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Miriam Ellis

Miriam Ellis is the co-owner of Solas Web Design and CopyLocal, providing SEO-based website design, Local SEO and professional copywriting for small-to-medium North American businesses. She is the Local SEO Associate in the Q&A Forum at SEOmoz, a moderator at Cre8asite Forums and an annual participant in David Mihm's Local Search Ranking Factors report. When she and her husband are not working on the web, they're farming organically and working on increased sustainability or roaming about in nature having the time of their lives.

The Shady Practice Of Spinning Articles To Avoid Duplicate Content Penalties

Why substitute the word 'canine' for 'dog' isn't your most intelligent marketing choice....

Your Local SEO Checklist For 2012!

Be a woman or man with a plan for Local in 2012 with these 10 sensible, empowering tips!...

Google Reviews As Political Battleground

An Alabama deli owner faces an onslaught of online hate reviews. Where should review portals stand on this issue? Where do you stand?...

Google Local Gallops Away From Feudalism, Offers Fixes

It's not a Harlequin romance novel nor even a better class of historical fiction. Google really is running away from the castle with their new Places contact form!...

Nuking Local Competitors A Dirty, Rotten Trick

Things have just reached a new level of low with the idea of reporting your competitors' businesses as closed....

Will Think For Cold, Hard Cash

How niceness + smarts = your daily bread, and mine....

Dealing With Getting Ripped Off By SEO Clients

No matter how good you are at your job, sooner or later, you are likely to have a client who refuses to pay you. How can you handle this while staying sane?...

Local And Social Require Heart - Does Google Qualify?

Does Google, the tin man of the Internet, with its algo-centric, data-centric mindset really fit into the Local/Social picture?...

Cracks In Google's HotPot And The Ethics Of Beta Local

I would contend that Google stepped out of a beta-friendly world when they stepped into Local and I woke up this morning to news that confirms my feelings on this....

Drawing Local Lines In The Sand For Clients In 2011

Defining 3 types of Local SEO clients and the most powerful areas in which you can steer them away from spammy practices towards positive actions that benefit whole communities....

New Integrated Google Local A Game Changer

You may not be seeing it in Firefox yet, but fire up your Google Chrome browser, and you'd better be sitting down for this one because the new integrated Google Local results are dizzyingly different and ready to rock the SERPs. My Canuck friends to the North aren't seeing this yet, and the rollout isn't complete in all browsers in the USA, but the implications of this totally new layout, if set in stone, are going to effect every local business on the map....

Warning: Beware New Breed Of Extortion In Google Maps

Google should be issuing a mass warning right now, but in lieu of that, I'm going to. If your business is listed in Google Maps or you are simply a Maps user, do yourself a huge favor and read this post. Just when you thought tactics couldn't get any slimier on the dark side of Local, they have....

Don't Hang Up! Google Really Phoning Local Businesses.

Did you think that phone call from a supposed Google rep was yet another annoying telemarketing pitch? Not so! Google really may be calling you....

The Local Business Owner Who Would Not Be Mollified

I couldn't help him. After 45 seconds of conversation with a local business owner who phoned me out of the blue, his voice literally quivering with rage, I knew my words could bring scant balm to his personal inferno of a Gilead in which the negative review had been left and the whole world, he was sure, was laughing at him......

How To Report A Google Maps Problem

Is your business listed incorrectly in Google Maps? Is your town location being shown inside a lake? Got a problem with Google Maps data? This article will show you what to do to report a Maps error to Google....

Should Your Hyperlocal Blog Muckrake?

Today, someone like you can tell the truth that you know, with the click of a button. The hyperlocal blog presents a unique opportunity to highlight serious local concerns, but what place does muckraking have in this new world? Is it a good idea or not?...

