Can "Closed" Google Local Listings Kill Ranking? Important New Troubleshooting Tip

Linda Buquet

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Can "Closed" Google Local Listings Kill Ranking? Important New Troubleshooting Tip

<img src="http://marketing-blog.catalystemarketing.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/ClosedListing.jpg" alt="ClosedListing" width="65%" />​


Joy Hawkins, another Google Top Contributor and I have noticed a relatively unknown problem numerous times when we've done ranking troubleshooting various cases.

What we've discovered is if there is listing marked permanently closed at your address and phone, it often (not always) seems to suppress ranking for the main listing you are trying to rank. This should not happen, but it seems to in numerous cases we've investigated.

The old listing may be closed due to either rebranding or practitioners that are no longer at that location. So a standard part of our troubleshooting checklist for awhile now is deep dupe research to try to uncover any closed listings that may be out there.

We've discussed this a few times on various G+ Communities starting back in May, but we've never come out and dedicated a post to it. I think Joy and I were seeing it so much we just assumed everyone had noticed the problem.

The topic came up on the following thread yesterday and it seems many local search experts are not aware of the problem and one even doubts it's an issue. Here is the discussion starting with post #4. However in that post 2 members said they'd run into the problem and suspected it as well.

Joy has worked on several cases that she has permission to share, so I asked her to do a detailed post explaining the issue. It always helps to see examples.

So head over to read Joy's post and see her examples, then read on.

<a href="http://imprezziomarketing.com/seo-blog/google-maps/is-permanently-closed-killing-your-ranking-4-case-studies/">Is “Permanently Closed” Killing your Ranking? (4 Case Studies)</a>

It's a long post with some screenshots and definitely worth a read!

This is largely our educated guess based on seeing the phenom enough to call it a problem.
(See correlation/causation link below.)

OH AND SOME PROOF - kinda, sorta - as much proof as you can get in local.

Joy a couple times has re-opened the closed listings to make an edit, because you can't edit a closed listing. The listing would then pop right back into the pack!

"As an experiment I convinced one of the MapMaker RERs to open the old practitioner listing to see what would happen. The listing instantly spiked to the first position for almost every keyword. The practice listing was still nowhere to be found (note: they use the same phone number on both listings). We kept it open for a few days to make sure the ranking would stay the same (it did) and then closed it again. Once it was closed the situation went back to what it was before -with nothing ranking well."

Now there are no absolutes in local and things are often not consistent. We are not saying every time there is a closed listing the main one will be suppressed. Just like you can't say description spam always causes a ranking penalty or you won't rank if NAP is off or you have practitioner listings (dupes). Many listings rank in spite of those problems. BUT often if you don't rank it's due to an underlying problem.

We also realize that correlation is not always causation, but as stated in that last link, sometimes correlation after reviewing enough cases is key. So all we are saying, is that looking for closed listings is one more thing to double check if you are experiencing ranking problems.


IMPORTANT P. S. Here's a new post I just did on a better/different way to do duplicate discovery that will help you find those pesky old closed listings and other problems.

<a href="http://www.localsearchforum.com/google-local-important/27104-advanced-tip-google-local-troubleshooting-duplicate-discovery.html">Advanced Tip for Google Local Troubleshooting & Duplicate Discovery</a>

So check your ranking problem children, using the new search method in the link directly above and see if you find any closed listings that could be a factor.

So what do you think???

Have you suspected closed listings are hurting your client's rankings?



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Re: Can "Closed" Google Local Listings Kill Ranking? Important New Troubleshooting Ti

Hey Linda, I've been thinking this for a while now. I have had two situations when the Closed listing vanished and the client popped into the pack immediately. I'm now tracking other sites to see if this happens. Looking forward to reading this. Thanks for the great post.
 

ridgerunner

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Re: Can "Closed" Google Local Listings Kill Ranking? Important New Troubleshooting Ti

I have also had this issue with multiple clients.

The way I was able to resolve it was to give Google a call and have them put a "relocation tag" on the listing.

I don't know what they did but they knew what I was talking about and the listing jumped back up in 24hrs.
 

