Andrews Lock and Key – Locksmith Warrior Mesa Az

Andrew of Andrews Lock & Key deserves more than a link and a citation and a little bit of publicity for his efforts but that is all that I have to offer since I don’t live in Mesa, AZ.

Locksmith spam has long been an issue in Google Maps and has been the baine of consumers and real locksmiths alike. I used to write about it a lot as it was really the first case of widespread abuse at Google and gave an inkling of the deep hole they were in. And to some extent still are. In the end though I stopped writing about it as it was very difficult to tell the good guys from the bad guys from my seat in Olean.

Take a look at this video (H/T to Chris Silver Smith for sending it along), share it to your network and if you are in Mesa in need of locksmithing give Andrews Lock and Key a call:
Andrews Lock & Key

Andrew is a good guy… obviously a dedicated locksmith and a very good marketer and willing to go out on a limb for his love of his industry. Running a local small business is effing hard. I know from my 30 years of running them. I can only guess at the incredible pressures placed on a business by the wild west of the Locksmith world when added to all of the other existing stresses. He would have to really love it.

Local U Advanced New Orleans – Early Bird Special Ending 10/7

LocalU AdvancedThe LocalU Advanced conference in New Orleans on October 20th (networking party) and 21st (all day conference) promises to be an incredible event. The line up of speakers is amazing BUT the EARLY BIRD Pricing is ending on October 7th so you will need to sign up soon to get the lower price.

We don’t have another advanced event scheduled for anytime soon, so don’t miss one of the best Local Search line-ups ever. If you have any questions about getting your money’s worth by attending, just listen to  the videos we’ve done with some of the event speakers – Cindy Krum, David Deering, Darren Shaw, Joy Hawkins and Ed Reese. And speaking of money, grab your tickets before the price goes up at midnight on October 7th and save $200. Or bring your whole team (3 or more) and get a special group discount.

To get a screenshot-2016-09-28-17-15-37sense of the quality of speaker we will have take a few moments to watch these videos from our Local U Advanced Speaker Series:

See you in NOLA!

Google My Business API Gets Updated to V3.1

Google has just released the Google MyBusiness API V3.1 . The update brings real time push notification for the ever changing listing updates AND when a new review is written for a location.

These real time updates with push capabilities will allow businesses monitoring their listing via a dashboard to be actively notified of status changes, data updates and incoming reviews without having to make a call to Google for that information. It should allow businesses to respond more quickly to any of these changes.

According to Google additional features for V3.1 are be released in the coming weeks and will provide support within the API for additional attribute types including things like a menu URL and payment methods.

This is an expansion of attribute data beyond simple yes/no states previously collected via the API and shows Google’s ever increasing desire for this additional, structured data. The menu URL will remove a huge pain point that many restaurants have confronted by showing an old 3rd party link and they have not been able to update it.

There are three additional features in this API that will be of interest:

  • Maps URL in location response allows for easy navigation to the location on Google Maps
  • Additional Location States provides a better understanding of the action required on a location
  • New category service allows developers to get up to date list of GMB supported categories by country and language

The Map URL will create a universal URL to use that will allow users to easily navigate to a location (and possibly leave reviews). The creation of a category API will facilitate 3rd party understanding of categories world wide. The tool will be available with categories for each language and country and will be updated continuously making it easier for 3rd parties to explore and choose Google categories.

The critical piece still missing is the Insights API. Google has noted in conversations that they are aware of the demand for accessing and aggregating location insights. Given that it was recently updated and rewritten from the ground up, one can assume that giving access to the API was considered in the rebuild.

While the features provided are going to be useful the real story of the update is the demonstration of Google’s ongoing and regular committment of development resources. We first heard of V1 of the API in mid October 2015. Google subsequently released V2.0 of the GMB API in mid December, 2015 and they released 3.0 in May of this year. That is a release update schedule of once every 5 or so months. Google also noted that V2.0 of the API would be deprecated on Dec 6, 2016 and sunset a month later.

