Visit the Local Search Community for the Latest News, Help and Support

MAJOR Google+ Local Updates & Positive Changes This Week

Thursday, January 31st, 2013 at 12:03pm by Linda Buquet

Wowser, Google is just hitting it out of the park with improvements this week. Much of this has been in the works on the back end for many months and I’m so happy to now be able to share the news and have been getting the word out.

REMINDER: I post ALL News at Local Search forum AS SOON AS IT HITS!
I only post to the blog now as an afterthought, as I get time.
So be sure to grab the local search news feedLocal Search Community RSS Feed

Major Google Local Review Improvements! Better Algo = More Reviews
Google has been hard at work over the past few months trying to fix and improve the review piece of the local puzzle. See big post from Google about it + amazing clarity from them about exactly what NOT to do if you want your LEGIT reviews to show up live.

HUGE NEWS! Phone Support for Google Local DATA Problems Just Launched Google just let us know they EXPANDED PHONE SUPPORT! Recently they tested phone support, that was only for Places verification problems. Now it’s available for data issues too. See screen shots and I’ll explain more below.

Lots more Inside - Click to Read

New Intensive ADVANCED Google+ Local TRAINING

Wednesday, January 23rd, 2013 at 9:02am by Linda Buquet

I just completely restructured and expanded
my intensive Advanced Google+ Local training program.

Doubled the time and added tons of content – without increasing the price.

There are so many important issues to explain now, like how to handle moves, do not support problems, etc. PLUS all the new G+ merge info that needs to be covered, there just was not time to address everything in 1 training session.

.:. Expanded from 2 to 4 hours
.:. Spit into 2 group training sessions over 2 days
.:. More content – Same price

GENERAL TRAINING INFO

ADVANCED Google+ Local TRAINING (For EXPERIENCED Local Search consultants only) This is not beginner Google+ Local training and we don’t have time to cover any 101 content in this course. This is advanced training. You need to have demonstrated hands-on experience to benefit from this knowledge.

The Advanced Google Places/Google+ Local training is delivered interactively via phone, personally by me. No canned content or videos.

SOME of the TOPICS COVERED and BONUSES INCLUDED…
Click link below for complete details, agenda, testimonials and more.
New Intensive ADVANCED Google+ Local TRAINING

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Visit the Local Search Community for the Latest News, Help and SupportLocal Search Forum

Get involved: 2013 Local SEO Industry Survey

Tuesday, January 22nd, 2013 at 10:32am by Linda Buquet

Over 1,150 SEOs took part in BrightLocal’s 2012 Local SEO Industry Survey.

Excited to announce the survey is back! Click here for the 2013 survey.

Understanding our Industry

The objective of the survey is to gain a clear understanding of the health & nature of the Local SEO industry. We will publicly share the results so everyone in our industry can benefit from the findings. The survey explores the following topics -

  • Annual turnover
  • Services & Prices
  • Sales & new business
  • Daily SEO tasks (‘likes’ & ‘hates’)
  • Client performance

Lots more Inside - Click to Read

Local Search Buzz – Google+ Local Updates January 2013

Thursday, January 17th, 2013 at 8:50am by Linda Buquet

Below is roundup of recent Local Search news & tips posted at the Local Search Community forum. Subscribe to the Local Search Community RSS Feed so you don’t miss the latest Local Search news.

Google+ Local Optimization Tips/Tricks To Improve Ranking

Pending Review in Google+ Local AKA Google Places Dashboard Problems

Monster List – 200 Best Local SEO Posts of 2012

2 New Google+Local Updates to Reviews and Images

Service Area Business DELETED – Google+ Local Support Saga

Over-Optimization Penalty for Local Sites Internal Links?

What Causes Google+ Local Merged Listings – How to Fix?

Best Strategy to Merge Duplicate Listings?

50 Leading Local Review/Citation Sources in the US

New Local Search Google Map Maker Forum

Warning Google+ Local Hijacking Scam

Rebrand or Name Change – Map Maker Says Open New & Close Old

Best Practice for Designating Service Area – By Mile Radius or Cities?

