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doug-bwAre black hat SEO specialists getting better at outsmarting Google? And is Google Local Search particularly susceptible to gaming?

Earlier this year, JC Penny and Overstock.com had to be manually demoted by Google because they were paying for inbound links to artificially inflate their rankings.

Last month a Chinese start-up that uses illicit SEO tactics to outrank a number of major consumer brands for keywords like “summer dresses” secured a $15 million dollar investment from Sequoia Capital.

And credit card provider Capital One piggy backs off an online car dealership’s display ad widget to rank number one for the phrase “auto loans.”

Most recently, lead gen companies have gotten so good at gaming local search, it’s become exceedingly difficult, if not impossible for local locksmiths to get found by customers. Instead, the lead gen companies, or affiliate marketers, intercept the leads and sell them to the highest bidder, driving up the cost of service.

Online search expert Doug Pierce, available via LinkedIn, Twitter or email, who is the co-founder of Digital Due Diligence, which helps investors evaluate online business models, talks about the shady schemes of black hat SEOs, and whether or not they’ll ever gut Google search of its usefulness.

Topics Discussed:
  • How national lead gen companies outranking local companies in Google Local Search.
  • How lead gen sites use NAPs -- name, address and phone number -- to curry favor.
  • Was including Local Search in its current state in Universal Search Results a bad idea?
  • Inside the unseemly Chinese Internet web of inbound link purchasing networks.
  • How to use ALT tags to give inbound links from JPEGs SEO relevancy.
  • Did JC Penny know what it was doing, or was management digitally illiterate?
  • What http://www.opensiteexplorer.org/  does that Yahoo! Site Explorer doesn’t.

Since this podcast was recorded, Google made significant changes to the Goolge Local search algorithm, promptomg Doug to write this blog post detailing what's wrong and what more can be done.

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About the Podcaster:
Eric Schwartzman (@EricSchwartzman) provides social marketing services, social marketing research and social media training to businesses, government agencies and nonprofits. He has over 15 years experience integrating emerging information technologies into organizational communications programs.  He has served Boeing, BYU, City National Bank, Environmental Defense Fund, Government of Singapore, Johnson & Johnson, NORAD Northcomm, Southern California Edison, Toyota, UCLA, US Dept. of State, United States Army, US Embassy of Athens, US Embassy to Rome, United States Marine Corps and many other small to medium-sized companies and agencies.  Eric is also the instructor behind top-rated social media training seminars and the Social Media Boot Camp which are offered regularly in the US and abroad. Visit the social media training calendar for upcoming dates.


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