This will be their 3rd product release for GMB in September and while none of the releases have been earth shattering, they continue to reinforce my observation that they are in fact taking a more “mature” approach to development.


10 Years Ago Today -The 7 Steps for Local Listing Success at Google (& Yahoo)

A Google Local result from September 26, 2006

This week, 10 years ago, I published my first post. My blogging has directly led to 3 new careers1 and a bevy of new and wonderful friends.   During that time I have written over 2100 posts here, at  LocalU and now at GetFivestars. Early and trusted friendships with Matt McGee, Bill Slawski and David Mihm helped me learn a lot and “earned” me my first link. 🙂

Despite all that I have learned from the many people that I have come to love and respect over the years, it strikes me how my third post2,  dated September 27th, 2006 and named3  The Basics of Listing for Success, demonstrates how the more things change the more they stay the same.

Google may cancel business programs faster than I can change underwear but at least in terms of the Google Local algo  they NEVER throw anything away,


 The Basics of Listing for Success

Here is a simple list of what is I have discovered is necessary to start improving your ranking at Google Maps and Yahoo Local.

As I have worked with local listings over the past year I created this small check list for achieving some measure of success. These points may be self evident or they may require additional clarification which I will be attempting to provide over the next several days. They all need testing and examination.

1)Be sure to edit the local listing and include the relevant business categories

2)Enhance the title of the Business to include the key phrase(s)

2a)Craft the categories and the description to reinforce the key phrase(s)

3)Get lots of web references (these are like links but not as rigidly defined) that reference the main key phrase and location of the business

4)Be sure that your own site has lots of references to your local address and key phrase

5)Join the Better Business Bureau/Mobile Travel Guide/Talking Phone Book etc. etc. that Google uses to provide details

6)Be sure to get some good reviews from the reviewing services that Google & Yahoo uses

Unlike optimization for organic search, optimization for local search at the major engines is in a much less developed state. It seems to have many fewer people poking, prodding and testing the hypothesis of local search and coming up with a definitive set of best practices. This is list is an attempt to create that model that we can all test. Have a go and let me know.


Please let me know what you think.
Continue reading 10 Years Ago Today -The 7 Steps for Local Listing Success at Google (& Yahoo)

Video: Local U Advanced Speaker Series – Cindy Krum on the Latest Trends in Local Mobile

screen-shot-2016-09-20-at-8-17-53-amWhere is Local Search going? How do you get there? Join us at LocalU Advanced where we will take a deep dive into the nuts and bolts of the bleeding edge of local search.

The upcoming LocalU Advanced takes place the night of October 20th and all day October 21st. To give you a sense of the topics we will be covering, we have interviewed some of the speakers that will be there, including Darren Shaw (Citations), Joy Hawkins (Google My Business Data Issues), David Deering (the ins and outs of schema for local) and most recently Cindy Krum..

Cindy Krum is CEO and Founder of MobileMoxie, a mobile SEO consulting firm. Cindy will be both keynoting and running a workshop where she will provide insights and compelling ways to understand and assess the mobile web of now, the mobile web of the future and how to prepare your company for the journey. She will show you what you need to know to improve your brand’s mobile representation in and out of map results — and how you can make the most of your brand’s presence there. Whether you are an agency or an enterprise SEO, you are guaranteed to learn a lot.

In this interview we discuss the emerging trends in local mobile search, Google’s approach to data and control, conversational- and text-based assistants and what leading edge technologies we should all be thinking about.

Money Grows on Trees with Google

google_email_tw_033009If you ever are thinking that there isn’t opportunity in Local Search Optimization just head over to the BBB and do a search for Google.

More opportunity than you can shake a stick at and with some very original names too!

You can’t fault Chris the Google Guy for trying but if it were me I would Make Google Fast Cash using The Google Backdoor to get on the Google First Page.

After I tired of Growing Rich With Google I would write a book on Google Secrets so that others could join the Google Revolution by selling my Google Home Business Kit.