Hit “Recent Posts” at the top of the forum for the very latest…

Lots more Inside - Click to Read

Current Google+ Local Bugs and Problems Roundup Report

Monday, January 7th, 2013 at 9:40am by Linda Buquet

Curated news from the Local Search Forum Community…

There are several new Google+ Local bugs ‘bugging’ folks and I have not done a very good job of reporting them individually over at the Local Search Forum as they come up. I’ll try to do a better job of sharing new issues as I become aware of them.

But here are a few recent bugs/problems/issues all in one post…

Current Google+ Local Bugs and Problems Roundup Report

Local Search Experts Share Work/Life Balance Tips for 2013

Wednesday, January 2nd, 2013 at 5:45am by Linda Buquet

I thought this was a great post to kick off the New Year, since most local search pros I know are workaholics and this post gets into some great insight from leaders in the field about work/life balance, making time to stay healthy and taking time for family.

I was emailed recently by Adam Steele, a member of a Local Mastermind Group I’m involved in, and he asked me to participate in a group article/interview called “Do You Have Entrepreneur’s Guilt?” Well I was helping with my daughter’s surgery recovery AND have been sick AND the Holidays were hectic AND to be honest (sorry Adam) didn’t really get the relevance of the topic, so I passed.

Some top local search experts however did take the time to respond, including: Mike Blumenthal, Alex Fusman, Mary Bowling, Darren Shaw, Matthew Hunt and Mike Ramsey.

Adam asks the group questions about something he terms “entrepreneur’s guilt”, then asks questions like: Do you maintain a healthy lifestyle? Do you make time for yourself? How often? With your free time, what do you do? Do you have any work/life balance tips that you can provide? Or is balance a myth?

Do You Have Entrepreneur’s Guilt?

Why is no one talking about entrepreneur’s guilt? Is it possible people just don’t have a name for it? Perhaps they call it poor work/life balance or being a work-a-holic? For me, neither of those entirely fit the bill. In the aforementioned article, Mary Hirshberg says: “it’s never a solo venture, it always involves a family.” This resonated BIGTIME with me.

I decided to go beyond asking friends and family. I shot out some formal questions to a number of entrepreneurs with significant others, children, etc. that I know. Some of the responses blew me away. So much so I had to make an executive decision not to include some responses in this piece. I will say however, that many were filled with stories of marital dispute, divorce and worse.

Lots more Inside - Click to Read

Happy Holidays from Catalyst and the Local Search Team

Monday, December 24th, 2012 at 10:12am by Linda Buquet

Happy Holidays & Season’s Greetings

Google+ and Local Search Buzz – Major Google Local Updates December 2012

Thursday, December 20th, 2012 at 10:47am by Linda Buquet

There have been so many important topics at the Local Search Forum, I don’t I have time to cover them all. It’s getting so busy over there with multiple hot topics and major Google local updates coming in every day.

You guys REALLY need to subscribe to the Local Search Community RSS Feed so you don’t miss the latest Local Search news. I’m not sure how much longer I can keep up with trying to copy important stuff here to the blog.

Major Expansion – Tons of New Forums Added – Here we GROW again! New forums just added include Google+ Local specific problem areas like Google bugs, updates, reviews, citations, dupes, moves, service area business issues. Plus we added new forums for ON-SITE Local SEO, mobile, social and much more. Check forum home page to see all the new forums.

HOT NEW ISSUES and GOOGLE UPDATES

IMPORTANT GOOGLE UPDATE – Must DELETE your G+ Business Page if you are Service Area Business w/ Hidden Address!

New “Business Moved” Feature for Google+ Local Listings – Joel and Jade from Google both weigh in due to confusion and conflicting MapMaker issues.

Google FINALLY Releases How to Move Local Listing Help Doc – IMPORTANT info about this and conflicting guidelines and advice from Google Maps.

If You Aren’t Making Money as a Local SEO Consultant You Aren’t Alone – Must read if your business is not currently thriving.