Eight Little Gripes With Google Maps

Is there a table, a shelf, a corner of your house that starts out bare and clean, but over time, you begin setting this and that on it without much thought? Some mail, old newspapers, a rain hat, a screwdriver, a bracelet, a dog toy...Suddenly you look at this area one day and say,"Hey, that's a whole lot of junk. That's a mess." When it was one little thing or two little things, it was no big deal, but when those little odds and ends start adding up, you wind up with a big, messy pile. That's the way...

The Yelp BBQ And The Crummy Chiropractic Scheme

If you zoom in and out of the local sphere, here's a summary of what I've found to be the most interesting Local developments, of late. We've got a marketer inciting riotous and foolhardy behavior in chiropractors, Yelp continuing to be turned on a slow spit over a growing fire, and two very interesting series of articles running for your Local reading pleasure....

Poor Logic: Letting Your Competitors Hold You Back

Are you running with the pack or setting the pace in your race on the web? An anecdote about being too easily satisfied in a badly neglected industry....

24 Hours With Google's Nexus One

A non-techy perspective on my day one with the Nexus One. Thinking of buying your first smart phone for the benefit of your small business? This article is for you!...

Google Shoves Their Liaisons Off Maps

Google's newest policy change has done more to offend and distance the very people who act as the intro into Google Maps than any other I can recall. Google has decided to stop showing local results for Web Designers, SEOs and advertisers in North America and the UK....

Landmark Local Categories List

Talk about Happy Holidays and the spirit of giving! Mike Blumenthal has just published the very first Complete Google LBC Category List we've ever seen. This is the gift Local SEOs and local-focused business owners have been waiting for and it vastly simplifies the process of picking the right categories for a given business - something you can't afford to make a mistake about!...

Should You Hire An SEO Who Cold Calls You?

Matt McGee recently advised business owners not to hire SEOs who contact them and his stance has drawn some critical response. Let me tell you why I think Matt is absolutely right, you tell me whether you agree or not....

Google Maps Place Pages Widen Local Horizons

If you've not visited Maps in the last couple of days, you are in for a surprise! Google has just rolled out a whole new user interface which they've dubbed Place Pages. If you're into Local SEO or are running a local business, it's time to check this new UI out!...

Top Dog IYPs And Bad Dog Google LBC

While Internet Yellow Pages fight for top spots in the SERPs, Local Search Marketers continue their love-hate relationship with Google's omnipotent position in the Local world. Andrew Shotland and Matt McGee tell it like it is. If you're into Local, tune into this!...

How To Claim Your Google Maps Listing

Sometimes, I get ahead of myself when I'm answering questions and in this case, I forgot for a moment that such a huge number of the business listings that make up Google's local index are still unclaimed. Let's get down to basics with this article. If you've been mystified by the verification process, read on!...

Two Bits Of Local Search News

This week in Local Search, Google has made a small change to the pin number process in the Local Business Center which will slightly alter the way SEOs need to manage assisting clients with the all-important verification process. And, just today, Google has added a new favoriting feature to Maps....

Google Local Gobbles SERPs

Google's latest move brings Local to the forefront of the search experience, for searchers and marketers alike. This is a game changer....

Cultivating Local Needs For Business Profit

Observation is the key skill you need to succeed with a local-focused business, and with the promotional tools the web provides, there has never been a better time to begin cultivating local needs for the benefit of your community and your business....

Google's K-Pack Rocks Local

Google Maps gets sprinkled with thousands of little red dots - you get tons of new local business choices with the amazing new K-Pack!...

The Latest In Local Search - SMX West And More

With SMX West, the SEMMYs and big news in the mapping world, my friends and colleagues in Local have been busy this past week. Keep apace with the latest in Local Search by taking a gander at these informative and important articles....

GetListed or Weep!

In a Local climate where failure to claim your business listings can result in competitive hijacking, loss of income and damaging misrepresentation, there is no time to lose in getting listed and getting listed right. Sexton and Mihm have just made this vital task incredibly elegant and oh-so-easy with what I believe is the most noteworthy tool yet created for the Local Search industry....

