This is an unofficial sequel to my February 2019 post called “Google Maps Spam Patrol: Why You Need to Do It, and 10 Tips to Make It Doable.” In that post I explain why you should keep your competitors’ Google Maps / 3-pack spam (or honest mistakes) from spinning out of control. As I often tell my clients, if your competitors want to outrank you in the local search results, you might as well make them work for it and do it fair and square.
If you’re not too familiar with the idea and practical SOPs of spam patrol – or spam-fighting, spam-hunting, or whatever you’d like to call it – you’ll probably want to take a few minutes to read that post (and maybe this one and this one).
Now, if you’re clear on why and how to do Google Maps spam patrol, and maybe you already do it for your business or a client’s business, you might benefit from some additional tips. Here’s an expanded bag of tricks for your anti-Mapspam effort:
1. Patrol the map for search terms you already DO rank for, according to Google Search Console. Not just for the terms you want to rank for. Look in Search Console (under “Performance”) to see the terms you get impressions and clicks for. If you see a query for which you get a good number of impressions but very few clicks, see who’s ranking in the 3-pack for that term. See whether any competitor is breaking or fudging the rules to get there. If your edits compel Google to correct any of that, you can get more clicks out of the search impressions you already get, or higher rankings for terms you already rank for, or both.
2. See who shows up when you search in the Anonymous Ad Preview & Diagnosis Tool. Because you can set the default search location to whatever city/town/ZIP/postal you’d like, this tool will show you the page-1 rankings for search term rather than only for search term + city. The Ad Preview Tool may pull up some competitors who weren’t on your radar.
3. See who shows up for state-level search terms. In other words, see who shows up for whatever search terms you care about + “MA,” “NJ,” “SD,” or wherever. That’s especially helpful in geographically small states, where many businesses’ service areas occupy a decent chunk of the state, and where businesses have many ways to eat into others’ service areas. Again, the goal is to find more competitors who are chewing into your 3-pack visibility for no good reason.
4. Drag and zoom the Google Map. Go to Google Maps (on desktop), type in a high-priority search term that doesn’t include the city or other place name, and drag the map north, south, east, and west of your location or service area. The Maps results will update as you slide the map this way and that, and you may find competitors near and far who aren’t sticking to the GMB guidelines, perhaps at your expense. You’ll find them quickly and can roll through a bunch at once.
5. Use the GMB Scanner Chrome extension to identify invalid addresses. It can help you identify GMB pages that use a residential address just as a way to plop another page on the Map, as well as GMB pages that use clearly non-compliant addresses, like virtual offices. (More info here.)
6. Report competitors below you in the rankings, and not only competitors who outrank you. The best time to thin out the spam herd is before there’s a stampede. If and when spammy GMB pages outrank yours, then to some extent the damage is already done, because then your competitors conclude (somewhat correctly), “Hey, this stuff works, and it’s easy, and I just need to keep at it.” Try to keep them in the chute. Round them up from both directions.
7. When you can’t get a spammy GMB page removed, try to get the name fixed (if it’s keyword-stuffed). Google may not approve one kind of edit, but may approve the other. Getting the name fixed (even partially) is better than getting nothing fixed.
8. Check back on businesses you successfully edited and re-submit edits if needed. There’s a chance a new invalid GMB page has replaced the one you got removed, and there’s a high likelihood that the spammy GMB name you got fixed is spammy once again. Go back and forth with the slippery competitor. Your persistence may outlast theirs, you may send the message that someone’s watching the map, and at the very least you’ll continue to develop your track record of Google Maps edits in the process.
9. Go to the “Edit” tab of your Local Guide profile and see which of the businesses you successfully edited have the most “views” (according to Google). It’s not clear to me exactly what that “views” number denotes, but I’d wager it represents the number of times searchers saw the business in Google Maps / the 3-pack since your edit was approved. This factoid can give you a rough sense of which competitors squeeze the most visibility out of the map, perhaps in part because of spamming. That helps you figure out a spam patrol “beat” that’s focused on the biggest problems.
The Ultimate Guide to Fighting Spam on Google Maps – Joy Hawkins
GMB Spam Fighting Tips – Zach Todd
GMB Clarifies Guidelines on Virtual Offices – Colan Nielsen
What’s a spam-patrol technique, tip, or hack that’s worked well for you?
Any persistent problems you haven’t been able to get any handle on?
Any success stories or horror stories?
Leave a comment!
Now you’re looking at your lease through the local SEO lens. A combination of the pandemic, the lockdown(s), the quasi-reopening, and other changes has made you want to save money where you can, or work from home indefinitely, or move your HQ. The basic concern is, “Will I destroy my local rankings if I rent somewhere else or stop renting altogether?”
