Video: Last Week in Local 9/30/19
Mike Blumenthal

Every week we bring you a brief 15 minute video and the links of the best articles in Local Search. OK. It’s not always 15 minutes but we are never off by more than 10 minutes or so.

Important Links from Last Week in Local – WeWork Woes, Meat Vending Machines, Google Maps as a Search Engine, & More!

Last Week in Local is now available as a podcast. Sign up here for your regular Local Fix. What better way to spend your drive time? Interested in sponsoring Last Week in Local? Get in touch with us!

AG Ferguson files lawsuit against Washington companies for unlawful robocalls, deceptive marketing | Washington State


Mike: These companies mostly made thousands of robocalls per day to more than a million Washingtonians without permission and “spoofed” their caller IDs to mislead them as to who was calling.

But at least one company, DLM Services created fake Google reviews to misrepresent its reputation to Washingtonians, violating the Consumer Protection Act.

I think you will see more State’s Attorney Generals going after fake reviews.

California Bill Makes App-Based Companies Treat Workers as Employees – The New York Times


Mike: This new law turns gig workers into employees instead of contractors. Of course Uber claims they are not affected by this ruling.

WeWork and Counterfeit Capitalism


Mike: All too often the likes of WeWorks make it seem like capitalism is more of a shell game than the creation of actual value.

Troubled WeWork scraps share sale after ousting founder Adam Neumann | Business | The Guardian


Mike: “Neumann’s eccentric behavior further undermined his position, with reports of marijuana smoking on private jets, tequila shot-fueled meetings, and claims he was working on becoming immortal.”

OK so smoking pot on your private jet doesn’t seem so irresponsible or even weird but any CEO that is working becoming immortal, needs his sanity checked. Neumann’s finally was but not before he exited with $700 million.

WSJ News Exclusive | Groupon Said to Be Pursuing Acquisition as Business Faces Pressure From Investors


Mike: Groupon to acquire Yelp? Seems like more of a trial balloon to start conversations and the idea of combining the two companies has some merit. But I am not sure that 1/2 + 1/2 = 1 let alone 2 in this situation.

Why the fate of online accessibility may rest with a Domino’s Pizza lawsuit – CNET


Mike: As a business, you should be sure that your website does comply with the need for accessibility mandated by the Americans with Disability Acts and reinforced by the courts.

But Dominoe’s is contending that the failure of the government to provide clear guidelines should be a reason to throw out a suit against them. This will be interesting to follow with the current court makeup.

Google Core Update September 2019. First results visible. – SISTRIX


Mike: The examples shown above make it clear that the core update is rolling-out and that it is, once again, affecting health sites.

Interestingly the new BrightLocal LocalRankFlux indicated some turmoil in this timeframe in the services industries so this update may have had some impact on local.

Getting the Most out of Google Chrome for Technical SEO – Traffic Think Tank


Mike: A good summary by Saijo George of the many ways that Chrome can be used in making your SEO tasks easier.

Katie Hempenius on Twitter: “?How to generate a video that compares the performance of two sites


Mike: An interesting thread on how to generate a video that compares the performance of two sites.

As much as I love numbers, I think this type of visual comparison is really powerful for conveying impact for any audit you might do.

Google Maps: The Under-Appreciated Discovery Channel | Street Fight


Mike: Google Maps is/has become the primary discovery tool in many categories. That is a significant shift of which agencies and owners need to be aware. Mihm: Yep. I’m not sure I would even have had our ThriveHive data science team look for this data point specifically had you not tipped me off. But sure enough, across our dataset of nearly 20,000 GMB Profiles, we found that Maps impressions outweigh Search impressions by nearly 3:1 (72% to 28% over the last 18 months).

Joy Hawkins on Twitter: “Google My Business adds a new contact form for restaurants to remove online ordering buttons


Mike: Google My Business adds a new contact form for restaurants to remove online ordering buttons

How to Move Google Reviews between Google My Business Pages Far Apart |


Mike: Distance doesn’t seem to matter if you run a service-area business and want to move your reviews.

If you ask Google to “merge” the old GMB page reviews into the new one, you can send your reviews to Timbuktu or further.

Are Coworking Spaces Against the Google My Business Guidelines? – Sterling Sky Inc


Mary: Not necessarily, but you’re not helping yourself using a co-working space, either.

Google Review Stars Drop by 14% – Moz


Mary: Dr Pete’s research shows “page-1 SERPs with review stars dropped 14% over a two-day period, with much larger drops in Real Estate and Finance.”

Does disavowing links work in 2019? Here are some case studies. – Marie Haynes Consulting


Mary: The MHC team has seen some good success in disavowing, even for sites with no manual action. Learn about their experiences here.

Nextdoor in new deals with directories to monetize local search – Search Engine Land


Mary: Greg Sterling explains how “NextDoor moves to make more money by teaming up with other local directories.”

Personal Injury Lead Generation Companies: The Good Bad & Ugly » Juris Digital


Carrie: By Casey Meraz over at Juris Digital – EXCELLENT exploration of the good and bad of hiring a lead gen company for a PI lawyer. He’s got a really good checklist for lead gen that would work for ANY niche though – definitely worth a read!

What is Yelp’s Actual Impact in the Real World? – GatherUp


Carrie: I found the research in this article really well done – I really like the comparison of “yelp” queries vs. “restaurants near me” searches. Google is passing Yelp quite quickly…..

But my favorite part is the quote at the end: “They have a storied history and have shown staying power, but being the last person standing in the current context leaves them as a niche player with only a minor ability to impact your business.”

How to Use Applestone Vending Machines – Applestone Meat Company


Carrie: Look out grocery stores, now you can buy a steak from a vending machine. Applestone Meat Co in Stone Ridge, NY has installed vending machines that allow you to pick and buy a steak (or beef, pork, lamb, and ground meat and sausage) no humans needed. He restocks the machines quite a bit – and finds the convenience of being able to sell meat after the shop closes at 7 pm fits in line with his plans, and his customer’s busy schedules.

“We’re not in the 1950s anymore, where everyone works 9 to 5 and eats at the same time every night,” Applestone says of 24/7 accessibility to meat. “Life is chaotic. At best.”

How ‘ghost businesses’ are stealing your money


Carrie: Our friend Jason Brown of Review Fraud rode along with Vicky Nguyen in LA to visit some fake “ghost listings” for a story to point out how rampant Google map spam is. I find 2 things funny about this article – 1 that Nguyen says “Google says they took those 2 listings down after we reported them.” and 2) Dylan dryer makes a comment about how huge the map spam team is. I wonder if it really IS huge – and at what point does a finding programmatic solution outweigh throwing more people at the issue? People aren’t fixing the problem.

Forever 21 files for bankruptcy, will close hundreds of stores


Carrie: It won’t disappear completely – but it will “right-size” and try to decrease its debt load (1 billion to 10 billion? That’s a lot of billions they’re ‘not sure’ about?) They’re dependent upon Malls – and those aren’t doing that great. I bet they really push hard to increase online presence.

4 Things to know about Google posts in the 3-pack and local finder – Search Engine Land


Mike: “So far we have not found that the content used in the Google Post has any impact on ranking, (for example: posting about “dog bites” doesn’t make you rank higher for “dog bite lawyer) so I would suggest focusing your posts on keywords you’re already ranking for that could use a boost in click-through-rate”.

That being said I have found it does surface long tail queries and might just increase your reach on the very long tail

Want to subscribe to our podcast? Now you can:Subscribe here.