Minimum Viable SEO: If You Only Have a Few Minutes Each Week… Do This! – Whiteboard Friday

Posted by randfish

Even if you know — deep down in your heart of hearts — how important SEO is, it’s hard to prioritize when you have less than 3 hours a month to devote to it. But there’s still a way to include the bare minimum, even if you run on a tight schedule. In today’s Whiteboard Friday, Rand covers a minimum viable SEO strategy to give those with limited time a plan going forward.

http://fast.wistia.net/embed/iframe/80e6gg7jjj?videoFoam=true

http://fast.wistia.net/assets/external/E-v1.js

Minimum Viable SEO

Click on the whiteboard image above to open a high-resolution version in a new tab!

Video Transcription

Howdy, Moz fans, and welcome to another edition of Whiteboard Friday. This week, Minimum Viable SEO. So if you only have a few minutes in a month, in a week to do some SEO, and I know many of you are professional SEOs, but you work with lots of folks, like content creators, clients, web developers, who have very, very limited time, what I want to try and do is provide a path for you of “do this if you have no other time in the week to do your SEO.”

So let’s say here’s my calendar. It’s February, so 28 days. Start of the month, you have an hour to give me, sometime in the first week of the month. It doesn’t have to be, but that’s a great way to go. At the start of each week, I’m going to ask for 10 minutes just to do a little bit of planning, and then each time you publish content, a very, very small amount of time, just 3 minutes.

I know it sounds hard to believe, but you can get a fair amount of solid SEO work. Especially if you’re in an industry that is not hyper-competitive or if you’re going after the right kinds of keywords, that aren’t super competitive, you can really make a difference. If you’re building up a lot of content over months and years, just following this simple protocol can really take your SEO to the next level.

Start of the month: 1 hour

So, all right, let’s say we’re at the start of our month. We have our hour. I want you to do one of two things, and this is going to be based on if you’re technical SEO, meaning if your website is using WordPress and it’s pretty much nicely crawlable, maybe you’ve signed up for Google Search Console, you don’t see a lot of errors, there’s not a lot of issues, you haven’t created a bunch of technical data on your website in the past, great, fine, then you’re going to be focused on keywords and content. A keyword to content map, which is something we’ve discussed here on Whiteboard Friday — I’d urge you to check that video out if you haven’t yet — but I’m going to make an MVP version, a very, very small version that can help a little bit.

Keyword → content map MVP

Create a spreadsheet with valuable keywords…

That spreadsheet, I just want a spreadsheet with a few things in it, three things really. The most valuable keywords, so just the most valuable keywords that you know you’re targeting or that you care about right now for your business. You think that people are searching for these keywords. Maybe you’ve done a little bit of keyword research. It could be for free, through Google’s AdWords tool, or you could pay for something like Keyword Explorer for Moz, but, really, just 50 to 100 keywords in there.

…current rank and SERP features…

I want the current rank and whatever SERP features appear. You could even trim this down to just your current ranking and the top search SERP feature, so if it has a featured snippet, or if it has videos, or if it shows maps or news, whatever that is, tweets.

…and the URL targeting it (or a note to create content).

Then I want the URL that’s targeting it. Or if you have no URL targeting it yet, you haven’t yet created a piece of content that targets this keyword, put a little, “Okay, that’s a ‘needs to be created.’ I need this before I can start targeting this keyword and trying to rank for it.”

You’re going to update this weekly. You can do that totally manually. Fifty keywords, you can look them up in an hour. You can check the rankings. You can see where you’re going. That’s fine. It’s a little bit of a pain in the butt, but it can totally be done. Or you could use a tool, Moz Pro, Ahrefs, SEMRush, Searchmetrics. There are all sorts of tools out there that’ll track rankings and show you which features appear and whether your URLs are in there or not.

Okay, this is our keyword to content map. If you have that hour, but you know you have technical issues on the site, I’m going to urge you, before you focus on keywords and content, to make sure your technical SEO, your crawl is set. That means, step one, just a basic, simple crawl analysis. So for free, you can use Google Search Console. It will show you, most of the time with relative accuracy, big important errors like 404s and 500s and things that Google thought we’re duplicate content and that kind of stuff.

If you want to pay, you can get a little bit more advanced features and some better filters and sorting and more frequency and those kinds of things. Moz Pro is fine for that. Screaming Frog is good, OnPage.org. All of these are popular in the SEO field.

Crawl/technical SEO review

Step two, you don’t need to worry about every single crawl issue. I just want you to worry about the most severe, most important ones with your one hour. Those are things like 404s and 500s, which can really cause a lot of problems, duplicate content, where you potentially need to use a rel=canonical or a 301 redirect, broken links, where you just go in and fix the broken link to something that’s not broken, missing or bad titles, title elements that are particularly long or include misspellings or that just don’t exist, bad, very bad to have a page on the web with no title, and thin content or no crawlable content. Those are really the worst of the bunch. There’s a number more that you could take care of. But if you only have that limited time, take care of this. If you’ve already done this, then we can move on here.

Every time you publish a piece of content: 3 minutes

Finally, last thing, but not the least, every time you publish a piece of content, I’m going to ask for just three minutes of your time, and that is going to be around this minimum viable pre-publish checklist.

The minimum viable pre-publish checklist

So does the content have a keyword target? Yes, no, maybe? If it doesn’t, you’re going to need to go and refer over to your keyword content list and make sure that it does. So if you’re publishing something, I’m assuming you’re not publishing a tremendous amount of content, but a little bit. Make sure everyone has a keyword target. Make sure, if you can, that it’s targeting two to three additional keywords, related keywords. So let’s say I’m going after something like Faberge eggs. I probably also want to target Carl Faberge, or I want to target Faberge eggs museums, or I want to target Faberge eggs replicas, so these other terms and phrases that people are likely searching for that could have the same or similar keyword intent, that could live on the same page, that kind of thing.

Is that keyword in the title, the main one you’re targeting? Do you have a compelling meta description? Is your content doing a good job of truly answering the searchers’ queries? So if they’ve searched for this thing, are you serving up the content they need?

Then, have you used related topics? You can get those from places like the MozBar or MarketMuse or SEO Zone or Moz Pro. Related topics are essentially the words and phrases that you should also be using in addition to your keyword to indicate to the search engines, “Hey, this is really about this topic.” We’ve seen some nice bumps from that.

You’re doing this every time you publish content. It only takes three minutes.

Start of the week: 10 minutes

And the last thing, at the start of the week, I’m also asking you for these 10 minutes to do one or two actions. I just want you to plan one or two actions at the start of the week to bump your SEO. It could include some publication stuff. But let’s assume you’re just doing these three minutes every time you do that.