If You HAD to Start Over – What would you do Differently??? – If your local search consulting business is struggling (as above) read this!!!

Dec 18 Google+ Local Algo Update?

Nailed it! What’s #1 Ranking Factor for Local SMBs in 2013?

100% Complete Doesn’t Impact Ranking

Insiders Guide To Selecting The Right Local SEO Tools – Great feature and price comparison chart

Black Hat Google Reviews – Competitor Sabotage

Seeing Double? 2 G+ Local Links in SERPs? Here’s Why? – Some thought bug. I discovered it’s a SERPs display update.

NEW PHOTO BUG JUST HIT? This just came into forum, we are investigating.

Hit “Recent Posts” at the top of the forum for the very latest…

Lots more Inside - Click to Read

Top Advice and Predictions for Local SEO in 2013

Thursday, December 13th, 2012 at 10:20am by Linda Buquet

What were the biggest changes to Local SEO in 2012? What do experts predict is coming for Google+ Local in 2013? What’s the best advice for the coming year? And let’s throw in some crackpot predictions too!

I was recently interviewed by Myles from BrightLocal, along with thought leaders Mike Blumenthal, Mike Ramsey and Laura Betterly. Read the link below to discover our answers to the questions below.

Looking back… what has been the biggest change in local search in 2012?

What do you predict to be the biggest change for ‘local’ in 2013?

What is your biggest concern for how ‘local’ will develop in 2013?

What will be the biggest change(s) to local SEO ranking factors in 2013?

What changes do you predict for Google+ Local in 2013?

What are the 3 pieces of advice you would give to local SMBs for 2013?

What’s your most ‘crackpot’ prediction for ‘local’ in 2013?

Head over to read my CrackPot Prediction for 2013

Leaders Share Insightful Local Search Predictions for 2013

12 Most Important Local Search Blog Posts of 2012

Wednesday, December 5th, 2012 at 9:16am by Linda Buquet

Let the “Best Of” and “Year in Review” posts begin!

There were several defining moments in local search in the year 2012; The update to Google+ Local, the ability to merge your Place page with your Google+ Business page (still not ready for prime time), the Google Local review problems and the thousands of small businesses deleted by Google due to the service area/hide your address fiasco.

Following are my picks for the best local search blogs posts of 2012. Categorized by topic, but in no particular order:

Google Local: Train Wreck at the Junction
Mike Blumenthal – GOOGLE+ LOCAL PROBLEMS

Google Places Is Over, Company Makes Google+ The Center Of Gravity For Local Search Greg Sterling – GOOGLE+ LOCAL UPDATE

Google Places Pages Are No More – But What has Changed?
Mike Blumenthal – GOOGLE+ LOCAL UPDATE

Google+ Business Pages: To Merge Or Not to Merge, That is the Question
Mike Blumenthal – GOOGLE+ MERGE

BREAKING! Google+ Business Merge with Google Place Pages Starts Now!
Local Search Forum – GOOGLE+ MERGE

Local Search Ranking Factors
David Mihm – LOCAL SEO

The Zen Of Local SEO
Miriam Solas – LOCAL SEO

Local Search Ecosystem: Fall 2012 Update
David Mihm – LOCAL SEO

How Long Does Local-Search Visibility Take?
Phil Rozek – LOCAL SEO

Asking for Reviews (Post Google Apocalypse)
Mike Blumenthal – REVIEWS

The Local Business Reviews Ecosystem
Phil Rozek – REVIEWS

New Guideline – Hide your Address or Risk Losing your Place Page
Linda Buquet – SERVICE AREA – DELETED LISTINGS – DO NOT SUPPORT

There are so many great bloggers and 2012 was filled with great insights and many other great posts. Please feel to post any others you feel deserve an honorable mention in the companion post over at the Local Search Community.

Google Now Features Frommers Content on Google+ Local Pages

Monday, December 3rd, 2012 at 10:12am by Linda Buquet

When Google acquired Frommers, the travel guide, back in August there was speculation about how Google would use/integrate all their rich travel content. I think I discovered one of the ways last week. It looks like they recently started adding Frommers content to Google+ Local pages.