Your more-specific questions might include:
- Should you stay in your current building?
- If you stay, how long should you stay?
- If you move, which address (old or new) should you show online?
- Should you stop showing your address online?
- How important is your exact address, in the grand scheme of local SEO?
The answer to those questions and others in a similar bucket is: “it depends.” It depends on a lot of factors you need to weigh.
In recent months I’ve helped several clients transition to work-from-home, develop or reopen with virtual/online/not-in-person services, or move to a new address. (I also did some of that pre-COVID.) You might have similar goals. In that case, I’m here to point out all the ways an address change can blow up in your face, so you can decide what the least-bad course of action is.
Below are some factors I suggest you include in your head math as you decide whether and when to drop your lease (or make a similar big change). The more of these you can answer “yes” to, the better.
- Are you OK with the risk-reward balance of using an old address for your Google My Business page – AKA “hermit crab SEO”? If not, then you probably have little choice but to keep paying rent a while longer. If so, it might be at least a short-term way for you to cut your lease but still stick around on the map for at least a while longer. The main risks of hermit crab SEO are (1) your Google My Business is somewhat more likely to be removed from the map at some point, and (2) it will be harder or impossible to re-verify page at that address again, if you ever need to. By the way, a tool like Persuaded.io can tell competitors whether the USPS considers your address occupied, which may help those competitors send in a Google Maps edit that sticks. Read my post on the pros and cons, if you haven’t already.
- Do you get customers / clients / patients from a variety of cities or towns or neighborhoods, rather than only from the one you’re in? You’re taking a real gamble if most or all of your business comes from one small spot. But if you get people from a variety of places – and if you suspect they found you online and aren’t all just word-of-mouth referrals – then your visibility is probably diversified enough. Your rankings go down here and go up there, but you’re still OK. Not all your eggs are in one basket.
- Do you rank for any important search terms outside of your immediate, hyperlocal area? In other words, how location-sensitive are the Google Maps rankings you care about? If you only rank for your important search terms within a very small patch of land (like in a few neighborhoods in your city, or in one small town), then any change of address will probably mess you up. How do you find out how location-sensitive your rankings are? I’d look in a combination of the AdWords Ad Preview & Diagnosis Tool, in a local rank-checker that uses a proxy, in Google My Business “insights,” and maybe in Search Console (under “Performance” -> “Queries”). No method is perfect, but if you piece together what you see in various places you should get the picture.
- Do you have solid organic rankings in addition to solid Maps rankings? If not, removing or changing your address will affect your visibility on the map – probably for the worse. But if you do have that solid baseline of organic rankings, removing your address from Google My Business or changing your address is less likely to cut into your overall visibility. How can you find out the breakdown of your Maps vs. organic visibility? Look in the places I mentioned in point #3 (above), and maybe at a rank tracker.
- Do you have a plan ramp up your organic visibility fast? Easier said than done, I know. But if anything happens to your Google Maps rankings, the organic results will probably be your main or only source of “free” visibility. (Most of your visibility on the map depends on your organic SEO strength anyway.) Your main alternatives are (1) wait for a miracle, (2) spam the map and hope it doesn’t backfire, and (3) pay for ads as your only source of sun rays. Not a great scenario. How can you ramp up your organic visibility fast? Well, short of spamming or earning a ton of good links, I’d suggest (a) getting at least a few solid and relevant links, (b) creating a separate page on every specific offering you’ve got (so as to get more “one-box” visibility), (c) working your homepage WAY more, (d) going after “near me” terms, and (e) maybe creating the kind of “areas served” page that would bring a grin to my mug. In general, my suggestion is to create in-depth pages (not blog posts) on very specific topics that people both nearby and farther-away research at some point in the buying process.
- Do you already have “virtual” or “online-only” customers, clients, or patients? Before you might make your business less bricks-and-mortar, you need to know whether the people who pay you are fine with a service that’s less bricks-and-mortar. Not everyone will stay on that road with you, but some will need to.
- Does your “virtual” or “online-only” clientele include some people you started working with after COVID and the lockdown hit? For one thing, you need to establish that you can get new customers / clients / patients when it’s clear to them from the start that your service (at least for now) is done remotely. Also, as I mentioned, it’s great if some or most of your tribe has made the transition with you, but those people already had in-person connection to you. That’s a kind of glue. Can customers get attached to you even if they don’t start off with the glue? How long do they stay attached to you before you start looking like just a floating head with a voice and an invoice? Good questions. The short answer is, “it depends.” Most of my longer answer you can piece together between this post, this one, and this one.
