Our firm had personal run-ins around March with fraudulent companies approaching us and our clients.
As a result we wrote a blog post explaining how to determine the legitimacy of these firms. We also recorded the call from one of these firms to increase awareness of these disturbing organizations.
Google Places Guidelines Update: Google recently announced a vital new change to their “Google Places Quality Guidelines”.
This change effects service based businesses who service customers at a location other than their main business address.
The change to the guidelines states this:
If you don’t receive customers at your location, you must select the “Do not show my business address on my Maps listing” option
within your dashboard. If you don’t hide your address, your listing may be removed from Google Maps.
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As a follow up to our last blog “Beware of what internet companies you hire” we have an audio clip of exactly what types of pitches you should look out for.
*Please note that the Name & Phone Number have been removed for Privacy Reasons*
We have recently been experiencing an influx of companies contacting our clients offering them services to “improve” their search rankings. Offering gimmicks, setting false expectations and sometimes even posing to be working for Google. Our goal is to educate you on the dangers of companies like this, and offer you some guidelines to follow when hiring a company to help your online presence.
The #1 rule to follow: before hiring any company or individual who wants to you to help improve your rankings – speak to your current internet marketing team. No matter whether you think that what you are already doing won’t be effected by what you hire this new company to do, discuss it with your current partners. The internet can be a tricky place, it’s always best to discuss these things with people in the industry.
What steps can you take if you don’t already have a company working for you? There are plenty, we recommend you do all of the following before signing up for any services. (yes, even if they are FREE…actually, ESPECIALLY if they are free)
- Go to the Source: Go to the company’s website and look around. Be sure to read testimonials and get a general feel for the site. Chances are if they use a template for their own website, that’s what you will be getting too.
- Research: Search for their Google Place page ratings, as well as their general Google rankings. Read the reviews that are posted and check around to other sites as well (to name a few: BBB, Yelp, Yellow Pages, Angie’s List). And remember – if they can’t handle their own reputation, they certainly won’t take good care of your reputation.
- Ask for references: We cannot stress this enough. Any good business can give you at least 3 solid references. And don’t just ask for the references – CALL THEM!
- Stay in Control: Make sure that you will be given access to all accounts created for you at all times. Never let another company ‘Own’ your accounts and passwords. You need to stay in control, these accounts belong to you.
- Ask Questions: Google offers a specific set of guidelines for advertising to prevent spamming. Be sure to ask the question “Do you follow Google Guidelines?” and educate yourself on a few, so you can make sure they are telling the truth. Here are a few examples, make sure the answer you get for all of them is a resounding “NO”.
The biggest claim that you need to beware of is when someone offers you a guaranteed ranking on Google, this is the biggest red flag of them all. Google itself offers you a quote to help you weed out the good companies from the bad:
Nobody, and that means nobody can guarantee you a #1 ranking on Google.
What are the repercussions of signing with one of these companies?
There can be a number of issues that can arise from using the wrong company. Here is a short list of a few things that could happen (Source: Experiences of our Clients)
- The company could create multiple business listings, which will get you great rankings at first, but then Google will mark you as ‘Spam’ and all of your listings will be taken down.
- Create a landing page for you that you have no control over or access to, that they host on their own server. (Which means if you terminate your service they take your page down-potentially leaving you with an error page or a ‘site no longer exists’ landing page)
- If you cancel your account and you do not hold the control of your accounts, the company could sell your listings to a competitor.
What is the bottom line? It’s simple. Ask questions and educate yourself. Stick with your instincts – and always remember, if it sounds too good to be true- it probably is. If you still aren’t sure, then give PinPoint Local a call, we will be happy to provide you with guidance and answer any of your questions!
Read All About It! PinPoint Local is outraged at the negative effect that Google’s Panda changes have had on the beloved endangered species: the Giant Panda. Google’s most recent update to its search ranking algorithm was released just one year ago. It was designed to reduce the number of low quality (i.e., content farms) sites online by decreasing the bad websites overall Page Rank. But page rankings haven’t been the only thing affected by these updates, nobody thought about the poor Pandas out there. Maybe they didn’t want to have an algorithm named after them; did anyone ask them about it? We know that Google claims that the name was derived from name of the engineer who designed the algorithm, Navneet Panda, but that doesn’t change the fact that the Panda remains one of the most popular animals. Maybe it’s a coincidence, or maybe it was planned…we may never know. In an effort to help spread awareness, PinPoint Local decided to team up with the World Wildlife Fund to adopt our very own Giant Panda, and we are calling on all other SEO Companies to do the same!
Let the algorithm to affect the search results, but keep the pandas out of it! Adopt a Panda today to show your Support!
Of course, we here at PinPoint Local are avid supporters of the new Google Algorithm and the positive changes that it has made on search results, and the active efforts that Google makes to reduce spamming sites and content farms on the web. We are fully aware that Google’s use of the name ‘Panda’ in no way affects the safety or lives of pandas. But what is harming the pandas is the loss of their natural habitat and their main food source, bamboo. This article is simply designed to educate you about the Panda Algorithm as well as the seriousness of the endangered Giant Pandas, and we aim to raise awareness of both issues. We urge you to join our efforts and adopt a panda and help save this species from extinction.
World Wildlife Fund: http://www.worldwildlife.org/gift-center/gifts/Species-Adoptions/Panda.aspx
Google’s Blog Post about the Panda Algorithm: http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2011/02/finding-more-high-quality-sites-in.html
We recently had a meeting with a franchisee who wanted to know why she saw one Google search result, and her franchise owner saw something completely different. This is a common question, so we have decided to put together this article to help explain why search results differ from one computer to another.
The most important factor is whether you are logged in to your Google account. Google has been focusing on personalizing search results, with “Search Plus Your World” and Google Ad Preferences. These new changes mean that Google is constantly trying to show you results that are relevant to your interests, your search history, age, and gender. These features change what search results display for each user. Learn more about Google’s Ad Preferences here.
If you are not logged in, there are still other factors that can affect your search results. Your browser cookies affect your Google search results as well. Google uses the data stored in your browser history to determine your search history to give you relevant search results.
The other major factor that affects search results is your current location. Google uses your IP address to determine where you are located. This gives Google the opportunity to show you locally relative search results. For example, there are countless Pizza Restaurants and Chains, if you live in New York City and do a Google search for Pizza Restaurants, chances are you are looking for a Pizza Restaurant nearby, not one that is located in Southern California.
In short, Google is strongly enforcing a personalized approach to search results; it is a great tactic for advertisers so that they are able to reach a more engaging audience. They are also making it easier for users to find locations that are close to home. However it does have an effect on being able to duplicate search results across multiple machines.
So what steps can you take to achieve the same search results on two separate machines?
- Make sure neither computer is logged in to a Google account (nor any other Google linked account, like YouTube or Blogger)
- Clear the browsing history on both machines (you should also both use the same browser if possible)
- Change the location on both computers to match each other.
Google’s Ad Preferences Explained: http://blog.pinpointlocal.com/?p=64
How to change your location: http://support.google.com/websearch/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=179386