Archives for 2011

Faces of PubCon Las Vegas 2011

As has become tradition for me, I walked the halls and session rooms of PubCon Las Vegas 2011 with my camera, seeking to capture faces of the SEO/Search industry. Here’s a selection of those photos along with a story behind the faces.

PubCon 2011 Faces PhotoFaces of PubCon 2011

There’s 42 faces in the photo above, a small but notable selection of people that dedicate their days (and many nights) to the industry of search. One of the first photos I took after arriving in Las Vegas was of Neil Marshall (engine) and Amanda Randall, two of the many people that work to make PubCon happen.

neil marshall amanda randallNeil Marshall and Amanda Randall of PubCon and WebmasterWorld

Another one of the many people that work to make PubCon a successful event is technology writer and accomplished long-distance runner Lane Ellis. Lane is the lead editor for PubCon/WebmasterWorld, and every time I’ve spotted him at PubCon, he’s been smiling.

lane ellis pubcon 2011Lane Ellis at PubCon 2011

Unintentionally, I’ve noticed a pattern of taking photographs of people I’ve gotten to know over the years, although I seek to get fresh new faces as well, without appearing like a creepy paparazzi photographer. Kate Morris was in my 2010 PubCon Las Vegas photo post, and 2009 PubCon Las Vegas photo post, and here she is again, simply because she’s pretty awesome.

Kate Morris Las Vegas 2011Kate Morris at PubCon Las Vegas 2011

Kate was one of the people seated at my table for the Tuesday night Raven Tools PubCon Poker Tournament at the MGM Grand Casino and Hotel. It was a great event, and something I hope they make a yearly tradition out of. Also seated at the table, was Joanna Lord of SEOmoz, another individual that’s been no stranger to my SEO photo posts.

Joanna Lord Playing PokerJoanna Lord at Poker Table during PubCon Las Vegas 2011

Come to think of it, Joanna is also a long-distance runner, Kate is a long-distance runner, and I already mentioned that Lane is a long-distance runner. Maybe next time in Vegas, we should all meet up at 5 AM and run the strip. #TeamSEO

Danny Sullivan Search Engine LandDanny Sullivan of Search Engine Land

As far as I know, Danny Sullivan is not a runner, he prefers rollerblading the Balboa Boardwalk into the Southern California sunset. Danny was one of the many search journalists occupying the two center front rows for the Wednesday morning PubCon keynote featuring Matt Cutts, distinguished software engineer from Google.

Nakul Goyal PubCon 2011Nakul Goyal Has the Microphone at PubCon 2011

Year after year, there is always someone that asks a question during a keynote or widely attended session, that gets the entire audience chuckling. Nakul Goyal receives the honor for this year’s keynote question that will go down in PubCon history. It never hurts to ask eh?

Matt Cutts Distinguished Software EngineerMatt Cutts – Distinguished Software Engineer at Google

Matt Cutts did not forget to shave for the event, he’s been growing a goatee during the month of Movember, in support of changing the face of men’s health. Besides answering questions during his keynote presentation, Matt talked about SEO in 2011, with a focus on low-quality sites (Panda) and what he felt were long-term SEO trends. Mobile, social, local search, and an increase in personal search, were among those trends he discussed.

Michelle Lowery and Lisa BaroneMichelle Lowery and Lisa Barone at PubCon Las Vegas

A search engine conference isn’t complete without Lisa Barone of Outspoken Media live blogging sessions. While she’d rather be eating chocolate sprinkled cupcakes and enjoying a Sam Adams, she (and the rest of the OSM team) dedicates a significant amount of time to educating the search community, and keeping the rest of us up to date with what’s going on in the world of SEO.

