Maps Rebranding gone Amuck

Sometimes a “rebranding” doesn’t quite convey the message that you intended. It is unclear whether this lawyer creates these accidents or tries them in court or is perhaps a stunt driver. I suppose it could be all three. 

 Web    Maps    Results 1 - 10 of about 495,000 for Motorcycle Accident Specialist San Francisco CA. (0.25 seconds) 

Motorcycle Accident Specialist

maps.google.com

18 Crow Canyon Ct # 325
San Ramon, CA 94583
(925) 866-8787
Get directions

More information »

Google Maps: Saved Location Update

Google Maps has rolled out a number of upgrades to Maps this past week. This just came in from Maps Guide Brian at the Google Maps Current Issues Group:

Looking for your saved locations?  Sign in to your Google Account and click on the drop-down arrow directly to the right of the Search box!

 

Some of the many other recent Maps upgrades:

News flash: Maps now open to Flash developers

Google Maps Adds “More” Button For Displaying Videos, Pictures, Wikipedia & More Content

Google Adds RE Search Option to Maps

Google Cleans Up Manhattan

It’s not your mother’s Yellow Pages; Brain Injured in CA

Ok I promise that this will be the last twisted Google Local OneBox result for a while.

Searching on Brain Injured Beverly Hills CA I get the following OneBox:

Local business results for brain injured near Beverly Hills, CA

Brain Injury Lawyer

 – www.salehiassoc.com
12400 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 1300, Los Angeles - (800) 428-0304
Directions and more »

California Brain Injury Lawyer

 – www.californiaamputationlawyers.com
16830 Ventura Boulevard, Encino - (800) 571-9333
Directions, hours, and more »

One just has to wonder about a lawyer with the domain name: CaliforniaAmputationlawyers.com that gets returned on a search for Brain Injured, no?

I just knew that there was a lawyer joke in here somewhere. The search for Brain Injured Lawyer Los Angeles even returns an authoritative OneBox:

Los Angeles Head Injury Lawyer

www.salehiassoc.com  

12400 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 1300
Los Angeles, CA 90025
(800) 428-0304
Get directions
More information »

 


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:
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Local Links of Interest

I have noted Apple’s steady movement into mobile computing via the MacBook Air, the iPod Touch and the iPhone in the past. Is there room for a kindle sized device between the phone and the ultra portable? Here are two views:

Between a Laptop and the iPhone – Greg Sterling, Local Mobile Search

Do You Have That Portable in a Midsize? - John Markoff, NY Times

And on a totally unrelated vein:

Fuel Optimization, Geospatial and On-Board Navigation – Mike Dobson, Telemapics

Mike is always a few years out in his vision and very broad in his analysis. Here he talks about navigation software/systems to help solve fuel economy problems.

The Longtail of Local Search Mapspam

Update 05/13/08 Google has removed some but apparently not all of the examples below.

In the conversation about Lawyers’ mapspam EarlPearl and Stephan Espinosa both wondered what type of spam panzermike and other lawyers were placing into Maps. I decided to delve into the moshpit that is the proxy for on-line legal marketing in LA and see what was up. It certainly has all the making for a new lawyer joke.  

I started my search looking at the links that panzemike had posted:

dog bite lawyers near Los Angeles, CA
car accident lawyers near Los Angeles, CA
wrongful death lawyers near Los Angeles, CA

It was not at first clear from the above links whether there was abuse or just some creative title optimization and lots of remote offices:

 

This firm, apparently has 24 offices throughout the greater LA area, San Jose and San Diego. It was conceivable to me that they had optimized each title like the above for each office. I decided to focus my research in the city of Pasadena to check for multiple listings per location but got a little nervous when Google indicated that it had 54,208 lawyer listings in Pasadena. Here is what I found just in Pasadena:


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LA Dog Bite Lawyers in a Cat Fight over Maps

On May 7, 5:52 pm, “Maps Guide Jen” notified a poster, panzermike, at the Google Maps for Business Group that his business listings had been banned from Maps for the “foreseeable future”: 

Hi panzermike,

I had a look into your account. Your listings aren’t appearing because removed them from Google Maps. At this time even though you’ve reversed spam attempts, you’ve been blocked for the foreseeable future. I won’t be able to answer any additional questions about your listings.

– Maps Guide Jen

Yesterday, the poster Michael P. Ehline, P.C (aka panzermike) posted a comment at this blog:

I was removed from Google maps for mapspam after a guy I hired did all sorts of bulk uploads for the same address who I paid goo money. One of the listings was to a park!! (I found out later).

In all events, Google allows other businesses to claim your listing. Pretty sneaky. I think I discovered a guy who did that to me and went to the Maps group for help. Instead, a forum troll reported me as a spammer and I was removed from Maps.

I fired the webmaster who set up maps for me. Too late, Maps Jen says I am out for the “foreseeable future”. I have suffered at least a 30 percent drop in business.

What’s worse, is that the other sites my guy copied are all still submitting multiple listings for the same location, using multiple mirror sites with different url’s, submitting fakes firm names, that are really keyword names, and are totally controlling all the traffic from Maps.

Do you have any suggestions as to getting back into Maps and to get Maps to enforce its rules in a just manner, rather than the arbitrary and capricious manner they enforce their rules now? It really killed my phone.

Don’t you think they should offer amnesty or a second chance?

I was intrigued by the situation and emailed PanzerMike to see if he wanted to bring his case to a larger audience. So I am providing an interview with him and putting his question to the readers of this blog: Do you have any suggestions as to getting back into Maps? Do you think Google should offer amnesty or a second chance?

Here are his responses to my interview questions:
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Local Links of Interest

 Small Business Marketing Success Story: Avante Gardens – Matt McGee, SearchEngineland

This interview with Cathy Rulloda is a great overview of good practices. Cathy is always at the forefront of using the internet for local marketing in the very tough florist arena and she more than holds her own.

Free-411 Rolls Out Dial Directions Nationally & Jingle Goes Nationwide with Dial Directions – Greg Sterling, Screenwerks/Local Mobile

Against that backdrop Jingle needs to continue to develop, market and differentiate its service if it hopes to stay ahead of this increasing competition. One way it has sought to do that is by offering Dial Directions service, which as of today is now available nationally: any location to any other location (by address or intersection).

I see Free 411 services as a critical bridge service between the phones of today and the mobile internet of tomorrow and the services use much the same data set that we have been working with. Greg offers this interesting chart of Free 411 intents:

Free 411 Intent

How do we determine the names of things -  Mikel Maron, BrainOff.com

A mid April post that takes a fascinating look at the politics and policies involved in naming places. What we often assume is an absolute in a Map is really  a fluid, conflicted political & social battle. How does Google handle the conflicts that arise? How does OpenStreetMap do so? An eye opening and educational piece.

 

Local Seo Tracking Software

A reader asked me serveral months ago if I knew of software to track local search standings. Advanced Web Ranking had just implemented the feature (after a year of hounding) and I told the reader about it with a caution that I had not yet tried it.

He just took the time to email his comments:

It’s been a while, but I’m the person who wrote you asking if you knew of a good local seo tracking software option.  You recommended Advanced Web Ranking.  I wanted to let you know that their software is working great!  When I first tested it, the local search tracking had some bugs and did not report the ranks correctly. They have fixed those issues though and the software works great to get results from Google Maps and Yahoo Local Business.  They do not yet have local search tracking for Live (MSN) or Ask, but said they plan to add those as some point.

I subsequently have used the feature and it has become quite useful for automated tracking. The software works on Mac, Windows or Linux and pricing starts at $99.

Are there other products that will automatically track local search standings?

Developing Knowledge about Local Search