Fighting For Minimal Clicks

brian-barwig-fighting-for-minimal-clicks

The Fight for Less Clicks

I’ve been thinking about this for a while and wanted to get some thoughts to paper, especially since I’m nowhere near my 1 post per month I anticipated doing at the beginning of the year.

I recently read 3 terrific articles – one from Gyi, one from Andrew Shotland at SEL and another from Jon Henshaw on Medium  – and they got my mind buzzing. Google has never really been one to give away free traffic and make things easy for SEO’s. Back in the wild west of SEO, there were ways to game the system and rank a website, though G was always cutting down easy ways to rank, attempting to get people to buy Adwords and penalizing websites. The same continues today at an even more rapid pace, as easy loopholes get shutdown, more ads are placed and there is less real estate in the SERP.

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Breakdown of the GMB Help Guide

gmb motherload
The GMB Motherload

Updated: July 20th, 2016

GMB Help

Yesterday, Cori Shirk found the Google My Business goldmine. A few weeks back, I remember hearing Google was going to be adding more information and guides to their Google My Business help section. I was skeptical on how much “information” they would be providing. Turns out, it’s a good deal of information, 7 sections in total.

Here’s a breakdown of each of the sections:

  • Report incorrect Street View imagery
  • View business info live
  • Cant Find business info
  • Info displayed on G+ pages
  • Place Labels on G Maps
  • Info in Knowledge Panel
  • Improve Local Ranking

Lets roll through a few of the more interesting sections:

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Are Big Brands Being Forced Out of the Local Stack?

 

Google Local in a nutshell
Google Local in a nutshell

Updated July 25th, 2016

It has been over 2 months since Google reduced the Local results from 7 down to 3. Since the change, I’ve been attempting to analyze various items in the Pack – picture sizes, who is ranking, why they are ranking and what factors are keeping the businesses in the Local Stack. I’ve written several posts on how terrible the results are and what a poor experience the Local Stack has been so far. I think Google is doing some things to better the user experience but it still has a ways to go.

I have been noticing more and more small business, “mom and pop” shops, located in the Local Stack since the change and decided to test my theory that big Brands are being pushed out of the Local results.

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Google goes to Local 3 Pack

 

New Local Pack
New Local Pack

 

As reported by Mike Blumenthal earlier this week, Google Local has shifted from the 7 Pack to a 3 pack. The shift was first reported as a possible test in various markets, is now rolled out to even more markets and should be nationwide soon.

The shift from a Local 7 Pack to a Local 3 Pack is a horrible user experience for several reasons. Instead of seeing 5 or 7 local results, there are now only 3. Those three local results:

  • Do not have a website
  • Do not have a phone number
  • Do not have a Google+ page visible
  • Take 3 clicks to find a meaningful result

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I Got us Pandalized. Then We Got Out. Here’s How.

What Happened

The Google Panda algorithm was first deployed in February of 2011 and effected up to 12% of search results, most notably for us – our website. The algorithm targeted low quality websites with thin content, high ad to content ratios and other quality signals such as content farms. We got smoked by this algorithm and continued to get dinged each time a new version of Panda was released to the wild.

panda1

I’ve read others say that once you get hit by Panda once, you somewhat flatten out and it doesn’t keep hurting you. My perspective on that is different. Our website continually got hit and each time it took a good portion of our traffic – anywhere from 5-20% of whatever the current level of traffic happened to be. Now, this was our own fault mind you. Some of it was because we were lackadaisical in changing our content from standard, un-unique, nearly duplicate content on nearly all of our city/state/zip code pages and some was because I was still pumping out guest blogs which were of the same, poor quality as our website content. I take full responsibility.

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Pigeon Algorithm Analysis

spammylinks

Its been a few weeks since my last post on Pigeon, though I want to give an update on some items of interest I’ve been seeing with the update.

Ive been researching Pigeon since the day it was announced in an attempt to figure out just what is going on with the awful results being displayed. Here’s a quick rundown of what we know so far:

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Pigeon Local Results are Useless

via http://www.questioningcreatives.com/mark-chambers/
via http://www.questioningcreatives.com/mark-chambers/

What is Pigeon 

By now, we all know what Pigeon is about. A quick recap for those who are behind….On July 24th, Google launched a new local algorithm, later dubbed Pigeon by Search Engine Land. Results are still coming in though it appears the algorithm is a huge shake up in local search as both Google Maps and Web results were impacted. It is supposed to provide more useful, relevant and accurate local search results which are more closely tied to traditional web search ranking signals. (I will prove later why I think this is bullshit.) As of now, Pigeon has only rolled out to US results though it will most likely roll out to other countries and languages in the near future.

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My Humble Beginnings in SEO

I’m finally getting around to putting some actual content on the site. I’d like to start by giving some context into how I got into the SEO/Digital game.

My metaphorical long journey

College and the Move

We can trace it all the way back to right after my 4 year college stint ended , I was a 21 year old kid eager to get into the workforce, start my long career and prove to my parents I didn’t go to school simply to major in Crushing Beers. Being a marketing major, I figured I’d be starting out at the bottom of a company doing petty work for a while before earning my stripes and moving up the corporate ladder. It took me a couple months of sales jobs, low level marketing gigs, reflection, goal analyzing and thinking about my future before I decided I was going take the biggest risk of my life at the time – I was going to pack up all my shit and move from Chicago to Kansas City to live with my girlfriend. Ballsy.

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