- Will your service area stay pretty much the same? If so, then you may not need to wait until you’ve built up organic visibility in more of your service area. If not, you’ll probably want to fill in some gaps before you drop your lease. Your local SEO effort needs to go beyond the map.
- Do you have a solid pile of non-Google reviews? Put another way: even if people never see your GMB page and its Google reviews, will they still see a rock-solid reputation and know what to expect of you? Diversify where you get reviews, whether or not you end up cutting your lease. By the way, you’ll probably find that’s not too tough to do. With the exception of Yelp, Google is a harder place to get reviews on that pretty much every other review site.
- Do you have a good way to explain PUBLICLY what your location is? If you want or need to specify it on your site, or explain it to Google My Business “support,” or clarify something in a response to an online review, you don’t want your place of business (or lack thereof) to seem dodgy.
- If you use AdWords and run location extensions, do your ads without location extensions do well? If your CTRs or other important metrics are only good when your Google My Business page gets dragged along into your ad, and then you make a big change to that Google My Business page, your Google Ads visibility may become collateral damage.
- Are you fine with your old address (or your home address) showing up on certain local listings? Your address won’t show up on all listings (especially if you take pains to conceal it), but it will appear on some sites. Probably shouldn’t be that way, but it is. If the address you’re leaving or the one you’re switching to is absolutely top-secret, then you’ll need to reconsider.
- Is your current place itself not a big selling point for most of your customers? If you don’t know already, see if you can glean any insights from your customers’ reviews of you. Maybe your possible new location or non-location is better for you and not a deal-breaker for your clientele, but how many people would miss something irreplaceable about the old location?
Lifting anchor from your lease may or may not be voluntary. Whether it’s a change you have to make, or want to make, or that you figure you might as well make because so many other things are in flux anyway, it’s worth engineering in your favor as much as you can. Knowing the trade-offs and blind spots is the best way to do that.
What are you considering doing with your lease or address?
Any factors you’re weighing that I did not mention?
Any unique twists in your situation?
Leave a comment!
Are you a beginner in SMS marketing? Well, you are in the correct place to know what is SMS marketing about. Nowadays this SMS marketing technique is taking even the small business to the international level. SMS Marketing Services keeps your business to grow to the top level in less period of time.
The mobile and digital marketing services offer you more options for small business partners. Even marketing professionals may find it tough to prioritize and to discover what type of programs are most effective to use for the business. Break that confusion, by using SMS marketing you can make instant conversation with customers at less cost.
This is easy to understand infographic from various SMS marketing providers online that gives the basic mobile solution. With this SMS marketing technique, small business partners can get exclusive suggestions to a true and qualified supporter base. It benefits exclusivity for business owners to increase brand support, strengthen customer connections, and develop offer redemption. Here in this, you can know everything about SMS marketing, what is it, and why SMS Marketing matters, and the process of it.
Guide Of SMS Marketing?
SMS marketing is the way to send SMS on mobile, over the Internet, as well as on phones. These are not the same as these text messages which you send from your iPhone and on Facebook Messenger. These services work through Japan’s Line, WhatsApp, and China’s WeChat, Viber, which are connected with Internet Protocol as well as IP-based messaging. With this SMS marketing, you can implement the texts into one best SMS campaign.
Why Is It Important?
It is important for developing a small business, it takes less time and effort, including best marketing strategies which are becoming complicated. Adopting this marketing software might seem important, which is simple to prove with more effective activities. The SMS campaign remains an important way to utilize for your business progress, which is focused digitally more.
This is the main reason for launching this SMS campaign which is so important. If you are not convinced still, that’s okay. You have many other reasons to know regarding the benefits of SMS toward your marketing.
SMS marketing provides you with the opportunity to send SMS in real-time information for all your customers who will be registered with your site. For example, a bus organization could alert the customers to replace in routes also they update times in various situations. These are helpful for end-users, however, they will be suggesting various times, with that the company and marketing campaign will develop double.
Another method to engage with customers in a different way are with this marketing automation, and SMS that fits well for all the small business partners.
Nowadays more brands are involved in SMS marketing automation, which allows developing the business with more powerful applications. By enabling users to fully define the customer journey as well as experience, you may set yourself aside from other kinds that haven’t seen SMS marketing further.
A bulk SMS gateway used to send a number of SMS at a time with a large scale just within seconds and that messages are grouped into two types: promotional as well as transactional route. Well, in every promotional route, they support sending only promotional related SMS like discounts, advertisements, offers and many more.
