Natural Search Blog


Reach Local Scam Artists & Thwack ‘Em!

Have you ever been taken advantage of by a business, and wanted to get your due justice?  In most cases we may encounter generally bad service or unacceptable products from small businesses. But, in the worst cases, we actually get victimized by our friendly, local scam artists. It’s not just a matter of unsatisfactory service, but they willfully intended to dupe or cheat your or treat you badly!buy cialis

Reach Local ScamWith merely a bad service or product, we might push for a discount or refund, and write some negative reviews about a company at various ratings sites like Yelp. But, when it’s an actual scam artist, it becomes a question of how to reach them in the first place, and then how to do anything that they’d even feel.

In the local search marketing world, many of us have noticed a spate of bad actors who are setting up fraudulent business listings (perhaps even operating under bogus names), and once they’ve lured people into doing business with them, they abscond with fees in return for shoddy service or no service/product whatsoever. So, there are some basic issues around how they are operating with impunity, promoting themselves online (sometimes out-ranking bona fide established local businesses), and then taking consumers’ money with zero accountability.

So, here are some tips we’ve made to help you REACH LOCAL SCAM ARTISTS and even thwack ‘em!  You may not be able to get your lost time and money back, but you may get a little justice or you might be able to declaw these bad guys just a bit so they can’t prey on other consumers as easily.

Tips To Reach Local Scam Artists & Thwack ‘Em: (more…)

Check Out New Google Maps Labs Features

Many Google Maps users may have missed the recently added button, allowing users to opt-in to try out some of the Google Maps Labs beta features. The Labs options can be accessed via the new little icon button found in the upper right of the user-interface, if you’re logged-in to your Google account:

Google Maps Labs Icon Button

The new features might also reveal some secrets of Google Maps ranking factors. It’s definitely a space that’s well worth watching for local search marketing experts.

New Tool to Annualize Google Keyword Data

Do you use Google’s AdWord Keyword Tool for your keyword research? If not, you might be missing out. Like all keyword research tools, it may not be the end all be all, and it isn’t without its own little quirks, but it is still rich keyword data whether you use it on its own or in relation with the other keyword tools you are using.

Google has modified the tool over time, and one of the great additions was the ability to see the monthly demand via a small little bar chart. This can be very useful for factoring in seasonality or growing demand for certain phrases. Wrapping your head around the actual numerical data is a bit more challenging. The Local number is just for the most recent month while the Global number is a monthly average. This is further complicated in that the Global number includes the world essentially while the Local number may factor in your campaign settings and locality (based on your AdWords campaign configuration).

To help tighten up data and provide a little more insight into the Local numbers, I just released an Excel spreadsheet that can take your Google Keyword Tool’s export and annualize the Local demand numbers. In some cases, this may dramatically change the order of importance of keywords to target.

Best of all, this tool is free to use so give it a play. The link below will take you to the download page for the tool as well as more detail about how it works and an example.

Google Keyword Tool Annualizer

Google Annotates The Web Through Sidewiki

Google has introduced a new feature in the toolbar called the Sidewiki. Users can post and read comments about any website that appear on a pane on the left hand side of their browser. An example showing this is presented below.

google sidewiki

(more…)

Google Image Search – Second Only To Web Search In Size

This post is based on the interview between Eric Enge and Peter Linsley, Google’s Product Manager for Image Search. It reveals some interesting aspects of image search which is growing at an accelerated pace.

A recent survey by Hitwise in February 2009 shows Google Image Search as part of the troika of top web properties owned by Google in terms of traffic and revenue.

(more…)

Microformats Hit Mainstream!

Microformats LogoOver on SEMClubhouse I’ve written up a post on “Why Use Microformats?” which is a mild criticism of Michael Gray’s recent post on “HCards, Microformats and Address Data does it Matter for SEO“. Essentially, Michael suggests people should prioritize implementation of hCard into local info webpages as a lower-priority, back-burner project. I not only believe that Yahoo’s SearchMonkey developer platform and Google’s new Rich Snippets display are proving that the search engines consider the Microformats protocol to be important, but anything presented as a back-burner or rainy-day project for many major corporations pretty much relegates that work to never be done at all.

With the advent of Rich Snippets in SERPs, I think I can safely declare that Microformats have now hit mainstream! (more…)

Key to Relevance: Title Tags

I recently penned an article at Search Engine Land on Leveraging Reverse Search For Local SEO. In it, I describe how in certain exception cases, one may benefit from adding the street address into a business site’s TITLE tag. It’s not the first time that I have mentioned how TITLE tags are key to relevance in Local Search — I’d previously mentioned how critical it is for local businesses to include their category keywords and city names in the TITLE as well.

Yet, a great many sites continue to miss this vital key to relevance, and they wonder why they fail at ranking for their most apropos keywords. Keywords for which they’d otherwise have a very good chance at ranking upon!

Key Relevance: Title Tags
W3C calls the TITLE the “most important element of a quality web page” (more…)

Vint Cerf & The Architect in The Matrix

While attending and speaking at the recent SMX West conference in Santa Clara, I had the opportunity to photograph Vinton (“Vint”) Cerf, Google’s VP and Chief Internet Evangelist during his keynote interview conducted by Chris Sherman.

After returning, one of my friends saw my pics and remarked that Vint Cerf resembled the Architect character in the Matrix movies. It immediately struck me that he was right — so I knocked together a comparison pic:

The Architect vs. Vint Cerf

Vint Cerf and the Architect in the Matrix share a number of feature similarities: similar age, dress, coloring, and facial hair. The biggest difference is that the Architect has a full head of hair while Vint is balding. (more…)

Town Creates Smiley Face in Google Maps

Saw this interesting thing on Slashdot today:

Hoax Smiley in Google Maps
(click to enlarge)

Apparently this Russian town got a crowd of people to don yellow slickers and stand in a large smiley face pattern so that Google Earth and Google Maps could capture them in their next update.

Trick is, the Google Map screen-grab appears to be a very obvious hoax by a blogger dubbed “Heiner Wolf“. According to these photos, people really did turn out to form the smiley face — I would guess as part of a radio station promotion. But this blogger transposed the people onto the Google Maps image of the area. Lame!

There are plenty of instances of messages appearing in Google Maps pics, if you want to see real ones: examples of roof ads, cool things in Google Maps, marriage proposals, and the infamous Swastika Building.

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Google Street View Icon In Party Clothes

The Google Street View dude icon is suddenly sporting a party hat and balloons:

Google Street View Guy

Assumably the special icon is celebrating Google’s 10th Birthday, though there’s no mention of it on the Google Lat Long Blog.

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