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Thread: Rankings only dropped in maps & 3-pack, can't find the culprit.

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    adamnldt is offline Member
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    Question Rankings only dropped in maps & 3-pack, can't find the culprit.

    Hello,

    First time poster here looking for some extra eyeballs to try to figure out what the scoop is with our local rankings. Any help or insight is greatly appreciated. Here are the details:

    G+: https://plus.google.com/108449062799310853514
    Business details from Google My Business:
    Rankings only dropped in maps & 3-pack, can't find the culprit.-ww-gmb.jpg
    Problem: For the better part of three years we've been able to dominate standard SERPs as well as 3-pack rankings for our main keywords (saugatuck bed and breakfast and all related variants). Starting in July we fell from 1st to 2nd or 3rd and then sank quickly to the 6 or 7th position and have stuck there. All the while, our regular SERPs are still doing fine - we rank out in the top five for the name of the town even, and we still tend to be the highest rank business for our keywords in the standard results. So, it would appear we've somehow done something to anger the local algo and I've been trying to troubleshoot with little success so far. Some things that have been done:

    • NAP cleanup to remove PO box. The site had it in several places and some third party sites had a PO box in the address, we've removed it from the site and fixed it on as many external sites as we can. Our citations still aren't great, but seem to be as good as our competitors.
    • Increased number and quality of reviews. All of these are legit reviews and we're now basically within .1 or .2 of competitors with many more reviews than all of them.
    • Site speed improvements. The site still isn't super fast but it's in line with competitors after we resized many images.


    Beyond these things, we have pretty large advantages over our local competitors in terms of quantity and quality of links so I'm trying to figure out what I'm missing. I've been looking at this so long I fear I'm missing something painfully obvious, so hopefully someone else can shed some light on whatever that may be. Thanks!

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    bhartzer is offline Member
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    Re: Rankings only dropped in maps & 3-pack, can't find the culprit.

    NAP cleanup to remove PO box
    How did you do that cleanup and how long ago? I'm asking because I've seen businesses do a cleanup, and either they didn't do it effectively (they didn't get all the listings) or they haven't waited long enough for the cleanup to take effect.

    Our citations still aren't great, but seem to be as good as our competitors
    How are you determining the number of citations you have versus your competitors? Certainly you should have more than your competitors if you expect to outrank them?

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    adamnldt is offline Member
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    Re: Rankings only dropped in maps & 3-pack, can't find the culprit.

    Quote Originally Posted by bhartzer View Post
    How did you do that cleanup and how long ago? I'm asking because I've seen businesses do a cleanup, and either they didn't do it effectively (they didn't get all the listings) or they haven't waited long enough for the cleanup to take effect.


    How are you determining the number of citations you have versus your competitors? Certainly you should have more than your competitors if you expect to outrank them?
    Thanks for the response!

    The cleanup started about 3-4 weeks ago and finished up last week, so that's a good point - I suppose we may just need some time there. I guess I don't have too much faith in this being the issue since nothing substantial had been changed in years - but maybe Google just tightened things up a bit and didn't like some of those little inconsistencies any longer.

    Number of citations was determined using Whitespark and BrightLocal. On either platform we're beating the top ranked sites. Given our overall lead in link building as well, I'm hard pressed to think this could be a volume issue even if these services are missing some things for us and the competitors.

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    bhartzer is offline Member
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    Re: Rankings only dropped in maps & 3-pack, can't find the culprit.

    If you have just finished up the cleanup then you'll honestly need to wait 3-6 months to see the results of it.

    If you're just using Whitespark and Bight Local then you're not seeing all of the local citations. You'll need to use something much more thorough, like Advice Local for the citation cleanup.

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    adamnldt is offline Member
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    Re: Rankings only dropped in maps & 3-pack, can't find the culprit.

    Wow, I guess historically it seems I've seen faster results than that. There were only about 20-30 listings that needed fixing so I guess if that's the culprit I'll have to wait and see. Tough to sit back that long and hope that it's the fix, though.

    I haven't used Advice Local before, but I'm curious as to what else it would find that I can't find via BrightLocal, Whitespark and Google itself (I ran a bunch of searches using advanced operators to find PO Box listings, and anything with any element of our NAP). So, I guess I'm not sure how that tool could cover more than what I've already done.

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    bhartzer is offline Member
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    Re: Rankings only dropped in maps & 3-pack, can't find the culprit.

    but I'm curious as to what else it would find that I can't find via BrightLocal, Whitespark and Google itself
    Many sites are not indexed in Google, so it would be difficult to use Google to find those sites if those sites aren't indexed in Google.

    Advice Local has the largest database of local citation sources that I know of. Much larger and more thorough than the ones you're suggesting that you used.

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    adamnldt is offline Member
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    Re: Rankings only dropped in maps & 3-pack, can't find the culprit.

    Quote Originally Posted by bhartzer View Post
    Many sites are not indexed in Google, so it would be difficult to use Google to find those sites if those sites aren't indexed in Google.

    Advice Local has the largest database of local citation sources that I know of. Much larger and more thorough than the ones you're suggesting that you used.

    I guess my next question would be, if it's not indexed by Google, do I really need to worry about it? If it's not in the index, how would Google use it as a ranking factor?

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    Nikos is offline Member
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    Re: Rankings only dropped in maps & 3-pack, can't find the culprit.

    Hi Adamnldt,

    In my personal opinion, I do not think that the citation cleanup you've done is messing with your local map rankings, though we do know that ranking factors are different in the 3-local pack than in classic results (and citations, reviews & GMB optimisation are important).

    If that makes you feel better: you rank #3 in the 3-local pack map for your main keyword in Google Greece & Cyprus

    I'm not sure if I get your question correctly but you should know that listings can appear in the 3-local pack even if they don't have a website. Anyone can claim a business and receive the confirmation code even if there is no URL.

    Nikos.

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    James Watt is offline Top Contributor
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    Re: Rankings only dropped in maps & 3-pack, can't find the culprit.

    I know there's a lot of extra ins and outs in the hotel space that affect ranking. I don't see anything that jumps out for general SEO, but you might want to reach out to someone specifically experienced in this industry. I know Tim Capper, one of the Google Top Contributors works with a number of hotels. It might be worth looking into getting an hour or two of his time, or someone else like him.

    If you aren't already, I suggest tracking with Britelocal. If the client has the funds to warrant it, you might even want to track daily. They take SERP screenshots, so you can see when things shifted, and who else went up and down. Sometimes seeing your own changing position isn't as useful as seeing how everyone around you is moving too. It's tough sometimes figuring out what changed and what you should try to reclaim your rankings, it can make it a little easier to have more data on who else was shuffled around. Too late now of course, but... you know. For next time.

  10. Members who thanked James Watt for this post:

    adamnldt (09-13-2017)

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    JoyHawkins is offline Top Contributor & Featured Author
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    Re: Rankings only dropped in maps & 3-pack, can't find the culprit.

    Hey Adam,

    When you look in Maps, most of the listings that rank are categorized as a B&B yet you are categorized as a 3-Star Hotel. This isn't related to the category you chose in Google My Business but is most likely coming from a 3rd party. I'm checking with Google to find out and will post back here when I hear from them.

    Rankings only dropped in maps & 3-pack, can't find the culprit.-bandb.png
    James Watt likes this.

  12. Members who thanked JoyHawkins for this post:

    adamnldt (09-13-2017),James Watt (09-12-2017)

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