Local Restaurant Affiliate Scheme!

I work with local businesses on a daily basis, optimizing their Google Business presence and overall web marketing strategy.

Therefore, I have a sharp eye when it comes to identifying a listing that seems out of place.

Recently, I ordered pizza from a local spot here in Philadelphia, and found that the menu listing for the business seemed a bit strange.

It shows a website I had never heard of called “singleplatform.com.”

SinglePlatform appears to be a legitimate way for businesses to create online assets.

menu affiliate scheme

When you visit the link above, it shows a very basic looking menu that seems to display at least some of the correct items that are on the real menu, when compared to the restaurant’s website.

Now, here’s the interesting part.

When you click the large “order online” button, you are redirected to another website, trycaviar.com. This site looks harmless, but one question comes to mind.

Why am I being redirected around to what is likely the same menu?

The answer – AFFILIATE SCHEME!

If you look closely at the url as you land on trycaviar.com, you pass through a ShareASale link, a well known affiliate website.

The final destination url has a ShareASale affiliate code in the url:

share a sale link

As of this writing, I have discovered a few restaurants in the Philadelphia area which have been victimized by this scheme. It’s possible that they do in fact receive food orders, but the fact the user is redirecting to multiple websites is a poor user experience.

Not only that, but someone is likely profiting off of local brick-and-mortar, mom-and-pop type businesses and possibly costing them sales.

Here’s another example on a local coffee shop with the same “situation.”

menu link google business

Summary

Someone is hijacking restaurant local business knowledge panels to send user traffic to a “fake” menu which then redirects to yet another menu, via affiliate link.

SinglePlatform may very well be a legitimate service. In this case it is used creatively to redirect users to a trycaviar.com affiliate link.

There’s no doubt this process could be replicated over and over and with most business owners unaware of how to audit their own business in Google, this could end up being a pervasive problem.

Right now I have discovered this for Philadelphia area restaurants, but it could be taking place in other parts of the country or even the world. I will be reaching out to Google directly to combat this.


When working with a local business on their web presence and overall SEO effort, one of the most critical elements is to ensure that their Google Business information and knowledge graph panel is accurate and up to date.

Otherwise, you can be giving potential customers the wrong info on a daily basis which can result in a significant drop in sales, lack of attendance, lack of phone calls, etc.

For example, there is a local Mexican restaurant near me that is quite popular, however when you Google the business, it shows strange hours of operation – “closes at 2 PM, and reopens at 5 PM.”

incorrect hours of operation

I contacted this restaurant to see if this was indeed true. Turns out it’s not, so we’re in the process of getting that cleaned up!

If you would like a Google local business audit, please contact us today.

Read More Here: Local Restaurant Affiliate Scheme!

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Google Adds Keyword Reviews to Local Maps

There’s been a lot of recent updates going on in December 2017, with link spam corrections and bizarre celebrity errors.

Today I discovered that Google is now displaying user reviews within a local map pack, if the review happens to have a certain keyword. I was randomly browsing some searches in the Philadelphia area, some using “searches related to” which appear at the bottom of SERPs, and discovered this new feature. Perhaps it is not that new, but I have never seen it before, at least not in this city.

Here is an example:

user review keywords in local maps philly

If you select “more places” you will notice that the continued list of local businesses also has keywords highlighted in their reviews.

more places in map

I don’t know about you, but this seems like an opening for a spam-a-thon with people stuffing all sorts of keywords into fake or even genuine reviews.

Do you see any other examples of this? If so give me a shout.

Learn More Here: Google Adds Keyword Reviews to Local Maps

Bizarre Knowledge Graph Errors – Musician Edition

I like to follow updates to the Google Knowledge Graph to see how the Big G decides to display entity information, interpret schema data, and showcase local businesses.

I’ve noticed a recent refresh in the graph which has updated the social profiles for prominent celebrities. I first discovered this while digging through well-known musicians. As a big fan of music, I like to get a biographical or history lesson as I check out entity information for various people.

I’ve been following a few of these entities and noticed that many of them have had a LinkedIn profile added to their social list.