Take a few actions to boost your SEO

Link outreach and targeting keywords with content

At the start of the week, the last thing you’re doing is just choosing one of these, maybe two. I don’t need more. I want you to do something like link outreach. Reach out to a couple of high-potential targets. Maybe you use like a LinkedIn or SecTool to figure out people who are linking to two of your competitors. Or reach out to partners, to friends, do some content contributions, just a little thing to get one or two links. Or maybe create some content that’s targeting a missed keyword. When you do that, of course, you go through your pre-publish checklist.

Upgrade ranking content

Maybe you are upgrading some content that’s already ranking, like number 5 through 20. That’s where there’s a lot of opportunity for a high-value keyword to get bumped up. You could just do little things, like make sure that it’s serving all of these items, try and get it a featured snippet, identify content that might be old, that needs a refresh, that’s not serving the searcher intent as well because the information in there is old.

Contribute off-site content

Or you could try contributing some offsite content. That could be to places like YouTube, maybe you’ve seen videos show up for something, guest posts, a forum where you contribute, answers some questions on Quora, contribute something to LinkedIn or Medium, just something to get your brand, your content, and hopefully a link out there to a different audience than what’s already coming to your site.

You do these things, right, you start the month with an hour. Every time you publish content, you put in 3 minutes, and at the start of the week, you put in 10 minutes to do a couple pieces of planning, this will take you a long way. Look, SEO professionals are going to do a lot more than this, for sure. But this can be a great start, a great way to get that SEO kicked off, to have a minimum viable SEO plan.

I look forward to your thoughts. And we’ll see you again next week for another edition of Whiteboard Friday. Take care.

Video transcription by Speechpad.com

Sign up for The Moz Top 10, a semimonthly mailer updating you on the top ten hottest pieces of SEO news, tips, and rad links uncovered by the Moz team. Think of it as your exclusive digest of stuff you don’t have time to hunt down but want to read!

from Raymond Castleberry Blog http://raymondcastleberry.blogspot.com/2017/03/minimum-viable-seo-if-you-only-have-few.html
via http://raymondcastleberry.blogspot.com

​Feast Your Eyes on the MozCon 2017 Initial Agenda

Posted by ronell-smith

According to our calculations, MozCon 2017 is a mere 158,000 minutes away. (But who’s counting, right?) As you might have guessed, we’re quite excited about our latest event, in large part because we have some new tricks up our sleeves. (More on that at a later date. We promise.)

Aside from a few tweaks here and there, though, the next MozCon won’t be much different from those in years past.

That is, it’ll be unique and awesome in equal amounts.

MozCon 2017: July 17–19 in Seattle

You can still expect world-class speakers sharing original information in a one-of-a-kind, charged atmosphere. Plus great food, plenty of snacks, and conversations that’ll have your mind humming for days.

And for you last-minuters who haven’t grabbed your ticket yet, now’s the time to… um… grab that ticket you’ll be crying over if you wait too long:

Grab your tickets now

We’ve kept you waiting long enough, so take a look at some of what’s in store for you at MozCon 2017.


Emcee

Last year, we tried a format that included three emcees — Rob Ousbey, Zeph Snapp, and Ronell Smith.
The test was a success, with each doing an amazing job.

However, this year we’re returning to a single-emcee format, with Ronell Smith, a Moz Associate, taking the reins.

Ronell Smith

Ronell Smith
Strategist at RS Consulting
@ronellsmith

Ronell Smith is a content nerd who loves nothing more than seeing brands help themselves by recognizing content as more than mere words on a page.


The MozCon 2017 Agenda (Sneak Peek Edition)

With more than three months to go until the event, many of the details are still being finalized. Therefore, you should see this agenda as an appetizer for, say, a five-course meal. There’s plenty more where this came from.

For example, several speaking spots are yet to be finalized, and we’ve yet to send out the call for community speakers.

We’ll share those details in later posts.

However, we’d like to showcase our awesome lineup of speakers, many of whom will be familiar to you for the great work they do and share with the Moz community.


dawn-anderson-150x150-8516.jpg

TBD
Dawn Anderson
Move It Marketing/Manchester Metropolitan University

Dawn Anderson is an International and Technical SEO Consultant, Director of Move It Marketing, and a lecturer at Manchester Metropolitan University.


matthew-barby-150x150-37740.jpg

Up and to the Right: Growing Traffic, Conversions, & Revenue
Matthew Barby
HubSpot

So many of the case studies that document how a company has grown from 0 to X forget to mention that solutions that they found are applicable to their specific scenario and won’t work for everyone. This falls into the dangerous category of bad advice for generic problems. Instead of building up a list of other companies’ tactics, marketers need to understand how to diagnose and solve problems across their entire funnel. Illustrated with real-world examples, I’ll be talking you through the process that I take to come up with ideas that none of my competitors are thinking of.

Matt, who heads up user acquisition at HubSpot, is an award-winning blogger, startup advisor, and a lecturer.


rob-bucci-150x150-39132.jpg

Reverse-Engineering Google’s Research Into What People Want
Rob Bucci
STAT Search Analytics

The SERP is the front-end to Google’s multi-billion dollar consumer research machine. They know what searchers want. In this data-heavy talk, Rob will teach you how to uncover what Google already knows about what searchers are looking for. Using this knowledge, you can deliver the right content to the right searchers at the right time, every time.

Rob loves the challenge of staying ahead of the changes Google makes to their SERPs. When not working, you can usually find him hiking up a mountain, falling down a ski slope, or splashing around in the ocean.


stephanie-chang-150x150-5456.jpg

TBD
Stephanie Chang
Etsy

Stephanie currently leads the Global Acquisition & Retention Marketing teams at Etsy. Previously, she was a Senior Consultant at Distilled.


rand-fishkin-150x150-32915.jpg

Inside the Googling Mind: An SEO’s Guide to Winning Clicks, Hearts, & Rankings in the Years Ahead
Rand Fishkin
Founder of Moz, doer of SEO, feminist.

Searcher behavior, intent, and satisfaction are on the verge of overtaking classic SEO inputs (keywords, links, on-page, etc). In this presentation, Rand will examine the shift that behavioral signals have caused, and list the step-by-step process to build a strategy that can thrive long-term in Google’s new reality.

Rand Fishkin is the founder and former CEO of Moz, co-author of a pair of books on SEO, and co-founder of Inbound.org. Rand’s an un-save-able addict of all things content, search, and social on the web.


oli-gardner-150x150-47067.jpg

Data-Driven Design
Oli Gardner
Unbounce

Data-Driven Design (3D) is an actionable, evidence-based framework for creating websites & landing pages that will increase your leads, sales, and customers. In this session you’ll learn how to use the latest industry conversion data to inform copywriting and design decisions that impact conversions. Additionally, I’ll share a new methodology for prioritizing your marketing optimization that will show you which pages are awesome (leave them alone), which pages aren’t (massive ROI potential here), and help you develop a common language that your teams of marketers, designers, and copywriters can use to work better together to collectively increase your conversion rates.

