2015 Year in Review

 

localseo

It’s been a bit since I last posted – nearly 3 months in fact. Been wicked busy and my brain has been focused on learning the ins and outs of my new gig. This post won’t be anything ground breaking but should be fun.

I figured I should write a 2015 wrap up post since there was a good amount happening last year, not only in Local SEO, but to me as well. Let’s just jump right in with some of the bigger happenings.

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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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Local Stack Pack Pushes Organic Down the Page

 

Crystal Lake Dentist
Crystal Lake Dentist

I’ve been doing additional testing on the “new” Local Stack Pack and the Local Finder. Here are some additional observations from my testing:

  • Organic Listings are no longer listed above the Local Stack [tweetthis]Organic Listings are no longer listed above the Local Stack via @brianbarwig[/tweetthis]
  • GMB Primary Categories are now showing in the Stack and Local Finder [tweetthis]GMB Primary Categories are now showing in the Stack and Local Finder via @brianbarwig[/tweetthis]
  • Zooming in on the Local Finder causes a reduction in listings shown [tweetthis]Zooming in on the Local Finder causes a reduction in listings shown via @brianbarwig[/tweetthis]

Let’s go deeper.

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Local Finder now with Organic Listings

Think You Have Google Figured Out?
Think You Have Google Figured Out?

 

Local Finder with Organic Listings

I wanted to do some testing on the new Organic links showing in the Local Finder which just began rolling out the past few days. These listings are seemingly rolling out live for the whole country after some began seeing them this weekend and even more reported them today. Where is G pulling the information in the Local Finder Organic section? Below are screenshots of test 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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Why Google My Business Bulk Listings Become Disabled

 

Ferrell Disabled
Ferrell Disabled

 

UPDATE: I spoke with another Google rep today about a separate issue but asked about Disabled/Pending listings. She told me the same thing the previous rep told me but went into more detail. She stated that this is a new tactic Google is using in order to combat the rampant spammers who attempt to take control of G+ listings or make fake listings.

What the Google team does is make sure the business website, Google Plus page and any Search items are exactly the same for each listing. If the website has a phone number ending in 5432 but the G+ page has a number ending in 5431, the listing is marked as spam and goes under a manual review. Once the spam team reviews the listing, it can be reinstated if the information is corrected.

This is welcomed news and shows how serious Google is about getting information 100% correct all the time. Again this is a brand new tactic and seems to be working well, although it is a pain for those of us in the bulk feeds. At least we will know if our information needs to be corrected and why. Just make sure your business information matches exactly everywhere it is listed!

 

Original Post: Those of us who frequently spend time in the Google My Business Dashboard know of its issues all too well. While the support Google provides for GMB is much appreciated, it leaves something to be desired. Phone support is shoddy at best and there are continuous issues with listings which confuse us all.

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Google Un-verifying GMB Listings

Google My Business

 

UPDATE: Since I posted this morning, Professor Maps got an update from Google with a copy of the warning email they send and SEL did a nice write up about the issue as well.

 

For those of you who work in Google My Business accounts often, this may be news. I was working in a GMB Bulk Feed account yesterday and noticed several of the thousands of listings in the account had a notice of “Disconnected“. The notice said, “This location can’t be connected to Google right now. If this problem continues for more than two days, try deleting the location and adding it again or contact support.”

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Top 35 Local SEO Leaders to Follow

 

Updated: July 22, 2016

Digital marketing, specifically Local SEO, is extremely challenging and only getting more so with the addition of new Google algorithms, Mobile updates, Phantom Updates and the removal of Local Packs. How do you keep up with all of the changes and fluctuations in the local area?

When Google declared that content was king, the digital space exploded into a mess of content and most of it is crap. The challenge is navigating through the garbage and finding real information – gems of content you cant go without, nuggets you want to share which benefit your clients and then ultimately, your bottom line.

Below is a list of my 35 Go-To Peeps when it comes to Local SEO. These are, in my opinion, the top Local SEO people/companies which continually produce relevant, timely and high quality information. These are the people I turn to when I want no-nonsense, breaking information.

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