I would suggest caution with this plan for Google Riches as clearly some of these ideas like Google Money Tree (aka “Google Pro” and “Google Treasure Chest”) were targeted by the Federal Trade Commission in 2012 and required to refund checks totaling nearly $2.3 million to consumers who allegedly were charged hidden fees tied to a bogus work-at-home product. So much for his (isn’t it always a he?) plan for Google Wealth International. 

Here is a partial list of names that have been already taken. I am partial to Money Grows on Trees with Google1 :
Continue reading Money Grows on Trees with Google

Why is Yelp Failing at the iMessage App Game? Because They are Choosing To

As a consumer I like and use Yelp. I don’t like their business practices but as a consumer it’s my goto restaurant resource these days when traveling. I also like messaging, particularly iMessage, as my way of communicating with the 15 or so people I love and work with and often travel to see. So I was baffled shocked flummoxed disappointed amazed dejected but in the end not surprised that Yelp had chosen to so mangle their iMessage App experience.


I am fascinated by the new capability of iMessage as a platform and an ecosystem. One   that can be upgraded with third party apps and now has its own App Store. Like every idiot American adult, I was initially attracted to the idea of doing silly stickers and gifs. Surprisingly they ultimately did offer a benefit. They greased the skids to discovery.


I soon started exploring the local app world and was surprised and delighted how useful, functional and seamless some of these apps were. I could identify, share1 and purchase tickets to a movie with Fandango. To my children’s delight I could quickly and easily gift them $20 each from Square Cash or Venmo without exiting to the app.

OpenTable turned out to be an eye opening experience allowing me to easily search a location for spots to eat, identify several restaurants, share them, even allow myself and friends to vote on them and then book one of them all from within iMessage. And I don’t even have the app on my phone.

Easy peasy.  Until I got to Yelp. Continue reading Why is Yelp Failing at the iMessage App Game? Because They are Choosing To

Apple iMessage for iOS10 Rolls Out Conversational Commerce with Transactional Local Apps

Apple started shipping iOS10 with a new version of iMessage yesterday to the installed base of iPhone users. Welcome to the new era of conversation commerce for local.

And with the new version of iMessage comes an App store and the ability for third parties to integrate directly into the messaging flow. When initially announced Apple focused on the ability to add Mario stickers.

My first foray into integrating these apps was to try JibJab with a great deal of “success”. You can see another one here. At the introduction event there was a fair bit of buzz around stickers and such and the fact the Mario would be available as would a number of Disney characters.

But in poking around the iMessage app store it became quickly and abundantly clear that Apple, via third party integration with the likes of OpenTable,  Fandango & Square Cash, offers a near mature local transactional platform. And it is a platform that will gain scale quickly because of the large installed base, user familiarity and the ease with which a user can add this additional functionality.

img_1970The apps, once installed are easy to use and more importantly easy to share all from within iMessage. In the case of OpenTable they have added a very appealing ability to allow folks in the messaging thread to vote on a choice of restaurants prior to booking the table.

img_1971Likewise Fandango allowed me to share a possible movie with chat partner(s) prior to quickly buying tickets. If the user on the other end doesn’t have the iMessage App installed, they click on the image and its quickly put in place.

Nothing like fast, transparent and easy to facilitate uptake particularly if one person gets the ball rolling.

The experience was not without a few sticking points. I couldn’t get Yelp to do anything nor could I get Square Cash functioning (much to the chagrin of my son who would have been on the other end of the test).

But all of this bodes well for a rapidly increasing usage. And for a significant place in the burgeoning conversational commerce marketplace.

As of this afternoon 15% of the existing user base had already upgraded to iOS10 and thus the new iMessage.

Given that the installed base of iOS devices capable of running the new iMessage will be somewhere in the range of 1 billion users worldwide with the release of the iPhone 7 and iOS10, iMessage penetration could quickly reach 800 million installs within a fairly short period of time.