Unbounce co-founder Oli Gardner is on a mission to rid the world of marketing mediocrity by using data-informed copywriting, design, interaction, and psychology to create a more delightful experience for marketers and customers alike


justine-jordan-150x150-39303.jpg

The Tie That Binds: Why Email is Key to Maximizing Marketing ROI
Justine Jordan
Litmus

If nailing the “omnichannel” experience (whatever that means!) is key to getting more traffic and converting more leads, what happens if we have our channel priorities out of order? Justine will show you how email — far from being an old-school afterthought — is core to hitting marketing goals, building lifetime value, and making customers happy.

Justine is obsessed with helping marketers create, test, and send better email. Named 2015 Email Marketer Thought Leader of the Year, she is strangely passionate about email marketing, hates being called a spammer, and still gets nervous when pressing send.


cindy-krum-150x150-58917.jpg

The Truth About Mobile-First Indexing
Cindy Krum
CEO and Founder at MobileMoxie, LLC

Mobile-first design has been a best practice for a while, and Google is finally about to support it with mobile-first indexing. But mobile-first design and mobile-first indexing are not the same thing. Mobile-first indexing is about cross-device accessibility of information, to help integrate digital assistants and web-enabled devices that don’t even have browsers, to achieve Google’s larger goals. Learn how mobile-first indexing will give digital marketers their first real swing at influencing Google’s new AI (Artificial Intelligence) landscape! Marketers who embrace an accurate understanding of mobile-first indexing could see a huge first-mover advantage, similar to the early days of the web, and we all need to be prepared.

Cindy Krum, the CEO and Founder of MobileMoxie, LLC, is the author of Mobile Marketing: Finding Your Customers No Matter Where They Are. She brings fresh and creative ideas to her clients, and regularly speaks at US and international digital marketing events.


joanna-lord-150x150-66788.jpg

TBD
Joanna Lord
ClassPass

Joanna Lord is the CMO of ClassPass, the world’s leading fitness membership. Prior to that she was VP of Marketing at Porch and CMO of BigDoor. She is a global keynote and digital evangelist. Joanna is a recognized thought leader in digital marketing and a startup mentor.


ian-lurie-150x150-40285.jpg

TBD
Ian Lurie
Portent, Inc.

Ian Lurie is founder, CEO, and nerdiest marketing nerd at Portent, a digital marketing agency he started in the Cretaceous era, aka 1995. Ian’s meandering career includes marketing copywriting, expert dungeon master, bike messenger-ing, and office temp worker.


dr-pete-meyers-150x150-40534.jpg

Facing the Future: 5 Simple Tactics for 5 Scary Changes
Dr. Pete Meyers
Moz

We’ve seen big changes to SEO recently, from an explosion in SERP features to RankBrain to voice search. These fundamental changes to organic search marketing can be daunting, and it’s hard to know where to get started. Dr. Pete will walk you through five big changes and five tactics for coping with those changes today.

Dr. Peter J. Meyers (aka “Dr. Pete”) is Marketing Scientist for Seattle-based Moz, where he works with the marketing and data science teams on product research and data-driven content.


britney-muller-150x150-45570.jpg

TBD
Britney Muller
Moz

Britney is a MN native who moved to Colorado to fulfill a dream of being a snowboard bum! After 50+ days on the mountain her first season, she got stir-crazy and taught herself how to program, then found her way into SEO while writing for a local realtor.


lisa-myers-150x150-33348.jpg

How to Get Big Links
Lisa Myers
Verve Search

Everyone wants links and coverage from sites such as New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and the BBC, but very few achieve it. This is how we cracked it. Over and over.

Lisa is the founder and CEO of award-winning SEO agency Verve Search and founder of Womeninsearch.net. Feminist, mother of two, and modern-day shield maiden.


tara-nicholle-nelson-150x150-39664.jpg

How to Be a Happy Marketer: Survive the Content Crisis and Drive Results by Mastering Your Customer’s Transformational Journey
Tara-Nicholle Nelson
Transformational Consumer Insights

Branded content is way up, but customer engagement with that content is plummeting. This whole scene makes it hard to get up in the morning, as a marketer. But there’s a new path beyond the epidemic of disengagement and, at the end of it, your brand and your content become regular stops along your customer’s everyday journey.

Tara-Nicholle Nelson is the CEO of Transformational Consumer Insights, the former VP of Marketing for MyFitnessPal, and author of the Transformational Consumer.


phil-nottingham-150x150-38081.jpg

Thinking Smaller: Optimizing for the New Wave of Social Video Platforms
Phil Nottingham
Wistia

SnapChat, Facebook, Twitter, Instragram, Periscope… the list goes on. All social networks are now video platforms, but it’s hard to know where to invest. In this session, Phil will be giving you all the tips and tricks for what to make, how to get your content in front of the right audiences, and how get the most value from the investment you’re making in social video.

Phil Nottingham is a strategist who believes in the power of creative video content to improve the way companies speak to their customers, and regularly speaks around the world about video strategy, SEO, and technical marketing.


tara-reed-150x150-45070.jpg

Powerful Brands Have Communities
Tara Reed
Apps Without Code

You are laser focused on user growth. Meanwhile, you’re neglecting a gold mine of existing customers who desperately want to be part of your brand’s community. Tara Reed shares how to use communities, gamification, and membership content to grow your revenue.

Tara Reed is a tech entrepreneur & marketer. After running marketing initiatives at Google, Foursquare, & Microsoft, Tara branched out to launch her own apps & startups. Today, Tara helps businesses implement cutting-edge marketing into their businesses.


wil-reynolds-150x150-33027.jpg

I’d Rather Be Thanked Than Ranked
Wil Reynolds
Seer Interactive

Ego and assumptions led me to chose the wrong keywords for my own site — yeah, me, Wil Reynolds, Mr. RCS. How did I spend three years optimizing my site and building links to finally crack the top three for six critical keywords, only to find out that I wasted all that time? However, in spite of targeting the wrong words, Seer grew the business. In this presentation, I’ll show you the mistakes I made and share with you to approaches that can help you to build content that gets you thanked.