JoyHawkins

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Re: Can "Closed" Google Local Listings Kill Ranking? Important New Troubleshooting Ti

It's always great to confirm others are seeing it to :) Glad we collaborated on this!
 

Linda Buquet

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Re: Can "Closed" Google Local Listings Kill Ranking? Important New Troubleshooting Ti

Hey Linda, I've been thinking this for a while now. I have had two situations when the Closed listing vanished and the client popped into the pack immediately.
I have also had this issue with multiple clients.
Thanks guys, I agree, it's always helpful to have others confirm it. A couple in the thread I linked to above have also noticed it happening.

Again here is one of the 1st public cases I can find where Joy and I started discussing this as an issue back in May. <a href="https://plus.google.com/u/0/+DarrylQuinlanthesecond/posts/NmUfmgGnWq3" target="_blank">G+ Communities</a>

Here is a recent case I worked on at the form, but there were other problems too, so can't say for sure the closed listings are the problem. <a href="http://www.localsearchforum.com/help-support-google-local/26923-top-3-organic-listing-but-no-local-listing.html">Top 3 Organic listing but no local listing</a> (So correlation gets cloudy on this one.)
 
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Re: Can "Closed" Google Local Listings Kill Ranking? Important New Troubleshooting Ti

Joy, thanks for working on this.
 

cdawg2610

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Re: Can "Closed" Google Local Listings Kill Ranking? Important New Troubleshooting Ti

Very Interesting Read - my closed/re-location clean up this week was a lot easier than before using the GMB Chat - forcing them to look at the different links seemed to make it click a lot easier, and knock on wood, it was fixed.
 

Linda Buquet

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Re: Can "Closed" Google Local Listings Kill Ranking? Important New Troubleshooting Ti

Very Interesting Read - my closed/re-location clean up this week was a lot easier than before using the GMB Chat - forcing them to look at the different links seemed to make it click a lot easier, and knock on wood, it was fixed.
Oh good to hear. Meant to quote you from the other thread.

You said:
I have a closed listing suppressing a verified, active page right now so I totally buy into this
Then also Brian confirmed:

Ive also noticed several times that closed listings seem to suppress open, verified listings. In addition, there seem to be newly created listings which Google created that are appearing in Map Packs above verified pages of the same listing. How and why this happens, I havent tested yet. Ive only noticed that a few times but it is perplexing.
So it's good we are talking about this now. This post barely hit and we already have lots of corroboration. So it appears it may be happening more than most realize.

Thanks SO much Joy for doing all that work to document. Haha I have not even had a chance to read yet, have been too busy posting. But I know of some of the cases from previous discussions we've had about this issue. Off to read now.
 

Linda Buquet

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Re: Can "Closed" Google Local Listings Kill Ranking? Important New Troubleshooting Ti

OK I just read your post Joy and it's especially useful because every one of the 4 cases you documented is a different type of local search problem related to closed listings.

A big takeaway I got from reading them, which I had not thought of til now, is checking out the power/trust those old listings had before being closed. If G+ reviews and 3rd party reviews and lots of maturity/trust was attached to that closed listing, seems to even hurt more to a degree.

Great info! And thanks again for documenting all of it!
 

JoyHawkins

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Re: Can "Closed" Google Local Listings Kill Ranking? Important New Troubleshooting Ti

No problem! The cases have all been really different for sure. There were tons I didn't include as well because they were similar to the 4 on there.
 

Linda Buquet

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Re: Can "Closed" Google Local Listings Kill Ranking? Important New Troubleshooting Ti

OMG a REALLY complicated Atty case just dropped in my lap.

Looks like a mishmash of ex partners, name changes and 3 closed listings related to the mess.
Will write it up and pass it over to you Joy.
 

Linda Buquet

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Re: Can "Closed" Google Local Listings Kill Ranking? Important New Troubleshooting Ti

FYI the 1st step in dupe discovery is phone # search with G+ Local search.

But then my step #2 is to search for KW + street address + city

Let me illustrate with that really complicated atty case I mentioned to Joy above.

He said he'd been working with a well known agency and was still disconnected. He'd had lots of citation building and clean up and was still not ranking and wanted me to figure out why.

Phone search with G+ L showed only his main listing.

