Category Archives: Uncategorized

YELP STRIKES BACK AT FAKE REVIEWS BY INTRODUCING “BADGE OF SHAME.”

Fake Yelp reviews are not new and have been around for quite a while, causing various businesses and online marketers to suffer. It also makes it difficult for customers to trust reviews that influence their buying decisions.

As times have progressed, businesses seem to have found new ways for bending the rules to rank high and drive sales on Google Search. The New York Times first brought this to light in 2016 with a report on a plethora of fake locksmith listings. Recently, the same locksmith review problems were reported by the CBC in Canada. The downside is that the fake review problem has made its way to almost all types of businesses.

In order to curb and put an end to fake reviews, Yelp recently started labeling some of the offending businesses with the following “Badge Of Shame”.

This move from Yelp comes at the right time as more and more instances of fake reviews have come to the surface, compromising the very foundation of genuine customer reviews. For example, a simple Google search for “Where can I buy Yelp five star reviews?” lists down multiple results that provide these fake review services for a price.

Actionable Strategy

Note that Yelp is doing its best to fight back fake reviews and if your business is dependent on a good listing in Yelp (or even if it is not), always avoid using fake reviews because failing to do so considerably raises the risk of being given a “Badge of Shame” from Yelp.

If you want to get genuine reviews on Yelp, do consider our review widget – which gives you a chance to get positive reviews on Google and Yelp from real customers. Positive reviews get featured on your website too. Get in touch with us for more info.

A New Tool Has Been Launched By Google

A new tool named the removals tool has been launched by Google within the new Google Search Console. It helps you out with several things, including, temporarily blocking search results from your site and managing SafeSearch filtering.

You can access the tool here – https://search.google.com/search-console/removals

This Google help document should help you in case you have any further queries.

Temporary Removal of URLs

With the help of this tool, you can request temporary removal of specific URLs, on verified sites. There are two types of removal requests available.

  1. Temporarily Remove URL – This request will hide the URL from Google Search results for about 6 months and clear the cached copy of the page.
  2. Clear Cached URL – With this request, the cached page of the URL will be cleared and the page description snippet in Search results will be wiped out, till the time the page is crawled again.

Here are a couple of screenshots to help you understand better:

Outdated Content Section

All the information regarding the removal requests made using the public Remove Outdated Content tool can be viewed in the Outdated content section.

Anybody will be able to use the provided information to update search results showing information no longer available on the page.

Google-Search-Console-Outdated-Content-Screenshot

SafeSearch Filtering

To debug SafeSearch is often a task for SEOs and Webmasters. This tool will quickly help you see whether your content got blocked as a result of being tagged as an adult.

“The SafeSearch filtering section in Search Console shows a history of pages on your site that have been reported by Google users as adult content using the SafeSearch Suggestion tool. URLs submitted using this tool are reviewed, and if Google feels that this content should be filtered from SafeSearch results, these URLs are tagged as adult content.” Google said.

Here’s a screenshot:

GOOGLE NOW DISPLAYS ‘REQUEST QUOTES’ BUTTON ABOVE MOBILE LOCAL RESULTS

Looks like Google is out to test another new feature on local results. Last month, a ‘Request Quotes’ button made a sudden appearance above the local pack on mobile.

Request Quotes Seems to be a Part of the Messaging Feature in GMB.

The ‘Request Quotes’ button appears to be in line with Google’s efforts to make Google My Business (GMB) an engagement platform. First spotted by Tom Waddington, this new feature allows users to simultaneously request quotes from multiple businesses, provided they all have messaging enabled.

google-my-business-profile-screenshot

While any listing can appear in the initial 3-pack, messaging has to be enabled for a business to appear in the results that come up after tapping the ‘Request Quotes’ button.

Final Takeaway

As of now, it is not very clear whether Google has already launched this feature or if it is still in test mode. However, what we do know is that besides enabling messaging within the GMB app, it is also important that the quote requests are replied to within 24 Hours. Failure to do so may lead to deactivation, for not being able to keep up with the responses.