A former teacher with a knack for advising, he’s been helping Fortune 500 companies develop SEO strategies since 1999. Today, Seer is home to over 100 employees across Philadelphia and San Diego.


purna-virji-150x150-46694.jpg

Marketing in a Conversational World: How to Get Discovered, Delight Your Customers, and Earn the Conversion
Purna Virji
Microsoft

Capturing and keeping attention is one of the hardest parts of our job today. Fact: It’s just going to get harder with the advent of new technology and conversational interfaces. In the brave new world we’re stepping into, the key questions are: How do we get discovered? How can we delight our audiences? And how can we grow revenue for our clients? Come to this session to learn how to make your marketing and advertising efforts something people are going to want to consume.

Named by PPC Hero as the #1 most influential PPC expert in the world, Purna specializes in SEM, SEO, and future search trends. She is a popular global keynote speaker and columnist, an avid traveler, aspiring top chef, and amateur knitter.


Stay tuned

Again, consider this morsel of information as simply the first of many courses to follow. In upcoming posts we’ll share details regarding after-hours activities, including MozCrawl.

Don’t forget your tickets!

Also, you didn’t hear this from us, but there may even be a few exciting, totally new changes for 2017. Mum’s the word.

We’ll be back soon.

Tell us — who are you most excited to see and hear speak this year?

Sign up for The Moz Top 10, a semimonthly mailer updating you on the top ten hottest pieces of SEO news, tips, and rad links uncovered by the Moz team. Think of it as your exclusive digest of stuff you don’t have time to hunt down but want to read!

from Raymond Castleberry Blog http://raymondcastleberry.blogspot.com/2017/03/feast-your-eyes-on-mozcon-2017-initial.html
via http://raymondcastleberry.blogspot.com

IER’s Robert Murphy Testifying Today on Federal Energy Tax Policy

WASHINGTON – IER Senior Economist Dr. Robert Murphy will testify today before the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Energy in a hearing titled, “Federal Energy Related Tax Policy and its Effects on Markets, Prices, and Consumers.” The hearing begins at 10:15 am ET and will be live-streamed on the House Energy and Commerce website.

Below is the executive summary from Murphy’s testimony:

Economists generally agree that decentralized markets, operating through private property and the profit-and-loss test, allocate resources better than top-down central planning. In the context of tax policy, this principle means that policymakers should try to raise the desired amount of revenue in a manner that distorts consumer and producer behavior as little as possible.

This principle is routinely violated when it comes to tax policy and energy markets. A recent study estimates that from 2016-2020, the federal tax code will provide artificial support through energy-specific provisions that cost the Treasury (in the form of forfeited revenues) $82.7 billion, with the renewables provisions of the Production Tax Credit and Investment Tax Credit holding the #1 and #2 spots, receiving 47.5% of the total subsidy between them.

According to the Energy Information Administration (EIA), in Fiscal Year 2013 direct federal financial interventions (a measure that includes, but is not limited to, tax expenditures) for 2 electricity production directed $5.9 billion to wind and $4.4 billion to solar, yet only $901 million for coal and $690 million for natural gas and petroleum electricity production. The difference in federal support is even more striking when adjusted for the level of output: On a per-megawatt-hour basis, in FY 2013 solar received $231 of support and wind received $35, while natural gas and petroleum received 67 cents and coal received 57 cents.

As these figures amply demonstrate, federal tax policy currently provides artificial encouragement to some sectors (such as wind and solar) at the expense of other energy sources. The popular slogan “all of the above” to characterize a sensible U.S. energy policy is defensible, if it means that policymakers will foster a level playing field. Artificially promoting the development of wind and solar actually raises the true cost of electricity generation, because it is currently much cheaper to produce electricity (all things considered) through coal and natural gas plants, rather than new wind and solar.

As these newer technologies develop, the market may gradually shift to a greater reliance upon them. However, if policymakers continue to use the tax code (as well as direct spending and regulations) to artificially promote the expansion of some energy sources, this will further distort behavior, reducing consumer welfare and in particular making the energy sector less efficient.

Click here to view his full testimony.

###

The post IER’s Robert Murphy Testifying Today on Federal Energy Tax Policy appeared first on IER.

from Raymond Castleberry Blog http://raymondcastleberry.blogspot.com/2017/03/iers-robert-murphy-testifying-today-on.html
via http://raymondcastleberry.blogspot.com

IER’s Robert Murphy Testifying Today on Federal Energy Tax Policy

WASHINGTON – IER Senior Economist Dr. Robert Murphy will testify today before the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Energy in a hearing titled, “Federal Energy Related Tax Policy and its Effects on Markets, Prices, and Consumers.” The hearing begins at 10:15 am ET and will be live-streamed on the House Energy and Commerce website.

Below is the executive summary from Murphy’s testimony:

Economists generally agree that decentralized markets, operating through private property and the profit-and-loss test, allocate resources better than top-down central planning. In the context of tax policy, this principle means that policymakers should try to raise the desired amount of revenue in a manner that distorts consumer and producer behavior as little as possible.

This principle is routinely violated when it comes to tax policy and energy markets. A recent study estimates that from 2016-2020, the federal tax code will provide artificial support through energy-specific provisions that cost the Treasury (in the form of forfeited revenues) $82.7 billion, with the renewables provisions of the Production Tax Credit and Investment Tax Credit holding the #1 and #2 spots, receiving 47.5% of the total subsidy between them.

According to the Energy Information Administration (EIA), in Fiscal Year 2013 direct federal financial interventions (a measure that includes, but is not limited to, tax expenditures) for 2 electricity production directed $5.9 billion to wind and $4.4 billion to solar, yet only $901 million for coal and $690 million for natural gas and petroleum electricity production. The difference in federal support is even more striking when adjusted for the level of output: On a per-megawatt-hour basis, in FY 2013 solar received $231 of support and wind received $35, while natural gas and petroleum received 67 cents and coal received 57 cents.

As these figures amply demonstrate, federal tax policy currently provides artificial encouragement to some sectors (such as wind and solar) at the expense of other energy sources. The popular slogan “all of the above” to characterize a sensible U.S. energy policy is defensible, if it means that policymakers will foster a level playing field. Artificially promoting the development of wind and solar actually raises the true cost of electricity generation, because it is currently much cheaper to produce electricity (all things considered) through coal and natural gas plants, rather than new wind and solar.

As these newer technologies develop, the market may gradually shift to a greater reliance upon them. However, if policymakers continue to use the tax code (as well as direct spending and regulations) to artificially promote the expansion of some energy sources, this will further distort behavior, reducing consumer welfare and in particular making the energy sector less efficient.

Click here to view his full testimony.

###

The post IER’s Robert Murphy Testifying Today on Federal Energy Tax Policy appeared first on IER.

IER’s Robert Murphy Testifying Today on Federal Energy Tax Policy

WASHINGTON – IER Senior Economist Dr. Robert Murphy will testify today before the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Energy in a hearing titled, “Federal Energy Related Tax Policy and its Effects on Markets, Prices, and Consumers.” The hearing begins at 10:15 am ET and will be live-streamed on the House Energy and Commerce website.

