Tuesday, 18 February 2020

The Future of Ubersuggest

* Please read the whole post, I have some good news at the bottom, but it won’t make sense unless you read the whole post.

Do you know why I got into SEO?

Not many people know this, but I grew up in middle-class America, and I wanted a better life for me and my parents.

When I was 16 years old, I worked at a theme park called Knotts Berry Farm where I picked up trash, cleaned restrooms, and swept up vomit every single day.

I didn’t mind it because that’s life and I needed the money.

At 16, I realized I was too young to get a high paying job, so I did the next best thing… I started a business.

But making $5.75 an hour picking up trash wasn’t enough to market my business, though. The only solution that I could think of was SEO because if you put in the time and effort you can get the traffic for free.

It’s also the main reason I fell in love with it… it gives the little guy a chance to compete with the big guys.

And over the years I wanted to pay it forward and help out all of the entrepreneurs and small companies so they can do the same… succeed without having to spend a lot of money.

So, what did I do?

Well over the years, I’ve produced a ton of free content, videos, and guides that help entrepreneurs and marketers of all sizes succeed.

And in February 2017, I decided to take it to the next level by acquiring Ubersuggest for $120,000.

When I first bought it, I had the dream of creating an SEO tool that could compete with the big players that charged $100+ a month, but of course, offer it for free.

The developers that I had at that time estimated that I could do this for $30,000 to $45,000 a month. That was perfect as I had no issue losing that much money each month.

But as we got rolling and kept adding in more features, our expenses continually climbed. Just look at what I spent in the last month…

I spent $89,930 on hosting so far in January with an estimated spend of $128,680 for February. But again, let’s stick with January…

My back-end development bill from Tryolabs was $47,885 for January.

My data feed from SEO Power Suite, Data For SEO, and Shared Count totaled $75,253 for January.

And of course, my front-end developers as well as my dev-ops team Netlabs, which ran me $22,700.

Then if you add on miscellaneous costs, such as support, design, and project management, I was out another $11,450.

All in all, I spent $247,218 during the month of January 2020.

Keep in mind that my costs are continually rising. As the tool gets more popular, it costs me more.

One of the big reasons for the server expenses is scrapers.

Believe it or not, a lot of companies are scraping our data and continually rotating up IPs and creating fake accounts, which increases our server expenses. Especially when you consider that they are researching vague SEO terms or domains that aren’t cached in our system.

Don’t feel bad for me

Now the purpose of this post wasn’t to make you feel bad or guilty (unless you are scraping me). I just wanted to be transparent about my situation.

Originally, I was hoping that I could convert a portion of the Ubersuggest customer base into agency clients but as we continually move upstream and work with bigger brands, the conversion rate from an Ubersuggest visitor to a paying consulting customer has been low.

As that didn’t work out the way I wanted, which I learned around 11 months ago, it became harder and harder for me to eat the costs as they continually grew and I didn’t have a way to pay for them other than to dip into my own savings.

So, I started searching for solutions, such as turning Ubersuggest into a non-profit and raise money from foundations to help support the cost. I tried that for 5 months and I didn’t gain much traction.

I also tried to see if I could get sponsors for the tool who would help cover the costs, but that didn’t work out well either. Instead, many of them offered to buy the company for millions of dollars (some in the 8 figures) but I didn’t want to sell it as I knew their goal would be to turn it into another $100-a-month tool, which didn’t sit well with me.

After running out of options, I had no choice but to make some changes to Ubersuggest (don’t worry it is not closing down). But you can guess what the changes are.

But don’t worry

First and foremost, my goal is still to give as much away for free as I can. Within Ubersuggest, you will still be able to do a lot for free…

Creating projects

You will always be able to create projects and track your rankings. And just like before you always have been limited on the number of keywords you can track and that, of course, is due to costs.

Keyword research

Within the app, you will still be able to see keyword research data.

You’ll see a chart with the latest few months’ traffic volume, data on mobile versus desktop search volume, demographic data, and even keyword recommendations.

And you can, of course, continually find new keywords to target.

Sure, some of the data is blocked, but did you know that only 14.3% of people used to register for a free account to unlock that data.

In other words, most of you never even registered because the application shows you enough for free without needing to log in.

Content ideas

Similar to before, you can also see popular blog post suggestions for any given keyword.

You’ll also be able to see the top keywords a blog post ranks for and the backlinks pointing to that URL.

Again, keep in mind the majority of you only looked at the top 10 results as 14.3% of you registered for a free account to unlock more data.

Traffic Analyzer

You will still be able to look up any domain and get stats on it.

Historical data is blocked, but you can see the last few months which is enough for most of you.

You’ll also be able to see the top pages for any domain and the keywords that page ranks for as well as backlinks.