GOOGLE ROLLS OUT LOCAL OPPORTUNITY FINDER TO HELP BUSINESSES UP THEIR LOCAL

Google is set on helping out small businesses with Local SEO. Google recently announced through its Google Small Business handle on Twitter and Facebook that they are rolling out a brand new tool – Local Opportunity Finder.

The Idea Behind Google’s Local Opportunity Finder

Local Opportunity Finder is designed to help small businesses understand how Local SEO can help them and discover how people nearby generally search for businesses like theirs. Simply put, the tool analyzes what, where, and how people from a specific area are inclined to search for a particular type of business.

When a business name is entered on Local Opportunity Finder, the tool breaks down all the information necessary to improve its online presence into the following categories:

  • Business Profile – A brief overview of the number of searches made per week for businesses like theirs in that region.

google-for-small-business-profile

  • Business Info – Insight to the kind of information people nearby look for when they search for such businesses.

business-info-google-opportunity-finder

  • Posts – The ideal time to put up a post about their business based on the daily peak time when people search for businesses like theirs.

google-posts-local-opportunity-finder

  • Reviews – The importance of reviews for such a business and how the company, in particular, is doing in this area.

local-opportunity-finder-google-reviews

  • Photos – How important a role the photos play in Local SEO for such businesses.

google-photos-local-opportunity-finder

  • Summary – Steps that the company can take to improve its presence on Google Search and Maps.

google-local-opportunity-finder-screenshot

Our Takeaway

It sure looks like Local Opportunity Finder could be a huge help for small businesses when it comes to understanding what they need to do to bring their Local SEO strategies to fruition. However, it seems that as of now, only businesses in the US have access to this new tool developed by Google.

THE BEDLAM UPDATE – WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

After the Possum update in 2016, the month of November marked the biggest ranking shift in Local SEO. With the Possum update, the Local Search industry saw its first big Proximity update by Google. This shift enables SEO experts to develop tools and strategies considering ‘location’ as a pivotal aspect in the ranking algorithm.

The recent update (dubbed as Bedlam), too, indicates that Google will be focusing more on proximity. Key Observations From The Bedlam Update

  • The results aren’t industry-specific. They have and still are shifting across the board.
  • There were HUGE Google Maps ranking changes noticed on November 5th.
  • Since November 7th, the Organic Local Search results began to change as well.
  • Things began settling into the new normal from November 10th, when some of the changes were rolled back.
  • Most changes that this update brought were mainly on the zip codes the business was NOT located in, with the proximity dial being turned up.
  • More changes were added by Google back into the Local Pack changing them back to 3- packs from 1-packs that we’ve been seeing.
  • This wasn’t a spam update at all. However, it has uncovered a lot more spam listings, which is a part and parcel of big changes like these.
  • If found to be too close to another similar business or if they share the same name or phone number with another location, Google My Business listings are being filtered out.

Final Takeaway

    1. When big changes like these take place, you only need to sit back and wait for things to settle down a little bit.
    2. Check out your local rankings using our dashboard and get a hold of the changes that have taken place to see what impact they have had or will have on your business. To see what the different results look like to users from different locations, you can use browser addons.
    3. When you see legitimate Google Maps spam listings competing with you, don’t forget to report them to Google.
    4. Without a legitimate business location, you will not be able to continue ranking in those further away areas you’ve lost since the update. You will have to design your strategies accordingly to include other referrers for those areas that don’t include Google. For instance, you could start a series of targeted Facebook ads for users who are in your competitors’ locations by offering them a ‘second opinion’ or a ‘free consultation’.

    As always, we are here to help. If you are facing any issues with your local campaign, do get in touch with our experienced personnel for assistance. We’re just a call away!

NO MORE REVIEW STARS FOR /LOCAL BUSINESS & /ORGANIZATION MARKUP

A new development by Google now denies businesses the right to add review markup for themselves. It was announced on September 16th that the review stars that appear in the search results will now be managed algorithmically only; they will no longer include reviews from the /LocalBusiness and /Organization markup.

The Idea Behind This New Development

The reasoning provided by Google for this move is that the reviews are meant to be unbiased. When an entity like a business or an organization gets to add a markup and control the reviews about themselves then the reviews end up becoming “self-serving”.