Below is the executive summary from Murphy’s testimony:

Economists generally agree that decentralized markets, operating through private property and the profit-and-loss test, allocate resources better than top-down central planning. In the context of tax policy, this principle means that policymakers should try to raise the desired amount of revenue in a manner that distorts consumer and producer behavior as little as possible.

This principle is routinely violated when it comes to tax policy and energy markets. A recent study estimates that from 2016-2020, the federal tax code will provide artificial support through energy-specific provisions that cost the Treasury (in the form of forfeited revenues) $82.7 billion, with the renewables provisions of the Production Tax Credit and Investment Tax Credit holding the #1 and #2 spots, receiving 47.5% of the total subsidy between them.

According to the Energy Information Administration (EIA), in Fiscal Year 2013 direct federal financial interventions (a measure that includes, but is not limited to, tax expenditures) for 2 electricity production directed $5.9 billion to wind and $4.4 billion to solar, yet only $901 million for coal and $690 million for natural gas and petroleum electricity production. The difference in federal support is even more striking when adjusted for the level of output: On a per-megawatt-hour basis, in FY 2013 solar received $231 of support and wind received $35, while natural gas and petroleum received 67 cents and coal received 57 cents.

As these figures amply demonstrate, federal tax policy currently provides artificial encouragement to some sectors (such as wind and solar) at the expense of other energy sources. The popular slogan “all of the above” to characterize a sensible U.S. energy policy is defensible, if it means that policymakers will foster a level playing field. Artificially promoting the development of wind and solar actually raises the true cost of electricity generation, because it is currently much cheaper to produce electricity (all things considered) through coal and natural gas plants, rather than new wind and solar.

As these newer technologies develop, the market may gradually shift to a greater reliance upon them. However, if policymakers continue to use the tax code (as well as direct spending and regulations) to artificially promote the expansion of some energy sources, this will further distort behavior, reducing consumer welfare and in particular making the energy sector less efficient.

Click here to view his full testimony.

###

The post IER’s Robert Murphy Testifying Today on Federal Energy Tax Policy appeared first on IER.

How to Make Sure Your Digital Marketing Strategy is Results-Driven

Posted by Alex-T

To measure, or not to measure?

When it comes to outlining potential metrics in digital marketing, I always ask myself a question: “Can I measure this?”

For the most crucial elements of your strategy, the answer will likely be yes. But digital marketing involves tons of metrics that we must track on a daily basis. The majority of the data we gather gives us a general understanding of what’s going on, yet keeps us too far away from reaching our business goals. For instance, Google Analytics alone has more than 75 standard reports and each of them can be modified, providing us with even more data. Trust me, it’s hard to stick to your goal if you delve too deep into analytics. So, yes, the struggle is real.

I’m not going to reinvent the wheel here. In this article I’ll break down the most important steps you need to take when you are at the crossroads of defining your company’s short- or long-term digital marketing objectives. What if things go south, you ask? How do I fulfill my boss’ expectations? Will I ever be able to get over a failure? OK, let’s not get overly dramatic here. Read on to learn why I believe in the power of KPIs, reasons why you shouldn’t be afraid to experiment, the importance of stepping out of your comfort zone, how to properly set up your “plan, act, measure, improve” routine, and which metrics can be deemed reliable when you work with digital marketing channels (and how to not get misguided by them).

Selecting the right goals

One question that you really don’t want to spend more than a few seconds answering is: “Was it worth it?” To ensure that the effort, time, and money you put into your marketing journey aren’t wasted, you need to have a clear vision of where you’re headed.

So how do you know which goals are right for you?

Your best bet would be to split your goals into two separate groups that are focused on:

  1. Business objectives
  2. Tracking your own internal progress

Now, let’s see what these goals are all about, and what achieving them entails.

Business goals

Bertie Charles Forbes once said, “If you don’t drive your business, you will be driven out of business.”

Steering any type of business in the right direction is never a piece of cake. And no one ever called finding a roadmap for how to get there a no-brainer.

Goals are the essence of expectations — the expectations of your boss, your clients, the CEO of your company, or anyone else whose opinion should be taken into consideration when it comes to your business strategy. Will there be any room left for a compromise? It’s up to you to decide, since these goals aren’t “one-size-fits-all.”

But what I can tell you for sure is that you have to “keep it real” and ensure that your business goals are attainable and realistic. Setting them requires determination, hard work, and perseverance. Here are a couple of handy tips for you:

  1. Do some research and find out what the major current trends in your industry are. Is your industry growing rapidly? Numbers don’t lie. Look into the matter and find the percentage of growth.
    • Use Statista.com to can learn about your general industry trends. Statista is particularly useful when it comes to digital markets.
    • Another great place to learn about industry trends is SimilarWeb. They have a solid list of industries that should give you an insight about what traffic sources are the most advantageous and why.
  2. Remember the past, live in the present, and think about the future. Gather as much historical data as possible. Historical data is vital — it helps predict the future of a company and a market.

    The results here should be delivered based on internal data gathered from Google Analytics and Google Tag Manager, with an emphasis on the number and type of transactions and information about your clients. In order for the results to be accurate, this data has to be gathered for at least a few months. It’s essential to detect a trend because you need to understand the following issues:

    • Whether your business is affected by seasonality. For instance, the B2B SaaS industry normally experiences a recession close to the middle of July, and enters a ramp-up mode at the beginning of September. But without having YOY comparison at hand, you can’t say whether it’s a trend or not. Besides that, seasonality should also be taken into serious consideration if you’re planning to grow your conversions.
    • Trends will help you identify which channels have performed better. Sometimes you can see that an overall sessions’ trend in Google Analytics is rising on a monthly basis, but it could be due to paid channels boosting your traffic flow. In this case, something could be wrong with organic traffic. Analyzing trends allows you to see how various digital marketing channels differ from one another, what tactics you need to bear in mind, and what specific aspects to focus on.

Are you looking to increase your bottom line? Willing to pump up your sales? Rome wasn’t built in a day. Think of a smaller goal that can be expanded upon rather than being apologetic at the end of the quarter. But don’t get too comfortable. Goals must challenge you. That’s how great things happen!

And whenever you’re measuring your business goals, money is the most accurate indicator. The more, the merrier. What’s the point of all the hard work you put in if it doesn’t maximize the bang for your buck?

Tracking your internal progress

Previously, I mentioned that we get bombarded by all kinds of digital marketing data flowing from various channels or tools. This data will remain fruitless unless it correlates with your business goals, but this is where Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) become highly relevant. A KPI is a measurement that demonstrates how effectively a company is achieving its key business objectives.

