I have read the FAQs and checked for similar issues: YES
My site's URL (web address) is: http://Reveretaxi.com
An Open Letter to Matt Cutts regarding the new ranking under the "Over optimization" Penalty.
Hello Mr. Cutts,
My name is Mike. I run a small cab company in Revere,Massachusetts. Most of my competitors are large fleets from wealthy families who have things at their disposal like trash bags filled with money and garages with all the latest tools and equipment to keep their cars running against all odds for a much cheaper price than I could ever hope to pay.
How did I manage to compete and stay open against these cab giants all these years? I unlike my competitors had a clear understanding of SEO and built a page based on that understanding. I now have a business with a $2,000 a month car insurance bill and a phone that is no longer ringing as it did before the "over optimization" update last week.
I fully admit to being an "overly optimizer". Lets be honest unless you have an unlimited budget for adwords you have to "optimize" or at least you did have to optimize. There was a time I just built a nice poorly written site bereft of backlinks and it sat where it does now. On page 60.
I read a couple of ebooks built some links and until last week I am pretty sure I had the whole top half of the page.
I wouldn't mind so much sitting at -60 if the results you were showing were good results or even if they were showing the pages of my competitors but they are one from the SERPS now too...
Here is a rundown of the Top 10 I am seeing coming from my local datacenter when I search for Revere Ma cab
1)First result is an adwords ad from a guy I know to only own 1 vehicle. He has to be spending on the order of $300 a week on adwords. He has multiple listings in multiple cities in the Places database all using VoiP numbers (probably google voice) The ads always use different addresses and phone numbers but always link back to the same URL:boston-cabs.com
2)Next listing would be the first organic result. This is the Yahoo directory page for the same exact search I just conducted on Google except it is in their version of places. If I wanted to search Yahoo I would have right?
3) The Yelp page for the largest company in the city at one of their 2 locations under the name Patriot cab which is their actual business name.
4) The second Yelp page for my largest competitor Patriot cab. This is listed under the name "Revere cab" Using the same phone number and their second location in the city which is the huge garage they use to fix their cars.
Now The Places/Maps listings start
1) Patriot cab at one of their locations. 2 stars sitting at #1
2)City Cab of Boston. This is in fact a Boston Cab company. Their garage is located in Revere because Revere has less enforcement on the hours a garage can operate and the owner got a deal on the property compared to a Boston property. They are not licensed to dispatch cabs to Revere , Ma. and to my knowledge if you call them at this number and ask for a cab in Revere they call another one of my competitors and give them the job because they get their cars repaired there. The phone number showing on it this time is 617-536-5100. This is not actually a Revere phone number but I have seen map listings for them that show a Revere number 781-853-0500
3)Atlantic cab of Revere . A competitor of mine but a good company run by a good guy. We both actually used to work at Yellow cab in Revere together and went on to start our own companies. However since this is about the update check out the reviews on the maps listing. All were posted within like 3 days of each other and all are 5 stars. This couldn't possibly be something he purchased right?
4) Exp Limousine Services. Nice guy. Runs a great company. However it is a LIMO COMPANY. The man actually does not own a vehicle that is under 20 feet long. I met him once and asked if he ever gets calls for cab customers and he said "ye they drive me crazy they call all night every night and I don't have cabs is it ok if I tell them to call you?" Can you see how someone looking for a Revere Ma cab wouldnt want a LIMO?
5)Boston Transportation This is another limo company. I think the guy has one town car. I do not know him and I hope he makes a bajillion dollars and donates enough money to the right politician he winds up ambassador to Sweden but again he is not actually a Revere Ma cab company right?
6)My Places listing. This I am happy about as my listing has been repeatedly removed in the past. However it shows my old cell phone number. No big deal I kept the phone on and it routes to my office in case anyone still calls it. Good thing I did. I would edit the information but I am honestly afraid to. It will probably be deleted after I hit post and Matt Cutts reads this and realizes I cared enough about the service I offer to try to get Google to help me offer it to people.
Back to the Organic results
5) The Yellow pages page for Revere Ma cab search. The top 4 listings are Patriot cab using various names addresses and phone numbers. No matter which one you call you get them. I guess this is not over optimization at all right?
6) A terrible youtube video I created an uploaded. Again I am not complaining here. At least I still have something ranking organically on the first page. However Really? Someone who searches Revere Ma cab probably just wants a cab in Revere Ma right? Do you really think they want to watch videos about Revere cabs? No. They just want a Revere Cab.
7) The Dexy knows page for the same search I just conducted on Google. Lets go over these results 1 by 1 becaue they are hillarious.
A)Green Bell cab at 9 Winthrop ave.