The same goes for the keywords any domain ranks for.

Some of the data is blocked, but just like before only 14.3% of you registered to view that data. Which means 85.7% of you are happy with the free data.

SEO Analyzer

Not much has changed here, you can still analyze over 100 pages on your site and figure out which errors you have.

Here’s an interesting fact: Did you know the average site that goes through Ubersuggest only has 48 pages?

The median number of pages a site has in our system was similar at 43 pages.

And of course, there is the backlinks report, which now shows new and lost links as well as historical link growth.

Similar to what I mentioned above, very few people really cared to see the blocked off information as only 14.3% of you registered.

My dream

My goal in life is to help people generate more traffic. And I believe Ubersuggest can get better results and give you a fighting chance.

I also want to continually make the tool better. For example, why can’t SEO be automated? If you can have self-driving cars, there is no reason why you can’t automate SEO through artificial intelligence and machine learning.

But with the rising expenses, I was left with 2 options… either shut the tool down (which isn’t an option for me) or figure out a way to cover my expenses.

In the long run, I can’t keep sustaining the loss of $247,218 a month forever, especially when that number is climbing (that’s roughly 3 million dollars a year).

My team and I came up with an interesting concept that we think is fair and hopefully, you won’t be upset about it.

Remember how I said only 14.3% of people register to view more data but 85.7% never register as they were happy with the free data?

Well, nothing will change for 85.7% of you.

As for the 14.3% who register to create projects and track keywords, you can still do that for free. But if you want to add more projects or track a lot more keywords, you can upgrade to a paid plan.

The same goes for keyword research. If you want to view even more data, you can pay for the blocked data. Or if you want to analyze thousands of pages on your site through the site audit, you can also upgrade.

Don’t worry though, I am still following my original mission.

I promise to always keep Ubersuggest affordable (and mainly free). I decided to take the Netflix/Amazon approach and try to make the cost super affordable (as my goal is to only break-even).

On top of that, I made it a 7-day free trial.

You’ll also find that the pricing varies per country as my costs vary per country. In regions like India and Brazil when someone registers, creates a project and tracks keywords, my expenses are substantially lower than if someone from the United States registers and creates projects and tracks keywords.

The same goes for labor. My support team in India and other regions costs substantially less than the team in the United States or the United Kingdom.

If you also pay annually, you’ll get 2 months free so you can save even more money.

And as I mentioned above, I want to stick to the original mission, which is to help people generate more traffic without having to spend a lot of money.

There will always be a very generous free plan and I am hoping that I can break even by charging for a portion of the application.

What’s next?

Ubersuggest is going to continually get better.

To make things up to you, over the next month or two I am going to release a Chrome extension that will give you tons of insights for free. And of course, if you want a little bit more you can pay.

Here’s what the free extension will look like…

Whenever you perform a Google search you will be able to see the volume for any search term in any major country. And if you click the “view all” link you will see more data on that keyword.

You’ll also see the average domain score for any given ranking page and the number of links you need to rank in the top 10.

As you scroll down and go through each of the ranking results, you’ll see the domain score for each URL, social shares, and the backlinks pointing to that search result.

You can even drill down and see the top links pointing to each URL.

Now if you head over to the sidebar, you’ll see a list of related keywords as well as data on the top 10 keyword recommendations.

If you scroll a bit more, you’ll see a graph that shows how many backlinks each result has so that way you can see how many backlinks again you roughly need to rank in the top 10.

At the very bottom of the search results, you’ll see data on related keywords.

As time goes on not only will you have the extension, but I will continually add more and more features for free.


I’m sorry that I have to start covering my costs, but I hope you understand at the same time.

From my projections, it will take me roughly 6 months to break even, so I am going to be out a decent amount of money over the next 6 months… but that’s life.

I am not looking to recuperate my original investment and I don’t mind that being a loss, but once I break even on a monthly basis I will continue to either open up more stuff for free or consider lowering the monthly pricing if possible.

Again, I am really sorry, but I hope you understand that it isn’t sustainable for me to spend $247,218 a month indefinitely.

I am open to hearing your thoughts or ideas. I also want to let you know I appreciate everything you have done to support Ubersuggest and my site.

The post The Future of Ubersuggest appeared first on Neil Patel.

source https://neilpatel.com/blog/ubersuggest-update/

Monday, 17 February 2020

Facebook asks for a moat of regulations it already meets

It’s suspiciously convenient that Facebook already fulfills most of the regulatory requirements it’s asking governments to lay on the rest of the tech industry. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is in Brussels lobbying the European Union’s regulators as they form new laws to govern artificial intelligence, content moderation, and more. But if they follow Facebook’s suggestions, they might reinforce the social network’s power rather than keep it in check by hamstringing companies with fewer resources.

