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david oremland
2,230 followers -
pretty darn old; SEO work; business operations. love sports--still love it :D
pretty darn old; SEO work; business operations. love sports--still love it :D

2,230 followers
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david oremland commented on a post on Blogger.
Tim:  That is a terrible outcome.  I skimmed the article.  So much to dwell on.  The biggest item in my mind is that this third party "directory"/search engine-> Google has the power to make or break businesses and refuses to act on that power. 

And that is too powerful.  Who gave google the power to make or break businesses?  Why do people put up with this?  The two "acts" that might be the cause of this, the unrelenting attacks by someone(s) competitors/ angry person/nutcase/ whatever and that Google highlighted this and has a monopoly on potential customers eye balls would not be tolerated in a court of law were it not the internet.

The other thing that struck me is that long ago, before GMB I was a sort of "top contributor".  What occurred was that I made so many edits and corrections on local mistakes....that the staff then monitoring the local forum were automatically granting a correction on every edit I made.  Of course it caught me off guard, b/c of course Google never directly contacted me. 

Anyway...I was NOT google customer service.  If I were in the forums I might catch some errors.  If I was not in the forums they could go unreviewed.

Sounds like that is what you are dealing with as a top contributor.  It has to be frustrating, and frankly its a disservice to smb operators out there...as Google STILL doesn't have a well distributed well articulated customer service mechanism.

Its been 10 years.  They are hugely wealthy and hugely powerful.  They still don't WANT to provide customer service.  And they get away with it.

They need a legal spanking.
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Adwords Question:

About 5 months ago I started making big changes on campaigns. Excellent results, but one glitch. I have a question for folks who do local campaigns:

On one very old campaign I made significant changes. Overall spend is less than half of what it was. CPC's are down by a LOT.

One big change though has not worked. The SMB has a regional reach. It covers parts of 2 states and one major city. Major parts of the campaign have been broken down by region. They have many of the same keywords. The 3 different campaigns cover each jurisdiction.

The problem is that the campaign into the major city is simply not turning up either impressions and clicks at anywhere near where the city used to generate both impressions and clicks. It appears that overall impressions are down by 25% with most of that attributable to very low numbers in the city focused campaign.

The city campaign is defined by Zip Codes. Any comments or suggestions?

One reason to structure this way is to use adwords to balance against how the smb shows in local/organic.

All comments appreciated.

dave

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Google moved the Description toward the top of the Knowledge Panel, and thanks to our friend +Phil Rozek he wrote about it in this piece: http://www.localvisibilitysystem.com/2018/04/17/google-my-business-description-gets-the-catbird-seat/#comments

Beyond that what I LOVED, LOVED, LOVED about the Description Phil showed was that the message said-> VISIT OUR SITE.

Ha ha. Take that "traffic stealing KP" ;)

Adwords Campaign Question

I'm in the process of converting some adwords campaigns that ran on very expansive broad bases for years. The campaigns got expensive. I am paring them down.

The old benefits were that they showed for everything. That meant that we captured an enormous volume of long tail phrases. The other benefit to that is that our knowledge base is enormous with thousands of phrases over many years on which we have data.

The negatives are that its costs have soared and we have captured and paid for an enormous volume of irrelevant phrases.

I'm trying to pare that down.

Specifically we have a number of regional oriented smbs. Specifically they will capture a sizable number of search phrases, each from about 20 suburban towns/cities.

So I'm trying to get search phrases with a combination of the industry words and those specific 20 cities. Different phrases for each of those towns cities.

Adwords is via algo deeming those phrases "low search volume". They don't show the phrases as an ad with the "low search volume" designation.

What I want to have show are the search phrases for these particular towns, but not include every freaking city in the US.

Any suggestions???

Google Adwords Makes Mistakes!!

I've caught them very very occasionally. I just caught one. Years ago I found two mistakes they were making relative to regional campaigns for 2 smbs in two separate markets. That was long ago. Current 3pacs were not operating then. Nor was the algo that skews visibility toward where the searcher was located.

As I looked through the situation I found it advantageous to us in both cases and never bothered to contact them.

I just found another. In converting phrases from one campaign and ad group to another, realigning search phrases, having used negative terms, I'm finding a phrase wherein google is "reporting" that our ad isn't showing. I see NO impressions...and I've seen NO clicks for that impression. At least not in Google Tools.

Tools is telling me that the ad doesn't show. Meanwhile I tested it twice--on a mobile and a desktop. Ads showed both times. Later I'll check to see if impressions show today. Tomorrow I'll click on an ad and see how that shows--If at all.