Henceforth, only the following markups qualify for review stars

● schema.org/Book
● schema.org/Course
● schema.org/CreativeWorkSeason
● schema.org/CreativeWorkSeries
● schema.org/Episode
● schema.org/Event
● schema.org/Game
● schema.org/HowTo
● schema.org/MediaObject
● schema.org/Movie
● schema.org/MusicPlaylist
● schema.org/MusicRecording
● schema.org/Product
● schema.org/Recipe
● schema.org/SoftwareApplication

How This Affects Your Business

It now becomes even more vital to ensure that your customers are specific about the product or service that they review. Mentioning the specific product or service name will enable you to use the review within the /Product markup, thus getting you those review stars. You must also remember to use aggregate review markup within all of the above mentioned relevant markups types.

Google's-Sept-2019-Core-Update

BOOST YOUR SITE’S AUTHORITY & STOP WORRYING ABOUT GOOGLE’S NEW SEPTEMBER 2019 CORE UPDATE

Google announced the launch of the September 2019 Core Algorithm Update via Twitter on September 24th and like previous core updates, this year too, there was hardly any supporting document included.

 google-tweet-regarding-2019-algorithm-update

Image Source: twitter.com/searchliaison

Actionable Strategy

Check out the Search Console Performance Report to find out whether your site has been affected by the core update or not. The easiest way to know is to look for a drop in starting around September 24th, the day the update was launched.

There are ways to recover if you see a drop in the position of your site due to the update, as the updates are all about quality. Identifying the issue and putting your site through a security audit is the first step in recovery. At times, the fix has to do with a big focus on building your site’s Expertise, Authority, and Trust (E-A-T) Signals.

As far as our clients are concerned, we aren’t surprised that this update hasn’t affected our websites. The rankings continued to improve as this update rolled out.

What You Can Do If You Have Been Affected!

The following is a list of things that you can do to protect your site from Google’s next Core Update.

  • Read Google’s Quality Guidelines: Reading Google’s Quality Guidelines will give you an in-depth understanding of the various factors that Google uses to “refine results.”
  • Update the “About Us” Page: Adding new images and relevant content is the key to engaging customers. Mention about your recent achievements, endeavors, and more for the customers to know and connect with the content on your site.
  • Improve Page Load Speed: Focusing on mobile page speed is crucial while working on your page load time. Make sure you run your site through the newly updated PageSpeed Insights Tool by Google. Ideal loading time for First Contentful Paint should be less than 3 seconds, while speed index with & without ads should be less than 9 seconds & 7 seconds respectively.
  • Fix Site Errors: Remove any technical issues that your site may have, such as broken links, broken images, chain redirects, and more. Our dashboard crawler helps you identify issues on your website.
  • Have a Clear Call to Action: A clear call to action can be the determining factor between a lead and a conversion. Hence, have a clear and direct call to action telling exactly what you want your customers to do. For example – Call Now!
  • Be Easy to Navigate: Performing a User Experience (UX) audit is vital to look at your site from a user’s perspective, on mobile as well as desktop. It can also pay huge dividends depending on how focused Google is on their version of the ideal user experience.
  • Remove or Rewrite Thin Content: Combine a handful of thin/duplicate pages to create one strong resource on a specific topic when focusing on your site’s thin content.
  • Include a Clear Ad Disclosure: You need a clear ad disclosure on your site if you run a lot of ads on it. A simple sentence such as, “This post may contain affiliate links” (with a link to your disclosure/privacy policy). You can find a suitable example at the top of this page. Also, make use of rel=“sponsored” to highlight sponsored & affiliate links.
  • Add ‘Terms of Service’ & ‘Privacy Policy’ Pages: Both these pages are crucial for your site’s overall authority with Google. You can get more into detail on what these pages must include by reading Google’s Quality rater guidelines.
  • Include References for Medical/Scientific Claims: In case you make Medical, Scientific, or factual claims, always be sure to link out to a reliable site to support your claims.
  • Build up Your Footer: As said by Google, the address in the footer is recommended as it can be seen as a sign of trust. Your footer must contain primary business information with a current copyright date. You can also show your expertise by adding any awards or honors that you’ve earned.

