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This topic contains 12 replies, has 5 voices, and was last updated by  Mike Blumenthal 10 months, 3 weeks ago.

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  • #15715
    Craig J Mount
    Craig J Mount
    Moderator

    Hey this company, Nearby Now, is a review software that does this “Checking In” thing that they’ve really invested a lot into. They create landing pages for the geo and say that “because the reviews are geotagged it adds to the ‘SEO’ of the page”.

    It seems to be a hit w/ trade SAB’s.

    Here is an example- https://www.furnaceworld.com/webapp/p/436/furnace-repair-and-air-conditioner-repair-in-fountain-co

    Mike- this is an example of that strategy I had Chris ask you about in action.

    I have 2 questions:
    1. What is this “review geotagging” through “checking in” that they are talking about?
    2. If it “helps SEO” (which I’m already suspicious of) how does it?

    It really bothers me that companies like Nearby Now and their SEO whitelabels offer this as a strategy. To be candid, it’s a terrible idea, and for a number of reasons. I’m hoping for some more insight from you guys though to fuel my ragefire into a blog post.

    #15716

    Mike Blumenthal
    Keymaster

    So NearbyNow Uses an app as their main proactive 1st party review generation. When the employee is at their house fixing their furnace or AC unit they will hand the customer the phone and asked them to give feedback to via the phone/app. They then log the customers location along with their review data. Then their first party reviews are able to be grouped by location and they have a feature where they add them to location landing pages on the companies website

    At GFS we offer review tagging which does something similar just with more flexibly…. we can tag any given first party review and assign it to a product, service or location and then put that review on that page so it is closer to the selling page…

    See an example here: https://barbaraoliverandco.com/engagement-rings-gallery/

    The issue for me is to stay in compliance with Google schema TOS…

    I actually am supportive of the idea of UGC for a SMB website and 1st party reviews is a decent way to achieve that.

    What do you see as the downsides if done within Google Guidelines?

    #15717
    Craig J Mount
    Craig J Mount
    Moderator

    My issue is with saying “geo-tagging” is some hidden scoring signal that nobody is talking about. First, I assume by geo-tagging they are referring to adding this markup:

    1. Person/Address schema for the customer (Probably just the latter).
    <span itemprop=”author” itemscope itemtype=”http://schema.org/Person”><span itemprop=”name”>Stan</span> – <span itemprop=”address” itemscope itemtype=”http://schema.org/PostalAddress”> <span itemprop=”addressLocality”>Fountain</span>, <span itemprop=”addressRegion”>CO</span>

    2. Embedded Google Map of the customer, which shows the Lat/Long. of their house: maps.googleapis.com/maps/api/staticmap?center=38.71,-104.695&zoom=12&markers=color:blue|38.71,-104.695&size=200×125

    Which in this case: 8390-8398 Newbury Way, Fountain, CO 80817, USA.

    Map of Fountain, CO

    In other words, the selling point: “Hey we add a bunch of Gmaps/schema of your customer’s information to your landing page and that is GREAT for SEO.”

    I don’t believe (1) that’s a good business practice for SAB’s and (2) that the above-mentioned strategy is viable. To clarify, I think the UGC is, but that’s not what I was referring to. Saying that feels like Nearby Now is taking advantage of the knowledge gap that exists in SEO, and this strategy sounds technical enough that the average business owner would think “they must be on to something”.

    • This reply was modified 1 year, 8 months ago by Craig J Mount Craig J Mount.
    • This reply was modified 1 year, 8 months ago by Craig J Mount Craig J Mount.
    #15720

    Mike Blumenthal
    Keymaster

    Selling schema or maps as a ranking signal are both pure snake oil.

    If google recognizes schema for a given entity and utilizes it, it doesn’t confer ranking value but rather semantic relevance. It helps them understand the entity better and it accrues some small amount of reevance to that entity.

    But Google doesn’t, to my knowledge, even use person schema in any way so it’s even less of a factor there.

    Ie there is no way in this situation that there use of person schema is helping their seo.

    As for a map that just shows the lat long of customers, again, I can’t see any ranking value there either. If the map included the branded entity and increased map views of the branded entity, there might be a small bump there. But nothing to do with lay long.