Bruce ClayLegendary SEO Bruce Clay

To my knowledge, Bruce Clay is the father of the first SEO infographic. How many people remember the Bruce Clay Search Engine Chart from the 1990s? I had that graphic printed and posted on the wall in my office, reminding me that I’ve been studying search engines myself, longer than I oftentimes admit. It’s been a privilege to moderate sessions featuring Bruce Clay the past few years now, and if you’re ever at an event where he’s presenting, be sure to attend. He provides a wealth of knowledge.

Tim MayerTim Mayer at PubCon Las Vegas

Also providing an abundance of knowledge is fellow NFL fan, Tim Mayer. Tim has been a Keynote Speaker at previous Las Vegas PubCon events, and he’s been participating as an attendee and panelist since 2002.

Neil Frank RobertNeil Marshall, Frank Bauer, and Robert Charlton

For me, the best thing about PubCon continues to be the wealth of Webmastery information available. While many people may be interested in the latest trending topics, opportunities to speak to experts such as Neil Marshall, Frank Bauer, or Robert Charlton, on topics like htaccess, Perl programming, or enterprise-level site architecture abound. There is an atmosphere of sharing, so never waste the opportunity to ask for assistance.

Coding Genius Dax HerreraCoding Genius Dax Herrera

Working his magic for online marketing company BlueGlass, Dax Herrera drops loads of knowledge every time I’ve heard him speak at an Internet conference. Enterprise-level analytics management, analytics APIs, and the unexpected consequences of iterative software design are topics you’ll likely hear Dax talk about.

Brendan O'Connell and Amit SinghalPubCon attendee Brendan O’Connell and Google Fellow Amit Singhal

Wednesday morning’s keynote by Google’s Matt Cutts also featured a very welcomed visit from the head of Google’s core ranking team, Amit Singhal. According to Cutts, Singhal has the entire Google search algorithm in his head. He’s authored numerous search related publications and has one of the few sites I’ve seen outrank a Wikipedia page with a .info domain.

Many more photos can be viewed in my PubCon 2011 Las Vegas set on Flickr, along with the 2011 Austin set, and the 2010 Las Vegas set. I look forward to seeing those of you at PubCon Paradise in Honolulu on Valentine’s Day 2012, where I’ll be speaking on local search rankings, mobile search, and social. I’ve been told these are SEO Trends we may want to pay attention to.

1873 Los Angeles City Saloon Advertisement

Recently while doing business listing research on the city of Los Angeles, I got the opportunity to view and photograph a rare advertisement from the 1873 Los Angeles City and County Directory. The ad is for a saloon owned by historical Los Angeles figure Henry Dockweiler (aka Heinrich Dockweiler).

The 1915 Los Angeles City Directory (and the 1916 directory) had advertisements for locally brewed and bottled beer by the Los Angeles Brewing Company, but I don’t recall any advertisements for local saloons. Check out this advertisement for Henry Dockweiler’s Mammoth Lager Beer Saloon, which was located under Temple Bank, in downtown Los Angeles.

Henry Dockweilers Saloon Los AngelesNo Killing at 300 yards here.

The above 1873 saloon advertisement was 42 years prior to the ads I saw for beer in Los Angeles in 1915. Dockweiler’s saloon served cool lager, wines, liquors and cigars. The word to the wise is most interesting. There would be no killing at 300 yards from the saloon’s central downtown location on the corner of Spring Street and Main Street in Los Angeles.

Blue Cut Fault Pushawalla Loop

One of 51 earthquake fault lines in Southern California, the Blue Cut fault extends for about 50 miles through the Little San Bernardino Mountains, under Pleasant Valley, and into the Pinto Basin. Most of the 50 mile length exists within the boundaries of Joshua Tree National Park (JTNP), one of my favorite desert hiking environments.

Note: This is not a guide to Hiking the Blue Cut Fault, it’s more an October day photo journey through the region.

In the mid 1800s, there was a wagon mule trail that traversed through the area, providing passageway for miners transporting gold and mining equipment to and from railroads (in the Coachella Valley region) to the Lost Horse Mountains, the Hexie Mountains, and other nearby mining sites.

