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Thread: Site Architecture May be a Spam Signal for GMB

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    timcapper's Avatar
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    Site Architecture May be a Spam Signal for GMB

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    Your Site Architecture May be a Spam Signal for GMB


    Recently I have dealt with four cases where multiple GMB pages have been suspended due to quality issues without the usual Spam indicators being present apart from the actual businesses websites. Could this mean that GMB is taking a closer look at a businesses website then before?


    Site Architecture as a GMB Spam Indicator?


    Traditionally a national business will create service location pages for each area that they service or have an office location in. However in these four recent cases the owners decided to create individual sites for each business, which again should not have caused an issue, but in jumping the gun to get each site live they may have inadvertently caused a spam trigger for the associated business pages.

    Instead of completing each site, the individual TLD was released but internal links redirected to the main Brands pages, including the contact page which did not contain the local businesses details, rather the main brands address and tel number.

    If I had to put a word to this, it looked like a large doorway setup for an outsider looking in.

    newdomain.com >> individual to that business and location

    newdomain.com/contact >> redirected to >> maintlddomain.com/contact


    Site Architecture May be a Spam Signal for GMB-brand-name-local.jpg



    Note: All individual locations existed, had an official address, tel number and a business licence in the correct name.

    Resolution


    As each site was completed and redirects removed showing that specific businesses location details as a "normal website" would, GMB business support did slowly released the business pages.

    Each location did have to provide, proof of business address, images, business licences but they were eventually all released.

    It was not a fast fix by any means, once you have tripped a spam filter, you need to do a few laps to appease business support.

    Take Away


    From a local SEO and business branding point of view, I would never recommend creating 5, 10 or 20 stand alone sites for each local business. That's 20 sites you need to host, maintain and build content for.

    If you do go down this road, make sure each site is complete before you attempt to verify the corresponding business page.

    Note: This cannot be definitively proven as being from the sites "doorway" looking status and GMB does not give out any details of why pages were marked as spammy, however after correcting the websites in question, all were eventually released.
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    Linda Buquet's Avatar
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    Re: Site Architecture May be a Spam Signal for GMB

    This is really great information Tim! I've been excited for your article to go live and I know a lot of our members have as well.

    Regardless of whether this was the specific reason for the suspension, multiple sites tend to confuse Google and Google also doesn't like redirects. Add on top of that the GMB information for ABC Plumbing in Dallas redirects to ABC Plumbing in Chicago, so now NAP doesn't match up. Just a bad deal all around!

    But I think it's entirely possible this was the main reason for suspension, and if they didn't no better than to do this, they may have been doing a couple other things that also tripped the spam filter.

    One of the important things to do right up front with new potential clients is click the link from maps, the KP or GMB and carefully watch to make sure it resolves to the domain listed. Many times the original site was drsmith . com, but they buy a new branded domain like Alpine Dental. Put that domain in GMB because it looks better and it redirects to the original drsmith . com site. Not a good idea.

    Does it make sense to you that this could have caused the suspension?

    Have any of you ever seen a situation like this cause a problem before?
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    Re: Site Architecture May be a Spam Signal for GMB

    Great article Tim, thanks for the write up.

    And thanks for the example Linda; in that case should drsmith just move/rebuild his entire site to Alpine Dental to keep GMB happy? Of course he would still need to redirect drsmith to Alpine for everyone else.
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    Re: Site Architecture May be a Spam Signal for GMB

    Quote Originally Posted by Tony Wang View Post
    Great article Tim, thanks for the write up.

    And thanks for the example Linda; in that case should drsmith just move/rebuild his entire site to Alpine Dental to keep GMB happy? Of course he would still need to redirect drsmith to Alpine for everyone else.
    Hi Tony, that would be one option.

    But often the original domain has more links, citations and trust than a new domain would. And of course any time you do a redesign or change a site or any part of NAP+W you'll usually lose ranking. So some might think doing it the way I mentioned would be a good shortcut.

