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Can You Still Rank On Page 1 For National Keywords?

Many website owners have seen a huge drop in website traffic for their main keywords. This was due to the Venice update back in February 2012 where Google distinguishes the users IP address on their search query and delivers results of local websites. This update has angered many website owners as they have worked hard, for many years, to rank their website for competitive national searches. Due to the Venice update their websites are pushed way back onto page 2 or 3 to make way for local websites who spend very little, or no, time optimizing their sites.

So What Does This Tell Us?

There are 1000’s of articles on the web saying that SEO is dead. This Venice update is one of many reasons these articles were written. Here is an example of the Venice Update in effect:


Not so long ago if a user searched for a keyword, in this example we will use ‘SEO’, Google would display search results from websites who put the effort in to rank high for that keyword. Today, as you can see from the above screenshot, websites that are local to the searchers locations display first.

What’s The Reason For This Update?

Google released the Venice Update to give users the best set of results possible. Obviously displaying websites that are within a few miles of the searcher is perfect for the user. They would want to deal with a company local to them rather then on the other side of the country. From a users perspective this update is ideal.

From a website owners perspective, this is a terrible update! The Venice update cost a high volume of companies 100,000+ visitors every month. This resulted in a huge loss of revenue and many companies would of gone out of business. 73% of businesses today solely rely on revenue from their website so this update was a huge blow to many companies.

Does This Mean SEO Is Dead?

To sum this question up, no! SEO is not dead, it has simply evolved. When anything grows bigger and bigger over time it evolves, this is what’s happened with SEO due to Google evolving and expanding for user demand.

The term SEO, or search engine optimization, used to cover a small amount of methods for achieving website traffic. Just to quickly go over them; Link Building, Onsite SEO and Social Media. Today there are too many methods to fall under the SEO branch. How I see ‘SEO’ today is only one factor; Onsite SEO, if you break down what search engine optimization actually means, its only ensuring your web pages are fully optimized to Google’s latest standards. `Everything now falls under Internet Marketing such as; Onsite SEO (or SEO), Social Media, Link Building, Blogging, Paid Advertising, Brand Awareness and a few other methods.

But simply, SEO is not dead, it has had a change of name.

How To Combat The Venice Update?

Website owners still want to gain traffic from their old keywords they were receiving high volumes of traffic from, but how? You have 2 options today to get your traffic back from these websites.

Paid Advertising: Due to the Venice update, local websites will always perform higher on Google. Google AdWords is one of the options you have to get the traffic back from your keywords.

Long Tail Keywords: Research alternative long tail keywords and perform searches on Google to see if local searches are dominating these keywords. If not, start optimizing your website for these keywords. This way you will start gaining valuable search engine traffic back to your site.

By Kev Massey. I am the Sales Director of SixtyMarketing and love getting into the nitty gritty search data to improve website owners traffic. Please follow us on Facebook to view more helpful onsite SEO tips.

Developing Websites To Rent Them Out

Flipping websites is a common and popular practice, but you can make more money in the long term by renting websites out, instead of getting a one-time payment for them.

This technique only works in a few niches; one in particular is the local business niche. Many local businesses are still in the dinosaur age and this means one thing: It’s time to cash up on local businesses that have no Internet presence whatsoever or a very weak one if that.

One reason local Internet business marketing can be so lucrative is that while the keywords have low search volume, they are still worth an enormous amount of money to the right people, and they also tend to have weak competition. City-service keywords are some of the most unique type of keyword phrases in terms of SEO and ROI on the planet and cashing up on them all starts with owning the exact match domain name.

How to GamePlan Your Strategy

Getting into the local business market fast is all about owning the right domain names to begin with. The “May Day” Google algorithm update of about a year ago – hit people banking on exact match domain names pretty hard. But exact match domain names are still very effective in the local business niche because competition for the keywords is very low, and thus the exact match still holds a lot of weight in the Google algorithm.

Rural Regions vs Large Metropolitan Areas.

Keyword research is absolutely crucial for choosing your domain names.

You don’t want to choose a keyword that has no search volume – and that is the exact problem with areas low in population. The search volume is so low that it not measurable, thus it is a good idea to use this strategy is highly populated metropolitan areas only.

The problem with large metropolitan areas, on the other hand, is that in the last two years, a large percentage of exact match domains have been registered – so you can’t get a hold of one unless you pay a premium on the aftermarket. However, if you find the right niche (HINT: Dumpster Rental is one good one still available widely across America) you will be able to cash up.