Searched "Attorney 123 Main Street Dallas" and it showed 5 listings - all problems!

(Fake address for example sake)

1) His new current listing with new name.

2) Old listing previous name, still active and claimed (so violation since it's 2 practice listings for the same business at same address)

3) Closed practitioner listing w old practice name

4) Closed practitioner listing w old practice name

5) Closed listing with a different version of the old name that was live as #2 above.

BUT many of the reviews in listing #1 are for the name in the closed listing #5. So the plot thickens. I think the name of #1 used to be the name in #5. They changed the old name in listing #1 to the new name and #5 which was a mature listing for many years got marked closed.
 

Rich Owings

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Re: Can "Closed" Google Local Listings Kill Ranking? Important New Troubleshooting Ti

Does this one fit this scenario?

The client has been suffering from a rankings drop for a few weeks now. Here's his G+ page: https://plus.google.com/102374515347050159501/posts?hl=en

This morning, using Linda's new G+ Local search tip, I found this closed listing from a business they had in Utah dating back to 2009 or so: https://plus.google.com/u/0/112388827288725735518/about

Unfortunately, the NAW all overlap with the current NC-based business. How would you suggest handling this?
 

Linda Buquet

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Re: Can "Closed" Google Local Listings Kill Ranking? Important New Troubleshooting Ti

At 1st I thought no since different state. But it's the same phone # so maybe.

Odd that he was using his NC phone # in Utah.

How would you suggest handling this?
Anyway, please start a new thread in "Help" for this one so we don't take this important general thread off topic going back and forth troubleshooting a single case. And we'll try to help you there.
 

Brian Barwig

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Im glad this is finally being brought to the forefront. I, as Linda and Joy point out, have been seeing this very frequently as of late as well.

I work with insurance agents and this is a huge problem for us. There are many times when we have closed agencies or agents who move into locations of terminated agents and still see both listings on Maps. It is harder for us to move the needle on agents who are in these closed locations and Joy's findings may prove why.

When calling Google, they are hit and miss whether to permanently remove the listings off of Maps as well. Any solid tips on how to get these completely removed?
 

Linda Buquet

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Re: Can "Closed" Google Local Listings Kill Ranking? Important New Troubleshooting Ti

Hi Brian, copied your post above over from the dupe discovery thread as it fits better here.

Will ping Joy and ask her to weigh in since she wks with Ins agents and runs into this a lot too.
 

Brian Barwig

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Re: Can "Closed" Google Local Listings Kill Ranking? Important New Troubleshooting Ti

Sorry for putting that in the wrong thread. I had too many windows open reading various threads on this forum! Tooooo much great information ;)
 

Linda Buquet

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Re: Can "Closed" Google Local Listings Kill Ranking? Important New Troubleshooting Ti

No worries Brian. One references the other and they are inter-related to some degree. Just try to keep things organized so others reading about closed listing problems see your thread. Pinged Joy, she'll be here later or Colan may weigh in too.
 

JoyHawkins

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Re: Can "Closed" Google Local Listings Kill Ranking? Important New Troubleshooting Ti

Brian,

Most likely you won't get them removed. Depending on the insurance company you are working with, most of them have bulk feeds run out of their corporate offices which makes this even more difficult. If the listing in question for the old agent remains on the bulk feed, you'll have no luck getting it removed or claiming it yourself.

Sometimes claiming the old agent's listing is an option (if you can) but normally Google treats these cases like a rebrand so it matches the case I blogged about with the private investigator and you'll be looking at a longer time frame to get ranking.
 

Linda Buquet

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Re: Can "Closed" Google Local Listings Kill Ranking? Important New Troubleshooting Ti

Joy in cases like this I wonder...

Agent is no longer at this location. It's marked closed. Get permission of the agent to add their cells # and new site. Get it unclosed. Do the edit. Close again. Then it won't compete with the same phone and website.

Or Brian, in cases of old listings that are still live and open, since Google won't delete them. Get permission from agent to change to their cell BEFORE closing the listing? Just do edit details right on the listing and document the reason why. (Don't talk about ranking but data quality. He's no longer working here, this is his new cell #.)
 

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