We already saw this happen with GDPR. The idea was to strengthen privacy and weaken exploitative data collection that tech giants like Facebook and Google depend on for their business models. The result was the Facebook and Google actually gained or only slightly lost EU market share while all other adtech vfendors got wrecked by the regulation, according to WhoTracksMe.

GDPR went into effect in May 2018, hurting other ad tech vendors’ EU market share much worse than Google and Facebook. Image credit: WhoTracksMe

Tech giants like Facebook have the profits lawyers, lobbyists, engineers, designers, scale, and steady cash flow to navigate regulatory changes. Unless new laws are squarely targeted at the abuses or dominance of these large companies, their collateral damage can loom large. Rather than spend time and money they don’t have in order to comply, some smaller competitors will fold, scale back, or sell out.

But at least in the case of GDPR, everyone had to add new transparency and opt out features. If Facebook’s slate of requests goes through, it will sail forward largely unpeturbed while rivals and upstarts scramble to get up to speed. I made this argument in March 2018 in my post “Regulation could protect Facebook, not punish it”. Then GDPR did exactly that.

Google gained market share and Facebook only lost a little in the EU following GDPR. Everyone else faired worse. Image via WhoTracksMe

That doesn’t mean these safeguards aren’t sensible for everyone to follow. But regulators need to consider what Facebook isn’t suggesting if it wants to address its scope and brazenness, and what timelines or penalties would be feasible for smaller players.

If we take a quick look at what Facebook is proposing, it becomes obvious that it’s self-servingly suggesting what it’s already accomplished:

  • User-friendly channels for reporting content – Every post and entity on Facebook can already be flagged by users with an explanation of why
  • External oversight of policies or enforcement – Facebook is finalizing its independent Oversight Board right now
  • Periodic public reporting of enforcement data – Facebook publishes a twice-yearly report about enforcement of its Community Standards
  • Publishing their content standards – Facebook publishes its standards and notes updates to them
  • Consulting with stakeholders when making significant changes – Facebook consults a Safety Advisory Board and will have its new Oversight Board
  • Creating a channel for users to appeal a company’s content removal decisions – Facebook’s Oversight Board will review content removal appeals
  • Incentives to meet specific targets such as keeping the prevalence of violating content below some agreed threshold – Facebook already touts how 99% of child nudity content and 80% of hate speech removed was detected proactively, and that it deletes 99% of ISIS and Al Qaeda content
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Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg arrives at the European Parliament, prior to his audition on the data privacy scandal on May 22, 2018 at the European Union headquarters in Brussels. (Photo by JOHN THYS / AFP) (Photo credit should read JOHN THYS/AFP/Getty Images)

Finally, Facebook asks that the rules for what content should be prohibited on the internet “recognize user preferences and the variation among internet services, can be enforced at scale, and allow for flexibility across language, trends and context”. That’s a lot of leeway. Facebook already allows different content in different geographies to comply with local laws, lets Groups self-police themselves more than the News Feed, and Zuckerberg has voiced support for customizable filters on objectionable content with defaults set by local majorities.

“…Can be enforced at scale” is a last push for laws that wouldn’t require tons of human moderators to enforce that might further drag down Facebook’s share price. ‘100 billion piece of content come in per day, so don’t make us look at it all.’ Investments in safety for elections, content, and cybersecurity already dragged Facebook’s profits down from growth of 61% year-over-year in 2019 to just 7% in 2019.

To be clear, it’s great that Facebook is doing any of this already. Little is formally required. If the company was as evil as some make it out to be, it wouldn’t be doing any of this.

Then again, Facebook earned $18 billion in profit in 2019 off our data while repeatedly proving it hasn’t adequately protected it. The $5 billion fine and settlement with FTC where Facebook has pledged to build more around privacy and transparency shows it’s still playing catch up given its role as a ubiquitous communications utility.

There’s plenty more for EU and hopefully US regulators to investigate. Should Facebook pay a tax on the use of AI? How does it treat and pay its human content moderators? Would requiring users be allowed to export their interoperable friends list promote much-needed competition in social networking that could let the market compel Facebook to act better?

As the EU internal market commissioner Thierry Breton told reporters following Zuckerberg’s meetings with regulators, “It’s not for us to adapt to those companies, but for them to adapt to us.”

source https://techcrunch.com/2020/02/17/regulate-facebook/

Facebook pushes EU for dilute and fuzzy Internet content rules

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg is in Europe this week — attending a security conference in Germany over the weekend where he spoke about the kind of regulation he’d like applied to his platform ahead of a slate of planned meetings with digital heavyweights at the European Commission.

“I do think that there should be regulation on harmful content,” said Zuckerberg during a Q&A session at the Munich Security Conference, per Reuters, making a pitch for bespoke regulation.

