How Questionable Is This Strategy?


carltonrsmith

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I am ecommerce director for a small ecotourism company, so I field LOTS of cold calls from all sorts of services, including SEO. Got one the other day from Local.com and because I have done some local SEO work in the past, was curious about their process, so I listened to their pitch.
I wanted to see several examples of their clients ranking well in, and sure enough, the examples they showed were (not coincidentally).

I kept after them for the mechanics and specifics of their strategy.

From what I was able to gather, it is essentially this.

1) Get the client an exact match domain name for the local keywords e.g. alpharettalandscapeservice.com or biloxicellphonerepair.com.

2) Add fresh content to the site weekly.

3) Connect it to Local profiles.

4) Connect it to Facebook and Twitter accounts under the same name.

5) Do not connect exact match website to clients' existing brand website.

All for about $199/month. This seems like a risky strategy, but curious what others think. It's obviously working enough that they can build a business around it.
 

Colan Nielsen

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#1 sounds like a bad idea with Google's recent change to it's algorithm that aims at taking down certain exact match domains....so that part would make me a little nervous.
 

Linda Buquet

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From what I can see 'currently' G still loves and EVEN FAVORS EMDs for local, providing they have good content and aren't just thin or spammy.

People think Google is whacking EMDs but she's not. She just took away the strength EMDs USED to have to rank simply due to being an exact match. So if a site is a long standing high quality site with an EMD I don't think ranking would change.

Low quality spammy site and all it had going for it was an EMD. Ya, drop like a rock!

Check almost any highly competitive City+KW combo in search
and you will normally find the top 2 or 3 listings have City+KW in them.


One of many examples: Houston Bankruptcy Attorney (Look at all the organics still ranking too.)

So the EMD would not be my primary concern.

My bigger concern is whether the add-on site could cause confusion and dislodge the main site's blended ranking. AND whether a tracking # is used on that other site that could mess up the main listing.

So when businesses or consultants want to do additional KW targeted sites, I tell them that 1st of all they only have a chance of ranking in organic, not blended. Secondly they need to be very careful and if there is a tracking # be sure it's in a graphic, NOT readable text. AND I'd be very careful how I handled NAP in general on the other site as well or it could make Google either create a dupe (if NAP is different) OR cause confusion and maybe hurt the main listing if NAP is the same. So it's tricky.

So in general, per the Q, can't say the 'strategy' in general is bad - it's all in how it's executed!

So above speaks to THEIR strategy. As far as whether this would be a good strategy for any of you to offer clients, I firmly believe that divide and conquer with multiple sites, is not as good of a strategy in local as "UNITED WE STAND". I'd put all effort into MAIN site and build more content there.

I have a Dentist that has a DOUBLE #1 ranking. He doesn't need an EMD to rank. Google loves the exact match on the inner page just fine. He's #1 organic for drname.com/citydentist.html.
He's in the A spot with drname.com. :)
 

carltonrsmith

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I have to admit that I was considering this as an experiment for myself. I am talking about forming a loose entity with two web designers in Atlanta, and building a couple of different EMD sites in a couple of moderately competitive markets. Because we are not an official entity yet, any leads we get would split the leads equally.

I too am not a fan of breaking anything away from the main site, but in our case, there's nothing concrete between us yet, so creating content on one or both sites would be almost too confusing.

In the case of the NAP, it seems like you want to have a different NAP entirely. I've heard of using PO boxes, but that seems to me where it crosses over into a sneaky strategy.
 
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What she said;) EMD's are definitely nothing to shy away from. Treat them like any other domain and you'll be fine - by that I mean quality content, quality SEO, social signals, etc. etc.

Travis Van Slooten

From what I can see 'currently' G still loves and EVEN FAVORS EMDs for local, providing they have good content and aren't just thin or spammy.

People think Google is whacking EMDs but she's not. She just took away the strength EMDs USED to have to rank simply due to being an exact match. So if a site is a long standing high quality site with an EMD I don't think ranking would change.

Low quality spammy site and all it had going for it was an EMD. Ya, drop like a rock!

Check almost any highly competitive City+KW combo in search
and you will normally find the top 2 or 3 listings have City+KW in them.


One of many examples: Houston Bankruptcy Attorney (Look at all the organics still ranking too.)

So the EMD would not be my primary concern.
 
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Sounds like an interesting experiment, Carlton. Maybe you'd be so kind as to give us a progress update as time goes by.

Linda - you are so right about EMD still ranking just fine in Local, in the scenarios you have described.

That being said, these days, I'm advising my clients to get domain names that are the most authentic representation of their business name. It may not matter now, but I've just got a gut feeling that it could matter in the future. As Google trends more and more towards naturalness, I would not be surprised to see JimsPlumbing.com outranking MiamiPlumber.com one day, simply because it's more authentic and less 'optimized'. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but maybe within a few years...just a gut feeling.
 

Linda Buquet

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That being said, these days, I'm advising my clients to get domain names that are the most authentic representation of their business name. It may not matter now, but I've just got a gut feeling that it could matter in the future. As Google trends more and more towards naturalness, I would not be surprised to see JimsPlumbing.com outranking MiamiPlumber.com one day, simply because it's more authentic and less 'optimized'. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but maybe within a few years...just a gut feeling.
Yes I agree Miram, probably the safest and best strategy going forward.
 

Fabster

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As Linda has rightly said EMD's can work really well, and in my experience do.

Google is constantly striving to improve it's algorithm, and EDM is just one of numerous areas that it's addressing.

The thing to remember if you're going down EMD route is the quality of the underlying site, and it's relevance to the business it relates to. This these are good then Google will favour the site
 

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