Greetings from inside the SEOigloo!
This week in local, Mike Blumenthal turned over a rock and discovered what appeared to be a cluster of brash affiliate spammers creeping around Yahoo! Local. His Search Engine Land article included nice screenshots of the Marriott Hotel chain with very weird URLs in their local listings. It looked to most of us like someone had taken control of Marriott’s listings and inserted an affiliate redirect URL into them in order to profit from a piece of the action. Bad stuff.
Within a couple of days, however, Matt McGee published a terrific interview with Brian Gil of Yahoo! Local and asked him about the Marriott Hotel issue. Brian suggested that what appears to be grave affiliate spam may not be what we think it is. In other words, he is seeming to indicate that Marriott may know this is happening and is using those weird redirects in order to track stats of some kind. Brian didn’t say this is a fact, but he hinted at it, in my opinion. Frankly, I’m confused. The interview is well worth reading as it delves into both the the importance of the long tail for Local SEO as well as the dubious power of user reviews. It seems Yahoo! Local is giving less weight to reviews than I might have thought. Interesting.
And, on the subject of winning reviews from customers, Michael Jensen of Solo SEO launched LeaveFeedback.org. I got to preview this terrific new user review service, and got to know Michael a bit in the process – very nice! The ability this service provides to business owners to organize their efforts to win reviews is exceptional and Michael’s blog post will tell you all about Leave Feedback.
On a silly note, I discovered that Google has changed their previous policy of not counting their own reviews in Maps and is now counting them twice!
Things I’m Wondering About
I’d like to see the long tail optimization in Yahoo! Local that Brian Gil was talking about in action. Does anyone have an example of this being done for a business? Is it possible at the free business registration level? If anyone can show me an example, it will greatly help me to get a good handle on how this works.
I’m also really looking forward to hearing success stories about the use of LeaveFeedback.org. I want to start using it myself for a couple of clients but am not quite ready to introduce this service to them yet as I’m tied up in other tasks for them.
Lastly, I’m thinking about how cool it is that someone like Brian Gil made himself so available to Matt. I’m wondering if Google will ever give us a Matt Cutts-like rep for Google Maps. Yahoo Local continues to come across as the far more accessible entity of the two competitors. I applaud Yahoo! for that.