Side Note: There is a workaround for keyword research in low populated areas: use Google AdWords.

Create A Funnel of Web Sites

A funnel is when you create multiple websites aimed at targeting multiple different keyword phrases that all funnel people to dialing up the same number and reaching the same company.

You want to take this strategy to the large metropolitan areas. The reason is that in many large metropolitan areas there are suburbs whose keyword data is measurable. Your goal should be to make 3-15 different websites that have exact match city/service domain names. Example: “Miami Bankprutcy Trustee” and its suburb “Grapeland Heights Bankruptcy Trustee.”

Finding Clients and How to Charge

Finding a client(s) will be the toughest part of the whole procedure. The best place to start is with friends, family, or friends of the family. If no one you know owns any sort of local business then it’s time to start cold calling or further networking within the area. The good part about not having a client right away however is that it will give you time to work on the SEO for your websites so that you can establish rankings and have something to show them when you pitch.

Another good idea is to get a phone number up and running on the website. is a pretty cheap way to get an (800) number up very quickly of which you can forward to any number you like (they provide numbers for around $5 a month).

It will automatically keep track of all your calls and how much time each conversation lasted and from who it was from. This is valuable information, especially when you are trying to make a sale. Any local business will tell you that there main goal is to get somebody one the phone – and if you can do that for them then you will have done your job in the marketing department. Some local businesses even have it down to how much money it is worth every single time the phone rings.

What you go about charging will depend on a lot of different things. You’ll need to price each niche differently mainly because a potential client is worth different amounts of money depending on what business you’re in. The higher amount of money a potential client is worth – the more likely that you will be able to charge that company on a monthly or annual rate.

The less a potential client is worth – the more likely you will have to charge your clients per lead. Although this is more frequently the case, each situation is different and you might be [doing the opposite:] charging a dentist per lead while you charge a dumpster rental company on a monthly or annual type deal.

When you design them you want to make sure that you use the triangle theory as part of your design. What do I mean by that?

The triangle theory was a study that Google did back in 2005 that shows that the first thing that a person looks at when entering a website is the top left corner, and that their eyes scope it in the shape of a triangle. You want to make sure that you get a logo, phone number, and any free estimate form you have in that triangle.

Side Note: Once you find a client that wants to run with you, this is when you will be plugging the logo and phone number in. A good way to do this is to order a number from and redirect it to the company. That way you can see just how many leads you are generating them – which is essential if you are going to charge by lead.

While your off-site SEO like link building and social networking won’t be as important (exact domain name helps that a lot in this niche) your on-site SEO must be flawless. You really want to stress proper placement of keywords. Your link building will consist of 10-50 links obtained through quality paid link directories or some sort of contextual links.

You should begin to see these sites ranking within 3 months given that you chose some quality keyword phrases. After that it’s on you to go out there and get clients!

This article was written by Anthony Benedict. Anthony helps to run and maintain This website is an entity of an Internet marketing company which provides many services, which includes a white label link building service as well as many other services that you may get a SEO Quote on at any time.

Daily Deals Don’t Deliver – Yet

Excellent criticism of daily deals on TechCrunch

The question is – how do local companies go about (more…)

Google Talks Mobile, Local and CPA At Goldman Sachs Con

Here are my notes on the interesting points in Google’s presentation to Goldman Sachs’ Tech and Internet Conference. It’s noteworthy not just for seeing the trends in where they’re going, but for the principles that govern their thinking and the way they want to be perceived.

1) Google saw Japanese users paying relatively less attention to ads vs organics results. They moved the Roman characters to a third line so it interfered less with the appearance of the Kanji script (Japanese lettering). This resulted in users paying more attention, clicking more and raising revenue. This was a “better user experience.”

Naturally, the following question was regarding the line between user experience vs revenue. Specifically, charges that Google makes the background too light and indistinguishable such that people don’t realize they’re ads.

Answer: They’ve run tests and picked particular colors for the sake of making it sufficiently obvious, e.g. for users of a particular Mac laptop. (Around 6:30 – 8:00 minutes in.) Thought: Are they serving different style sheets according to device? Hmmm … sounds quite similar to things I’ve shared in my book regarding dynamic navigation on lead gen sites.

- The interviewer asked whether it’s the case whether intermediaries and destinations are now going to be competing for placement – takes some cojones to not just throw softballs :). The downside is that he doesn’t follow up and challenge any of the spokesperson’s comments but just accepts whatever is said. Not clear if he’s being too polite or is not sufficiently informed or if he feels the answers are satisfactory.