Pushawalla Blue Cut Fault LoopPushawalla Canyon Blue Cut Fault Loop

I’ve hiked Pushawalla Canyon (see photos) numerous times over the years, but this was my first time along the Blue Cut fault line and wash loop. The location is extremely remote (4×4 high clearance vehicle strongly recommended for access to dirt pullout area) and fairly good navigational skills are required if you’re planning on hiking the region. Other than a sign marked “Wilderness Boundary” near the pushawalla trailhead, there are no signs or markers (other than a few rock cairns) in the region.

ovis canadensis desert bighorn sheep scat(Ovis canadensis) Desert Bighorn Sheep scat

Inside the pushawalla region, it’s a Day Use Only area, created to allow wildlife (such as the endangered Desert Bighorn Sheep) to reach scarce water resources without interruption by humans. I arrived at the trail head just before sunrise, and while inside my Jeep packing peanut butter & jelly sandwiches (and some turkey jerky) into my pack, a group of coyotes approached, and made their presence known (Sorry, no photos. Was still dark and I prefer not to disturb their activities).

water pinyon wellWater at Pinyon Well site

When available, wildlife utilizes the water sources at the Pinyon Well site, a historic mining and milling area first developed in the 1800s. On this visit there was lots of evidence of animal activity in the area, and I could again hear coyotes barking nearby as I explored this former mining site. Nature has long reclaimed nearly all evidence of human use of the area, but there are several interesting milling and mining remnants (several not on maps) to be discovered on the surrounding hillsides.

bighorn sheep carcassBighorn Sheep Remains near Pinyon Well

The remains of a big horn sheep are a reminder that coyotes are not the only predators in the area. While I’ve yet to encounter a mountain lion in Joshua Tree National Park, I’ve come across the remains of at least a half dozen desert big horn sheep while on hikes in the Pushawalla area. I’ve kicked up more bones in this region than any other in JTNP. While different from the nearby Eagle mountains, it’s still an unforgiving environment.

green hummingbird joshua treeGreen Hummingbird in Desert

Near one of the open wells, this green hummingbird paused long enough so that I could take its photograph. Other than birds, coyotes and jackrabbits, I saw very little wildlife during the day I did this hike. Even though the early October weather was perfect for animal activity, it wasn’t my lucky wildlife day. During this trek, I took mostly photographs of things that don’t move too quickly (like rocks).

pushawalla asphalt roadAncient Asphalt Road along Pushawalla Trail

It would be easy to miss it, but the above photograph identifies the remains of an asphalt section of road that was built along the pushawalla trail. Once upon a time there was Jeep access to this area (it’s long been closed to vehicle and bicycle traffic) and before that, mule pulled wagons worked their way to the top of the Pushawalla Plateau and into the canyon that leads to what is now Indio Hills.

pushawalla plateauPushawalla Plateau Vehicle Gate

Near the top of Pushawalla Plateau are a series of iron pipes cemented into the ground and roped off in cable (here is another view), which was likely installed several years ago to prevent vehicle travel through the canyon. There are some amazing views to be seen from this point, and there’s several well hidden and quite historical mine sites close by. To my knowledge, a few abandoned mine shafts remain open and pose potential life-threatening risks, stay out and stay alive.

pushawalla canyon minesPushawalla Canyon Mine seen on Hillside

When you’re eyes are trained for spotting mine tailings (oftentimes areas of grayish color pulverized rock), you begin to see evidence of them on several mountainsides in this region. Veins of white quartz can be spotted along some of these hillsides as well, but they’re not as easy to see from a distance as mine tailing piles. I think old-time miners left behind sardine tins and other trash, just so we could more easily locate their historic sites of gold and silver glory.

white quartz vein joshua treeWhite Quartz Vein Joshua Tree National Park

I’d be lying if I didn’t say I haven’t many times thought about stumbling across a chunk of gold while hiking Southern California deserts, inspired by a story about a miner that one supposedly found a gold nugget the size of his fist, on nearby lost horse mountain. It was on the surface among the rocks. Thanks to the terrain, you can’t just leisurely walk around this area looking for gold nuggets without the risk of being stabbed numerous times in the process (by a cholla).