This transactional capability first took off in China and Asia but the US Facebook took the early initiative with the release of Messenger in April. Facebook created a scalable development environment that was available to both small businesses and larger more sophisticated companies. At the time I notedit’s a very scalable solution that can start as a human CRM, but then move into integration with your existing systems, as well as a more full AI-driven or partially AI-driven process down the road. 

Facebook has only one real barrier to success and that is that users had to install the app and switch behaviors from their current messaging app or at least add an additional app to their usage pattern. No small barrier that.

Unlike Facebook Messenger, iMessage is an existing product (now a platform) that has a very loyal and entrenched user base. Thus its reach for text based conversational local commerce could quickly turn iMessage into a leading platform if not the leading platform for this sort of commerce.

Welcome to the era of conversational local commerce.

29 Prime, SubPrime, Bankrupt

screenshot-2016-09-13-12-38-56As many of you know 29 Prime has not been a favorite Local SEO of mine. They lied, dissembled, prevaricated and misled thousands of small business folks. They have now gone into Chapter 7 Bankruptcy.

I was alerted to their bankruptcy by Regina Martinez, with whom I had been corresponding over the past year about how badly she had been taken advantage of by 29 Prime and the status of her resulting lawsuit:

Hello Mike,

My name is Regina Martinez, I communicated a little over a year ago (as you can see from the email thread below) about 29 Prime.

I finally filed a lawsuit and after they delayed things for over a year they went and filed for bankruptcy. They are stating the company is worth $0 has $0 income and 0 employees. I’m just reaching out to my network of others who are familiar with their business practices hoping they can point me in a direction so that (and I’m being incredibly honest) I can stop this fraud of a bankruptcy because they should not get to skate away after everything they’ve done.

Kind Regards,
Regina A. Martinez

In early 2015 Regina had first contacted me to request permission to use my 29Prime – Would you Buy a Used Car From These Guys Let Alone SEO? article as an exhibit in her suit.

Apparently Regina’s suit was not the only as Leonard Law in Boston had also filed a class action suit regarding their abusive robo calling techniques that was winding its way to victory in a Massachusetts court (despite 29 Prime’s effort to try to get it moved to California).

We won’t whether it was the likelihood of failure against these lawsuits or the accumulated weight of their deception or just a desire to, as Regina thinks, hide their assets that caused their ultimate demise we won’t know.

They were sure a fun target for me though and I wrote several articles about them:

Ah but life goes on. I guess I won’t have them to kick around any more. Although as the founder of 29 Prime has proven, he has more lives than the proverbial cat and I am sure that we will hear from him again.

Some Recent Posts, Articles & Videos – Or Why is Dad Hunched Over a Keyboard?

Subtitled: Q: Mike, Oh Mike? Would you take out the recycling? A: As soon as I do a word count and proof this article.

I have been busy writing over the past week, sometimes on the weekend when you might not have seen the article and other times at other sites that you might not have in your feed.

Here is the rundown of articles since September 8th in case you are feeling a burning need to waste an hour or two or to get all geeky about local. Be sure to read these during your work day. Just tell your boss its worth the time.

9//8 Why A Business Needs Reviews Everywhere – Including Your Website (GetFiveStars)

9/9 Google Updates Schema Review Guidelines – Again (GetFiveStars)

9/10 Stoppleman to Google: “Delete It” – Yelp Reviews Gone from Knowledge Panel (here and with a great comment stream that are worth a read in their own right)

9/10 Google Updates Mobile Rich Snippet Display with Pricing Information (here)

9/11 Exploring Oddities of Reviews from the Web with Joy, Sergey & Priya (here)

9/11 Thoughts on the Recent Rollout of Aggregate Reviews, Snippets & Critic Reviews in Google SERPS (here)

9/12 Is Google Doubling Down on Local? Yes, Now What (here)

9/12 As Google Pushes for Users to Stay on Its Platform, What Are the Effects for Local Search (Streetlight with David Mihm)

9/12 Video: Local U Advanced Speaker Series – Darren Shaw on Enterprise Level Citations & Local Ranking (LocalU Video with Darren Shaw & Mike Ramsey)


Developing Knowledge about Local Search