    The value is in the unique content and topicality of the page. If those pages didn’t have person schema and didn’t have a map they would in all likelihood rank just as well.

    In the end it’s about conversions – whether the pages get visits and effectively convert.

    #15723

    Mike Blumenthal
    Keymaster

    At Localu Joel noted the following

    So, Joel Headley, of PatientPop who was with Google Local for many, many years. He talked about how Schema drives features in the search engine results. And that that really should be your cue as to when you should be using Schema or not.

    Mike: For a given feature set. If the feature can provide you with some additional SERP space, or some additional activity, then that’s the feature you want to be sure you’re using,

    https://localu.org/blog/video-deep-dive-what-happened-at-localu-advanced-seminar-in-santa-monica/

    He said essentially that if google wasn’t using a given schema then it offered no real world value.

    #15754

    Joy Hawkins
    Moderator

    I tested out Nearby Now earlier this year and ended up leaving them because of the lack of flexibility on where you could put what reviews and also because my clients didn’t use their check-in feature to make it worthwhile. It requires a lot of use from the actual business owner so if they don’t use it, they don’t really get the benefits.

    I used to have a client that was a handyman back when I worked for a different company and he used it like crazy and found it really useful. I don’t think they are using any blackhat or bad tactics though. They pitched it to me like it was beneficial because the content on the page is more useful than just creating a service area page with a bunch of keyword-stuffed content, which I would agree with.

    #18051
    Ross Dunn
    Ross Dunn
    Participant

    I know this thread is a bit aged, but I thought I’d add that I’ve worked with Nearby Now for a long time and it has been incredibly difficult to get client buy-in. I think the user generated content has a lot of merit so I’ve stuck with it – but it hasn’t been easy.

    One thing I cannot stand is how utterly and hopelessly lazy they are about help materials. They still have miniscule material within the interface to aid clients and users when trying to setup and use the system. All of their material are in PDFs which does not lend itself to quick and easy usage.

    As a typically vocal user of any platform, I’ve made suggestions but they don’t apply them unless (it seems) they’re sure to make money off the enhancement – and then they make it a new feature for more costly tiers instead of enhancing lower tiers.

    I’m pretty fed up with them and will likely leave them in 2019.

    Just my two bits.

    #18052

    Joy Hawkins
    Moderator

    Ross,

    If you haven’t already decided on a replacement, I highly vote for Get Five Stars. They’ve actually implemented every suggestion I’ve made thusfar which is a great value to me as a customer – they actually listen & care!

    #18054

    Tim Colling
    Member

    For what it’s worth, I agree with Joy’s recommendation. I recently changed to GetFiveStars (which is being rebranded to be called GatherUp) after using a different service called grade.us for a couple of years. GFS/GatherUp has been responsive to my help requests in a timely fashion and they do indeed listen to new feature suggestions and similar sort of input.

    What’s best of all is that my clients have been much more successful with GetFiveStars/GatherUp than they were with grade.us. They understand the UI much more easily and overall they like it much more.

    Are there changes and new features that I’d like to see implemented in GatherUp? Well, sure. However, for my agency it is the best tool we’ve found so far and they continue to listen closely to us.

    #18064
    Ross Dunn
    Ross Dunn
    Participant

    Thanks Tim and Joy. I actually have a large number of clients with GetFiveStars as well. I use Nearby Now for service area businesses in an attempt to give them an edge. Again, it’s likely not to continue, but I hate to give up when I feel I haven’t pulled out every stop for my clients to make it work. Almost there!

    #18066

    Mike Blumenthal
    Keymaster

    @Ross
    What edge do you think it might provide?

    @tim and joy
    Thank you!

    #18112
    Ross Dunn
    Ross Dunn
    Participant

    Hey Mike, the main thing is the regular source of content; not just testimonials, but check-ins along with media.

    On a more frivolous note, the heat-style map does a good job of proving a business’s work area for prospects and I think the layout looks good.

    Of course, all of this can be quite lame if the business isn’t busy… it will show.

    All that said, I stand by my burgeoning dislike of the system overall, and the company’s disinterest in improving it’s user-friendliness.

    • This reply was modified 10 months, 3 weeks ago by Ross Dunn Ross Dunn.
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