He went on to suggest “there’s a question about which framework you use”, telling delegates: “Right now there are two frameworks that I think people have for existing industries — there’s like newspapers and existing media, and then there’s the telco-type model, which is ‘the data just flows through you’, but you’re not going to hold a telco responsible if someone says something harmful on a phone line.”

“I actually think where we should be is somewhere in between,” he added, making his plea for Internet platforms to be a special case.

At the conference he also said Facebook now employs 35,000 people to review content on its platform and implement security measures — including suspending around 1 million fake accounts per day, a stat he professed himself “proud” of.

The Facebook chief is due to meet with key commissioners covering the digital sphere this week, including competition chief and digital EVP Margrethe Vestager, internal market commissioner Thierry Breton and Věra Jourová, who is leading policymaking around online disinformation.

The timing of his trip is clearly linked to digital policymaking in Brussels — with the Commission due to set out its thinking around the regulation of artificial intelligence this week. (A leaked draft last month suggested policymaker are eyeing risk-based rules to wrap around AI.)

More widely, the Commission is wrestling with how to respond to a range of problematic online content — from terrorism to disinformation and election interference — which also puts Facebook’s 2BN+ social media empire squarely in regulators’ sights.

Another policymaking plan — a forthcoming Digital Service Act (DSA) — is slated to upgrade liability rules around Internet platforms.

The detail of the DSA has yet to be publicly laid out but any move to rethink platform liabilities could present a disruptive risk for a content distributing giant such as Facebook.

Going into meetings with key commissioners Zuckerberg made his preference for being considered a ‘special’ case clear — saying he wants his platform to be regulated not like the media businesses which his empire has financially disrupted; nor like a dumbpipe telco.

On the latter it’s clear — even to Facebook — that the days of Zuckerberg being able to trot out his erstwhile mantra that ‘we’re just a technology platform’, and wash his hands of tricky content stuff, are long gone.

Russia’s 2016 foray into digital campaigning in the US elections and sundry content horrors/scandals before and since have put paid to that — from nation-state backed fake news campaigns to livestreamed suicides and mass murder.

Facebook has been forced to increase its investment in content moderation. Meanwhile it announced a News section launch last year — saying it would hand pick publishers content to show in a dedicated tab.

The ‘we’re just a platform’ line hasn’t been working for years. And EU policymakers are preparing to do something about that.

With regulation looming Facebook is now directing its lobbying energies onto trying to shape a policymaking debate — calling for what it dubs “the ‘right’ regulation”.

Here the Facebook chief looks to be applying a similar playbook as the Google’s CEO, Sundar Pichai — who recently tripped to Brussels to push for AI rules so dilute they’d act as a tech enabler.

In a blog post published today Facebook pulls its latest policy lever: Putting out a white paper which poses a series of questions intended to frame the debate at a key moment of public discussion around digital policymaking.

Top of this list is a push to foreground focus on free speech, with Facebook questioning “how can content regulation best achieve the goal of reducing harmful speech while preserving free expression?” — before suggesting more of the same: (Free, to its business) user-generated policing of its platform.

Another suggestion it sets out which aligns with existing Facebook moves to steer regulation in a direction it’s comfortable with is for an appeals channel to be created for users to appeal content removal or non-removal. Which of course entirely aligns with a content decision review body Facebook is in the process of setting up — but which is not in fact independent of Facebook.

Facebook is also lobbying in the white paper to be able to throw platform levers to meet a threshold of ‘acceptable vileness’ — i.e. it wants a proportion of law-violating content to be sanctioned by regulators — with the tech giant suggesting: “Companies could be incentivized to meet specific targets such as keeping the prevalence of violating content below some agreed threshold.”

It’s also pushing for the fuzziest and most dilute definition of “harmful content” possible. On this Facebook argues that existing (national) speech laws — such as, presumably, Germany’s Network Enforcement Act (aka the NetzDG law) which already covers online hate speech in that market — should not apply to Internet content platforms, as it claims moderating this type of content is “fundamentally different”.

“Governments should create rules to address this complexity — that recognize user preferences and the variation among internet services, can be enforced at scale, and allow for flexibility across language, trends and context,” it writes — lobbying for maximum possible leeway to be baked into the coming rules.

“The development of regulatory solutions should involve not just lawmakers, private companies and civil society, but also those who use online platforms,” Facebook’s VP of content policy, Monika Bickert, also writes in the blog.

