Darren Shaw's avatar

UPDATE: based on the many thoughtful and intelligent comments below, I'm downgrading my recommendation to Google to simply stop putting so much weight on the business name as a ranking signal. I can see that there are some benefits to using it in the algorithm.

My main complaint is that you can go into GMB and add a keyword to the business name and see an immediate and significant increase in rankings. That shows me that Google is giving this signal too much power.

I recommend reading through the excellent comments below.


Notice anything interesting in the screenshot below?

All of these results have some synonym of "bellevue dentist" in the business name.

The business name is one of the strongest local ranking factors and it's starting to piss me off.



Which business deserves to rank higher in the local search results for the term “seattle plumbing”?

Business Name




Pipe Masters, Inc.

High quality, no spam.

100% consistent. Listed on the top sites.

Plenty of positive reviews.

Seattle Plumbing Pros

Mostly directory links and blog comments.

Inconsistent and way overdone.

A handful of spammy looking positive reviews, and a few real looking negative reviews.

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Jessie Low's avatar

Our Favorite Takeaways from LocalUp Advanced

Posted Feb 20, 2015 by Jessie Low in Local SEO

Moz & Local U teamed up to create the first annual LocalUp Advanced conference. Many of the best and the brightest in local search made it out to the event and left conference attendees with much to think about. There was definitely no shortage of tips, tricks, and takeaways, but the following gems resonated with us here at Whitespark (in no particular order).  

Yelp Matters

There is no denying that Yelp is a local powerhouse, so instead of avoiding it like the plague, David Mihm provided some awesome tips on how to utilize Yelp to help your local business.

1. Find out which of your followers are also Yelpers: Facebook graph search - "people who like (business name) and use Yelp"

Killer tip: RT @GregGifford: Facebook graph search: "people who like (business name) and use Yelp" @davidmihm #localup

— Darren Shaw (@DarrenShaw_) February 7, 2015

Using the Facebook graph search you can target specific customers who are also Yelpers (a true Yelper loves to leave reviews, check-in, upload photos, etc). Strategically requesting customer feedback from an active Yelper can be just the kind of boost your reviews need. Should your customer wish to leave you a review on [...]

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David Deering's avatar

hanz and franz schema pump up


There are hundreds of articles that can be found online about how to mark up your local business’ NAP with schema.org

Don’t worry, this isn’t another one of them.  

This article is about how to take that basic, plain Jane markup, and add a few underused properties and types to it to provide even more information to search engines about the business and, in turn, increase the markup’s power and SEO value.  Let’s get started!


Use the Most Specific Schema Type for Your Business

One problem that I commonly see with many schema markups is that they use the typical LocalBusiness type.  There’s nothing wrong with that in itself, but it doesn’t tell search engines much about what type of business it is or what it does.  After all, a local business could describe a store, a plumbing company, a mechanic shop, a bowling alley, and so on.  

Since the purpose of using structured data markup is to help search engines better understand your business, the first thing [...]

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Mikel Zaremba's avatar

So here's something to chew on! Look at what I ran across today while doing a little research for a LocalSpark client.

A moving company in Edmonton, AB has a flag in the title of their Google+ Local page name.

Yeah, a flag. What. In. Thee. Hell.

Special html symbol in Google Local Page 

In the most simple form it looks like they added some special characters via html to the name. In that a: Block, Spade, and a Block.

It should be noted that the page itself is not claimed and the page they link to from the website is completely separate.

Our theory is that this page was claimed, the character was added, and then it was released. 

Does This Help Click Through Rates?

I'm gonna bet it does. The first thing I saw was this business listing. What a real eye grabber!

With more attention visually it's a good chance that CTR's are going to be higher. But will it move the needle in terms of rankings? We can only wait and see I suppose.

But, this tactic is giving the user more places to engage with [...]

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Mikel Zaremba's avatar

3 Words That Define Local SEO

Posted Dec 1, 2014 by Mikel Zaremba in Local SEO

Do you wish, as a local SEO’er, you could boil down just how you feel about working through a campaign with a client? I mean, words so concise, they ooze feelings that make you take action?

As a team here at Whitespark we did just that by describing local SEO and what it means to us in three words. The 3 words are meant to help you internalize and remember actions you might need to take. To help you think about your current project in a different way.

Can you run through this list and apply it step by step to your campaign specifically? No, probably not. But it might help give a little insight and catch something you might not thought of.

Have fun!


3 Words For Local SEO

Optimize title tagsOptimize contact pageImplement schema everywhereUse alt tags People friendly websitesOptimize mobile experience Optimize for mobile Optimize for humans Build separate pagesMark up everything NAP in schema Page per serviceCity in title Service in title Location specific pagesDon’t keyword spam Use company images Effective meta descriptions No duplicate content Sweat title tags


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