Rebranding your business for fun and profit in Maps

After mucking around in the bowels of local search marketing for laywers in LA, I had an interesting interchange with Miriam Ellis of SEOigloo. 

Me: But what client in their right mind would choose a lawyer based on the search “LA Dog Bite Attorney”? It seems to cater to the underclasses.

Miriam: Somehow, it reminds me of those eBay adwords plugs “Buy New & Used Dog At EBay”. The artifice of crummy and weird SEO at work.

Her comment struck a chord for me and led me through a whole mind experiment (over the next 3 minutes) wondering just how far “weird SEO” might go…

And where else to look? Los Angeles of course.

My (somewhat twisted) cogs started turning out possible search phrases. Cut Rate Surgery? No too cliche. Breast Enlargement? Hmm I was getting warm  there. My search soon proved fruitful. On just my third try I hit pay dirt as it were: Beverly Hills Breast Augmentation:
Search Optimization Breast Augmentation

So I asked myself the obvious question: What business in their right mind would rebrand themselves Breast Augmentation? Well never underestimate the possibilities when you combine the thought process of someone from LA with the power of Google.

Apparently a lot of businesses would:

Map Search: Beverly Hills Breast Augmentation:

Businesses named breast augmentation

Heck there were at least two pages of them in Maps and a number of the listings even had coupons:

8500 Wilshire Boulevard, Suite 1020, Beverly Hills, CA  
(310) 360-0504

I haven’t had time to look for spam yet. But a cursory glance indicated that it was at least as prevalent as in the legal industry. One just has to wonder: Just what is in the water in LA?

I am now officially accepting submissions for the most outrageous Local OneBox “rebranding”. Send them along and I will publish a gallery of the most inventive.

Contest notes. The following mapspam er…rebranding efforts are not eligible for the “best of the rebranding” gallery:

 

A
8500 Wilshire Blvd # 1020, Beverly Hills, CA
(310) 360-0504‎ - 1 review - 0.1 mi NE    

Coupons »

B
8500 Wilshire Blvd, Suite 1020, Beverly Hills, CA
(310) 360-0504‎ - 1 review - 0.1 mi N    

Coupons »

C
Teeth Whitening‎ - more info »    

8500 Wilshire Blvd, Suite 1020, Beverly Hills, CA
(310) 360-0504‎ - 0.1 mi N    

Coupons »

D
Breast Implants‎ - more info »    

8500 Wilshire Boulevard, Suite 1020, Beverly Hills, CA
(310) 360-0504‎ - 0.1 mi N    

Coupons »

E
8500 Wilshire Blvd, Suite 1020, Beverly Hills, CA
(310) 360-0504‎ - 0.1 mi N    

Coupons »

F
Rhinoplasty‎ - more info »    

8500 Wilshire Blvd, Suite 1020, Beverly Hills, CA
(310) 360-6246‎ - 0.1 mi N    

Coupons »

Please consider leaving a comment as your input will help me (& everyone else) better understand and learn about local.
Rebranding your business for fun and profit in Maps by

14 thoughts on “Rebranding your business for fun and profit in Maps”

  1. It’s not quite the same thing, but why does ‘San Francisco Get Rid of Acne’ bring up an entry for learning to Salsa Dance?

    Must be some new remedy I’ve never heard of.

    Hmm
    Miriam

  2. From what I’ve been seeing in my review of the SERPs a lot of this “Rebranding” is getting rolled up.

    In other words, where one might have the authoritative position for a short while for “re branded” phrases they are being consolidated where only one or two search phrases will still maintain that authoritative nature. In some cases they go to a 3-pack or 10-pack and in others the map disappears altogether.

    What I’ve been seeing (actually in this industry / geography) is that many searches which were showing authoritative one-boxes are now showing un-blended results with no map at all.

    My presumption has been that once you get to two or 3 pages of mapspam that the maps team is just hand-editing and saying “there’s nothing authoritatively relevant here”.

    There was a point in time where any “procedure” “location” e.g. http://www.google.com/search?q=tummy+tuck+los+angeles&pws=0 would return an authoritative (rebranded) one-box or multiple rebrandings in a 10 pack much like “Dog Bite Lawyer”.

    I agree in outcome if not in premise. I don’t know about underclass, but I’ve always thought that the lack of real information in the maps result (auth. one-box, 3 pack, 10 pack or whatever) isn’t really helping unless it’s a “White Pages” search.

    In other words I know who I want now I just need the number.

    For me the “description” as evidenced in the organic search results and even the ad copy in PPC offer much more buying information than “business name”, web address, phone number.

    Mike, do me a favor and pick a different industry to highlight :)

  3. Will

    Certainly these polluted listings affect your ability to perform the classic “recovery search” to get just the phone number.

    BUt I am assuming in my comment about the underclass that some of these listings (as PanzerMike pointed out) return significant business. That a significant portion of these searches were “discovery searches” that generate $. He claimed he had to lay off a person when Google banned him and that he lost 30% of his volume.

