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

Linda Buquet

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Jun 28, 2012
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Awesome suggestions Travis. I didn't mean just a big image with nothing else, but should have taken time to spell it out.

Your suggestions are great and are a really good strategy!
Would make for the perfect service area page! icon14.png

icon14.png
 

joonbyoo

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Oct 12, 2012
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Almost ALL of the florist websites across the country put the lists of cities, hospitals, zipcodes, schools they deliver to. Usually they can deliver to anywhere within the vicinity of 15mi, so the list could get quite massive. I would say this tactic is 60% for SEO 40% for the users. Looking at my clients, I don't see any changes in ranking so it doesn't look like it is strictly enforced yet, but we are changing the strategy as of today!
 

Linda Buquet

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Thanks JoonBYoo and welcome!

I had not thought of Florists, but that's a GREAT example. That's one that for the USER's benefit they do really need a list of citys and zips.

My guess or hope is, this will only affect sites using city lists in a spammy way to game rankings.

But the Q I always have is - how smart is the algo at telling the difference AND how many babies will be thrown out with the bath water? :eek:

So in your situation since you really do need to list all those city/zips,
a "better safe than sorry" strategy may be wise.
 

Marc

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Aug 9, 2012
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Linda - hi there! we greatly appreciate your leadership. this is in response to my email to you today. a new main client custom city name & service driven domain site was on page 3 heading up. now it's not even in the top 50 PAGES! :confused: help! our video campaign is working well with 2 page 1 and 2 page 2 video rankings. but the client's online manager asked us a couple weeks ago to make a lot of changes to tags, descriptions, and IMAGES, etc. nothing spammy at all...at least to us

1. what steps should we take to understand why this might have happened?
2. should I list the site URL here so forum members can comment, or is that a no-no or risky for business reasons?

thx again
 

Linda Buquet

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Hi Marc,

Sorry was in training all afternoon. Thanks for posting.

In order for us to help, you please create your own dedicated post down in the help section. There you can post the link to the Google+ Local page and the site and add more details if needed. (Fine to copy what you posted above and paste it there too so you don't have to re-type.) It's just that I/We can only dig in if we can see everything on the listing and the site.
 

Marc

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Aug 9, 2012
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thx Linda! i cant seem to find the HELP SECTION below this thread as you've asked me to do to create a dedicated post - can u help me here?
 

Linda Buquet

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Yes Marc, David is right. The link he posted. Sorry if that was not clear.

Just found a Tweet to be about this post that I missed.

@CarlGates said: "Hey Linda just seen ur post about keyword stuffing - have a look at the bottom of this site then! ideal-locks.co.uk" (Removed http so as not to link out.)

SHEESH! Another great example of what NOT to do!
 

Pankaj Kumar

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Jul 26, 2012
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30
Yup Linda, Thats a great example which shows not to do things.
But I have seen the things which you have said Google is looking them as negative.
Many businesses specially chiropractor are using these techniques and even Google has not penalized them.
Do you think it can effect them later on as what keyword they have used are getting ranked better.

Thanks
Pankaj Kumar
 

Adam Steele

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Jul 20, 2012
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35
Great update Linda - and thank you for the invitation to join your forum.

It is always nice to see local SEOs also blog about organic matters, especially, like you noted, blended being so organic centric. Has always been a challenge to get some clients to believe this.

At any rate, in my time I have seen a lot of such footers. Footers with keyword + zip or cityname, etc. HUGE footers some times. Of course the goal is to drip juice/authority from the home page, to these inner pages, but also create on page relevancy for those locales.

Though perhaps not as effective, to achieve a similar result, I have created a "services areas" inner page for my clients. We put a bunch of content on this page, paired with the locales and begin building authority to this new page. Each of the locales will be hyperlinked to their own respective landing page/inner page, and juice will pass from the service areas page, down to these landing pages.

The method is legit, and with a little work, super effective.

For what it's worth :)
 

katandmouse

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Aug 23, 2012
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Here's one that dropped for keywords "Sacramento plumber": Plumbing | Air Conditioning | Heating | HVAC | Sacramento CA | Bonney They were ranking for all the cities on their city keywords. You can follow the links on the home page to see how they did that. Nice site, and nicely done. That sat in #1 forever.


And here's a site I did some consulting for. They were on page 40 and now are at the top of page 2 for "Sacramento plumbing": Sacramento Plumber, AC & Heating Contractor | Crystal Blue Plumbing, Heating & Air Sacramento CA Plumbing & HVAC Services He's been doing right in the sense that he's been really working hard to get press and social media mentions for their good service. But I can see he's up to no good again cause he's spamming his reviews. All those Tim S. reviews are his own and he spammed them with keywords.