“If designed well, new frameworks for regulating harmful content can contribute to the internet’s continued success by articulating clear ways for government, companies, and civil society to share responsibilities and work together. Designed poorly, these efforts risk unintended consequences that might make people less safe online, stifle expression and slow innovation,” she adds, ticking off more of the tech giant’s usual talking points at the point policymakers start discussing putting hard limits on its ad business.

source https://techcrunch.com/2020/02/17/facebook-pushes-eu-for-dilute-and-fuzzy-internet-content-rules/

Google My Business: FAQ for Multiple Businesses at the Same Address

Posted by MiriamEllis

How should I get listed in Google My Business if I’ve got multiple businesses at the same address? How many listings am I eligible for if I’m legitimately running more than one business at my location? What determines eligibility, and what penalties might I incur if I make a mistake? How should I name my businesses at the same address?

The FAQs surrounding this single, big topic fill local SEO forums across the web, year after year.

The guidelines for representing your business on Google contain most of the answers you’re seeking about co-located businesses, but sometimes they can err on the side of too little detail, leading to confusion.

Today, Iet's quickly tackle the commonest FAQs that local business owners and marketers raise related to this scenario, and if you have further questions, please ask in the comments!

Q: I have more than one business at the same address. Can I have more than one Google My Business listing?

A: If you are legitimately operating multiple, legally distinct businesses, you can typically create a Google My Business listing for each of them. It’s not at all uncommon for more than one business to be located at a shared address. However, keep reading for further details and provisos.

Q: How do I know if my multiple businesses at the same address are distinct enough to be eligible for separate Google My Business listings?

A: If each brick-and-mortar business you operate is separately registered with appropriate state and federal agencies, has a unique TAX ID with which you file separate taxes, meets face-to-face with customers, and has a unique phone number, then it’s typically eligible for a distinct GMB listing. However, keep reading for more information.

Q: Can service area businesses list multiple businesses at the same address?

A: Google has historically treated SABs differently than brick-and-mortar businesses. While no official guideline forbids listing multiple SABs — like plumbers and locksmiths — at the same location, it’s not considered an industry best practice to do so. Google appears to be more active in issuing hard suspensions to SABs in this scenario, even if the businesses are legitimate and distinct. Because of this, it’s better strategy not to co-locate SABs.

Q: What would make me ineligible for more than one Google My Business listing at the same address?

A: If your businesses aren’t registered as legally distinct entities or if you lack unique phone numbers for them, you are ineligible to list them separately. Also, if your businesses are simply representative of different product lines or services you offer under the umbrella of a single business — like a handyman who repairs both water heaters and air conditioners — they aren’t eligible for separate listings. Additionally, do not list multiple businesses at PO boxes, virtual offices, mailboxes at remote locations, or at locations you don’t have the authority to represent.

Q: Will I be penalized if I list multiple ineligible businesses at the same address?

A: Yes, you could be. Google could issue a hard suspension on one or more of your ineligible listings at any time. A hard suspension means that Google has removed your listing and its associated reviews.

Q: Will suite numbers help me convince Google I actually have two locations so that I can have more than one GMB listing?

A: No. Google doesn’t pay attention to suite numbers, whether legitimate or created fictitiously. Don’t waste time attempting to make a single location appear like multiple locations by assigning different suite numbers to the entities in hopes of qualifying for multiple listings.

Q: Can I list my business at a co-working space, even though there are multiple businesses at the same address?

A: If your business has a unique, direct phone number answered by you and you are staffing the co-working space with your own staff at your listed hours, yes, you are typically eligible for a Google My Business listing. However, if any of the other businesses at the location share your categories or are competing for the same search terms, it is likely that you or your competitors will be filtered out of Google’s mapping product due to the shared elements.

Q: How many GMB listings can I have if there are multiple seasonal businesses at my address?

A: If your property hosts an organic fruit stand in summer and a Christmas tree farm in the winter, you need to closely follow Google’s requirements for seasonal businesses. In order for each entity to qualify for a listing, it must have year-round signage and set and then remove its GMB hours at the opening and closing of its season. Each entity should have a distinct name, phone number and Google categories.

Q: How should I name my multiple businesses at the same address?

A: To decrease the risk of filtering or penalties, co-located businesses must pay meticulous attention to allowed naming conventions. Questions surrounding this typically fall into five categories:

  1. If one business is contained inside another, as in the case of a McDonald’s inside a Walmart, the Google My Business names should be “McDonald’s” and “Walmart” not “McDonalds in Walmart”.
  2. If co-located brands like a Taco Bell and a Dunkin’ Donuts share the same location, they should not combine their brand names for the listing. They should either create a single listing with just one of the brand names, or, if the brands operate independently, a unique listing for each separate brand.
  3. If multiple listings actually reflect eligible departments within a business — like the sales and parts departments of a Chevrolet dealership — then it’s correct to name the listings Chevrolet Sales Department and Chevrolet Parts Department. No penalties should result from the shared branding elements, so long as the different departments have some distinct words in their names, distinct phone numbers and distinct GMB categories.
  4. If a brand sells another brand’s products — like Big-O selling Firestone Tires — don’t include the branding of the product being sold in the GMB business name. However, Google stipulates that if the business location is an authorized and fully dedicated seller of the branded product or service (sometimes known as a "franchisee"), you may use the underlying brand name when creating the listing, such as "TCC Verizon Wireless Premium Retailer.”
  5. If an owner is starting out with several new businesses at the same location, it would be a best practice to keep their names distinct. For example, a person operating a pottery studio and a pet grooming station out of the same building can lessen the chance of filters, penalties, and other problems by avoiding naming conventions like “Rainbow Pottery” and “Rainbow Pet Grooming” at the same location.