If you lock down the right KPIs to track, you’ll insure yourself against making uneducated marketing decisions. Each company has unique needs. So when faced with choosing your KPIs, obviously you should go for those that will assist you in reaching your business goals, not obstruct you.

Here I’d like to accentuate those KPIs that don’t assist you in accomplishing your business goals.

Based on my past experiences, here’s what I’ve come to realize:

  1. In event marketing, it’s a common practice to use the number of leads gathered during an event as an indicator of success: the more, the merrier. The problem, however, is that this metric doesn’t really speak for the sales activity. You try to score as many leads as you can, desperately scan each and every badge, including those folks at the booth nearby, so that you can impress your boss with a big number. In the end, you may have a lot of leads, but most of them are going to be useless. What’s the point in having heaps of leads if your dominant KPI is sales? You could have had only two successful sales meetings but still reach your quota.
  2. Another metric that I think email marketers shouldn’t sweat at all is keeping your unsubscribe rate as low as it could possibly be.

    It makes no sense if what you’re after here is sales. No doubt, you should keep an eye on your unsubscribe rate, but it’s not a key metric here. Users who have unsubscribed aren’t interested in your services, so get over those clients and focus on the ones who are interacting with your messages. Try to increase the amount of these users. You need less people that have accidentally subscribed to your list, and more people that will open, click, and then purchase. Simple as that!

Let’s say you want to set goals for your SEO strategy. The business goal here would be to increase your revenue streams from organic traffic. You also need to define an exact number to aim for in both the short and long term. However, in order to implement these tactics, you need to consider internal processes like:

  • Site visibility (rankings, content, backlinks)
  • On-page user behavior (bounce/exit rates, usability, session duration)
  • Technical considerations (site speed, redirects, accessibility, site structure)

These groups are generic and will almost surely be different for every site out there, depending on which processes you focus on the most. The good thing is, once determined accurately, these internal metrics should help you understand whether your business goals are attainable early in the development stage.

The power of experimentation

When it comes to any business process, you should be open to experimentation. Data can give us clues about users’ past behavior, not about how they will respond to daring future changes — that is, if your process and your number of users allows for it. There’s no point in such a trivial exercise as an A/B test if you only have 100 users on a daily basis. Luckily there are plenty of other things that you can work on, such as operating within channels that allow you to see results in a short-term perspective. And where SEO is concerned, that definitely includes analyzing traffic, so that you can see whether getting a link from a particular site was worth the trouble.

According to Jim Manzi, founder of Applied Predictive Technologies, and Stefan Thomke, a Harvard Business School professor, the process of experimentation is easier said than done, owing to a myriad of organizational and technical challenges.

The authors of the article conclude that companies need to ask themselves several crucial, yet painfully obvious questions: Does the experiment have a clear purpose? Is the experiment doable? How can we ensure reliable results? Have we gotten the most value out of the experiment?

Take a moment and think if you can answer any of these.

Plan, act, measure, improve

I see digital marketing as a combination of facts and judgement. There’s no one analytic approach that can ultimately tell you you’re on the right track, give you a pat on the back, and say, “Great job, pal! Way to go!” That’s why I feel like the atmosphere within the digital marketing industry is filled with hesitation, uncertainty, and doubt.

Some marketers think that the answer to sharpening their judgement in this perpetually changing environment is data (you don’t say!), and some companies are gearing up with intricate analytical tools.

Yet, it’s next to impossible to integrate all of this information and make it serve answers that you can trust unconditionally. We get stoked by the prospects that “big data” and advanced analytics create — no doubt about that. But data continues to be only as valuable as the expertise you’ve nurtured, and good judgment will continue to be a hallmark of the best marketers.

However, if you create a process for planning, acting, measuring, and improving right off the bat, then you’ll be able to fully accomplish your business goals.

But before you try to make it happen, I want you to consider the following:

1. Your processes should be measurable (otherwise, there’s no room for improvement).

If you want to analyze the performance of your “Buy Now” button, then you need to make sure that you have everything to do that. I prefer to work with Google Tag Manager because it allows you to add new goals and see a user’s activity without bugging your developer to update scripts and things like that. It gives you the freedom to act, and that’s exactly what you need.

Note: Don’t forget to personally verify that all triggers are working properly and that you have all stats registered in your system.

Here’s a couple of great resource to help you understand and master Google Tag Manager:

2. You’re very likely to fail at your first attempt at choosing the right metrics (which is a part of the process; no one is insured against that).

You live, you learn — whether you’re the last one to know about the latest trend, or you’re too busy struggling to get this one thing right. Whichever your case, I feel your pain and I can assure you it’s absolutely normal.

Here’s my example: For a while, I considered the number of registered users to be the main metric for my own online event (and I still rely on this metric). However, I’ve learned that I can’t fully rely on this metric since the number of subscribers doesn’t really affect the number of actual live listeners. Recorded videos aren’t very popular among my audience, either; I suspect the reason for that is because my users want to consume content right when they’re becoming my subscribed users. And because it’s free of charge, there’s not enough incentive to come back for more. Human psychology is indeed an intricate thing.

3. Either your approach needs a slight adjustment, or it has to be replaced with a completely different tactic.

I think the best example here is a social media arena where experts have their sleeves rolled up, tweeting their day away, too busy to slow down and… analyze. There, I said it! You can go ahead and hate me now.

But that’s the reality. Some well-known companies publish works that say we need to post more, especially on Twitter, if we want to increase clicks, retweets, or shares. However, if you apply a little bit of common sense and dare to doubt such research, you’ll see that there’s no correlation between the number of posts and the level of engagement or number of clicks.

With that being said, the best approach here is to concentrate on conversions, rather than impressions — a metric that can be helpful when trying to increase brand awareness, but doesn’t generate clicks or retweets. The more time you spend improving conversions, the better results you’ll have in the end.

Take a look at SocialBakers’ report, which investigates the matter of tweeting frequency:

bakers.png

In order to shed some light on an everlasting problem, SocialBakers compared the Total Engagement Rate with the Average Engagement Rate of over 11,000 tweets between May 25th and June 25th back in 2013.

One of their major findings: you must figure out how to balance things and avoid “extremes,” and that three tweets a day will keep the decline of your engagement rate away.

Putting theory into practice

Moving on, I’d like to present you with some statistics from the Digital Olympus Twitter account:

November

December

January

Tweets Per Day

3.8

15.16

4.61

Avg Impressions Per Day

3,700

5,100

4,500

Engagement Rate

0.80%

0.50%

0.80%

Clicks

158

248

241

Retweets

211

239

224

Likes

302

409

345

As you can see, in January we were able to improve our retweet/like and click activity. We experimented with different tactics. Our final goal was to get as many clicks as possible and a satisfying engagement rate. Back in December 2016, we were tweeting much more than we normally did, and it never affected our click rate. In January we decided to take it easy and started tweeting less, which was, in turn, more cost-effective. As you can see, the results were pretty good.