Google Places

“The focus is just on providing the best experience to the user,” “a place where they can find all the information they need on the business,” including reviews. “If that’s not the business’ site [responding here to complaints about displacing the organic listing for the business' site], then “that’s just the way it is.”

- But Google places ties into the ability to just click through and book a room, for instance…
- Google’s providing the opportunity to go to “OTAs” (online travel agencies? slang for booking sites a la Expedia I guess?) as well as the original site. Good for user experience [and for the auction's bids]. “We’re very clearly not doing the booking on Google itself, not entering into fullfillment.” [At least, until you fully integrate ITA Software and run a Google Comparison Ads type CPA auction? (G Comparison Ads are financial price-comparison ads that allow people to compare interest rates on mortgages etc.]


- Don’t shrink a desktop experience onto a mobile – design for the mobile experience itself.
- There are some points where mobile is outright better than desktop – knowing where you are, having a speaker/mic, GPS integrated, etc.

- Names two areas where click-to-call monetizes well on mobile: home insurance and home security and alarm systems…

- They’re not too excited about adding lots of salespeople for local, but prefer simplifying the ad product to get more SMBs on board.


He’s very bullish. Wants to get product inventories and companies’ CPA bids to match against their search inventory. Strategy has been to go after the top 500 retailers in the US and to grow that way.

- What about using flashier ads, essentially taking the integration of product ads’ images a step further?

- They tested banners in China and that worked very poorly. Their preference/paradigm is to include the relevant info on a page – be it pics, pricing, merchant reviews, product reviews etc.

- The ultimate goal is that they can have both higher CPAs as well as more transactions in absolute numbers going on – they can show the products that are most likely to convert. [I read this as Google's going to optimize AdWords to show ads from higher converting advertisers, further squeezing the fat out of the ecosystem - e.g. of dumb advertisers with deep pockets and low conversion rates.]

- Google Checkout is not something they’re forcing on companies who want to use Google CPA. [Of course not, they're just incentivizing it with notably higher CTRs. They can't openly say that they want to integrate this closely because that would get them in hot antitrust waters.]

Protected: Will The SuperGuarantee Save IYPs?

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Local Search Tips From Israel’s Experts – Deadblogging SphinnCon

1) Interesting fact: You can get 1 listing per practitioner (defined by separate phone numbers) and 1 per office, according to Google’s TOS.

How about getting your restaurants multiple lines for each chef? Or as suggested at the show, for each librarian in your book store ;). (more…)

Ranking for Head Keywords by Optimizing for Local Search

This is a guest post by Brian Patterson, an SEO and Online Reputation Management expert at You can follow Brian on the Twitter at @brianspatterson.

Many businesses may be confused or worried with all of the changes that have been happening in Google’s local SERPs lately.  Google literally turned local search on its head about two months ago, and as the dust settles, many of the long-term effects are becoming clear.  One specific change which I’d like to cover here has many of our clients filled with pride, and has helped us close some new local SEO client deals. (more…)

3 Beautiful Examples Of Advanced SEO Thinking

Beautiful as in, a beautiful mind.

1. & 2. The good gents at Ontolo do it again. Their tools keep expanding, and one of their latest is based on co-citation analysis of phone numbers. Based on that initial idea, they’ve developped the first local citation finder. Genius!

3. Darren Slatten, aka the World’s Greatest SEO, has some fascinating snippet experiments to share.

In fact, he seems to be running one right now, as you can see from this remarkable snippet screenshot (his current listing in Google).

SEOMofo 5 line SERP listing snippet

Also check out his cool snippet optimizer tool!

If you like these advanced SEO ideas, you’ll probably enjoy my advanced SEO book. Preorder it now! Or get a free chapter if you haven’t already.

Your company on Google Maps!

This is a guest post by Jonathan Villiard. You can find him at his SEO website and at his Funny Blog.

Yeah, OK, so Gabriel knows about local SEO, cool. But he does not know all there is to know, since he never gave you the following advice! (more…)

30 Second Tip For Phone Number Integrity In Local SEO Listings

Reading the curiosity-arousing article on SEL, “The Phone, Calling,” I noticed that the use and presence of call tracking numbers, toll-free numbers and other non-main-line phone numbers could cause trouble for search engines.