Q: Can I create separate listings for classes, meetings, or events that share a location?

A: Unfortunately the guidelines on this topic lack definition. Google says not to create such listings for any location you don’t own or have the authority to represent. But even if you do own the building, the guidelines can lead to confusion. For example, a college can create separate listings for different departments on campus, but should not create a listing for every class being offered, even if the owners of the college do have authority to represent it.

Another example would be a yoga instructor who teaches at three different locations. If the building owners give them permission to list themselves at the locations, along with other instructors, the guidelines appear to permit creating multiple listings of this kind. However, such activity could end up being perceived as spam, could be filtered out because of shared elements with other yoga classes at a location, and could end up competing with the building’s own listing.

Because the guidelines are not terribly clear, there is some leeway in this regard. Use your discretion in creating such listings and view them as experimental in case Google should remove them at some point.

Q: How do I set GMB hours for co-located business features that serve different functions?

A: A limited number of business models have to worry about this issue of having two sets of hours for specific features of a business that exist on the same premises but serve unique purposes. For example, a gas station can have a convenience market that is open 6 AM to 10 PM, but pumps that operate 24 hours a day. Google sums up the shortlist for such scenarios this way, which I’ll quote verbatim:

  • Banks: Use lobby hours if possible. Otherwise, use drive-through hours. An ATM attached to a bank can use its own separate listing with its own, different hours.
  • Car dealerships: Use car sales hours. If hours for new car sales and pre-owned car sales differ, use the new sales hours.
  • Gas stations: Use the hours for your gas pumps.
  • Restaurants: Use the hours when diners can sit down and dine in your restaurant. Otherwise, use takeout hours. If neither of those is possible, use drive-through hours, or, as a last resort, delivery hours.
  • Storage facilities: Use office hours. Otherwise, use front gate hours.

Q: Could the details of my Google listing get mixed up with another business at my location?

A: Not long ago, local SEO blogs frequently documented cases of listing “conflation”. Details like similar or shared names, addresses or phone numbers could cause Google to merge two listings together, resulting in strange outcomes like the reviews for one company appearing on the listing of another. This buggy mayhem, thankfully, has died down to the extent that I haven’t seen a report of listing conflation in some years. However, it’s good to remember that errors like these made it clear that each business you operate should always have its own phone number, naming should be as unique as possible, and categories should always be carefully evaluated.

Q: Why is only one of my multiple businesses at the same location ranking in Google’s local results?

A: The commonest cause of this is that Google is filtering out all but one of your businesses from ranking because of listing element similarity. If you attempt to create multiple listings for businesses that share Google categories or are competing for the same keyword phrases at the same address, Google’s filters will typically make all but one of the entities invisible at the automatic zoom level of their mapping product. For this reason, creating multiple GMB listings for businesses that share categories or industries is not a best practice and should be avoided.

Q: My GMB listing is being filtered due to co-location. What should I do?

A: This topic has come to the fore especially since Google’s rollout of the Possum filter on Sept 1, 2016. Businesses at the same address (or even in the same neighborhood) that share a category and are competing for the same search phrases often have the disappointment of discovering that their GMB listing appears to be missing from the map while a co-located or nearby competitor ranks highly. Google’s effort to deliver diversity causes them to filter out companies that they deem too similar when they’re in close proximity to one another.

If you find yourself currently in a scenario where you happen to be sharing a building with a competitor, and you’ve been puzzled as to why you seem invisible on Google’s maps, zoom in on the map and see if your listing suddenly appears. If it does, chances are, you’re experiencing filtering.

If this is your predicament, you have a few options for addressing it. As a measure of last resort, you could relocate your company to a part of town where you don’t have to share a location and have no nearby competitors, but this would be an extreme solution. More practically speaking, you will need to audit your competitor, comparing their metrics to yours to discover why Google sees them as the stronger search result. From the results of your audit, you can create a strategy for surpassing your opponent so that Google decides it’s your business that deserves not to be filtered out.

Summing Up

There’s nothing wrong with multiple businesses sharing an address. Google’s local index is filled with businesses in this exact situation ranking just fine without fear of penalization. But the key to success and safety in this scenario is definitely in the details.

