Monday, April 30, 2012

Duplicate Google Places Listing Replaces Outstanding Listing in Rank

My client, a BMW repair service in Greensboro, NC has seen his Google Places Listing come under attack by a some unknown person.  Just as we seemed to get that under control, a duplicate listing shows up.  As an example of how crazy some ranking turns out to be, this new listing that is unclaimed and has one review is now ranking #1 for many important key words.  The real listing, which has been in place for a very long time and has 25 reviews is now ranking on page 3 for those same terms. 

Since the client had nothing to do with the new listing being created, and because of its ranking, we're going to let it sit for a week.  Eventually we will claim it and kill it.  Then the question becomes whether the original listing will go back and occupy those slots where it used to be and the duplicates are now.  If you live in or around Greensboro and need work done on your BMW, Mercedes, or MINI, check out my client's website at

If you are dealing with a similar situation, you generally will want to follow the above directions.  Claim it and kill it.  You can just notify Google about the duplicate, but it will take longer to deal with it. 

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Marketing Consultant at Play - This Job Is Fun and Has Side Benefits

I am a marketing consultant residing in West Los Angeles, California, an easy bike ride to the beach.  I work out of my amazing 400 square foot sun room.  My "employees" are all working out of their homes, so no commercial rent to pay.  No phones, no computer network.  Envious yet??!  It gets better. 

I made the decision early on in this business, to not have a vertical client base.  Many warned me to do so.  And while 5 of my 25 clients are bike shops in places like Lexington, Ky, or Ontario, CA, I get the fun of working with a wide array of businesses.  In my current group is a New York City Acting School, a Miami, FL Criminal Attorney, a Greensboro, NC, BMW Service and Repair business, a Nail Shop in Kihei, Maui, and a Los Angeles Personal Trainer

This approach allows me to learn about many different businesses, the way they operate, and apply what I learn about the LA Personal Trainer to the Ontario, California Bike Shop.  I'm going to begin a series where I give you some insight into just how I do that.  If you want to be sure and keep up, subscribe to the blog.  We'd love to hear your comments, too.

Piano Teacher Wants West LA, Culver City, El Segundo, and Venice CA

Very frequently the calls I get have to do with expanding the territory.  Take the piano teacher that wants to have his Google Places listing showing under piano teacher West LA, piano teacher Culver City, piano Teacher El Segundo, and piano teacher, Venice.  This same caller wouldn't mind also being seen under piano teacher Mar Vista,  piano teacher Santa Monica, and piano teacher Marina Del Rey.  To complicate matters, he's also like to be under piano lessons, piano instructor, and music lessons.  Does this sound like you?

While I believe that Google Places is still the most powerful place to show up online, when it comes to multiple suburb positioning, my goal is to have SOMETHING showing on page one for each of those keywords.  It might be the Google Places listing, the website, a press release, a blog post, or a YouTube video.  I would prefer to have that something be above the fold, and the ultimate goal is to have that something be number 1 on the page. 

Remember, even the sophisticated searcher is using the "Everything" search, not to the Google Places search.

In order to get coverage for multiple suburbs, you need to redouble your efforts on all the things we talk about in this blog.  Great website with those keywords in a footer on page one and mentioned in headlines and body copy.  Lots of great citations in directories, YP's, and local search engines.  Solid, relevant back links to the primary website.   Reviews in Google Places that include a mention of the cities you want to be seen in. 

It won't hurt to mention your cities in the more details section of your Google Places listing, but I see people putting the city as part of the category description.  That is not something you want to do.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Specialty Pharmacist, TNH Pharmacy II of Los Angeles, A Huge Challange for Google Places Ranking

Anyone who tries to tell you that they will get you a page 1 listing on Google Places guaranteed has never worked on difficult keywords.  Since there are very few companies that deal in the specialty pharmacy field, I thought getting my client, TNH Pharmacy II, to a top ranking would be a cinch.

What exactly is a Specialty Pharmacy?  They deal with medications for folks with cancer, Hepatitis C, other acute care drugs, and anti rejection meds for transplant patients.  TNH Pharmacy II is actually located in Van Nuys, CA, but was interested in having a good position on Google Places for Los Angeles and other suburbs of Los Angeles.  In fact, they really wanted Orange County, Riverside County, Ventura County and more.  And again, because there isn't a huge number of companies that do this work, I thought it would be a cinch.

Six months after we began the effort, we were not really showing up, even in Van Nuys.  Then we realized that by some oversight, we had not done SEO on the website at  I never said we were perfect, only really, really good.  Do to some communication issues with hosts and other providers, we were not able to get the SEO finished right away.  So we threw quite a few citations at the situation, and were able to move them to #1 in Van Nuys and some of the suburbs of LA.  They are in the top few for most suburbs.