In this case its a smallish niche phrase. It showed in adwords for years but its a very long tailish rather rarely used phrase relative to the universe of relevant phrases. (It is relevant!!)

What do you do if and when you find a mistake of this type? Do you report it? Do they fix it? And then the "bigger question". Do you believe them????

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Google Ads in the 3pac/google maps, the local finder/More Places Section:

These ads land on a local google Knowledge Panel--Not a web page/ not a landing page. I find this troublesome

Admittedly I haven't paid a lot of attention to this. A fairly recent article in the MOZ blog by Dr Pete referencing how many 3 pacs had ads https://moz.com/blog/35-percent-of-local-keywords-have-local-pack-ads

+Joy Hawkins has written about this and she and +Darren Shaw did a piece on how to generate them.

Not sure if I can generate images on this discussion board but as I searched for examples I used a search phrase for a dentist in Bethesda Md and found a 3 Pac and local finder example with ads for Downtown DC and a nearby but neighboring town, Silver Spring. In both those cases--the top ranked ad was a hearty and good distance from the desired location: Bethesda. Hmmm

In our cases we've been running these ads for about the entire time period the option has been up. One can find how many clicks there are by clicking on the SEGMENT TAB, then clicking on CLICK TYPE and then finding them by the somewhat stupid, not that descriptive GET LOCATION DETAILS description.

Come on Google!!!! Write like a HUMAN. Call them MAP ADS.

I THOUGHT these ads were delivering to landing pages at one time. Does anyone recall??? That is not the case now. They deliver to a local Knowledge Panel.

One reason I didn't pay attention to them was that the percentage of clicks was relatively low to the entire "package of ads" and the CTR was relatively low. The 2nd reason was that Avg CPC was low. I suspect that was b/c not many competitors had put up this feature.

That has all been changing though. Click volume is rising in some cases. Avg CPC has remained low actually diminishing in the last year.

There are several disturbing elements to this including:

Mostly this is NOT a landing page. There is NO WAY to even get close to verifying these charges. Its impossible. If I have killer landing pages for these ads...WHAT A WASTE!!!!!

I really need to rethink campaign structure to determine the applicability and usage of these ads...with a major focus on location above ALL.

If I don't have competitors in this niche...there are more than one option:

A. If our smb's are showing first in the 3 pac I don't want ads. They cannibalize from the top ranked 3 pac/map/local finder listing. They COST.

B. If our smb's are not First in the 3 pac or don't show at all. I want ads in the 3 pac. It gives a place to show when we aren't or are buried by distance. OTOH if I can't track this in any way, I don't know if these ads will pay for themselves.

C. If competitors are in this realm...I have to recalculate again...subject to how we are ranking in the PAC.

This entire process is tremendously disturbing overwhelmingly so because the ads don't deliver to a landing page and its virtually impossible to assess effectiveness.

Any comments, suggetions, etc?? I'm all ears!!!!

Adwords Clicks on Recovery Name Brands is Extremely High and Costly--But how effective is it?

We have been using Adwords for over a decade for various SMB's. Our thinking has always been to simply capture more clicks; more searchers looking for our services or types of services in their market areas. Within the literature one might see comments about cannibalizing organic clicks by running extensive adwords. We discovered adwords was paying off and didn't concern ourselves. We ran aggressive campaigns. The SMB's with these campaigns have generally done well. They do get a lot of leads.

It has gotten progressively more expensive. Also we have some very old campaigns. The changes in google made them more expensive. I've been cutting around the edges but am now doing full scale adjustments to make them more logical and to give us better control and adaptability.

All of that is prelude to a recent finding within the adwords data. The numbers are strongly supported by anecdotal evidence listening to relatively high volumes of calls from 4 campaigns tying calls to adwords. They covered 3 different smb's in different cities and different types of businesses/verticals. The phone evidence was spread over a variety of years.

The phone experience/evidence was fascinating disturbing and described a cost factor, let alone a service feature we didn't anticipate.

On the cost and type of click basis off the phone calls we discovered that roughly 30-60% of all calls were NOT LEADS. They ranged from existing customers utilizing services, to existing or past customers with questions to vendors and cold calling sales people.

Essentially searchers were clicking on ads to find our phone number. I'd guess roungly half or slightly less than half were NOT LEADS.

Essentially adwords ads/calls were being used as a paid phone service, with us paying google to give people our phone number. Almost half the calls had no chance for an additional sale. Google was giving our phone number out in ads we were paying for to get our phone number. EXPENSIVE.

Subsequent to that we took some actions to try and cut the phone calls to an advertising number from existing customers.

