Yodel Claims Client's Places Listing but Dashboard Not Reflecting Changes

Jim Froling

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A client recently signed on with Yodel for SEM services. They duped him into re-verifying his listing through them including URL for their template-design website. Why they messed with his local Maps & Places data for their search marketing campaign, I dunno as it wouldn't help their campaign.

Client's local positioning now has dropped from a minimum of two positions to as much as several pages. But his listing information on Places Analytics doesn't show any changes at all. Same for his Maps listing. Yet the "new" URL is all over his G+Local listings (if you can find them on Page 8).

The client's own website is virtually lost in search now. Nowhere to be seen. Not a dupe, just gone. How did Yodel pull this off without me seeing some change in the Places dashboard or Maps?
 
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JacobPuhl

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Hey Jim,

I worked closely with Yodle a few years ago. They have a pretty direct relationship with Google... There is a chance they can directly feed information into Google's databases and circumvent the Places backend, though I haven't verified this yet. I'll get back with you...
 

JacobPuhl

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Jim - is the phone number for the edited listing the same or did that change too?
 

Jim Froling

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Jacob,
First, thanks for your assistance on this.

And yep, they changed the phone # also. The client not only has a new phone listed for their Places listing but another new number on their Adwords ad. No doubt so Yodel can report conversions (phone calls rec'd) from both the paid and organic links.

I guess Google finally got wind of it. This AM the client's listing on my dashboard is now "Pending".
 

JacobPuhl

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Previously what Yodle would do is shut down the old or "Current" listing and start a new one with their website and call tracking number. However, that was in Places only. If that's what has been done, unfortunately the prognosis is bleak as it will be an uphill battle getting it all sorted out. Have you merged the Plus and Places page and were you managing that merged profile?

With multiple changing variables, it's hard to pinpoint as Linda mentions.
 

Jim Froling

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That indeed appears to be just what Yodel has done. Client did not tell me the "whole story" at the outset of this. Client told me two days ago that "yeah, I got that verification card and called them with it and...". Duh! Disappointing on our end as we were getting higher and wider viz for his biz in his city and beyond until this.

As it now seems, Yodel's organic SEO is part of their "package" that includes SEM as well, which isn't doing real great either. CTR of 0.3 - 0.8.

Client is pretty pissed at them but has another three weeks left on his deal with them which was prepaid. Fairly certain he will come back and we'll likely get his SEM budget too. Then, I needed to know how to proceed in recovering his Places listing and you've pretty much answered that: start over.

His is a SAB so I am reluctant to create a G+ business profile and merge it with Places. How do they say "Comprende?" down under?

Thanks again Jacob for your insight!
 
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Thanks for sharing, Jim! I learned about Yodel for the first time today. We actually had a potential client inquire about our services this morning and I JUST found their G+ created by Yodel and came here to see what my future holds when we take them on. Found your post and started to sob:( Different number and totally different URL compared to the business info he sent us earlier.

Also, 0 is the number of searches for the keyword that this new URL is targeting.

Good luck with your client and keep fighting the good fight!
 

Nick.SEOSpark

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As an outsider to the US, please could someone tell me briefly who Yodle are, and what they are about...

I notice that SEOMoz are having someone from Yodle giving an "Local SEO" Mozinar tomorrow.
 

JacobPuhl

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Hey Nick -

They are a scaled out small business ppc and seo company. They are direct competitors to Reach Local if you're familiar. To find new clients, they do mostly outbound telephone sales calls and have a large telesales office in New York cold calling into small businesses. They sign up a business on a contract and handle their pay per click but the business must be in their pre defined categories ie most local businesses in the yellow pages (lawyers, dentists, chiropractors, etc)

Although they do market SEO, their bread and butter is PPC as they have a nice dashboard where their clients can log in and see all the ppc stats and listen to the recorded phone calls. They do a lot of phone call tracking just like their competitor reach local. They work with 10's of thousands of small business clients in the U.S. I believe.

Also don't be surprised if a rep chimes in here as I'm sure they have reputation management folks in place that monitor brand mentions :) but maybe not.

Good write up here: http://informlocal.com/small-business-advertising/local-online-advertising-companies-yodle-review/

Hope that helps - a non biased overview as I didn't want to turn anything into a bashing session. Just the facts, as they say!
 

Eric Rohrback

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Nick - RE: SEOmoz webinar -

I actually took the time out of my day to see what the Yodle guy had to say, and he brought up some pretty good points about tracking things other than rankings. I kind of got annoyed when he brought up how you should do call tracking for local, and really didn't explain how complicated you can make the citation situation. He said you have to work hard to constantly monitor and clean up listings, but really glossed over it and didn't explain how tedious and frustrating the dupe and merge situations can be. Not sure if he completely knew how to deal with them.

Overall, I think I got a couple of good ideas to think about since I'm revamping my company's local program in the near future... so that's good I guess. I'll still steer people away from using Yodle, mostly because of the phone tracking and mirror website issue. I know people who've worked with Yodle in the past, and they don't have great things to say about any of the products except PPC.

Just my .02 for this conversation.
 

Nick.SEOSpark

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Thanks for the update Eric.

Its just as well that I didn't attend the Mozinar as I probably would have started venting in the Questions panel! :mad:
 

Marie Ysais

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Sep 18, 2012
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Thanks for all of the great feedback! For the first time I had a client ask about Yodel and what did I advise......well, I had to do some quick searches to find my favorite place is already talking about it! Lets hope the client listens when I advise against it!! What a mess! thanks for sharing! :eek:
 

katandmouse

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Aug 23, 2012
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Just happened to check on my client's G+ page and found that it was completely different. Different phone number, different website address, and horrible, horrible keyword stuffed description. Called my client to ask what happened, and guess what. Yep. Yodle. Does anyone know if they also highjack other directory listings?

I just spent 30 hours I think cleaning up the mess Reach Local left behind doing the same or similar thing all over the Localsphere. And now Yodle. Holy Moly.
 

Blake Denman

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Nov 6, 2013
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Yeah ReachLocal is starting to get into the local SEO biz. First thing they do? Create a call tracking number and start changing listings contact numbers. Yay for data nightmares!
 

katandmouse

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Yeah ReachLocal is starting to get into the local SEO biz. First thing they do? Create a call tracking number and start changing listings contact numbers. Yay for data nightmares!
ReachLocal didn't highjack this client's listings; they duplicated them with their phone number and url. client cancelled and now there are dozens of listings out there we have to fight to take control over all with a phone number the client doesn't have access to anymore. The microsite is still there probably collecting tracked calls as well. And it appears to me maybe ReachLocal outsourced overseas to some poor souls who don't know the English language and put my client's retirement home in a "Kid's activities" directory, slideshare, Evenbrite, a manufacturer's site and on and on. How do I know? They left the breadcrumbs in the form of their microsite url.

---------- Post Merged at 10:44 PM ---------- Previous Post was at 10:44 PM ----------

Yeah ReachLocal is starting to get into the local SEO biz. First thing they do? Create a call tracking number and start changing listings contact numbers. Yay for data nightmares!
ReachLocal didn't highjack this client's listings; they duplicated them with their phone number and url. client cancelled and now there are dozens of listings out there we have to fight to take control over all with a phone number the client doesn't have access to anymore. The microsite is still there probably collecting tracked calls as well. And it appears to me maybe ReachLocal outsourced overseas to some poor souls who don't know the English language and put my client's retirement home in a "Kid's activities" directory, slideshare, Evenbrite, a manufacturer's site and on and on. How do I know? They left the breadcrumbs in the form of their microsite url.
 
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