Silver Cholla (Opuntia echinocarpa)Silver Cholla Cactus (Opuntia echinocarpa)

There are few Joshua trees across the blue cut landscape, but the silver cholla cactus (Opuntia echinocarpa) is abundant, and the spines can be sharp as daggers. Sometimes worse than the live ones (like shown above), are the millions of needle sharp spines from dead cactus, lying on the ground and waiting to puncture the flesh at your ankles. Even the most innocent appearing desert plants can be sharp enough to cut into our clothing and/or skin.

joshua tree nutsSimilar in Appearance to an Acorn

Plant eating wildlife in the region appears to find plenty to provide themselves with nourishment. Although rainfall is infrequent in the region, both plants and animals have learned to adapt to the harsh environment. Temperature before sunrise on the day of my trip dropped to 36°F and it was over 86°F when I was leaving the area later in the day. A 40° swing in temperature is not uncommon for these parts.

blue cut weathered rockBlue Cut Fault Weathered Rusty Circles Rock

Rock formations in Joshua Tree are fascinating and some of the rocks along the blue cut fault are estimated to be over 1 1/2 billion years old. Rocks like the one shown above crumbled just by my stepping onto them. Ascending one of the hillsides to get photos of other mountain ranges, I thought the ground would avalanche underneath my feet, if there were strong seismic activity.

Mountain Ranges Joshua TreeSan Jacinto and Little San Bernardino Mountain Ranges

The San Jacinto mountain range can be seen in the left side of the above photo. There are some spectacular hikes to be had on that mountain as well. Much closer (and still mostly within the borders of JTNP) are hills of the Little San Bernardino range. I intended to stop for a break at the nearby rock pile, but moments after laying down my pack, red fire ants had ascended on my gear. while shaking off all my gear, I again heard nearby coyotes curiously making their way towards my location. Time to move.

Blue Cut Wash Joshua TreeBlue Cut Wash Joshua Tree

Once back into the wash, navigation becomes less difficult, but it’s nearly an all uphill 3 miles to the blue cut wash plateau. After already hiking 9 miles, I’m reminded how much I dislike hiking uphill in the sand. Why was it that I decided to hike 16+ miles along an earthquake fault line? The old man didn’t have any answers.

Old Man Prickly Pear CactusOld Man Prickly Pear Cactus

From my experience, there’s far less old man prickly pear cactus (Opuntia erinacea var. erinacea) growing in the region compared to the silver cholla, which was quite abundant throughout my hike. Due to the time of year, there was near zero desert wildflower blooms, but there was still plenty of rock, and lots of brush to make my way through.

Blue Cut Fault RocksBlue Cut Fault Rocks on Mountainside

The blue cut fault is named for the blue granodiorite that is exposed on the mountainside to the southwest and marks the main branch of the fault. On one side the land was uplifted to form steep and straight mountain edges of the Hexie Mountains, and on the other side the land drops to create Pleasant Valley.

Blue Cut Fault WashBlue Cut Fault Wash

The Hexie Mountains are scarred with scattered abandoned mine sites, and there’s some exploring of historical sites that can be done near the Pleasant Valley backcountry board, a good place to park. In the above photo, Joshua trees can be seen growing in the distance, we are entering back into the Mojave Desert region.

Blue Cut Pass PlateauBlue Cut Pass Plateau

Vegetation gets much thicker and greener as I cross the blue cut pass plateau and into Pleasant Valley. Those mountains (coxcomb mountains) far in the distance are still within the boundaries of JTNP. At nearly 800,000 acres, it’s not uncommon to go hours (and sometimes days) without seeing another human being, especially in the more remote regions.

