Organic search results engender trust

Why are organic search results important to your business? Because rightly or wrongly, people trust Google’s rankings. Think about it. When you conduct a search and choose a result, where are you most likely to click?

The overwhelming number of users click a result on the first page of Google. Over 70% click on Page 1, and 67% click in the Top 5. By contrast, clickthrough rate (CTR) for well performing paid search ads is typically in the 1-4% range.

This is not necessarily flawed logic on the part of users. Websites that make it easy to understand what the business is about and provide a good user experience are rewarded in the rankings. It’s a matter of due diligence. My instinct tells me that if a company doesn’t cut corners on their web presence, they won’t cut corners when I do business with them.

Posted in SEO basics

Google My Business verification scare tactics

In the last 10 days, I have received two phone calls with a very official sounding recorded messages. Something along these lines:

“This is an important call from your local Google My Business expert. Your business is not claimed and verified with Google My Business, which means it is not showing up in local Google search results. For your website to appear in local rankings, you must claim and verify your Google My Business profile. Press 1 to speak to your Google My Business expert.”

I pressed 1 and an “expert” greeted me and began to ask questions. I did my best to play along.

“What profile are you talking about? What do I need to do?”

“Your Google My Business profile is not verified, so you are not showing up in local search results. We can ensure that your profile is claimed and verified so that you are maximizing visitor traffic to your website.

What is your business? Translation? Let me do a quick search… I don’t see you anywhere in the rankings.” He lists off the top 5 local search results for Austin.

“Most of my clients are not in Austin. Why should I be concerned about local searches?”

“If you’re not showing up in Austin, you’re not showing up anywhere.”

“How much is it to get my profile claimed and verified?”

“It’s $199 for the first month and $99 a month thereafter.”

“What do you do after the first month?”

“We guarantee your website will be on Page 1 of Google within 3 months. Let me take a look a look at your website.”

He then went to my website and began to chuckle.

“Ah Mike, I see. You offer SEO services.”


(Nervous laughs) “Okay, I get it.” (Click)

It’s true that you need a claimed and verified Google My Business profile. But don’t be frightened into a scam like this.

Claiming and verifying your Google+ business page is free. If you need assistance, send me an email at

Posted in Bogus SEO, Google+, SEO scammers

Google Plus, Local, Maps, My Business? Why bother?

The Google Plus platform has been in constant and often befuddling evolution for business owners since its inception. I hear the question all the time: “What the hell does Google want from me?”

It’s a fair question. The Google+ platform for businesses has been moving the goalposts, changing the rules, and repeatedly rebranding itself for a couple of years now. It’s hard to figure out the correct way to set up your business profile.

Why bother with Google+ for your business?

Why not skip the hassle and blow off Google’s social network altogether? If you own a business – especially if it’s B-to-C, Google has a virtual gun to your head.

Here’s why. If you want your business to show up on any of the following platforms (why wouldn’t you?), you need to have a verified Google My Business profile.

Google Local Carousel:

Google Local Pack:

Google Maps:


  • Google assigns trust to verified G+ profiles and rewards websites in the organic rankings
  • Any links shared on the G+ platform are immediately indexed by Google search engine.

Google+ is a critical tool if you want your business to be found online.

Posted in Google+, Social media

Beware of SEO scammers

I noticed lately a rash of shady SEO sales tactics that are worth sharing. I get it. Small business owners want to maximize their online impact. The problem is it’s hard to know whom to trust – and when someone tries to scare the shit out of you, you start to question your situation. Read more ›

Posted in Bogus SEO, SEO basics, SEO scammers

Major Google algorithm update: Hummingbird

In the SEO world, we’re used to frequent updates to Google’s search algorithm. Representatives from Google will typically announce a few small changes every month.

This past Thursday, September 26 – which also happens to be the 15th anniversary of the company’s launch – Google described a major algorithm update on their official blog. It has since been dubbed “Hummingbird.” Read more ›

Posted in SEO news

Hi, I’m Michael.

SEO San Francisco

I help organizations implement smart and effective digital optimization.

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