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david oremland
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Just wanted to throw out a testimonial on behalf of somebody:  Michael VanDeMar is a world wide well respected expert for cleaning up wordpress hacks.  The guy is a wizard.  He has helped us on more than one occasion and in a variety of ways beyond having to get a hack cleaned.  

He is really invaluable, he works fast and his prices are more than reasonable....  and he knows all the ins and outs of these situations far better than virtually anyone.  

A contact source for Michael is at the following site:  http://smackdown.blogsblogsblogs.com/
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And a LITTLE MORE ON YELP  For business categories wherein there are a lot of smb's on the yelp page for that vertical, one of the ways to get higher Yelp page ranking is to simply "rename" your business for yelp with the keywords that dominate the search.   For instance IPhone Repair  in this region:    If the yelp page for the vertical is first in the Google serps itself searchers will click on that result, go to the yelp page and be given a list, that is a lot like an old YP list of local businesses.  Ranking higher in the Yelp Page is often a function of using the search phrase:  

Iphone repair was the search phrase in google in this case.
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BRANDING OF REVIEW SITES;  DO CUSTOMERS KNOW WHAT GOOGLE + REVIEWS ARE?? 

Here are some observations from a simple test we have been taking of some of our customers at one of our smbs.   We've been doing some follow up marketing questions, with focus on why are they using the service, how they found us, and a few other questions.

Early on we started to hear about web reviews so we started asking about where the customers saw the reviews.

Yelp gets mentioned a lot.  Occasionally we hear Google, but we have yet to hear Google + Reviews.  We know from some in depth questions some of the reviews from Google + were the review sources for various customers.   But they can't name it.   Once we started hearing about reviews we would ask more in depth questions:  Reviews on the site, in Facebook, found through search, etc, etc.

The smb has a relatively lot of reviews showing on its google + page with eyecatching stars seen in the Local PAC.  It also has a relatively high ranking Yelp page that often shows with relevant searches for the type of smb business.  Fortunately the vast majority of reviews are positive.

While the summary basically confirmed everything we believed with regard to how people find us and why they chose us....the comments about reviews and the inability to name Google + Reviews by name was very surprising.

Its a ubiquitous service that is highly visible yet users don't know it by name or brand.  We found that very surprising.  
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I think it also stems from the fact that Google sucks at branding.  There are Google + Local, Google +, Google + Page.  SMB's just started to understand what Google Places is and then G changes it.
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A Great Way to find and fight local spammers in your industry, your neighborhood, and your region.   

Darren Shaw of Whitespark, (a great source/tool for local citations) was inspired by comments by a fellow named Dan Austin, who I'd call the Robin Hood of fighting local spam in google maps to write a post about finding and fighting local spammers in your region, your neighborhood and your vertical:   http://www.whitespark.ca/blog/post/19-improve-local-rankings-by-removing-spammers

The article was inspired by a web interview Dan did on changes, and the meat of how google map maker works, as it applies to local businesses.   The interview at Mike Blumenthals blog is:  http://blumenthals.com/blog/2013/11/27/google-mapmaker-update-summary-one-database-to-rule-them-all/

If you work in an industry inhabited by local spammers, or have clients whose business is contested by spammers this is an invaluable aid.
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david oremland

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Local strategies and success stories:   25+ descriptions of what works for local SEO  http://www.clambr.com/local-seo/
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Great collection of proven local SEO strategies to use. I'm still astounded at how many local companies still haven't done their basic business listings, let alone G+.

One of my former students caught up to me over the weekend and told me she's gotten great results with her Google Plus efforts.

Thanks for sharing!
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Maps Spammer Spills the beans

A long term maps spammer just hit the press with some of his exploits.  This type of activity has been going on for some years.  This Maps spammer gives you a taste of some of his tricks and some of the impacts that it has on local businesses, unsuspecting customers, and competitors.   

Very fascinating story:  http://gizmodo.com/its-ridiculously-easy-to-troll-google-maps-with-fake-l-1531646581
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I have sent reports to Google when I see abuse. A few years back I had a moving company for a client and the spamming and "siphoning" of leads to shady companies was rampant and ridiculous so I sent reports with plenty of examples and within the year I saw a huge difference in the nature of the results returned and those spammers had been quashed.  

It's important to point out the abuse to Google. Craigslist has a built in reporting system which I have found annoying on occasion, but I still think it's worth sending an email with evidence to demonstrate the issue.
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Google Keeps delivering results on a more and more personalized granular basis for location results getting to the zip code level at an increasing level.  I've noticed that this percentage keeps increasing as time moves on.  You can see it in adwords, you might recognize this in analytics in that geo descriptions of the location for a search are creating further breakdowns of existing towns (ie North Bethesda and Bethesda rather than just Bethesda) and you can see it via searches.

A number of months ago I was struck by comments made by +Katherine Watier Ong  about personalized results.   The process is continuing and expanding.

Over time as I look at location data for accounts in adwords I see an increasing percentage of locations identified by zip codes.   You can find this information by going to the dimensions button in adwords than clicking on the geo choice in the drop down selections.   This year as compared to last year we see over 50% of all locations for impressions identified by zip code level.
 
For a local account over the last 3 months with almost 100,000 impressions more than half had zip code location data.  On a local basis for impressions for Washington DC over half had zip code locations.

From a search perspective if you search for local businesses that are somewhat ubiquitous, florists being a good example, keep changing your zip code in the search tools link/button.  Try DC.  Use a couple of different zip codes.   You'll see different florists turning up first in the PAC results.  Try some other cities.  You'll find changing results in the organic results and the PAC results.   