Malapai Hill Joshua TreeMalapai Hill Joshua Tree

Along Geology Tour Road is Malapai Hill. It’s not that difficult to hike to and the area is quite significant archaeologically. The double humped hill was the result of volcanic activity in the area, with piles of monzogranite and basalt talus occurring on the mountain’s steep slopes. The hill is also my marker that I’m only a couple miles away from my Jeep Rubicon, and lunchtime is near.

Happy Birthday Mylar BalloonHappy Birthday Mylar Balloon

Is it your birthday? It is a good day when I can hike nearly 18 miles in desert wilderness and only come across a single piece of trash (now properly disposed of), aside from the rusted tin cans and other historical artifacts left behind from area mining days. This is never a place I’d recommend someone hike for pleasure, it’s moderately strenuous and the hazards are numerous, but the solitude makes it worth the journey for me.

Blue Cut Pushawalla TopoBlue Cut Pushawalla Topo Map

Pinyon Well, prospects, ruins, and an old guzzler site can be seen on the topo map above. Us USGS Malapai Hill, Calif. map for the region and don’t feed the coyotes.

Hotels Lose against Google Local: Centroid Battle for Las Vegas

This is part 3 of my three-part series on Local Search in Google (The Centroid Battle for Las Vegas). In part one we dissected a Google 7 Pack page for hotels in Las Vegas, Nevada. In part two we took a close look at a major hotel property that had virtually disappeared from local hotel search results on that same ‘7 Pack’ page. In part 3 we are going to look at a variation of how a hotel property can ‘disappear’ even though its physical location suggests it is in one of the best possible locations for top rankings.

Our research again begins at the intersection of S. Las Vegas Blvd. and E. Flamingo Rd. in Clark County, Nevada. This time we’re going to take a look at the area from above, thanks to a digital orthophoto quadrangle (DOQ) provided by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), that I added some arrows and hotel names to.

Caesars Palace Flamingo Ballys BellagioCaesars Palace, Flamingo, Ballys, Paris, and Bellagio as viewed from above

You may recall from post one in this series that only Caesars Palace (position B) and the Flamingo Las Vegas (position C) appear in the 7 pack even though all four of the hotels listed above (Paris is for reference) are equal in distance to the city centroid. In post two we uncovered some likely reasons why the Bellagio Hotel had lost its place (position D) in the seven pack, which leaves us with one final hotel property.

Places Ballys Las VegasPlaces for Bally’s near Las Vegas

I’m actually a big fan of Bally’s Hotel Las Vegas (much in part due to its central location) but there is no shortage of errors to be found online that are quite likely to be keeping Bally’s Hotel (and possibly even Paris Hotel) off of the seven pack results page. Take a look at my edited screen grab above to spot some errors.

Just like the Bellagio (also not appearing), there are 3 place pages found when searching for Bally’s by brand-name. It’s an ugly mess no doubt. Position A has a title of Paris Las Vegas with the URL for a restaurant located in front of the hotel. Position B is for Bally’s but notice how the address is incorrectly posted? The address (which is correct for the hotel) is also duplicated as the address for the restaurant (incorrect). Position C also has a Bally’s URL (like in position B) but the title reads Paris Las Vegas and the toll-free 866 number listed isn’t even correct for the hotel (Paris toll-free reservation desk is 877-796-2096).

Every one of the listings shown above has at least one element of incorrect or inaccurate information, providing greater evidence that what was discussed in post two, offers strong credibility for reasons why a particular business may not be appearing in the seven pack.

Ballys Google Place PageBally’s Las Vegas Place page (click to view full size)

You would think large corporate hotel and casino operations would have a lockdown on their place pages (you would be wrong). As we can see on the upper right side of the above screen grab, this Bally’s Las Vegas Hotel page (which I believe is the real deal), has not been business owner verified. The address starts out good as 3645 South Las Vegas Boulevard (I prefer Las Vegas Boulevard South) but there are some obvious errors with the address after that.