A variation of the keyword is Oncology Pharmacy, and they now also rank for this in many of the LA area cities and number 1 for Oncology Pharmacy Los Angeles.  We'll report back on the effect of proper SEO on the website and see if we can't move things up even more. 

Have you had similar circumstances?  Tell us your story.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Google Places Optimization and YouTube Videos -

Google Places is a Google product.  So is YouTube.  Google loves content.  So, if Google Places offers you a place to put up 5 videos as part of the content, you should use that to the max.  Is there any strong evidence that having one or more videos will improve your ranking?  Not that I know of.  However, keep in mind that the purpose of any listing is not merely to be seen, but to have someone take action.  If 1000 cars an hour drive by my retail store, but nobody comes in, I'm not a happy retailer.

Therefore, you want to create nice videos, like this one I created for a Los Angeles Personal Trainer.
Give them solid titles that help to reinforce the keywords you are working on for your business.  In this case I used Lose Weight by Knowing Good Fats from Bad Fats - LA Personal Trainer and Nutrition Expert.  Repeat the keywords in the description on YouTube and then repeat the keywords again in the Tags. 

From there, you may want to upload the video on your blog, website, or even write a press release that tells about the release of this great new video.  You can also upload the same video on other video submission sites like Vimeo or Daily Motion.  Use slightly different titles when you do this. 

You can upload videos to Google Places from other submission sites, but why would you?  Google seems to go out of their way not to favor their own products, but YouTube gets about 90% of all video traffic in the world.  I'd use them for every video you do.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Los Angeles Personal Trainer Proves How Hard Google Places Ranking Can Be

How do I say this gently.  Some SEM companies don't give you the whole truth and nothing but the truth.  They "guarantee" page 1 or number one ranking for Google Places, but when you read the small print, they are talking about 4 top rankings out of 20 keywords/city combinations, and they get to pick 10 of those. Anybody can or should be able to do that.

But let's take the case of my client who is undoubtedly the best personal trainer in Los Angeles.  She is located in the very posh neighborhood of Brentwood, CA.  To make matters more interesting Brentwood is a "village" in Los Angeles, and there is an incorporated city of Brentwood in Northern California.   Brentwood in West Los Angeles is right next to Santa Monica.  My client wants to rank in Brentwood, Santa Monica, West LA, and Los Angeles. 

Personal Trainer in any West Los Angeles city or neighborhood village is very competitive, so we are starting out with a tough challenge.  A quick check of Google's keyword tool and we find that there are some nice long tail variations that might be easier than the crown jewel Personal Trainer in Los Angeles or Los Angeles Personal Trainer:  personal fitness trainer, fitness instructor and others. 

Now you combine the core five top keywords with the core five cities for a total of top targets.  You may be able to guess the outcome of a decent campaign.  Keywords 3, 4 and 5 in cities 3, 4 & 5 in priority are ranked on page one.  I would have passed the guarantee test with 7 out of 25 being highly ranked. 

We did have page 1 ranking for her top choices until the Venice or Panda two changes.  We have fantastic content on her website, but obviously our back link effort was getting her the extra oomph she needed.  We are in the process of climbing back into position.  The honest truth that some won't tell you.  It can take a year to get the top ranking in a competitive Google Places keyword situation.  And then you have to fight to maintain it. 

Monday, April 2, 2012

Los Angeles Life Insurance Agent Not Counting on Google Places Only

We would not devote so much of our time at Randy Kirk & Associates to the issue of Google Places if we did not believe it is the killer spot for you to show up online.  However, we never count on a Google Places only strategy.  In fact, quite the opposite.  Our theory is an all of the above approach.  We use every possible online medium to insure that our clients get found on page 1 above the fold as many times as possible for every short and long tail key word they care about.  Our Los Angeles Life Insurance Agent client is no exception.  We just completed 11 YouTube videos for him.  Each of those videos has a distinct title, great description, and lots of tags.

In all honesty, we don't care if all 11 of those become huge hits.  We are certainly intending them to become successful, but we would be happy if one of them creates two clients a month.  For a life insurance agent each client may be worth $1000's per year for many years into the future.  Plus each client may refer friends, neighbors, coworkers, or even be a business owner themselves with employees who need insurance.

If you really want to be found online, don't rely on Google Places Only.  What approaches to the internet are you using to get found that could help others who read this blog?

Here is an example of one of our videos produced for the Los Angeles Life Insurance Agent