Problem is, they are often completely wrong!

Let’s start with the first one I discovered, Lars Ulrich of Metallica. I had been following his profile for some time as he only recently came on social media in some cases, particularly Twitter, which was the only profile that showed for some time. Recently, a LinkedIn and Instagram profile appeared, but LinkedIn is totally wrong:

lars urlich knowledge graph

not lars on linkedin


Curious, I checked out a few other musicians. James Hetfield, also of Metallica, has the same issue (most likely). He is noticeably absent on social media, so this LinkedIn profile is almost assuredly wrong and pulled from nowhere:

james hetfield knowledge graph

james hetfield linkedin

His profile seems more real, but I don’t think he has ever had a significant history in Chicago. I could be wrong, but I think this is another mistake.


Let’s look at a few more that are clearly incorrect:

Mick Jagger

 

mick jagger google

mick jagger linkedin

 

Dave Mustaine

dave mustaine google

dave mustaine linkedin


Keith Urban

keith urban google

keith urban profile

And now for the finale…Donald Trump.

donald trump google

 

trump linkedin

As you can see, Google seems to have implemented some sort of “attempt” at guessing or possibly using an API to display what they think is the LinkedIn profile for prominent individuals.

You can try this search for a number of famous people outside of music, and you’ll get the same issue.

Most of the time, it’s not even close!

Need an internet marketing consultant to review your brand online? Contact me today!

See More Here: Bizarre Knowledge Graph Errors – Musician Edition

New Google Feature – Semantic Search Drill Down?

Today I was exploring some keyword ideas related to Halloween costumes. In past years, this had been an interesting but competitive niche to go after if you were an affiliate marketer or provided marketing services to retailers.

Halloween searches explode starting in September and into October, for obvious reasons. In the past, most people search “halloween costumes,” “adult halloween costumes,” “halloween costumes for women”, etc. in order to find something specific. This would result in a typical SERP display with Google shopping ads, regular ads, a map pack if there happens to be a local retailer, and organic results.

This year however I noticed an interesting feature, which I am nicknaming “semantic drill down” – where you can start with a high level query such as “halloween costumes” and Google will actually suggest categorized searches. 


For example, let’s search “halloween costumes.”

If you scroll to the bottom, Google will actually show you a few buttons that you can click to help refine your search, in a sort of categorical manner. Here is the first – “refine by age group:”

refine Google search by age group

 

If you click one of these, say “Adult,” this process continues. Funny, they completely whiffed on generating a men’s picture in this example!

refine Google search by gender

 

Once you select a gender, such as “Women’s,” it actually keeps going!

 

refine Google query by theme

 

I selected “Superhero” but it did not suggest any further categories from there.

This is very interesting to see, and it also appears in mobile search. Could this be a product of Rank Brain? Is this a new developing “semantic web” advancement that might appear more and more as time goes on for a number of different topics in which the original query could be made more specific via a common suggested search? Only time will tell…

Contact me if you have some interest in local search optimization for Halloween.

See Full Article Here: New Google Feature – Semantic Search Drill Down?

Google Shows “Suggested Clip” Feature in Search Results

When using a “how-to” type query, Google showed me not just a YouTube video result, but a suggested clip from the video highlighting the exact time they want you to watch.

Google suggested clip YouTube Result

This is incredibly cool and weird at the same time.

Is it possible they know that most people that watch the particular video seem to watch or spend the most time on that particular segment?

Have many people linked to or embedded this particular video using the “start at” option thus adding a timestamp parameter to the url?

The display url in the SERPs does not seem to have the start time query parameter to the end of the url, so I wonder how exactly Google is serving this result.

I have been unable to recreate this in many cases using the exact same search.

Anyone know? Let me know below.

Post Source Here: Google Shows “Suggested Clip” Feature in Search Results

New Rich Cards for NewsArticle, LocalBusiness?

All of that Schema Might Pay Off…

Google appears to be showing Rich Cards now for sites using markup for NewsArticle.