    If that is the case then who else would actually choose a service on this basis but someone who did not understand how to pick a lawyer?

    The lack of a OneBox could be automatic instead of hand tweaked. Google could be responding to the lack of clicks or other indicators of quality. But not showing the OneBox doesn’t delete the underlying mapspam.

    My sense is that over the long haul, the value of the “rebranding” will diminish as Google vets these records more carefully and moves towards rewarding business listings that achieve their authority via web references etc. The reason that the rebranding is temporarily working 1)there is $ to be made and 2) is that the competition is really not yet caught on to the real power behind Local SEO.

    Mike

  4. If you end up going to traffic court you will see an endless procession of folks who need or could use legal representation and who aren’t otherwise associated with the legal industry. How do these folks find attorneys? I suppose the answer is in the crazy phrases that represent lawyer spam in LA.

    Meanwhile, I have to admit the spam phrases are pretty astonishing.

    Will, could you redescribe in simpler terms what you are seeing with one box results being reduced and rolled up into 10 pack results.

    I find that fascinating.

  5. EarlPearl

    Everybody needs representation but a legal system that is predicated on this method for finding lawyers is doomed to not provide adequate representation. In fact it might rise to the level of negligence on Google’s part to offering them up this way.

    I have been seeing a general trend to return the OneBoxes less as well. I have seen fewer displays of the Authoritative and the 10-Pack. I had assumed it was tweaking of the organic serp on some sort of quality indicator.

    Hey, do you think he has had any success with the coupons? :)

    Mike

  6. Dave,

    I could tell you but I’d have to… :)

    The exact condition I’ve seen is a couple instances where it was clear a bulk upload had been used with variable “rebranding” (@Mike B: love it! Sounds much nicer than Key Phrase Mapspam).

    So in other words, like the example above they have initially have authoritative one boxes for “blue widgets phoenix”, “red widgets phoenix”, “green..”, “teal…” etc.

    Then after some time all but one of the above go away leaving only typical organic results for blue, green and red and an authoritative one box for “teal widgets phoenix”.

    It’s as if either algorithmically (or with human review) Google maps decides only one of the X is for real and they dump the rest.

    And, all the rest of them are also gone from the maps result when you do as Mike B did and search by domain name.

    Or perhaps they just roll them all up to the first on the list. I don’t know the specifics of the bulk upload.

    So, based on what I’ve seen I wouldn’t be surprised if the “teeth whitening”, “breast augmentation”, etc. don’t get rolled into one listing.

    Or even worse, perfectself DOT com which is an old, authoritative domain with a reputable practice attached might get themselves whacked right out of the maps like Dog Bite Lawyer did.

  7. Will

    You mean to say that they may have some automated spam removal? Jeesh I may be out of a job.

    I assume since the coupon is on the website as well, it is strictly a tracking offer not a “real” discount. Be interesting to find out.

    And no, I have no idea what plastic surgery costs but if eggs are $2/doz and gas is $3.89/gal it has got to be expensive. I mean those plastic surgeon’s have to eat, no?

    Glad you like my rebranding phrase but I just read that Branding is Dead; Long Live SEO so maybe I will need to rebrand my rebranding of mapspam business title keyword stuffing effort sooner rather than later. :)

    Mike

  8. @Miriam – How is getting rid of acne any different in San Fran than elsewhere?

    Also, I have to disagree about the contention that these naming practices are spam. It’s pretty standard in the SEO industry to name a site with keywords in it, and that’s why, from an SEO perspective, generic domain names are more valuable. The incoming links you get tend to feature your name, and thus your keywords.
    Back when people still used yellow pages, companies bought listings as 101 AAA corp to be spotted #1. Not really a big deal, imho.

    What is sketch though is the breast augmentation guy also doing teeth whitening. It’s like “yes, have some augmented breast milk to whiten your teeth…”

  9. Come on down to AAA Aardvark Breast Augmentation, Teeth Whitening and Mini Storage :)

    @Gab, I think where it is perceived to be crossing the line from good SEO to potentially spammy is when the same URL, phone number and physical address have 15 business names all keyword rich none of which is reflected on their logo or business cards.

    I mean, if you own the domain name TeethWhiteningBeverlyHills DOT com then clearly your map result should say that.

    There’s one plastic surgery directory in LA that is really submitting AAA something or other to maps.

  10. Gab

    Generally the folks that are engaging in rebranding are also engaging in “location stuffing” as Will points out. For a number of reasons that is not sustainable in a directory product either from Google’s or the end user’s point of view.

    I understand and engage in Local “rebranding” but it needs to fit into the overall marketing plan of a business, reinforce or be compatible with their local brand, can’t be abusive of their Maps listing privileges and needs to clearly communicate to the customer/end user who/what they are.

    In the end though the types of name changing/location stuffing you are seeing above are doomed as Google gathers more relevant information about these businesses from other web pages, reviews, descriptive text, geo-referenced data. When that happens my prediction is that Google will either punish or diminish the value of business title manipulation.

    Or if Google doesn’t self regulate, the government will step in an do it for them.

    Mike

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