However, we did lose some traffic, which means we need to generate more than 4.6 tweets per day.

And as I’ve already mentioned, currently my main business metric is our number of subscribers, which has decreased slightly lately.

The graph above also tells me that even with fewer tweets, we’re still able to attract the right type of audience and to convert our registrants (in our case, the conversion is registration).

Wrap-up

Metrics aren’t always perfectly revealing. Nevertheless, the volume of data accessible nowadays should make analytics doable. In this article I offered you insight into my way of defining business goals, managing internal processes, and dealing with such prosaic activities as measuring, which should never be underestimated. Provide yourself with everything you might possibly need to measure accurately, and don’t be afraid to fail. It’s all part of the process, believe me.

We’ve learned that setting your business goals requires some legwork, like collecting historical data and researching current industry trends. And once you’re certain about your KPIs, you should always keep them on your radar because they demonstrate how fruitful your efforts are on the way to accomplishing your business objectives.

Never stop experimenting with your business ideas, set goals that will challenge you and your team, and don’t go overboard with dubious practices. In this case, less is more.

Now, off to reaching new heights, guys!

Sign up for The Moz Top 10, a semimonthly mailer updating you on the top ten hottest pieces of SEO news, tips, and rad links uncovered by the Moz team. Think of it as your exclusive digest of stuff you don’t have time to hunt down but want to read!

from Raymond Castleberry Blog http://raymondcastleberry.blogspot.com/2017/03/how-to-make-sure-your-digital-marketing.html
via http://raymondcastleberry.blogspot.com

Local SEO Spam Tactics Are Working: How You Can Fight Back

Posted by Casey_Meraz

For years, I’ve been saying that if you have a problem with spammers in local results, you can just wait it out. I mean, if Google cared about removing spam and punishing those who are regular spammers we’d see them removed fast and often, right?

While there are instances where spam has been removed, it seems these are not fast fixes, permanent fixes, or even very common. In fact, they seem few and far between. So today I’m changing my tune a bit to call more attention to the spam issues people employ that violate Google My Business terms and yet continue to win in the SERPs.

The problems are rampant and blatant. I’ve heard and seen many instances of legitimate businesses changing their names just to rank better and faster for their keywords.

Another problem is that Google is shutting down MapMaker at the end of March. Edits will still be allowed, but they’ll need to be made through Google Maps.

If Google is serious about rewarding brands in local search, they need to encourage it through their local search algorithms.

For some people, it’s gotten so bad that they’re actually suing Google. On January 13, 2017, for instance, a group of fourteen locksmiths sued Google, Yahoo, and Bing over fake spam listings, as reported by Joy Hawkins.

While some changes — like the Possum update — seemed to have a positive impact overall, root problems (such as multiple business listings) and many other issues still exist in the local search ecosystem.

And there are other technically non-spammy ways that users are also manipulating Google results. Let’s look at a couple of these examples.

It’s not all spam. Businesses are going to great lengths to stay within the GMB guidelines & manipulate results.

Let’s look at an example of a personal injury attorney in the Denver market. Recently, I came across these results when doing a search for trial attorneys:

2017-02-28_1137.png

Look at the #2 result listing, entitled “Denver Trial Lawyers.” I originally thought this was spam and wanted to report it, but I had to do my due diligence first.

To start, I needed to verify that the listing was actually spam by looking at the official business name. I pulled up their website and, to my surprise, the business name in the logo is actually “Denver Trial Lawyers.”

business name.png

This intrigued me, so I decided to see if they were using a deceptive logo to advertise the business name or if this was the actual business name.

I checked out the Colorado Secretary of State’s website and did a little digging around. After a few minutes I found the legally registered trade name through their online search portal. The formation date of this entity was 7/31/2008, so they appear to have been planning on using the name for some time.

I also reviewed their MapMaker listing history to see when this change was made and whether it reflected the trade name registration. I saw that on October 10, 2016 the business updated their MapMaker listing to reflect the new business name.

mapmaker-history.png

After all of this, I decided to take this one step further and called the business. When I did, the auto-attendant answered with “Thank you for calling Denver Trial Lawyers,” indicating that this is their legitimate business name.

I guess that, according to the Google My Business Guidelines, this can be considered OK. They state:

“Your name should reflect your business’ real-world name, as used consistently on your storefront, website, stationery, and as known to customers. Accurately representing your business name helps customers find your business online.”

But what does that mean for everyone else?

Recently, Gyi Tsakalakis also shared this beautiful screenshot on Twitter of a SERP with three businesses using their keywords in the business name:

It seems they’re becoming more and more prominent because people see they’re working.

To play devil’s advocate, there are also businesses that legitimately sport less-than-creative names, so where do you draw the line? (Note: I’ve been following some of above businesses for years; I can confirm they’ve changed their business names to include keywords).

Here’s another example

If you look closely, you’ll find more keyword- and location-stuffed business names popping up every day.

Here’s an interesting case of a business (also located in Denver) that might have been trying to take advantage of Near Me searches, as pointed out by Matt Lacuesta:

lacquesta.png

Do you think this business wanted to rank for Near Me searches in Denver? Maybe it’s just a coincidence. It’s funny, nonetheless.

How are people actively manipulating local results?

While there are many ways to manipulate a Google My Business result, today we’re going to focus on several tactics and identify the steps you can take to help fight back.

Tactic #1: Spammy business names

Probably the biggest problem in Google’s algorithm is the amount of weight they put into a business name. At a high level, it makes sense that they would treat this with a lot of authority. After all, if I’m looking for a brand name, I want to find that specific brand when I’m doing a search.

The problem is that people quickly figured out that Google gives a massive priority to businesses with keywords or locations in their business names.

In the example below, I did a search for “Fresno Personal Injury Lawyers” and was given an exact match result, as you can see in the #2 position:

fresno-.png

However, when I clicked through to the website, I found it was for a firm with a different name. In this case, they blatantly spammed their listing and have been floating by with nice rankings for quite some time.

I reported their listing a couple of times and nothing was done until I was able to escalate this. It’s important to note that the account I used to edit this listing didn’t have a lot of authority. Once an authoritative account approved my edit, it went live.

The spam listing below has the keyword and location in the business name.

We reported this listing using the process outlined below, but sadly the business owner noticed and changed it back within hours.

How can you fight back against spammy business names?