The photos (provided by Panoramio) appear to be showing the Las Vegas area but they are quite poor in branding for this particular hotel. That’s been frequently the case in my research of relying on user generated photos that are placed algorithmically on the page. It’s a far better user experience in my opinion when the business owner provides at least six high quality photos that appropriately reflect that particular place page.

Paris Hotel Las Vegas Place PageParis Hotel Place page (click to view full size)

The place page for Paris Hotel isn’t any better than the one for Bally’s. Both hotels are under the same ownership, and likely the same management, but there’s no logical explanation for this mishmash of confusion. Paris has the URL for Bally’s listed even though they have their own site and reservation system. It’s also not a business owner verified place page. A user landing on the page and looking at the images would quite likely assume this was a page for Bally’s. Even the category information is incorrect (circled in red). While other (well ranking) hotel properties were listed in categories such as “Casino, Hotel/Casino” this one above for Paris is listed first under “Physician.” Somebody get me a Doctor.

Eiffel Tower Restaurant Page2 place pages aren’t always better than one

I’ve included a screen grab of the Eiffel Tower Restaurant (which is located in front of the Paris Hotel on the Las Vegas strip) because it’s likely not helping the situation when there is a restaurant place page using the address for Bally’s Hotel and a duplicate restaurant place page using the address for Paris Hotel. It’s bad for users, it’s bad for search engines, and it’s bad for business.

Let’s Review: We started in the first post at the corner of Flamingo Road and Las Vegas Blvd. because that is where Google says the current centroid for Las Vegas is located. Since there was a hotel property on each corner of the intersection we used ‘hotels’ as the keyword for our local research. It could be expected that each of the four adjacent properties would have shown up in 7 pack results, but that wasn’t the case. Two hotels (Bally’s and Bellagio – highlighted in post number two) are currently excluded from the seven pack, which provided excellent opportunity to study potential reasons why. We found many.

Also in the first post of this series I talked about ‘wildcards’ that typically appear in positions F and positions G (or 6 and 7) of a seven pack. The hotels appearing in those positions have already altered since last week. Here’s a fresh look at today’s results.

Las Vegas Hotels OctoberLas Vegas Hotel Results

Today’s newcomer is Casino Royale Las Vegas taking over wild-card position F. The MGM Grand Hotel and Casino has moved into wildcard position G and the Luxor is gone from the 7 pack mix. For now, the cluster has moved North of Flamingo Rd., and the battle for the centroid in Las Vegas continues.

Note: I will be addressing several “most important factors” from this three-part series in more detail (along with quite a bit of information about reviews and other local search signals) during my Local Search Rankings PubCon session in Las Vegas Nevada on November 8, say hi if you’re at the conference.

Battle Las Vegas: Disappearing Hotels in Local Search

This is the second of a three-part series on Local Search in Google (The Centroid Battle for Las Vegas). In the first post of this series (read it again), we dissected the ‘7 pack’ of results that appeared when searching for Las Vegas hotels. Seeing who is listed in the 7 pack is easy, discovering who is not, takes a little bit more research.

Las Vegas is known for magic shows that mystify audiences (it’s also legal to drink from open containers), so how about we look behind the curtain to see how a major hotel property in Las Vegas, vanished from the 7 pack. Grab yourself a beverage and let’s head to the intersection of S. Las Vegas Blvd. and E. Flamingo Rd. at the center of the Las Vegas strip.

Ballys Bellagio Center Las VegasBally’s Hotel and Casino & Bellagio Hotel in center of Vegas

X marks the spot, that according to Google local search, is the center of Las Vegas. There are four massive hotel properties at this intersection (one on each corner). We have Caesars Palace, The Flamingo, Bally’s, and the Bellagio. 3 of the properties (Bally’s, Caesars, Flamingo) are owned by Caesars Entertainment Corp. The Bellagio is owned by MGM Grand Resorts International. There is also Bill’s Gambling Hall and Saloon which straddles The Flamingo (also owned by Caesars). Who’s got the edge if all of these properties are listed in the 7 pack? Let’s review that screen grab again.

