SEO

The 1-Star Sucker-punch – Dropping the Ball on Online Reviews

Seeing stars imageAs SEOs we often have our focuses and our biases: our remit is to help improve clients’ visibility in search engines, after all.

However when working with SMEs in particular, you might be their go-to guy/girl for all their online marketing questions – not just SEO. I always try to offer help and advice on other areas if I can – such as social media and UX – but ultimately some things slip through the cracks. This post is an example where giving the client too much a focus can actually be a bad thing… They may perform one task really well, but then struggle to adjust strategy when it matters…

One of my clients has a big focus is on Local SEO: boosting the Map listing. If you Google “[keyword] [location]” keywords then oftentimes a Google Map shows up. And a big factor of that is getting positive Google reviews against the listing. We do pretty well all things considered, especially given that they’re not based in Cardiff city centre and instead operate on the edge of the city.

I did all the right stuff: I told them who was best to contact (happy clients) as well as the optimum time to contact them (just after a project had finished). I gave them an adaptable email template to use, containing info for the clients on how to leave a review and the appropriate links to the listing, etc. Over time, they hit the (ideal) minimum of five reviews and just kept going and going, eventually hitting more than ten 5-star reviews.

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It’s Taking 34 Weeks (& Counting) To Edit A Yahoo! Local Listing

Yahoo! thumbs-down imageIf you want to edit your Google My Business listing, you login (or claim access), make a change, submit it, and then it could take up to 3 days for the change to happen – but usually it’s almost instantaneous, if not within an hour or so.

If you want to edit your Yahoo! Local listing, …haha. Haha. Hahaha. HaHaHaHa. HAHAHAHA. HAHAHAHAHAHAHA! HA HA HA HA HA HA HA. Yeah, good luck with that.

In the UK it has to be done via Infoserve, and the official response is that it takes 8 weeks for a change to go through (which you find out after you’ve applied to edit a listing). That in itself is an embarrassment, so it’s pretty humiliating that – despite multiple attempts and 8-week waits – I’m still waiting for a change to go through for Computer Recruiter, my parents’ business.

14th May 2015 – I put in a request for an amendment of the listing as the postcode was incorrect, it was showing the company’s old web address, and the phone number was showing up as the fax number. An Infoserve employee (who shall remain nameless) dutifully replied informing me that it’d take 8 weeks and that it’d therefore be ready by 9th July 2015. I asked why it took so long (“8 weeks?!”) and got some nonsense reply about it being their standard process or whatnot.

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Getting Bulk PA Data for 404s with URL Profiler

I’ve been using URL Profiler on-and-off for a few months now, mainly for full-on link analysis – especially when it comes to penalty removal and disavow work. However, as I’m sure other folks have discovered, there’s a few other cheeky ways that the software can be put to good use. I found one, and after a chat with Patrick (one of URLP’s founders), I thought it’d be a good idea to throw it up as a quick blog post.

The challenge – 404orama!

I have a client who – despite only having a 1,000-page website – has over 5,000 404 (Page Not Found) errors associated with it. Over 5,000! (Pity it’s not over 9,000, otherwise I could use this. Anyhow…)

The number is so high due to a variety of reasons:

  • They’ve redesigned the site a few times in the past, which has included URL changes, but have never redirected old URLs to the new URLs,
  • A lot of random and/or duplicate URLs have been auto-generated due to a bug or two caused by their CMS system,
  • Simply due to pages being removed by the client’s internal teams (for archiving purposes) but not being redirected.

When you’re dealing with such a high quantity of 404s, it’s difficult to know where to start. My plan was to get PA (Page Authority) data on every URL, so that I could at least work through the list bit-by-bit starting with those with the most SEO value and therefore the most urgent to fix.

Enter URL Profiler. One of the many bits of data that it can grab is none other than PA. This gave me an idea…

The process

The process was dead simple. Instead of putting in a list of external URLs (as one might do when using it to conduct link analysis), I put in the whole list of 5k+ internal URLs, which was collated using a mix of Google Search Console data and a full-site Screaming Frog crawl.

I asked URLP to find PA data on all of them, let it run, and boom: PA data on 5k+ URLs. Sort from highest PA to lowest and that’s your priority order sorted.

URL Profiler results spreadsheet screenshot
The only problem? I now have the delightful task of figuring out where they should be redirected to. Hopefully chunks of them will follow patterns, and that I won’t need to run through all 5k+ individually(!), but either way – wish me luck…!

5 SEO Tips for Online Sellers – an Online Seller UK Podcast

Online Seller UK logoI recently appeared on a podcast for Online Seller UK – run by my friend Prabhat Shah – where I gave 5 SEO tips for online sellers / Ecommerce websites. I’ve previously spoken at an Online Seller Wales event (where I gave a list of link building tactics suitable for Ecommerce websites), so it was a pleasure to be asked to do a podcast as well.

You can listen to the podcast here, or below:

Here are the 5 tips (in quick bullet-point form):

  1. Get your own website (instead of only relying on a profile on eBay or Amazon),
  2. Look into implementing structured data – such as Schema.org – so that review/rating stars appear next to your listing in Google’s search results,
  3. Watch out for duplicate content issues (which can be notoriously bad for Ecommerce sites in particular),
  4. Try and write unique content and descriptions for all of your products,
  5. Get links from the websites of the brands that you sell, as many of them have Our Stockists or Where To Buy sections – I wrote about this in more detail for a recent State of Digital post.

MOM Shortlisted for 2 Awards in the UK Search Awards 2015

UK Search Awards 2015 shortlist bannerI’m delighted to announce that I’ve been shortlisted for two awards in the UK Search Awards 2015. The two categories are Best Low Budget Campaign and Best Use of Content Marketing, both of which were for my work with Computer Recruiter on their CR 25 campaign, which I’ve spoken about at BrightonSEO and for SEMrush.

CR 25 was a lot of hard work, so it’s great to get a bit of recognition for it. I’m chuffed simply to be shortlisted, but to win as well would be absolutely amazing. I guess we’ll have to see how it goes in 6 weeks’ time…!

EDIT: Thanks also to Welsh ICE for writing about it on their blog, too!