I simply typed “dentist” into the search bar and was provided with the following examples, all with NewsArticle Markup (some which are even returning errors):

dentist-news


I’ve yet to find a live example, but the Structured Data Testing Tool also shows a “Preview” window to see what your LocalBusiness markup would look like as a Rich Card:

local-business-schema-rich-card-preview

 

This preview window is similar to the recently released “Recipe” markup that Google began to experiment with in the past few months.

Also, there appear to be additional “Warnings” with recommended fields that were not previously there:

local-business-recommended-markup

It looks like Google might begin to show an estimated price range for services rendered, as well as a phone number to call directly from the SERPs. Only time will tell.

The examples above were taken from markup I recently implemented on some client sites. Interestingly enough, I have listed “contactPoint” with telephone information within this schema declaration, however Google seems to ignore it in favor of a telephone declaration that stands alone.

Anyone find any live examples of Google LocalBusiness Rich Cards? List them below!

Article Source Here: New Rich Cards for NewsArticle, LocalBusiness?

Trump – Google AdWords Ninja

Trump’s online marketing team was on point during the presidential campaign.

Regardless of how you voted, I’ll present a fun case in point.

During the third presidential debate, Hillary Clinton instructed millions of people to Google “Donald Trump Iraq.”

And boy did they.

Now, as someone who does SEO day in and day out, this immediately sent a shockwave through my brain. The first thing I think is “how can I somehow get a piece of that traffic.”

I did what I always do in this situation which is to immediately head to a domain registrar to see what exact-match type domains are available.

An “exact-match” type domain is one with the keyword search terms in the title, exactly. Example “philadelphiaplumber.com.”

I scooped up two domains and immediately wasted about twenty bucks. I’ll explain why in a moment.

They were:

donaldtrumpiraq.net

donaldtrumpiraq.org


If you look at the Google trends data, you can see that there was an enormous spike after she spoke the words:

donald trump iraq google trends

But then, it completely levels off into nothing.

Now, if you somehow had already ranked number 1 for this phrase, you would have surely seen an enormous amount of traffic pour in, possibly crashing your server.

Not thinking like a smart SEO, and more like a dope, I should have of course realized that no one will continue to Google “Donald Trump Iraq” en masse. Searches might trickle in from debate replays but this ship largely sailed minutes after the statement was made.

Regardless, I quickly setup a website on one of my domains which had nothing but some ridiculous images and a few Halloween advertisements.

I then attempted to buy some Google AdWords campaigns to see if I could maybe sneak to the top and steal some incoming traffic and make an ROI.

But low and behold, who was there…

donald trump iraq ad words

Someone on Trump’s team, like a savvy ninja, immediately secured this keyword with a nice enticing title to funnel all of that traffic where they wanted it to go.

You’ll notice that there were plenty of articles just below, most from earlier in the year, but establishing a presence right at the top with a strong title ensures that you will get a lot of clicks.

Notice the url –

donaldjtrump.com/iraq

There is no page on Trump’s site at this location. It’s a vanity URL.

404_-_page_not_found___donald_j_trump_for_president

 

This means that someone was so on point, and so aware of the traffic surge here that they IMMEDIATELY deployed an AdWords campaign to send the traffic WHERE THEY WANTED.

 

The page redirected to Trump’s foreign policy proposal:

national_defense___donald_j_trump_for_president


//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

This is brilliant.

This is using technology to its fullest extent.

This is awareness of the highest order.

I messed around a bit to see if I could outbid Trump.

Looking back on it, that is probably one of the stupidest ideas in history.

I’m going to outbid a billionaire in an auction situation?

I did manage to get my ad on page 1, which burned over $100 so fast it was beyond foolish to even attempt something so stupid.

This just proves that the power of the internet, the power of online search, and the power of social media have a tremendous reach unlike anything in history.

If you know how to use the force, you will be a force to be reckoned with…

Anyone want to buy some worthless domains with a billionaire’s name?

donaldtrumpiraq.net

donaldtrumpiraq.org

Read More Here: Trump – Google AdWords Ninja