type of business.  For example, if you are an automotive shop in Scottsdale, AZ.  A search for “automotive in Scottsdale” might return a link to the Scottsdale Classic Car Association.  This would be a site worthy of investigation since many such sites allow free business listings for a particular niche.  Often just one or two simple searches can turn up several such sites and message boards on which you can secure a citation.  And don’t be shy when contacting them-pick up the phone, use their contact form.  You can’t get what you don’t ask for.

Competitor Analysis

If you notice that a competitor is consistently ranking above you in the local listings, you should suspect that their citation base is bigger than yours.  There are several tools you can use to analyze and backtrack their citations and then attempt to get yourself listed also.

The old fashioned or manual way to track these citations is to simply check their listing on the Google Maps page.  Simply enter a search term that you would enter for your business and observe the hits that pop up.  To the right of the listing you will see “more info”.  Click on this to be taken to the details page of the listing.  Here you will see things such as details, reviews, nearby places, etc.  At the bottom of the page you will see “more about this place” and below that will be a number of links.  Each of those links represents a site where Google found a citation to the business.  Check the citations and then attempt to get your business listed there as well.

The new fashioned way to do the same analysis is to incorporate competitive analysis software.  It basically does the same thing you are doing manually but automates the process and designs a tidy list of websites where your competitors have citations along with some other pertinent data.  If your competitors have a large number of citations this software can make the process of competitive analysis a lot simpler.  We have ‘rolled our own software’ but I will review and detail some software that is publicly available to help you with this process.

As I have said before the key to getting above your competitors and making more next month than you have ever made before is to know what to do and then to do it.  While I can’t [won’t] reveal everything we do to get our clients top ranking in Google and top ranking in Google Places 7 Box getting citations is an important part. Our Google Places Citation Service is a surefire way to catapult your results.

Improve Google Ranking-Follow Up


A few days ago I talked about not settling for anything less than #1. Here is a visual that should drive the point home.

If you are #1 you are getting over 50% of the traffic for that term.  If  you are #10 you are getting 2.55%.  Also realize if you have the choice of 9 or 10 you want 10.  The CTR is higher at the very bottom of the page.

Otherwise, improve google ranking and move towards the top- if you can.

Improve Google Ranking-Don't Settle For Anything Less Than #1

I was just checking some rankings and was pleased when a site I have been working on reached page 1 for its main keyword.  This keyword has just under 1 million competitors and receives about 30,000 searches per week.  Last time I checked this site was ranked 16th.  Today it is ranked 4th.  This is a national campaign-not a google local campaign-and I realized that most people would stop here and consider this a success.

However, ranked 4th a site will typically have a CTR (Click Through Rate) of roughly 6%.  So in a given day if 100 people search for the term only 6 or so will click on this site.  If it was third the CTR would more than double to 15%.  The CTR for 2nd is just under 25%.  And the first site receives just over 50% of all the traffic.  Now, you can improve your CTR with some compelling copy in your title tag. Something that makes the visitor wants to click to read more.

This post is just a reminder that unless you are number 1 your work really isn’t done.  I have seen clients income double (more than 2x earnings) by moving from 3rd place to 1st place.  There can only be 1 champion and it should be you or your client.