Assessing eligibility, accurately and honestly representing your brand, adhering to guidelines and best practices, and working hard to beat the filters will stand you in good stead.

Sign up for The Moz Top 10, a semimonthly mailer updating you on the top ten hottest pieces of SEO news, tips, and rad links uncovered by the Moz team. Think of it as your exclusive digest of stuff you don't have time to hunt down but want to read!

source https://moz.com/blog/gmb-multiple-businesses-same-address

Saturday, 15 February 2020

The drunken HQ Trivia finale before it shut down was insane

“Not gonna lie. This f*cking sucks. This is the last HQ ever!” yelled host Matt Richards. And it just got crazier from there.The farewell game of HQ Trivia before it shut down last night was a beautiful disaster. The hosts cursed, sprayed champagne, threatened to defecate on the homes of trolls in the chat window, and begged for new jobs. Imagine Jeopardy but Trebek is hyped-up and blacked-out.

Yesterday HQ Trivia ran out of money, laid off its 25 employees, and shut down. It was in talks to be acquired, but the buyer pulled out last minute and investors weren’t willing to pour any money into the sagging game show. It had paid out $6 million in prizes from its $15 million-plus in venture capital since launching in late 2017.

But HQ was in steady decline since February 2018 when it peaked at over 2.3 million concurrent players to just tens of thousands recently. The games grew repetitive, prize money was split between too many winners, co-founder Colin Kroll passed away, original host and quiz daddy Scott Rogowsky was let go, the startup’s staff failed in an attempt to mutiny and oust the CEO, and layoffs ensued. You can read how it all went down here.

But rather than wither away, the momentary cultural phenemenon went out with a bang. “Should HQ trivia shut down? No? Yes? Or f*ck no!” Richards cackled.

You can watch the final show here, and we’ve laid out some of Richards’ and co-host Anna Roisman’s choicest quotes from HQ’s last game:

  • “If you just got here, this is HQ Trivia. It’s a live mobile gameshow. We’re gonna read about 34 questions and then you’re gonna win about 2 cents and you’re gonna fucking loooooove it” -Roisman
  • “This $5 prize is coming out of my own pocket. We ran out of money. We just kept giving it away. We gave it all to the players, to you, you loyal HQties” -Richards
  • “Take this time now to buy some extra lives. You never know when you’re going to need them. I wish we had an extra life for the company. I’m sorry. I f*cking can’t. I’m gonna cry. My dogs eat $200 worth of food a day. My dogs are gonna starve” -Richards
  • “Why are we shutting down? I don’t know. Ask our investors. What am I going to do with my fish tank? I think our investors ran out of money” -Richards
  • “Who likes healthy snacks! That’s why the investors stopped giving us money, because there wasn’t any f*cking snacks in this b*tch. We were snackless. Who the fuck can work in a place without snacks!” -Richards
  • “I met a couple who told me HQ is part of their foreplay” -Richards
  • “Who’s going to miss the HQ chat? I’m going to miss all those people telling me I don’t have eyebrows or to do the Carlton” -Richards
  • “Maybe we should close every night. These are the nicest f*cking comments I’ve ever seen. Wow, you’re finally telling me I look hot. I tried for a year and a half -Roisman
  • [Reading comments] “‘Won’t miss you at all, good riddance'” -Roisman. “Who said that? Let’s find that mothef*cker and sh*t on his porch” -Richards
  • “Hire everyone! All the people who don’t have jobs they f*cking rock!” -Richards
  • [While doing a headstand] “Someone hire me! I’m f*cking talented” -Roisman
  • “We should have unionized a long time ago” -Richards
  • [To his girlfriend] “Hello baby! I don’t got a job, you still love me?” -Richards
  • “We bought this giant bottle of champagne for when we hit 3 million players” -Richards (HQ never got there)
  • [Shakening up the champagne and opening it to a disappointing trickle] “It wasn’t as big as I thought it was gonna be” -Richards. That’s what she said. It was anti-climactic” -Roisman. “Much like this episode” -Richards. “Much like this app” -Roisman
  • “They gave me like two double shots of tequila” -Richards, on why he was drunk

Then things really went off the rails at 41 minutes in, cued up here:

  • [Upon a bunch of people getting a question wrong] “Y’all fucking fucked up!  You are dumb! I’m kidding, you’re not dumb. You fucked up. It happens” -Richards
  • [Reading the final question together] “What does Subway call it’s employees? Ham hands, sandwich artists, or beef sculptors?”
  • “520 people are splitting $5. Send me your Venmo requests and I’ll send you your fraction of a penny” -Richards

Farewell, HQ Trivia, you glorious beast.


source https://techcrunch.com/2020/02/15/hq-trivia-shut-down-final-show/

Friday, 14 February 2020

HQ Trivia shuts down after acquisition falls through

HQ Trivia is dead. Today the company laid off its full staff of 25 and will cease operation of its trivia, sports, and word guessing games, a source close to the company confirmed.