Why Wikipedia Accuracy Won't Cut It For Google Local

Almost everyone with an interest in Local Search is trying to get a message through to the large minds at Google, in a variety of ways. The message concerns the real-life effects of inaccurate data in Google's One Box, 10-pack and Maps on the public. While a major percentage of Internet users have grown to trust the Google brand and will take Google's local data at face value, few will understand that Google views its own local applications as a wiki, community project. Let me explain why this is seriously problematic....

User Reviews As Local Activism

Discover how clearly written user reviews give you the power to shape your local economy. This article provides specific instructions for styling your reviews powerfully and describes the real-life incentives for doing so....

Google's Local Migraine

Listen up and you'll hear the cries and groans of citizens everywhere as they interact with Google's Local entity and come away bruised and confused. What happens when you release a demi-god product into civilization, with the power to change common people's daily lives in terms of their earnings, their activities and the use of their time, and then you fail to back up that super power with adequate support? The past few weeks on the Local scene give a bird's-eye-view answer to that question....

When This Industry Is One Of The Helping Professions

Marketing discussions can be kind of grim sometimes, with one cynical voice proving to all the others that you can sell literally anything to anybody with the right tricks. If you hear yourself saying things like this frequently these days, and something inside of you doesn't like it, maybe now is a good time to pick some new projects....

Google, Germany, Gore and an Assault On Reason

Gore is warning Americans to wake up, stop being so numb about their runaway government, their privacy, their ability to maintain a free press and an open market. But Gore works for Google. And Germany thinks Google is becoming a threat to one of the basic rights which the United States Constitution and most state Constitutions make much of - privacy....

Why Local Search Is Where It's At

If David Mihm's Local Search Ranking Factors left you longing for more local fare, Mike Blumenthal takes the cake by Cracking Google's Local Algo. Visit Mike's site for the presentation he just gave at SMX Local, and stay tuned there for a more in-depth report on our findings....

Google Street View - Not Illegal, Maybe Antisocial

As a Local Search practitioner, I'm a big fan of Google Maps and the brilliant technology behind it. I interact with Maps daily and am always excited when they roll out some new tool or application that makes their index of information about local businesses more thorough or useful. But seeing Google Maps' newest offering, Street View, didn't make me feel excited. It made me feel...ticked....

Is Your Small Business Website's Voice Honest and True?

Who are you? An individual? A family? A group of people sitting at desks in an office? An entity with a physical location where I'll be standing in a line to speak with someone behind a counter? A co-op of professionals that will come to me to perform a service? When I hit your website, one of my first efforts is going to involve trying to determine who you are, behind that screen, those images, those words on your pages.

34 Google Local Maps Sources For Hospitality Industry Reviews

Today, I sat down and looked at approximately 1000 reviews listed in Google Maps for hospitality industry businesses. The following is the list of sources I found Google currently pulling this data from, in addition to their own Google Reviews source.

Homestead.com - Your Domain Name With Strings Attached

Homestead is one of the best known template-website-builder companies out there. They offer website design and hosting, have a pleasant user interface and convincing testimonials. Yet there is something about signing up with Homestead that must be located somewhere in fine print but appears to be escaping the notice of small business owners...until it's too late.

Blogs With Deep Roots - A Great Potential Use Of The Blogging Medium

The text-based Internet seems to confirm that we will never again attain the vast capacity for memory retention reputed to our ancestors. Taken to an extreme, the Internet can tell you what your own name is if you ever chance to forget it. Yet, there is the very positive side of the Internet acting as an unprecedented repository for the memories and knowledge of generations of mankind.



About the Author

Miriam Ellis is the co-owner of Solas Web Design and CopyLocal, providing SEO-based website design, Local SEO and professional copywriting for small-to-medium North American businesses. She is the Local SEO Associate in the Q&A Forum at SEOmoz, a moderator at Cre8asite Forums and an annual participant in David Mihm's Local Search Ranking Factors report. When she and her husband are not working on the web, they're farming organically and working on increased sustainability or roaming about in nature having the time of their lives.

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