Local SEO is an increasingly-important service as more and more searchers turn to Yahoo, Google Truelocal and other search engines to get information on local businesses. But this type of SEO requires more than just link-building, it requires knowledge of your locale. Like Montreal, for example, where French-speaking searchers are just as likely to look up référencement local as they are local SEO. A great way to
To optimize your site for local searchers, you need to know what sites they visit and who are the information hubs in your area. For example, my colleague Michel Leblanc runs a popular Montreal SEO blog, and he also talks about other internet marketing issues.
The reason I mention these people whom I met at Yulbiz is twofold. First, it's to make the point that networking offline is just as important a part of your promotional strategy as online networking. Second, it's to say thanks for chatting, help their SEO a bit and hopefully develop a further relationship online! Local SEO isn't just about mastering Google Maps ... like regular search engine optimization, local seo is about networking (PDF). And knowing the people in your area offline is as important to your search marketing effort as it is to know them online.
Google's been acting strange lately, contradicting its' own advice and guidelines to webmasters. (If you're thinking, is he about to go on about why Google sucks, again... you'd be very perceptive.) First of all, Google's been advertising in Gmail, using all-caps. They've had an ad running that says something like SEARCH Engine yada yada. What happened to no excessive capitalization?
Second of all, Google's got some canonicalization problems going on. Both local.google.com and maps.google.com produce the same content, and one doesn't redirect to the other. It seems from searching Google that they've canonized their maps.google.com subdomain, but you'd think they would redirect the local sub?
Strange, strange behaviour from Google. Like I said, these hypocrites suck.
Fellow local search expert Mike Blumenthal has discovered a massive spam attack on Google Maps. A company by the name of Tech Pros had spammed the Google Maps listings to be listed in every major and minor city in the United States for 'computer repair'!
What they didn't reckon with was that a local search and maps pro like Mike would be working in the computer repair biz and notice it! Well, by the time I'd found the post on Mike's blog, the word had already gotten around and Google had booted the offending company (and another one using the same exploit, which Mike also discovered) from its SERPs (that's Search Engine Results Pages to the non-jargon inclined amongst you).
So how did they do it? Google Maps offers businesses two ways to get listed. One of the two ways is a bulk upload of a list, but which goes unverified (due to the sheer volume). It's a gaping loophole in the way businesses get listed in Google Maps and it's frankly surprising it hasn't been discovered earlier! In any event, this was explained by a commenter on Mike's post.
Two final comments in passing: I referred to Mike as a fellow local seo expert... I'm flattering myself. Mike's way ahead of me in knowledge and as far as my readings have taken me, the leading mind in the field. Besides that, Wouldn't you agree that this is the sort of thing that makes you say: "Google, you suck!" Like the title says: when Google maps gets flipped on its head, it's really Spam el Goog!