From a business and an SEO perspective it creates new perspectives.   A business with strong signals on the location side can "expand" its strong visibility and high rankings versus competitors.  It takes a lot of work to create stronger local signals....but it works.

From a business perspective its very interesting from an overall marketing perspective.   For instance with the most recent test using adwords and focusing on search impressions from DC we can identify zip codes that generate more searches.   That is great deep data research.   For the business in question we can look at the address information from our proprietary information about leads and sales...and now we can see google data about searches from select zip codes.   When we see a zip where we have a lot of leads, a lot of sales and this additional information about a lot of searches...we know with increased certitude that the particular zip code is a fertile ground for our services.

It has spurred us to develop enhanced marketing including non web marketing into the zips in particular.

Its very great data and worth exploring for local smbs and services.   Take a look at it.
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Just thought I'd add that when I compared the 3 month data from adwords to the 3 month data for the smb list of leads and customers there were some definite signals for significant overlap between zip codes where there were a relatively lot of searches for the relevant industry/vertical topics, and the smb's leads and sales from folks from those zips.

Again...that is pretty powerful for the smb.  It suggests that a certain level of visibility is getting into areas where there is a relatively high degree of interest..and the smb is getting some of those customers.

It also suggests where the smb is doing relatively well....and not relatively well at a granular zip code basis.   

Frankly these are regions where the smb is capable of more direct marketing into those zips/neighborhoods.   

Its terrific granular information.  As an smb I'd pay close attention to it.
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david oremland

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For the time being Local Results are being spammed with what appear to be totally inappropriate and faked oneboxes representing faked businesses.  Plumbers and Dentists are two categories with all sorts of bad data   (Rob:  you may want to check this out).

Could be a glitch, a result of a tweak, the local algo being changed in a way that highlights spammed data:  In its own right its somewhat revealing as to how local works.   Here is a summary of findings over thelast 2 or 3 days  :http://localsearchforum.catalystemarketing.com/google-local/10000-attack-bad-google-local-one-boxes-other.html
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Have him in circles
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pretty darn old; SEO work; business operations. love sports--still love it :D
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I've been on a Wings kick, trying Wings in this Wilson Boulevard corridor. Wilson Tavern's are at the top of my list. Jucier chicken, somewhat meatier wings. Bravo!!! The staff is friendly, they recognize people pretty quickly. A comfortable, inexpensive neighborhood place. I know they'll be closing down in a few months as that property gets redeveloped. Man...I hope they grab another location in Arlington
Public - a week ago
reviewed a week ago
I've visited Saguaro National Park a number of times. Its a unique wonderful place to hike and the cacti are magnificent. If one is in Tucson its so incredibly accessible. Somewhat more used to spending time in the East Park than the West Park...but the scenery and cacti in both are breathtaking. The cacti are a wonder of nature. (seeing somebody I follow having written a review here, spurred me to add one. ;).). But when in Tucson this is a worthwhile visit and one you can do multiple times.
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Public - 2 months ago
reviewed 2 months ago
Excellent coffee, on a brew basis. The hand pour is exemplary...among the best coffees in the region. The chocolate croissant included a "hefty" amt of chocolate....not the skimpy amts you'll taste with chains and a rich dark chocolate. hmmmm. The staff is very nice. The establishment is sleek, handsome and comfortable to sit in. I was lucky to get a taste of the fresh squeezed OJ. OMG. A blast of mildly sweet orange juice...perfect to start the morning. Caffe Aficionado is in a corner of Rosslyn and is open limited hours. If you are in the neighborhood down toward where the Key Bridge comes over from Georgetown give it a try. In an area with many chains the coffee, the bakery items and the OJ are truly superb.
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Public - 4 months ago
reviewed 4 months ago
Petes gets a mixture of reviews both good and bad or mediocre. I have to come down on the soso to pour side. Pizza just is not that good whether on site slices or worse is take home. It celebrates itself as a pizza place but it always been mediocre at best with average to pour pastas IMHO. Better choices elsewhere.
Food: Poor to fairDecor: GoodService: Good
Public - 9 months ago
reviewed 9 months ago
26 reviews
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Rosslyn is sort of an eating and dining black hole. The options are few, later night dining is limited, and its geography with some steep hills is sometimes daunting. For breakfast or lunch though, during the work week Ahra Cafe is a terrific find. The meals are hearty, tasty, and priced well. Somewhat centrally located at 1100 Wilson and with only indoor access and no outdoor visibility, this little cafe puts out great food. I've found the hand carved sandwiches to be terrific: turkey, roast beef, brisket, chicken....these come with an option of excellent breads, a great variety of free toppings and an absolutely great price...on top of which they are ample if not huge. One of the best value options in Rosslyn, IMHO
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Public - 2 months ago
reviewed 2 months ago
I've eaten at Me Jana over the years. Its a special place to dine. Service is professional, friendly and helpful. The on site manager/owners are very nice. But above and beyond all else Me Jana has the best, tastiest, most melt in your mouth lamb chops I've ever had. They were great a few years ago. They were great the other night. An absolutely terrific dining experience.
Public - 8 months ago
reviewed 8 months ago
Pizza is very mediocre compared to other alternatives in the area. Crust was measrably better than last time I was there but. still deficient to alternatives in immediate area. Toppings can be good. What this place features is an amazingly large diverse but not inexpensive beer and wine menu and setting is pretty. Some service is excellent some not. In sum this a place for drinks not food IMHO.
Food: Poor to fairDecor: ExcellentService: Very good
Public - 9 months ago
reviewed 9 months ago