HQ Trivia had a deal in the works to be acquired, but they buyer pulled out yesterday and investors aren’t willing to fund it any longer, CEO and co-founder Rus Yusupov said in a statement attained by CNN Business’ Kerry Flynn.

“We received an offer from an established business to acquire HQ and continue building our vision, had definitive agreements and legal docs, and a projected closing date of tomorrow, and for reasons we are still investigating, they suddenly changed their position and despite our best efforts, we were unable to reach an agreement” Yusupov writes. “Unfortunately, our lead investors are no longer willing to fund the company, and so effective today, HQ will cease operations and move to dissolution. All employees and contractors will be terminated as of today.”

Launched in October 2017, TechCrunch wrote the first coverage of the 12 question live video trivia game started by two of the former Vine founders. Users could win real money by answering all the questions and not being eliminated in multiple daily games. HQ Trivia had raised over $15 million, including a Series A led by Founders Fund. At one point it had over 2.3 million concurrent players.

hq trivia app 1

But eventually the novelty began to wear off. Cheaters came in, splitting the prize money down to just a few dollars or cents per winner. Copycats emerged internationally. Engineering issues led users to get kicked out of the game.

Then tragedy struck. Co-founder Colin Kroll passed away. That exacerbated internal problems at HQ Trivia. Product development was slow, leading users to grow tired of the game. New game types and viral features materialized too late.

A failed internal mutiny saw staffers prepare to petition the board to remove Yusupov from the CEO position. When he caught wind of the plot, organizers of the revolt were fired. Morale sunk. By July 2019, downloads were just 8% of their previous year’s, and 20% of the staff was laid off.

The demise of HQ Trivia demonstrates the fickle nature of the gaming and the startup scene as a whole. Momentary traction is no guarantee of future success. Products must continually evolve and adapt to their audience to stay relevant. And executives must forge ahead while communicating clearly with their teams, even amongst uncertainty, or find their companies withered by the rapid passing of time.

source https://techcrunch.com/2020/02/14/hq-trivia-shuts-down/

Instagram prototypes ‘Latest Posts’ feature

Instagram users who miss the reverse chronological feed might get a new way to see the most recent pics and videos from who they follow. Instagram has been spotted internally prototyping a “Latest Posts” feature. It appears as a pop-up over the main feed and brings users to a special area showing the newest content from their network.

Instagram Latest Posts

For now, this doesn’t look like a full-fledged “Most Recent” reverse-chronological feed option like what Facebook has for the News Feed. But if launched, Latest Posts could help satisfy users who want to make sure they haven’t missed anything or want to know what’s going on right now.

The prototype was discovered by Jane Manchun Wong, the master of reverse engineering who’s provided tips to TechCrunch on scores of new features in development by tech giants. She generated the screenshots above from the code of Instagram’s Android app. “Welcome Back! Get caught up on the posts from [names of people you follow] and 9 more” reads the pop-up that appears over the home screen. If users tap “See Posts” instead of “Not Now” they’re sent to a separate screen showing recent feed posts.

We’ve reached out to Instagram for a confirmation of the prototype, more details and clarification on how Latest Posts would work. The company did not respond before press time. However, it has often confirmed the authenticity of Wong’s findings and some of the features have gone on to officially launch months later.

[Update 2/14 7am pacific: Instagram has now confirmed the authenticity of the prototype with a spokesperson telling TechCrunch [and later tweeting] that “This early prototype is from a recent hackathon – it is not available to anyone publicly, and we have no plans to test or launch it at this time.” Typically a feature like this is first prototyped internally, then sometimes tested externally if it meshes with Instagram’s objectives, and only then launched officially if the test results are positive.]

Back in mid-2016, Instagram switched away from a reverse-chronological feed showing all the posts of people you follow in order of decency. Instead, it forced all users to scroll through an algorithmic feed of what it thinks you’ll like best, ranked based on who and what kind of content you interact with most. That triggered significant backlash. Some users thought they were missing posts or found the jumbled timestamps confusing. But since algorithmic feeds tend to increase engagement by ensuring the first posts you see are usually relevant, Instagram gave users no way to switch back.

Instagram previously tried to help users get assurance that they’d seen all the posts of their network with a “You’re All Caught Up” insert in the feed if you’d scrolled past everything from the past 48 hours. Latest Posts could be another way to let frequent Instagram users know that they’re totally up to date.

That might let people close the app in confidence and resume their lives.

source https://techcrunch.com/2020/02/13/instagram-latest-posts/