Top Three Las Vegas HotelsTop Three Las Vegas Hotels – 7 Pack – Plus Corporations

While dissecting the 7-pack, something I did not highlight in the first post and marked by red rectangles, was the exact match domains to title tags for results A, B and C. Remember the 3 pack? Those are still the coveted positions in my opinion. I included who owns each property because it’s important when doing research to know that we’re not always dealing with 7 individual players jockeying for position. In this case there are 3 winners, and several unseen losers.

People oftentimes assume Google’s 7 pack results are based on proximity, but when viewing the map above, we clearly see that’s not the case. I imagine you’ve been to Las Vegas and you’ve walked the strip at least once. If results were proximal to who was physically located near the centroid we’d likely see the Bellagio Hotel, Bally’s Hotel, Imperial Palace, the Mirage, Paris Hotel (adjacent to Bally’s), and maybe even Planet Hollywood, the Palazzo, Treasure Island (TI) Hotel, and the Wynn. Yet none of those hotels are listed in the 7-pack. So, how do you make one of largest hotel properties in Las Vegas vanish?

3 Place pages Bellagio Hotel3 Place pages for Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas (like having 3 aces of spades hidden in the deck)

Google suggests not having three place pages for your business, local search experts suggest not having 3 place pages for your business, and yet when searching via keyword ‘bellagio’ we see 3 different place pages for one of the largest hotel casino properties in Las Vegas. It’s like someone slipped three aces of spades into the house deck, but who?

In the first post of this series I pointed out that the Mandalay Bay Hotel was incorrectly being listed on the map location of the Bellagio (both hotels owned by MGM) and that was potentially creating a bad user experience. Looking at the screen grab above we see several potential reasons why the Bellagio is currently nonexistent in the 7 pack. To make matters worse, users are leaving reviews on all three Place pages. Will the real Bellagio place page please stand up?

Via Bellagio Hotel Las VegasVia Bellagio Hotel Las Vegas Non-Owner Verified (place page A)

Someone into conspiracy theories could suggest this is hotel ranking local search sabotage. It’s not an owner verified business listing, the address only says ‘Paradise, Nevada’, and all the photos are provided by a Google User. However, the toll-free number listed is the room reservation assistance number for the hotel. It gets worse.

Bellagio 3600 Las Vegas BlvdBellagio at 3600 Las Vegas Blvd. – Place page position C

Place position C looks like the real deal until we take a closer look. Again, we see the page has not been business owner verified (a red flag). However, the address is correct and the phone number listed is the Clark County local calling area code (702) for the Bellagio hotel operator, even the appropriate domain is listed. But those images are coming from a third-party hotel aggregating website, with none of the photos being business owner verified. There is a pearl of wisdom in this oyster: the Bellagio is getting screwed.

Bellagio Hotel Casino Las Vegas 89158Bellagio Hotel & Casino Las Vegas Place Page – Owner Verified

Place page position B is the real deal, and it’s marked as an owner-verified listing. The address is correct, the toll-free contact number is correct, but the images could use some improvement (more on that in part 3 of this series). Think this is all circumstantial evidence and perhaps maybe having owner verified place pages, proper phone numbers, and correct address data isn’t as important as the experts suggest? Good thing I save my screenshots, take a look at position D.

Position D Bellagio Hotel Las Vegas NevadaBellagio Hotel in Position D for Las Vegas Nevada Hotels

Oh, the mystery of the disappearing hotel. In part 3 of this series we’re going to look at another hotel that happens to share the same intersection as the Bellagio, along with some examples explaining why it also is a no-show in the 7-pack, hopefully providing you with a better understanding of what’s going on in the local search world.