More recently I've looked at adwords clicks to recovery searches, or brand name searches, or search terms that explicitly described our name or a close variation and our suburban locations. Those are clearly branded types of searches.

Stunning findings: Expensive, extremely high click through rates (ctr's) and the rate of these clicks on ads is increasing at an extraordinary level year to year.

I've just looked at data year to year for a 4 year period. Adwords Clicks on branded search terms have increased by about 3 times the volume over the four years. Overall clicks on ads have increased at a FAR FAR FAR smaller amount. The adwords CTR's on these branded searches has been consistently and DRAMATICALLY higher than overall click through rates.

As significantly as this difference has been, the enormous change has occurred in the last year. It is primarily a function of mobile advertising and the screen space/real estate that adwords takes up with search results. Adwords take up the entire mobile screen.

Unfortunately competitors advertise against these branded terms. It pushes up our costs. On top of that our cost per click (cpc) averages have also gone up. Not as severely as the ctr and # of clicks, but between more clicks on these ads and higher cpc the costs on these Recovery clicks have roughly tripled in 4 years. Big change.

Here is the summary: Essentially google increasingly acts as a PAID Source for people to find us by name. Many of them are not leads/not customers. Its expensive and becoming more so

I suppose I might take a month and pause all such phrases to see how it affects leads and ultimately revenues. That is a large risk to take subject to thinking I don't want to pay google to be a phone and name service...especially since we are all over the web.

Anyway, LONG POST. Anyone else have experience or data in this area???

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This is an astonishing story (astonishing to me) about review sites and the uber serious monetization that can take place. Its not LOCAL, but it is about reviews and reviews are a critical part of the local landscape. I've seen "minor league" elements of monetization of reviews on the local side but nothing of this level and significance. Gives one reason to ponder this entire phenomena and how potentially dirty it can become: https://www.fastcompany.com/3065928/sleepopolis-casper-bloggers-lawsuits-underside-of-the-mattress-wars

Reviews/Operations/$$ to the bottom line

Just an interesting little story. One of our smb's has worked with a vendor to a restaurant in a suburb of Washington DC. Its a great restaurant located in the suburbs and has to be one of the best restaurants in that area, let alone its cuisine. In about 3 short years its booming. Reviews on all the sites are great, typically 4.5 or higher on yelp, tripadvisor, google and formerly on OpenTable.

The place is always busy. I hadn't been there or knew about it, and when speaking to the owner I referenced that I had to get out there. She said MAKE A RESERVATION. They are always busy for dinner. Its that good.

I guess about 6 months ago they dropped OpenTable and picked up Yelp reservations. Hasn't cost them a dime of busiiness. They remain ALWAYS busy and booked. On a full 3 nights they are turning 3 tables an evening--full house.

That is a great operation. So why get rid of OpenTable and its great reviews?? Well they determined they didn't need it. OT basically charges $1/head. At that price OT could have cost them $3,4,5, 6 thousand dollars/month plus monthly service charge which isn't cheap.

So they have lost the highly visible 4++ star rating from OT plus the awesome usage and visibility of OT in the greater DC region...but it has not adversely affected business....and they have saved thousands of dollars/month.

Bully for them.

Restaurant Reviews: Google seems to be catching up to Yelp!

Back in 2014 I did a little research on restaurant reviews comparing google (then google+), yelp, Facebook, and opentable. I looked at my region DC, then looked at major cities/cities that were targeted by yelp and cities definitely not targeted by yelp. I was simply searching for quantities.

Yelp generated FAR FAR more reviews than google. In every type of city, including smaller cities and cities wherein yelp had NOT made a concerted effort to mass reviews and generate very high serps rankings.

Now Summer 2017 and things might well have changed dramatically. That is a guess and based on a single anecdotal observation I just made.

Back to the data from mid 2014. I scanned 20 restaurants in the greater DC region looking at all types from fancy and well known to neighborhood places in the burbs. Average number of yelp reviews per restaurant: 210. Average number of Google + reviews 33.

Big big difference.

Today I looked at a newish restaurant in Downtown DC. Almost exactly 6 months old. Google and Yelp reviews have an equal opportunity to grab reviewers (let alone FB, tripadvisor, opentable and any others)

Current yelp reviews=225. Current google reviews =131. And BTW: OpenTable has 378.

3 years ago as I looked at yelp vs google review volumes in yelp focused cities it appeared that yelp generated a range to 4-7 times as many restaurant reviews as did Google.

Well not right now. I guess the tide is turning. BTW: The restaurant is The Smith in downtown DC
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