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Bing is Growing, Yelp is Scandalous, and I Need Your Help!

Posted on 4.07.2014

:: Travis Bliffen, Stellar SEO ::

Bing is pouring on the new features as they try to compete with Google. Recently on the Bing Blog, they discussed how they are focused on better understanding how the world interacts and delivering the results you want. You can read more in their post “150 Million More Reasons to Love Bing Everyday”.

Yelp is Not the Best Source of Reviews

Yelp is viewed as one of the best places to get honest reviews and find local businesses; unfortunately that is not the case and here is just one example.

FM Exteriors is a roofing and storm damage repair company just outside of St Louis. FM has a ton of 5 star reviews from the dozens of local clients they have helped. When collecting information about FM, the owner brought it to my attention that even though he had a ton of positive reviews on Yelp, his profile only shows the two lowest reviews he has received. Despite several attempts to contact Yelp, none of the positive reviews on his account have been published and no explanation was provided as to why.

Upon digging deeper into this, I have found thousands of complaints about only bad reviews appearing for many businesses across the country. The most disturbing part of this is that people judge companies from inaccurate reviews. Here is how Yelp ratings compare to ratings on other top review based websites. (Yelp is the top left image.)

The reason for the discrepancy on Yelp (according to them) is their secret criteria that determines which reviews to publish. Essentially, in an effort to prevent false positive reviews from being published, they have all but completely prevented any good reviews from being published. Others believe that the negative reviews are part of something even more sinister on behalf of Yelp.

If you want to dig deeper into Yelp, here is an excellent in-depth investigation by Kathleen Richards. Her findings on extortion attempts by Yelp are shocking. 

The bottom line on this one folks, check more than one review site when researching a company.

Marketing Resources

As part of the recent surge in popularity of Barnacle SEO and the potential for aggressive link building has resurfaced, I have noticed a lot of chatter around forums and blogs centering on automated link building solutions.

I want to start by saying that you should not use automated link building tools to build links directly to your primary website since it is a risky and black hat technique likely to get your site penalized or de-indexed completely.

Unlike many others, I am also not going to tell you that used wisely, link building tools cannot improve your rankings through tiered link building and blog networks. Whether or not to use link building programs is your decision, if you are going to use them, here are some sites that show you how to use them better.

Matthew Woodward made a very in-depth tutorial on tiered link building more than a year ago. Since then, the setup has changed somewhat but his tutorial is still great for learning the theory and setup techniques. 

Jacob King has created a post that updates the tactics learned in Matthew Woodward’s tutorial and offers insights on how to set up a proper tiered link building structure in 2014.

If you are looking for a basic tutorial on how to use Ultimate Demon, a very popular link building tool, you can learn more about that program on Scritty’s SEO Blog, he also offers several video tutorials on YouTube as well. If you do not own Ultimate Demon already, I would not buy it.

As a word to the wise, you will likely find more about Ultimate Demon than any other link building tool and this is because they pay the best affiliate commissions. If you do not own a tool but are looking to buy one, I would suggest GSA Search Engine Ranker. The program is very powerful and only costs $99 (I have no affiliation). You can find a good tutorial on GSA on the GSA Forum.

Again, I want to remind you this is a gray/black hat method of link building and could get your site penalized. Use these tools with caution.

The Toolbox

Now back to White Hat SEO!

This week we are going to take a look at how to leverage Google + for maximum SEO benefit. If you are not already on Google +, you need to get there soon and if you are, you are going to learn something new today. You can get all the details in my post about Google + link building, but for those of you in a hurry, here is a quick overview.

Google Plus pages have Page Rank and gain authority just like other websites.

Your Google Plus page gains authority by building internal do-follow links and external do-follow links too.

If your page has more authority than the page of a content author, you could outrank them by sharing their content.

Google Plus is here to stay, get active and build followers today to reap the benefits tomorrow.


This week's SEO Tip comes from a great comment left by Steve Wiideman in response to last week’s post about Barnacle SEO.

“Yelp and other directories must absolutely love this idea. I however, feel that this may work against our long-term goal in search: to build our own brand's authority rather than providing free marketing to our vendors and publishers.

My advice- Avoid tactics and stick to fundamentals. Claim your business with data providers (Acxiom, InfoUSA, Factual, Localeze), optimize your location landing page with relevant categories and service terms (maybe a little structured data), continue to earn regional NAPW citations regularly (don't link to them purposefully you black hat you), and constantly improve how your customers speak about you and how frequently they check-in online. “

Thanks for sharing Steve, linking directly to your profiles is not necessarily a black hat method though. When I write a guest post and link to my Twitter profile, that is not black hat. Barnacle SEO should be used in addition to building your own brand, not as your only strategy. Otherwise, great tip and thanks for sharing.

Looking Ahead

Next week we are going to look at some of the key areas of on page optimization and what type of content generally ranks the best so that you can establish an on page SEO strategy of your own.

I need Your Help!!

In February, we brought the very first SEO roundup to our readers. Since we started, several of you have commented on tips, advice and news covered in the roundup. The very reason the SEO roundup is written is to answer your questions and provide you with the information you need to stay afloat the in the turbulent waters of SEO.

I would greatly appreciate it if you would take just a moment to leave a question below for us to answer, a comment about what you would like to see covered or any feedback you would like to share about how to make the roundup a more valuable resource for you.

I will take the time to answer your specific questions and give you actionable advice that you can use to improve your website.

Thanks in advance for your help!

-Travis Bliffen

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