“First, these numbers throw a monkey wrench in business identification. Second, they could expire, inadvertently creating a dead-end for a consumer. Publishers today struggle with how to accurately identify an actual business when many phone numbers are involved.”

The easiest solution, imho, is (more…)

The Radically Changing Local Search Landscape

(A guest post…) Local search is a chance for businesses to connect with their community and gain local prospects. As the foundations of local search remain vital- things such as local listings, local on-page SEO factors, etc.- new developments are beginning to emerge as many of the biggest players online – i.e. Twitter, Facebook, and Foursquare – are now designing plans that will have a significant impact on local search. (more…)

Montreal PotHole Map Mashup In Google’s New K-Pack

I spent all day Sunday with a buddy driving around Montreal’s most popular streets, photographing the city’s potholes and locations. Now, I’m combining that information with Google Maps, and particularly the K-Pack, in order to show Montrealers a map of the city’s potholes. Here’s what Google Maps K-packs normally look like (courtesy of Google LatLong).


Miriam Ellis’ HyperLocal Blogging Tips: A Home Run!

Noticed this through Sphinn, and I have to say, Miriam Ellis of Solas Web Design has really hit a home run with her recent (more…)

Two Videos: On Buying Sites and SEOmoz’s Give It Up

Have a look – yours truly is in a Web Pro News video on buying sites, and at SEOmoz’s Whiteboard Friday, where I shared some local search stuff!

Maps Guide Jen Suggested How to Demerge Listings; I’ve Just Been a Lazy Ass

Ok, I’ve actually been to SMX Advanced, where I spoke, celebrated my 21st birthday, during which I devoured delicious homemade cake (thanks mom!), been helping Jewelry fix their SEO issues, which meant auditing and now planning implementation, and handling other stuff too besides!

After regaling you all with the wonderfully exciting tale of what I’ve been up to for the past week and change, I feel I should also clarify that Google maps guide Jen has suggested a solution (more…)

Wrecking Local SEO 201 – Do External Links Cause Merged Reviews?

It’s no secret that this auberge de jeunesse in Montreal, the Auberge de Paris (I realize the name is unusual), is a client of mine. For a while now they’ve had issues with their reviews being merged with their sister downtown Montreal hotel‘s reviews.

The problem is that (more…)

Protected: TuPack-Rank: Google’s K-Pack Clusters Are Replacing The Centroid

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Post #88 – Scratchpad

ScratchpadFormal writing is really frustrating because it requires you to dress up simple ideas in complete sentences, edit your work for grammar and spend an unholy amount of time writing what it would take you a few minutes to express verbally. When you come up with new ideas or discover new stuff as often as I do, that can get really frustrating.

So I’m hereby inaugurating what I hope will be a regular column here: Scratchpad (scratchpad picture courtesy of one eye fish). I’ll share my latest ideas, in a raw scratchpad type format and be paying even more attention than usual to your feedback. (The Post #88 reference was the pre-naming version of this post’s title and I found it quite appropriate to an informal column.)

For this first issue, I’ve got

  1. New uses for Google’s Keyword Tool External,
  2. Mined ideas from Google’s Press Days 06 and 07,
  3. Revelations of what the PPC arbitrageurs (more…)

Google Maps Folds Google Earth Booking Engine, Reviews, Own Pics Directly Into SERPs + A Big List of Hotel Review Sites

Google Maps has been doing a lot of testing and playing with its search engine results pages (SERPs) lately. I’ve seen the EarthBooker hotel booking engine tightly integrated with many hotels. At the same time, when I performed a longtail search for a hotel to stay at during the SMX West conference, I found some reviews (or other stuff Google seems to find relevant) folded directly into the SERPs (you used to have to click more info to see the reviews). And there’s also pictures being folded in from Google’s (more…)

This 20 Year Old Pisher Speaking at SMX West; Are You Going?

Search Marketing Expo (SMX) West Speaker badgeVanessa Fox and the team at Third Door Media have given me an incredible opportunity – the opportunity to speak at SMX. Following Danny’s great explanation of what they were looking for in terms of pitches, I thought about my experience and what I could share with attendees. I pitched some ideas for local and voila – I’m in for the local panel :D ! So Third Door: Thanks a lot for taking a chance on me. I can’t predict the reception, but I can promise you I’ll be working like mad to make that presentation worth it for your attendees.

I highly encourage you guys to grab the early-bird special before it expires – you save $400!  It’s THE search marketing conference, and besides, I’ll be there ;). (more…)