There are multiple ways to advertise on Instagram, be it buying ads, or writing copies or posting photos of the products you sell. But nothing comes close to running a contest on Instagram. You might ask why? Because of the sheer number of user engagement, it brings you.
Running contests on Instagram, makes users want to interact with your content. They share the post, interact in the contest and spread the word to others.
Let’s have a look at 10 brands who ran the best Instagram contests that are worth your watch:
#1 The Avacado Contest
Love One Today ran an avocado contest recently, promoting a healthy way to live. They ran the AvoFruitFull contest to gain traction.
This encouraged Instagram users to create their very own avocado creations.
#2 Stoka Bar’s Boatload of Giveaways
Tell us one person who doesn’t want to win 40 free treat bars? Stoka Bars, known for low calorie, crunchie and delicious treat bars. They ran a contest who’s winner will get 40 free treat bars, to gain followers.
#3 Pink Lime Look’s Good Hair Day Contest
Pink Lime Look ran a contest for users to get featured and win $500 makeover. All users had to do is submit a photo with their favourite hairstyle, with the brand’s hashtag.
Simple yet highly engaging !!
#4 Lifebox Food and Punks and Chancers Collab Contest
Here’s how Lifebox Food and Punks and Chancers ran their contest with collaboration on Instagram. All users had to do is follow both the brand’s page, like and tag a friend. And the prize: A cool sweater, a tote bag, and a delicious box of vegan food.
Collaboration is one of the best ways to gain more followers.
#5 Simon and Schuster’s ‘Troublemaking’ Contest
The contest asked the users to post their very own troublemaking strategies. The winner would get Cecile Richard’s new book, a tote bag, cute pins, and a bookmark.
#6 Valdo Prosecco’s Trip to Italy
Valdo offered the winner of the contest a trip to Italy, now think about it, who wouldn’t want to go to the most beautiful country in the world.
All users had to do is take a photo of cocktail they made using Valdo Prosecco.
#7 Melissa Corser’s Makeup Giveaway
Melissa Corser ran a contest that gave the winner a chance to win makeup and nails done by Melissa Corser.
In result, they got more tagged users, heavy engagement and big exposure.
#8 Fushi’s New Product Launch
Fushi ran a contest while launching their brand new product Biovedic skincare solution.
Prize: A full set of Ayurvedic skin products for healthier, more beautiful skin.
#9 Shockingly Healthy’s Contest for Free Tickets
Shockingly healthy ran a contest by offering the Instagram users a chance to win two tickets to Green Living Show.
All the users had to do is like and follow their page. In turn, they got followers and engagement.
#10 Domino’s Super Fan Contest
Domino’s ran a contest asking users to prove they were the biggest fans of the brand, superfans.
And guess the prize, $10,000 !!!!
If you are looking to get more engagements, be more creative with your contest on Instagram, there’s nothing that will come in your way in getting better engagements and followings.
Facebook is one of the biggest platforms for advertising for businesses. Understanding how to leverage its resources and features the right way can significantly influence the reach of a business. If you can contemplate potential facebook trends ahead of time, it can help your business get ahead of the curve. Here are six Facebook trends that you need to know for 2021.
With the ongoing pandemic, things have moved to the digital platform, making online resources a must-have for businesses to stay connected with each other. Amidst the lockdown, the usage of Facebook Live increased by around 27% and is expected to keep increasing as we move to 2021.
To this date, more than half a million creators have started using Facebook’s Spark AR Studio to curate content with AR effects on both Instagram and Facebook. According to Facebook, it is estimated to be around 1.2 million AR effects that were published on these platforms by users and creators from all over the world. Considering how quickly the AR usage grew this year, it is expected to trend in 2021 as well.
Videos are one of the top mediums, users and customers prefer to consume content these days, whether it’s on social media or for entertainment. Since there was significant growth in video content in recent months, it is expected to keep growing in the coming months as well.
Private Interest-Driven Communities
Over the course of a few months, people have started connecting with others with similar interests on social platforms. At the time, it is estimated that there are more than 1.4 billion groups on Facebook And it is expected to grow further in popularity in 2021 as well.
Recent times have shown us how valuable online shopping is for the customers and the business itself. With countries and cities still struggling to keep the COVID-19 pandemic under control, online shopping has made it easier for people to shop for their favourite products without leaving the safety of their homes. And it is expected that more customers will shop online, with the recent launch of Facebook shops, in 2021.
Support for Small Businesses
Facebook has proven to be resourceful in supporting small businesses over the span of recent lockdown months. This year, Facebook offered more than $100 million worth of grants to support small businesses, and we might see more support from Facebook in 2021 as well.