Has anyone else seen these big rich descriptions above the “At A Glance” section of Google+ Local pages before? I think this is new. Have not seen anyone blog it yet. Here’s how I discovered it.

I helped the Children’s Discovery Museum of San Jose at the Google Forum. You can see the description added to the Museum’s Google+ Local page right above the reviews. The description was incorrect and out of date, so he wanted to know how to change it.

When I searched for the content I found it on the NYtimes travel domain, some Google books, Frommers and several other sites. So initially I just thought Google was scraping it, like they do the review sentiments in the “At a Glance Section”. Then I remembered Google purchased Frommers back in August, so it makes sense they would integrate the content.

Here are a couple articles about Google’s Frommers acquisition.

Google buys Frommer’s travel brand – Aug. 13, 2012 CNN

Zagat Take Two: Google To Acquire Frommer’s Travel Guides – SearchEngineLand

See any other good examples? I have not had time to do a deep dive on this.

Join the discussion at the Local Search Forum.

Google+ and Local Search Buzz – November 2012

Wednesday, November 28th, 2012 at 10:24am by Linda Buquet

Latest local SEO and Google+ Local news from the Local Search Community.
These are just a few of the many great threads that started in November.
There are lots of other great discussions too, so head over and join in!

Does Google Hate Small Businesses? (Hot off the press, a few minutes ago.
A lively discussion is sure to follow.)

Google+ Local MERGE or Wait? + Benefits of Verifying G+ Business Page

Local SEO Pricing Models

Custom VS Default Google+ Local Categories

Getting 500 Error on Google+ Local Business Page?

Extensively Convoluted Google+ Local Offerings

Guide to Handling Ranking Drops and Google Algo Changes with Clients

Jumpstart Your Local Search Consulting Business

The Worst Local SEO Client You’ve Ever Had

Setting Your Local SEO Business Up for Success

Is G+ Local Sentiment Analysis Worth A Hang? Really?

Funny Google Local Listings and Reviews LOL

LOCAL VideoScribing – Amazing New Local Business Idea

Take the P out of NAP and you’re left with NA

There are too many new posts to list so, head over to read the rest.

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NOTE: Most NEW content gets posted at the forum now and I seldom post on the blog these days. So be sure to subscribe to the forum RSS feeds for all the latest Google Local news and insights from all the Local Search Pros.

local search news feedLocal Search Community RSS Feed SUBSCRIBE via RSS or EMAIL
Don’t miss the latest Local Search news and community tips!

The Crazy Mixed up Confusing World of Google+ Local

Tuesday, November 20th, 2012 at 11:49am by Linda Buquet

WOW! Did someone at StreetFight just reach inside my brain and pen all my Google Local frustrations? He summed up SO many of the complicated Google+ Local issues, that plague consultants and business owners alike.

See full article below, but 1st – a Google Places CARTOON that says it all!

I am consulting for a company that has a hornet’s nest of complicated G+ L problems. Have never seen one company with so many Google local problems. Every problem in the book! Yesterday after I explained how to fix just a small portion of the problems, my client sent me the following cartoon.

That about sums it up, right???

Head over to the Local Search Forum for the link to the VERY comprehensive article about all the Google+ Local complications and confusion and please weigh in with your thoughts.  Extensively Convoluted Google+ Local Offerings

List of Official Google+ Local City Pages

Monday, November 12th, 2012 at 9:31am by Linda Buquet

Back in June 2011 I broke a story about Google’s new “City Pages” which I discovered a couple days before Google officially announced them. It looked like they were going to be very cool city directories – and for awhile they were.

Now it looks like they are all gone and the ones I have checked go to 404 error pages. It looks like Google is now going for Official Google+ City Pages instead. (Which makes sense but does not offer a big fancy city directory like before.)