And then look at all his duplicate city pages. You're not going to be able to convince him he shouldn't be doing that because they're working! And why shouldn't they?

Here's my thought on this. Crystal Blue services all those towns in the Sacramento area so he has a right to rank as much as any other plumber who might have a physical office there. To say Google should give preferential treatment to those residing in a town isn't really right because the ones there might be inferior. So everyone should have a shot. What I like in what Tim is doing is he's collecting reviews in all those cities and clearly showing that in the review map. Google sees that. That has to help. (How did he get that map, BTW?)

Now if he has a right to rank in each of those cities, he should be able to optimize for those. And wouldn't having a page for each city be the way to go? (At least now with the way Google works.) Like you, I've advised local clients to get unique, hyperlocal content for those pages which can be difficult or not to do. But how much easier to just copy optimized pages for each city and just swap out the city. We hate seeing it, but honestly, if a business really deserves to rank there, should Google really require these local businesses write so many unique pages? If they write a great page on their air conditioning services, why not be able to reuse it. When someone searches on those keywords in each city, that's the page that comes up. It's better if it's the same. After all, how many ways can you sell your air conditioning service? And what difference does it make if the content is the same? Visitors will probably never see the duplicate content and isn't Google more concerned with the user experience? Having worked with these clients, I really wish that was the way to do it. So much easier.

But even easier if Google would just concatenate geo keywords onto each unique page once it verifies you deserve to rank in those cities. In other words, have one page and Google does the magic of optimizing for each city. Does that make sense? Of course that gets us back to, but how does Google know you deserve that? And then we get back to hyperlocal city pages. <sigh><sigh>

Anyway, this topic got my doing some research and I uncovered something pretty cool! It's too much to say here, so I'll blog it and let you know. Can't wait to share it and get your feedback. </sigh>
 

Andrew RLM SEO

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Jul 23, 2013
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Thanks for the article. We represent clients with multiple business locations that like to put the zip codes for the areas that they serve on their website. We have told them to delete these because of the fact that it could have a negative effect on our rankings. On the other hand, the phone number listings I have not thought of, I will have to keep this in mind moving forward.
 

Former Member

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Mar 15, 2013
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One of my competitors still uses a similar spammy technique on every landing page and they all rank extremely well. It's surprising they haven't gotten "slapped" yet and it's starting to make me wonder if they every will.

ex: rodenhiser.com/plumbing/plumber-sudbury-ma.html

Every city landing page is this exact copy with the town name simply changed.
 
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Linda Buquet

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Sheesh, bad...

Check home footer: rodenhiser.com :(

But just stay the right Ross and in the end you will win.

Spamming is like speeding. You can get away with it - sometimes for a long time, but chances are eventually you will get caught.
 

Former Member

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yikes! I never noticed the footer. It looks like they're paying an SEO firm big bucks for this work too.

Yes, Linda, it's only a matter of time but the wait has been long :rolleyes:
 

katandmouse

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Aug 23, 2012
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1 year later, their site is #2 for plumbing in Harvard, Ma and first page for other cities as well. I believe if they serve those towns, and they do, then they deserve to rank there, and I really don't mind having all those city links and pages (how else can you do it?). But I hate that this kind of copy is getting rewarded: Plumber Watertown MA | Watertown Plumbers | Rodenhiser Plumbing, Heating and AC (city name repeated over and over again in conjunction with keyword)

If Google were smart, it would recognize the city keyword (which it can because cities are in its maps database already or it can read schema code), and then only count it once and ignore the rest, perhaps even penalize you if you use it more than a half dozen times on a page. If you have a page about air conditioners, for example, its quite easy and natural to use that word(s) a few times over multiple paragraphs, but not natural to say the city over and over again.

It's so easy. Come on Google. Stop this madness.
 

Former Member

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Mar 15, 2013
Messages
108
1 year later, their site is #2 for plumbing in Harvard, Ma and first page for other cities as well. I believe if they serve those towns, and they do, then they deserve to rank there, and I really don't mind having all those city links and pages (how else can you do it?). But I hate that this kind of copy is getting rewarded: Plumber Watertown MA | Watertown Plumbers | Rodenhiser Plumbing, Heating and AC (city name repeated over and over again in conjunction with keyword)

If Google were smart, it would recognize the city keyword (which it can because cities are in its maps database already or it can read schema code), and then only count it once and ignore the rest, perhaps even penalize you if you use it more than a half dozen times on a page. If you have a page about air conditioners, for example, its quite easy and natural to use that word(s) a few times over multiple paragraphs, but not natural to say the city over and over again.

It's so easy. Come on Google. Stop this madness.
Yep it can be very frustrating to say the least! Did you ever post your findings on your blog? I'd love to read it. Could you provide a link here or PM. Thanks!
 

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