    I watched a chiropractor in Seattle go through this. Her original Dr. site ranked really high and when she did connect that site to GMB she'd rank high in the pack. But then when she would link to her new branded site that use the nice practice name in the domain, her original Dr. site stay high in organic but she'd drop out of the pack. If I remember right, about a year ago she was redirecting just like I explained above and then she dropped out of the pack too. (This was still back in the old seven pack days.)
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    Re: Site Architecture May be a Spam Signal for GMB

    Hey Tony

    Glad it was of use.

    I would agree with Linda in trying to keep the original domain, but unsure of your exact case, so can't comment on the type of structure the site currently has.
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    Re: Site Architecture May be a Spam Signal for GMB

    Thanks for sharing Tim, really glad you took the time to write that up. Interesting how much we still need to learn just by getting stuck in new problems...
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    Re: Site Architecture May be a Spam Signal for GMB

    Thanks for sharing, Tim! This is interesting.

    I'm curious to hear your (and others') thoughts on scenarios where a business started with a multi domain strategy and switched over to a single domain strategy.

    Say, for example, that your client owns and operates assisted living facilities around the country. Their domain is AssistedLiving.com. At one point they had standalone sites for each facility that linked to its GMB page:
    • AssistedLivingBurbank.com
    • AssistedLivingPhiladelphia.com
    • AssistedLivingDenver.com


    etc. Each was basically the same site, but with the NAP info switched out and content optimized for each geo market. They decided to consolidate from a multi domain strategy to a single domain strategy, so they 301 redirected all of those standalone domains to location pages on their main site:
    • AssistedLivingBurbank.com 301's to >> AssistedLiving.com/Burbank
    • AssistedLivingPhiladelphia.com 301's to >> AssistedLiving.com/Philadelphia
    • AssistedLivingDenver.com 301's to >> AssistedLiving.com/Denver


    etc. Would yo be concerned about this tripping a similar spam filter if hundreds of standalone domains suddenly 301 to pages on the main domain?
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    Re: Site Architecture May be a Spam Signal for GMB

    As far as GMB penalties I think you be fine as long as GMB didn't link to: AssistedLivingBurbank.com, which has a redirect. If you linked directly to the new AssistedLiving.com/Burbank page I think it would be OK.

    Now whether or not getting rid of and redirecting all those EMD (as much as Google Local loves EMDs) is a whole other question. I always recommend building out all location pages on the main domain. But again if they already had all those perfect EMD's I'm not sure what I would do. It would take some careful analysis and would certainly depend on how they were currently ranking.
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    Re: Site Architecture May be a Spam Signal for GMB

    Hey Cori

    As Linda also says, I don't think it will be a problem, and it would be my preferred way of doing it.

    You don't have to 301 all at once if that is a concern, you could do it gradually. This way you also have time to check any NAP cock ups, missed pages, and get everything aligned before you start the next site redirect.

    I am currently working through 40 sites redirected into a new single site and we are staging the process, once I am happy that everything is correct, we begin redirecting the next one. It is working well so far and we have completed 15 transfers so far, a long way to go, but the locations, positions and traffic to these are already seeing significant improvements.
    Eric Rohrback and Cori Shirk like this.
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    Re: Site Architecture May be a Spam Signal for GMB

    I'm curious if there may have been something else going on here in terms of other negative link signals that caused this to also be an issue. Lots of national to local brands use a strategy similar to this and don't seem to be suffering in terms of their local pack/SERP presence for it. In fact it seems, to me, that Google is rewarding brands for leveraging all their different web properties together.

    We have clients that do this, also clients that have moved from on-domain location pages to separate unique domains (as well as those that moved from separate location domains to all on the corporate domain.) There is no clear winner/loser in terms of what strategy is best. It kinda reminds me of the sub-domain vs. sub-page debate (which seems more a matter of religion then of substance.)
    Last edited by DanLeibson; 03-24-2016 at 07:29 AM.
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