I’ve been collecting Official Google+ City Pages as I find them and am listing the ones I’ve found so far. If you live/work in a particular city you may want to circle the page, comment on posts and get to know the local Community Manager. Having friends in high Google Local places never hurts!
 
Google Local Chicago

 

Google Local New York

 

Google Local Austin

 

Google Local Boston

 

Google Local DC

 

Google Local Portland

 

Google Local Salt Lake

 

Google Local London

 

During the time that I’ve been gradually tracking down City pages to create this list, Matt McGee posted about the changes over at Search Engine Land Google Starts Shutting Down Its City Pages, Shifts To Google+ Local and noted 2 of the new pages. So head over and see what he had to say.

If you discover any other Google Local City Pages please share in comments. There is also an open discussion over at the Local Search Community.

Just Launched – Business-Building Forum for Local SEO Consultants

Thursday, November 8th, 2012 at 9:34am by Linda Buquet

We just added a new section to the Local Search Forum forum.

Announcing the Consultant’s Corner!

This new forum is dedicated to providing resources to help manage the “Business Side” of local search consulting. It’s also a place for the community to share business-building and organizational ideas OR ask questions about business-related issues.

Great topics for this forum would include anything related to: prospecting, pricing, packaging, billing, time management, productivity tools or anything about managing and GROWING a more successful business!

I have some helpful resources/posts in the works, but here are the 1st 3.
Just Say No to Bad Local SEO Clients – Let them Walk!
How to Write Universe-conquering Marketing Proposals
Biz-Building Tips for Local SEOs

STAY TUNED FOR AN EPIC LEAD GEN & PROSPECTING POST
WITH TIPS I CAN’T BELIEVE I’M GOING TO SHARE PUBLICLY ABOUT
WAYS TO GET NEW CLIENTS, I BET MOST OF YOU DON’T KNOW ABOUT

FEEL FREE TO START A NEW THREAD ABOUT: New business-building articles you read, productivity tools you like or to ask questions about business issues you may be struggling with.

Visit the Consultant’s Corner here.

Local Search and Google+ Local News Highlights – Oct 31 2012

Wednesday, October 31st, 2012 at 8:15am by Linda Buquet

Latest local SEO and Google+ Local news from the Local Search Community.

Biz-Building Tips for Local SEOs + How to Find a GOOD Local SEO for SMBs

Hardcore Local SEO Competitive Analysis with Places Scout

The Zen Of Local SEO by Miriam Ellis

Tips from David Mihm’s Presentation at SearchLove 2012

Google+ Marketing Tips, Tricks and Treats

Breaking: Will Google Kill Search Location Setting? Bad News for Local SEO

Google Business Forum VIDEO Wrapup – October 19 2012

5 Tips for Optimizing Your LinkedIn Company Page

What Impact Will Google Now Have For Small Businesses?

Your Local SEO Strategy is One Millimeter Off! Video

Google Places for Business Help – Will Not Update Clients URL

Adding Schema Location Markup to Your Site: Structured Data First Steps

There are too many new posts to list so, head over to read the rest.

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NOTE: Most NEW content gets posted at the forum now and I seldom post on the blog these days. So be sure to subscribe to the forum RSS feeds for all the latest Google Local news and insights from all the Local Search Pros.

local search news feedLocal Search Community RSS Feed SUBSCRIBE via RSS or EMAIL
Don’t miss the latest Local Search news and community tips!

Just Launched – New Local Search Community Member Perks

Wednesday, October 24th, 2012 at 10:38am by Linda Buquet

Today is our 3 month anniversary at the Local Search Forum. Can you believe this thriving community is only 3 months old? Wow! It’s been a crazy whirlwind of activity that has resulted in over 4,000 posts and almost 400 members. (And most of the world does not even know about us yet – so please help spread the word!)

David and I have each helped build a lot of forum communities over the past 10 years and we’ve NEVER seen one take off this fast and build this strong.

There are 2 primary reasons for our growth. 1) I think the Local Search community was just REALLY hungry for a positive and productive place to learn, discuss local search and support each other. 2) The quality of our members and the knowledge they bring!

