Google to Offer Combined Content (Paid and Organic) Search Results


Bill Slawski reviews a recent Google patent on combining paid and organic results for the same brand. The patent language is typically dense, but the visual is incredibly clear. Just look how far down the page the first purely-organic result appears.

If Google acts on this patent, brands that are ranking organically will, for all intents and purposes, be able to own the entire SERP for commercial queries if they decide to pay for the privilege.

More ammunition for my Ricky Bobby Theory of SEO (“If you ain’t first, you’re last”).

(On a highly related note, Sergey Alakov reports that Google is now showing a brand’s local inventory ads feed in a new tab of branded three-packs.)

Google Local After Antitrust – Careful What You Wish For


An excellent synopsis from my colleague Mike Blumenthal of a new SERP experiment. While we both feel Google should be subject to increasing antitrust scrutiny, the outcome of that scrutiny may not actually benefit some of its loudest proponents (Yelp, TripAdvisor, and the like).

The best non-Knowledge Panel answer for a given search may not actually be Yelp.

Don’t Ever Trust Google With Your Life


Having worked with a handful of healthcare clients (including one very large current one), Dan Leibson’s post on the poor quality of Google’s medical local search results resonates.

Medical SERPs are a prime example of an area in which Google’s dogmatic belief in the viability of its algorithm to solve “most problems well enough” has serious real-world consequences.

Whether the severity of the “edge cases” is due to a lack of understanding, lack of empathy, or willful ignorance is irrelevant. Its monopoly market position means a fundamental change in product philosophy is needed.

How Facebook Marketing is Changing (And How to Be Prepared)


Buffer probably has as much data about Facebook Pages as any company outside of Menlo Park. Their thoughts on the decline of organic Facebook visibility for businesses (and its parallels to SEO) are instructive.

Next Level ROI Reporting for Local SEO


Client reporting *should* be a major value-add for agencies, at every level of client spend. Understanding their marketing efforts at a deep level is just not something most SMBs (should) have the time, energy, or experience to focus on.

Colan Nielsen breaks down how Sterling Sky is adding value for their clients with call analysis in this detailed post.

It’s a topic I should have spent more time on specifics like this post in my recent webinar for Eric Shanfelt’s Local Marketing Institute: Building Your Local Marketing Stack (subscription required / $1 trial available).

Interested in offering email marketing to your clients? Check out our White Label Agency Platform, with plans as low as $7/client.

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