Figuring out how to fight back against people manipulating results is now your job as an SEO. In the past, some in the industry have given the acronym “SEO” a bad name due to the manipulative practices they performed. Now it’s our job to give us a better name by helping to police these issues.

Since Google MapMaker is now disappearing, you’ll need to make edits in Google Maps directly. This is also a bit of a problem, as there’s no room to leave comments for evidence.

Here are the steps you should take to report a listing with incorrect information:

  1. Make sure you’re signed into Google
  2. Locate the business on maps.google.com
  3. Once the business is located, open it up and look for the “Suggest an edit” option:

    suggest-edit.png

  4. Once you select it, you’ll be able to choose the field you want to change:
    click on what you want to edit.png
  5. Make the necessary change and then hit submit! (Don’t worry — I didn’t make the change above.)

Now, don’t expect anything to happen right away. It can take time for changes to take place. Also, the trust level of your profile seems to play a big role in how Google evaluates these changes. Getting the approval by someone with a high level of trust can make your edits go live quickly.

Make sure you check out all of these great tips from Joy Hawkins on The Ultimate Guide to Fighting Spam on Google Maps, as well.

Tactic #2: Fake business listings

Another issue that we see commonly with maps spam is fake business listings. These listings are completely false businesses that black-hat SEOs build just to rank and get more leads.

Typically we see a lot of these in the locksmith niche — it’s full of people creating fake listings. This is one of the reasons Google started doing advanced verification for locksmiths and plumbers. You can read more about that on Mike Blumenthal’s blog.

Joy Hawkins pointed out a handy tip for identifying these listings on her blog, saying:

“Many spammers who create tons of fake listings answer their phone with something generic like ‘Hello, locksmith’ or ‘Hello, service.'”

I did a quick search in Denver for a plumber and it wasn’t long before I found a listing with an exact match name. Using Joy’s tips, I called the number and it was disconnected. This seemed like an illegitimate listing to me.

Thankfully, in this case, the business wasn’t ranking highly in the search results:

2017-02-28_1254.png

When you run into these types of listings, you’ll want to take a similar approach as we did above and report the issue.

Tactic #3: Review spam

Review spam can come in many different forms. It’s clear that Google’s putting a lot of attention into reviews by adding sorting features and making stars more prominent. I think Google knows they can do a better job with their reviews overall, and I hope we see them take it a little bit more seriously.

Let’s look at a few different ways that review spam appears in search results.

Self-reviews & competitor shaming

Pretty much every business knows they need reviews, but they have trouble getting them. One way people get them is to leave them on their own business.

Recently, we saw a pretty blatant example where someone left a positive five-star review for a law firm and then five other one-star reviews for all of their competitors. You can see this below:

review-spam.png

Although it’s very unethical for these types of reviews to show up, it happens everyday. According to Google’s review and photo policies, they want to:

“Make sure that the reviews and photos on your business listing, or those that you leave at a business you’ve visited, are honest representations of the customer experience. Those that aren’t may be removed.”

While I’d say that this does violate the policies, figuring out which rule applies best is a little tricky. It appears to be a conflict of interest, as defined by Google’s review guidelines below:

"Conflict of interest: Reviews are most valuable when they are honest and unbiased. If you own or work at a place, please don’t review your own business or employer. Don’t offer or accept money, products, or services to write reviews for a business or to write negative reviews about a competitor. If you're a business owner, don't set up review stations or kiosks at your place of business just to ask for reviews written at your place of business."

In this particular case, a member of our staff, Dillon Brickhouse, reached out to Google to see what they would say.

Unfortunately, Google told Dillon that since there was no text in the review, nothing could be done. They refused to edit the review.

And, of course, this is not an isolated case. Tim Capper recently wrote an article — “Are Google My Business Guidelines & Spam Algos Working?” — in which he identified similar situations and nothing had been done.

How can you fight against review stars?

Although there will still be cases where spammy reviews are ignored until Google steps up their game, there is something you can try to remove bad reviews. In fact, Google published the exact steps on their review guidelines page here.

You can view the steps and flag a review for removal using the method below:

1. Navigate to Google Maps. 2. Search for your business using its name or address. 3. Select your business from the search results. 4. In the panel on the left, scroll to the “Review summary” section. 5. Under the average rating, click [number of] reviews. 6. Scroll to the review you’d like to flag and click the flag icon. 7. Complete the form in the window that appears and click Submit.

What can you do if the basics don’t work?

There are a ton of different ways to spam local listings. What can you do if you’ve reported the issue and nothing changes?

While edits may take up to six weeks to go live, the next step involves you getting more public about the issue. The key to the success of this approach is documentation. Take screenshots, record dates, and keep a file for each issue you’re fighting. That way you can address it head-on when you finally get the appropriate exposure.

Depending on whether or not the listing is verified, you’ll want to try posting in different forums:

Verified listings

If the listing you’re having trouble with is a verified listing, you’ll want to make a public post about it in the Google My Business Community forum. When posting, make sure to provide all corresponding evidence, screenshots, etc. to make the case very clear to the moderators. There’s a Spam and Policy section on the forum where you can do this.

Unverified listings

However, some spam listings are not verified listings. In these cases ,Joy Hawkins recommends that you engage with the Local Guides Connect Forum here.

Key takeaways

Sadly, there’s not a lot we can do outside of the basics of reporting results, but hopefully being more proactive about it and making some noise will encourage Google to take steps in the right direction.

  1. Start being more proactive about reporting listings and reviews that are ignoring the guidelines. Be sure to record the screenshots and take evidence.
  2. If the listings still aren’t being fixed after some time, escalate them to the Google My Business Community forum.
  3. Read Joy Hawkins’ post from start to finish on The Ultimate Guide to Fighting Spam in Google Maps
  4. Don’t spam local results. Seriously. It’s annoying. Continually follow and stay up-to-date on the Google My Business guidelines.
  5. Lastly, don’t think the edit you made is the final say or that it’ll stay around forever. The reality is that they could come back. During testing for this post, the listing for “Doug Allen Personal Injury Attorney Colorado Springs” came back within hours based on an owner edit.

In the future, I’m personally looking forward to seeing some major changes from Google with regards to how they rank local results and how they monitor reviews. I would love to see local penalties become as serious as manual penalties.

How do you think Google can fight this better? What are your suggestions? Let me know in the comments below.

Sign up for The Moz Top 10, a semimonthly mailer updating you on the top ten hottest pieces of SEO news, tips, and rad links uncovered by the Moz team. Think of it as your exclusive digest of stuff you don’t have time to hunt down but want to read!

from Raymond Castleberry Blog http://raymondcastleberry.blogspot.com/2017/03/local-seo-spam-tactics-are-working-how.html
via http://raymondcastleberry.blogspot.com