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SEO Company offering Local Search Optimisation - Opinions Please

     
10:13 am on Jul 11, 2013 (gmt 0)

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Just had an interesting phone call from a company offering local search optimisation.

While I'm not interested in taking up their offer, I would like some insights as to how their method works.

They claim they can rank you #1 for [key-phrase town/city/region].

They backed this up by giving me several examples of real customer's keywords to search on Google and letting me pick a random town (chose a number of fairly remote, little villages). Their customer's optimised landing pages, of course, appeared in all top 5 results...

As far as I can tell, they must have a database of counties/cities/towns/villages and auto-generate 10,000's of identical content (barring placename) landing pages.

For one specific example, they have created multiple EMDs (with content over a year old) for each targeted keyphrase with a url like www.keyphrase/region/town.html - all of which (according to Majestic) have no backlinks.

So, how can they create (literally) 10,000's of pages of near-identical content, with no backlinks (even at domain-level) on EMDs (which are supposedly not currently favoured by G.) and still rank in all top 5 slots on Google?

Ps this is not a rant, as none of my competitors are engaging in this, just curious as to how it works.
5:24 pm on July 11, 2013 (gmt 0)

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(chose a number of fairly remote, little villages)


The operative words here are remote and little. I live in a small community and have designed sites for several of the local business covering a variety of types. Without even making an effort, they all rank well, top 5, when you search for businesses in this town. It is the results when you search for a business state or nationwide that matters.

And yes, I have gotten the same phone calls, which keep coming even though I told them to stop.

Marshall
5:34 pm on July 11, 2013 (gmt 0)

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They backed this up by giving me several examples of real customer's keywords

In other words, they gave you a list of keywords that they already knew ranked well for those clients. Those keywords may or may not be the best keywords for those clients- they just happen to be ones that rank well.

The real test would be testing with keywords that you (or other people) would actually use when searching for that type of business.
7:18 am on July 12, 2013 (gmt 0)

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The real test would be testing with keywords that you (or other people) would actually use when searching for that type of business.


After the phone call I looked at their client list, picked my own keywords (based on my own search terms) and they still ranked, although only with a place-name. But yes, you're right, without the place-name "qualifier", they're nowhere.

Regardless of the actual search terms, I was just curious as to how they can rank well (even if just for a specific search), with no backlinks and masses of duplicate (thin) content.
7:37 am on July 12, 2013 (gmt 0)

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How many other busineses exist (online) in those locations? There must be lots of towns with less than five of any given service.
8:37 am on July 12, 2013 (gmt 0)

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fairly remote, little villages


where there's no/low competition?
8:57 am on July 12, 2013 (gmt 0)

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fairly remote, little villages


where there's no/low competition?


They rank for any placename, region, county, area, town, village, etc you can think of, even big cities where there must be plenty of competition.

Part of the SEO Co's service is to generate (dynamically? although .html suggests static content) 10,000's of pages with identical copy, just varying the placename.
9:27 am on July 12, 2013 (gmt 0)

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As an aside, google.co.uk reports 650,000 pages for one of their customer's sites. A quick look through the site I count just 22 pages.
10:39 pm on July 12, 2013 (gmt 0)

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Part of the SEO Co's service is to generate (dynamically? although .html suggests static content) 10,000's of pages with identical copy, just varying the placename.

This is an approach likely to get a site into eventual Panda trouble, in some cases sooner rather than later.

I believe you know this, but let's avoid any kind of specificity that might identify the company or the clients, btw. We avoid such discussions on WebmasterWorld for everybody's protection.
3:25 pm on July 18, 2013 (gmt 0)

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This used to work until Panda, now it only works for areas the comp is low and I would guess this will not be the case for much longer so unless you can sign up for a MONTHLY basis and QUIT at any time I wouldn't risk it.

Just curious how much did they want to charge you?

If a SEO company has to ring you for work they aren't very good IMO since the best SEO companies get referral after referral from a happy customers, small independent SEO's are the best, people you can build a long term relationship with, especially ones that charge by the month and don't bind you down with contracts.

IF a SEO is confident enough to take you on a month by month basis they are good, the guys that take your money upfront for a year can walk away with your money and do sod all and you have no come back! This is all just my personal opinion though, nothing more!
4:20 pm on Sept 6, 2013 (gmt 0)

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jamesMP - .html doesn't mean that it's static content. You can serve e.g. PHP very easily with a .html extension by taking advantage of mod_rewrite.