This is YOUR community! And it’s all of you that make it special!

To celebrate our 3 month milestone we wanted to add 3 new member perks!

New Top Contributor Program – Announcing Our 1st TC (Who is it?)

Local LEADERBOARD – Recognizing Our Top Members (Are you on the list?)

Member Reputation Bump (Give KUDOS to fellow members)

Thanks to all who support the Local Search Community!
We work for you!

Sincerely,

The Local Search Community Team – Miriam, David & Linda

Local Search and Google+ Local News Highlights

Friday, October 19th, 2012 at 10:15am by Linda Buquet

Busy week? Today might be a good day for you to take a break and catch up on the latest local SEO and Google+ Local news from the Local Search Community Forum you may have missed. Following are just a few October posts I hand picked and think are some of the most important to read.

HEAD’S UP! DON’T MISS OUR 3 MONTH ANNIVERSARY
AT THE LOCAL SEARCH FORUM NEXT WEDNESDAY

Exciting forum upgrades, member perks, new Top Contributor Program & MORE!

You Thought Google MapMaker BOTs Were Bad? See Image, New Patent!
LOL! (Hot off the press, new this AM.)

Yelp Fake Review Sting OUTS SMBs, Warns Consumers

Local SEO Warning: City in Title Tag – Former Google Spam Team Member Speaks Out

LOCAL Keyword Research Tools and Tricks

Local SEO Ranking Expert Survey – How Long Does It Take to Rank?

New Google LOCAL Algo Changes – Here’s the Scoop

Yay! PERMANENTLY CLOSED – Moved Business – Google Update

Local Exact Match Domains Still Rank – Google Algo Update

Google Business Forum VIDEO Wrapup – October 5, 2012

New Google Local Site Preview Highlights Competition

Google+ Local Ranking Factors – Competing for Visibility

There are too many new posts to list so, head over to read the rest.

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NOTE: Most NEW content gets posted at the forum now and I seldom post on the blog these days. So be sure to subscribe to the forum RSS feeds for all the latest Google Local news and insights from all the Local Search Pros.

local search news feedLocal Search Community RSS Feed SUBSCRIBE via RSS or EMAIL
Don’t miss the latest Local Search news and community tips!

New Local SEO Tools – Local Search Software Forum Just Launched

Monday, October 15th, 2012 at 10:33am by Linda Buquet

The Local Search Forum is just over 2 months old, but we’ve been experiencing rapid growth due to the overwhelming support of the Local Search community. The forum has expanded to the point already where it’s getting hard for folks to find the info they need. So we need to start to splitting off some more forums to help keep everything organized and easy to find.

So I just launched the new Local SEO Tools – Local Search Software Forum

This section is for news, updates and helpful information about tools and software related to Local Search. Examples of posts that could go in this section are: What is the best local search tracking software? What is the best citation solution? Is there a tool to do XYZ? What’s a good WordPress theme for SMBs?

Solution providers can also post updates in certain situations, but we don’t allow blatant self promotion. So if you offer a Local SEO product and want to post Please read the rules for that forum..

We also soon will have featured advertising spots in this section of the forum. PM me if interested.

STAY TUNED for our Forum 3 Month Anniversary Announcements on 10/24. We have some other forum additions and features that will make your time here more beneficial and rewarding.  And we’ll be announcing who our “Top Contributors” are. ;-)

Warning: New Google Guidelines Local SEOs Must Know – Could Cause Penalties

Thursday, October 11th, 2012 at 11:14am by Linda Buquet

Google just updated many of the Google Webmaster Guidelines.

The Google Webmaster Guidelines are the BIBLE for organic SEO. Now, since the blended algo is primarily about organic ranking factors, Local search consultants need to keep up with the changes and comply, just as you do with the Google Places Guidelines.

There are a couple changes to the guidelines that directly affect local business web sites. See RED highlights for IMPORTANT Guideline changes for LOCAL I want to alert you to and discuss.

Curated post. See full details: Local Search Forum – New Google Guidelines.