Green bell went out of business around 1997. The owner (who I love very much) was alleged to have committed various Federal crimes and went away at that time. His children took over his cab business and none of them cared enough about the name "Green Bell cab" enough to keep it alive. The address is now a laundry mat. The toll free number listed gets you a voice mail for a guy that I think may be a Government official in a southern state. No Revere Ma cab here I guess.
B)Revere Cab 715 Broadway 781-284-5800
This is really Royal cab in Revere. They have not been at 715 Broadway in at least 4 years. Also They are not Revere Cab in any official capacity. No City of Revere DBA on it or Commonwealth of Massachusetts service mark. However I must say that if someone searching Google found this they would actually get a Revere Ma cab.
C) 5 star cab 655 Broadway
This guy owns the GASCO gas station on Broadway. Sweet man who I think is from Lebanon. A few years back the Boston Police department hackney carriage unit got a new commander name Robert "Bob" Ciccolo. The guy made a bunch of changes in regulations to improve the quality of the Boston cab business. One of these changes was to take license away from the worst of the worst drivers. This sweet Lebanese guy was friends with some of these guys so he opened 5 star cab and put out 5 bright orange cabs and rented them to these guys who had been deemed unfit to drive Boston Cabs any longer. He lasted 3 months. These guys smashes the cars. Blew the motors and transmissions. Had the cars towed out from under them for parking in front of the Four Seasons hotel downtown soliciting rides. The end of the end was they let their insurance lapse. It looks like someone went around the internet and changed the phone number to their cell phone number as this is not the number that was on the cars.
D) Gold Chip cab 470 Broadway Revere 781-284-0169
This cab company is currently out of business. It was/is owned by another former co-worker of mine at Yellow cab Revere named "Jimmy". Jimmy hit a run of bad luck and his last legal car blew the transmission. His phone is currently shut off. Yes, this is another result that will not actually get you a Revere Ma cab. Not that it matters for our purposes here Mr. Cutts but I offered to pay Jimmy's phone bill to get that number turned back on in exchange for letting me answer it until he is back on his feet. He has yet to respond.
E)Top Cab 281 American Legion HWY 781-289-1230
Top Cab is the sister company of City Cab. Neither company is authorized to provide cab service to the city of Revere. They are a Boston Cab company. Coincidentally I believe this number is the phone number for their general manager Tiffany Ford. I think if you call it after hours you get her voicemail. If she actually sent someone in Revere a cab she shouldn't be.
This wraps up the Dexy listings. I guess I sould be happy Patriot cab was not listed 5 times with three addresses and 4 names. Lets get back to the Google listings.
This is a service cab companies around the country pay. If you pay them they will give you work in your area but they only do one company per geographic area. I tried to sign up with them when I first opened but they were using Watertown cab at the time for all of Eastern Massachusetts. This is a half an hour ride away. I have no idea who they use now but I don't think you could get a Revere Ma cab from them.
9)Green and Yellow Cab of Somerville
Somerville is another town about a 20 minute ride away. This is not a Revere ma cab company. If they send someone a cab in Revere they shouldn't be. Also I like the owner of this place she is a nice woman. However I have seen her spend a ton of money on SEO over the last 2 years and she really went heavy over the last 6 months. If SEO still works at all I am definitely going to pull her Majestic report. Whatever blog networks,scrapebox comments and web 2.0 linkwheels she has been buying paid off HUGE as they now rank in the top ten in multiple cities all over the greater Boston area.
The last listing is an adwords ad. only 9 results? I guess you needed more room for adwords? Maybe you needed the room for those awesome places listings that don't actually give you cab companies in Revere Ma?
I admire your efforts to defeat spammers and clean up the search results but can you honestly tell me that the listings I detailed above are actually what people wanted to find when they searched for Revere Ma cab? Do you understand that small business owners like myself optimized our pages and bought into link networks etc. etc. etc. in an effort to promote the services and products we care about and ACTUALLY PROVIDE?
I ask you sir what do I do now? My insurance is due again May 21st for another $2,000 What can I do to promote my business between now and then through the number one search engine on the planet? Adwords? I don't really have the budget for more of that then I spend already. Should I pay Yelp?, Dexy and Yahoo? It seems you favor them greatly. Should I do what Patriot cab does? Use 5 different names four addresses and 3 different numbers?
In closing Mr. Matt Cutts I encourage you to rethink this over optimization penalty as Google users are now getting useless results that are not what they are looking for. Moreover it is my contention that the search results are now more flooded with useless webspam then they ever were before.
If anyone is reading this and they are located in Revere Massachusetts and would actually like to get a Revere Ma cab you can reach us at 781-284-5555 or on the web at http://reveretaxi.com or at twitter at @reverecab. I have 3 cabs available 24 hours a day to service your Revere Ma cab needs.
Revere Ma cab search results under the google "Over optimization" penalty
Revere Ma cab search results under the google "Over optimization" penalty