After making the above fixes, make sure you get people who are not associated with your website to give you a feedback in order to make changes as required. And as always, if you need any help with optimizing your website, we’re just a call away!

FACEBOOK AND INSTAGRAM LIKELY TO HIDE LIKE COUNTS

Social networking platforms Facebook and Instagram, both are considering removing the like counts from their posts. Starting from Australia, they will expand to other countries depending on how things go. As reported in Techcrunch, users posting the content will be able to view their like counts but it won’t be displayed publicly.

“We are running a limited test where like, reaction and video view counts are made private across Facebook”, a Facebook spokesperson says. “We will gather feedback to understand whether this change will improve people’s experiences.” If this test improves people’s sense of well-being without affecting user engagement, it could expand to more countries or even roll out to everyone. However, no further tests are currently scheduled.

social-post-with-and-without-like-counts

Image Source: techcrunch.com/2019/09/26/facebook-hides-likes/

Our Takeaway: Whether users are happy with this change or not, only time will tell.

Top-Real-Estate-Marketing-Company-SEO-Solutions-Clutch-Award

Clutch Names SEO Solutions Leader in the Advertising and Marketing Industry for Real Estate Firms

Top-Real-Estate-Marketing-Company-SEO-Solutions-Clutch-Award

When it comes to SEO services, SEO Solutions takes a one-size-fits-one approach. Our team is skilled in creating affordable website marketing and SEO strategies designed to boost qualified traffic to our client’s web pages. We pride ourselves in following the most ethical and sustainable web strategies.

After 12 years of hard work, we are proud to announce SEO Solutions has been highlighted in a new report recognizing leaders of the marketing industry. We have been recognized for our marketing and advertising work in the real estate field by Clutch, a trusted B2B market research firm.

Based in the heart of Washington, D.C., Clutch is a ratings and reviews platform dedicated to connecting prospective buyers with top B2B firms. Clutch ranks firms in a wide variety of industries and locations. By featuring ratings and verified customer reviews on each profile, Clutch serves as a comprehensive market research tool for B2B buyers. Below, we have featured a quote from our most recent 5-star client reviews.

“Since I focus on results, our SEO ranking is the number one factor in my assessment. The personal attention has been great. We’re pleased that things have been working smoothly for the past several years” – Daniel Naylor, President, Institute of Real Estate Education

In addition to our feature on Clutch, we have received recognition on The Manifest, a Clutch-owned business news platform that offers state of tech news, how-to guides, and industry rankings. Visual Objects, another Clutch sister site, allows buyers to read further search results on their prospective companies and view portfolios of past work.

SEO-Solutions-Clutch-Profile-Screenshot

SEO Solutions is proud to be a Clutch leader.  We thank our clients for helping us earn this recognition by participating in the reviews process.

“SEO Solutions has been dedicated to the success of our customers through innovation and hard work. We are proud to accept this award!” – Weston Riesche, Marketing Manager, SEO Solutions

If your company is in need of sustainable SEO strategies, get in touch today.

BULK REVIEW MANAGEMENT – ANOTHER FEATURE INTRODUCED BY GOOGLE MY BUSINESS

Businesses with multiple locations often have a hard time managing their customer reviews. Responding to each and every review, from each and every location can be taxing. Google My Business’ recent local updates roll out revealed that now you can easily manage your reviews on the same page.

google-my-business-review-management-screenshot

This new inclusion will enable seeing and replying to reviews across multiple listings on a single page. This might seem like a tiny little addition but it will drastically reduce the time needed for review management for multi-location businesses.

Things to Note:

  • Organization accounts do not have this feature as of yet.
  • Replying to reviews from third-party sources isn’t allowed.
  • You can respond to reviews and see them organized into location groups only after your listing is verified.Final Takeaway

    Getting started is quick and easy. All you need to do is log into your Google account and visit https://business.google.com/reviews, then follow the instructions given.