Did "Hawk" actually reverse the impact of "Possum"? Not being found in the snack pack

RuggedSEO

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Did "Hawk" actually reverse the impact of "Possum"? Not being found in the snack pack

A little frustrated here. Trying to help a new client rank for a local term: escape room (cityname). I breathed some life into their social accounts, redesigned their website and optimized it as much as they would allow me to.

They rank between #12 - #15 organic on Google.

I would have expected to see them at least somewhere in the local search results, among those 20 listings.

They have 4.5 star rating and 19 reviews. NAP is consistent on all their citation listings.

Some competitors who are in the local search results are in neighboring cities even. The lowest stats for those who are ranking: 4 star rating & 18 reviews.

The kicker: my client is in a skyscraper with 3 of their competitors. So, 4 different escape room businesses in the same building. Only 1 out of the 4 businesses are in the local search results. If you zoom right into the building on Google Maps, then you can see all 4 businesses.

So, with the Possum update came filtering of businesses in the snack pack if they shared the same address and/or phone number.

Well, all 4 businesses share the same street address (different suite & floor numbers though).

I thought on Aug 22nd with the Hawk update, that reversed the filtering aspect of Possum. Is that right?


Any ideas? If you'd like the name of the client and more specs, I will need to divulge that via PM.

Thanks!
 

Colan Nielsen

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Re: Did "Hawk" actually reverse the impact of "Possum"? Not being found in the snack

The hawk update was more of a pulling back on the possum dial versus completely reversing possum or completely killing possum. The algo still exists it's just not as strong anymore. So there's going to be cases where businesses in certain situations will still be filtered.

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RuggedSEO

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Re: Did "Hawk" actually reverse the impact of "Possum"? Not being found in the snack

Thanks Colan. Regardless of what exactly happened or didn't happen with Hawk, there should be a way to let Google know there are multiple businesses which are in the same building right?

I thought Google is all about helping the searcher find what they're looking for.

It doesn't make sense if 3 out of the 4 businesses are hidden from the search results simply because they are in the same building (different floors and suite numbers).
 

JoyHawkins

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Re: Did "Hawk" actually reverse the impact of "Possum"? Not being found in the snack

Although it definitely lessened the filter, listings that are still impacted are ones that share a building or address as clarified here under "Who is still filtered"

Suite numbers and floors unfortunately make no difference.
 

RuggedSEO

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Re: Did "Hawk" actually reverse the impact of "Possum"? Not being found in the snack

Thanks Joy. Yes, I read that.

So, there's no real reason why 1 out of 4 similar businesses in the same building is appearing in the local results?

And there's nothing at all the other 3 competitors in the same building can do to also appear in the local results?

Thought there'd be a form or some department at Google which will help. Then they will actually know there are multiple businesses in the same building.
 

JoyHawkins

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Re: Did "Hawk" actually reverse the impact of "Possum"? Not being found in the snack

So it's this way by design. I believe it's their automated way to eliminate duplicates and spam, even though there are unintended consequences.

There is something you can do. You have to beat the current winner. The main thing I would focus on is improving organic ranking. Is the current guy who is unfiltered ranking higher than you organically for the same keyword?

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RuggedSEO

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Re: Did "Hawk" actually reverse the impact of "Possum"? Not being found in the snack

That's the thing. It's an automated way to reduce duplicates and spam. This is why I thought there has to be a form or some manual way I can show them that my client is a different business in the same building. It's not a duplicate.

As for who's ranking higher in the organic results. We are. The 1 business out of the 4 which is unfiltered is on page 3 organic. We are top of page 2. And the other 2 competitors who are also filtered are on page 3 and 4. So, we outrank all of them in organic.

1 of the filtered competitors outranks the unfiltered one and it has a better avg star rating and amount of reviews. Very confused about that.
 

JoyHawkins

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Re: Did "Hawk" actually reverse the impact of "Possum"? Not being found in the snack

Google doesn't normally adjust things manually that are eliminated by an algorithm feature.

If it's not organic, they must have some other ranking signals that are causing them to "win" against the other 3 businesses. I would suggest doing a very in-depth competitive audit. Normally for Possum filter cases I have consulted for I spend a minimum of 3 hours looking at the various ranking factors and comparing them. You could go by the Moz Local Search Ranking factors as a guide.

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RuggedSEO

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Re: Did "Hawk" actually reverse the impact of "Possum"? Not being found in the snack

If you've been hit by Penguin, you can at least create and fire over a disavow file. So, there's nothing similar for this situation?

Yes, I'm conducting an audit now on all 4 businesses.
 

JoyHawkins

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Re: Did "Hawk" actually reverse the impact of "Possum"? Not being found in the snack

No, unfortunately not.

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RuggedSEO

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Re: Did "Hawk" actually reverse the impact of "Possum"? Not being found in the snack

I have nothing against a competitor outranking us in search. For that, it's a challenge for us to conduct a thorough competitor analysis, strategize and do our best to earn a placement above them.

BUT, that doesn't seem to be the situation here. It seems that Google has reached into the one building and yanked out 3 out of 4 similar businesses and that's it. If we were in a small building of our own with our current level of optimization, we'd be outranking this unfiltered business.

Perhaps I should call (if I can still do that) Google via the GMB account and let them know we're not trying to spam or insert duplicate business listings. That we are actually a legitimate separate business which happens to be in the same building.
 

JoyHawkins

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Re: Did "Hawk" actually reverse the impact of "Possum"? Not being found in the snack

Let me know how that turns out. Every other person I spoke to who has called didn't get anywhere mainly because the people who answer the phone have nothing to do with engineering or how the algorithm works.

I would focus on raising the organic ranking to the top 5 positions.
 

RuggedSEO

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Re: Did "Hawk" actually reverse the impact of "Possum"? Not being found in the snack

After the bright local webinar with you and the other guests, I wonder if I should make the GMB listing a "service area" business and hide / remove the street address. Someone on the webinar mentioned that.

This is an escape room who would rather not make their address known anyway. (part of the experience) I figured I should have the address visible on the GMB page and consistent NAP on their other citations to help with local SERP rankings. Guess that may have back-fired on me?

If there is no address, then there shouldn't be a reason for Possum to filter out their listing since it's not published as residing in the same building as their 3 other competitors right?

Thanks.
 

JoyHawkins

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Re: Did "Hawk" actually reverse the impact of "Possum"? Not being found in the snack

Google still knows your location even if you hide it from the public so it wouldn't fix the filtering problem.

I wouldn't suggest hiding the address for any business that has customers come to them. It would most likely irritate customers if they can't find the address easily online.
 

RuggedSEO

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Re: Did "Hawk" actually reverse the impact of "Possum"? Not being found in the snack

I would normally agree with you about a hidden address irritating customers but not in this situation. Part of the whole experience includes the customers / players receiving an anonymous text message with an address to a certain bar or restaurant within the city. Someone will come and escort them to the actual "business" location.
 

JoyHawkins

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Re: Did "Hawk" actually reverse the impact of "Possum"? Not being found in the snack

Sounds fun! I doubt Google would be concerned then if you decided to hide the address. It most likely won't make an impact in being filtered though.
 

Linda Buquet

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Re: Did "Hawk" actually reverse the impact of "Possum"? Not being found in the snack

Yes I'm with Joy. Google knows the address based on what's listed in the dashboard, even if the address is hidden from the public.
 

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