Detached Local SEO - First Page Organic, 11th Page Map Results

Joined
Jul 11, 2014
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23
Hi,

I have a client ranked on the first page for "San Diego Criminal Defense Attorney".

Here is the client's info:
Link to your local Google+ page (previously known as a Place page): https://plus.google.com/+OzolsLawFirmSanDiego/about
Business name (as it is in your account): Ozols Law Firm
Business location: 8880 Rio San Diego Dr #22, San Diego, CA 92108, USA
Business telephone: (619) 288 - 8357
Business category (e.g. hospital, etc.): Criminal Justice Attorney
Website: http://www.thesandiegocriminallawyer.com

But he's not the in the Local Pack. If I click "Map results for San Diego Criminal Defense Attorney" (right below the local pack), he's doesn't come up until the 11th page (101 result).

Here's some odd facts:
I always use Google Incognito when conducting this search (and do NOT specify location).

What happens if I change the location to 92108 (his biz zip code)?
  1. If I search for "criminal lawyer", he's #1 in local pack.
  2. If I search for "criminal defense attorney", he's NOT in the local pack results, but he's the #2 attorney if I click "Map results for criminal defense attorney"

Conclusion
My main concern is the results of "San Diego Criminal Defense Attorney" (101). Why would he rank so low?

I have a WhiteSpark and BrightLocal account, and he has over 175 citations. I also have MozLocal and Yext PowerListings (I'm a "boutique" SEO agency), so I have made sure there are no (or only minor) NAP issues.

Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.
 

Linda Buquet

Moderator
Joined
Jun 28, 2012
Messages
14,441
Hi Mariono,

Welcome and thanks for joining us!:)

I saw your post at the Google Business Forum and thought Mike gave a pretty good general answer.
Here's the thread if anyone wants to cross reference before they jump in to research.

I started to research a bit, but had to stop short because I'm way behind schedule on my new Advanced G+ Local course and am under deadline.

I'm usually pretty good at ranking troubleshooting though, so will try to look again when I get time.

It's super quiet here on weekends, but if you bump this post during business hours next week some of the pros I've trained and other experienced consultants that are regulars will be around and hopefully will weigh in if they find anything that could be an issue.
 
Joined
Jul 11, 2014
Messages
23
Hi Linda,

Thank you so much for your feedback! I saw the Google feedback.

My main concern is that I'm overlooking something obvious that is hurting the rankings.

Thanks again for your feedback. If you happen to find anything wrong with the listing, I would appreciate the insight.

Take Care,

Mariano
 

Linda Buquet

Moderator
Joined
Jun 28, 2012
Messages
14,441
Definitely looks like a penalty to me. Have done several checks.

Even for KW zip he's locked out of the pack. "Criminal Defense Attorney 92108"

But ranks #1 in pure organic for KW zip and KW city.

Ranks in the A spot for KW address, even though lots of attys in that building, so not totally locked out of the pack. "Criminal Defense Attorney 8880 Rio San Diego Drive San Diego, CA"

Some Qs...

How long have you managed?

Did he ever rank in the pack? Did it rank and then drop out? If so when and were any changes made around that time?

Has description recently been changed? Do you have a copy of what it was previously?

Because I've seen description penalties last for 4 - 8 months after the offending content is cleaned up.
 
Joined
Jul 11, 2014
Messages
23
Definitely looks like a penalty to me. Have done several checks.

Even for KW zip he's locked out of the pack. "Criminal Defense Attorney 92108"

But ranks #1 in pure organic for KW zip and KW city.

Ranks in the A spot for KW address, even though lots of attys in that building, so not totally locked out of the pack. "Criminal Defense Attorney 8880 Rio San Diego Drive San Diego, CA"

Some Qs...

How long have you managed?

Did he ever rank in the pack? Did it rank and then drop out? If so when and were any changes made around that time?

Has description recently been changed? Do you have a copy of what it was previously?

Because I've seen description penalties last for 4 - 8 months after the offending content is cleaned up.
Hi Linda,

Thanks again for your help. I 100% agree that it looks like a penalty. I took over this account in early March 2014.

Here are the answer to your questions:
Did he ever rank in the pack? NO, he never did.
Did it rank and then drop out? If so when and were any changes made around that time? NO, but he used to rank around #70 for San Diego Criminal Defense Attorney, then it dropped to 101.

Has description recently been changed? Do you have a copy of what it was previously? YES, but I just shortened it and got rid of excess words. Prior to me taking over, it had a more "spammy" approach. A lot of references to being "THE San Diego Criminal Lawyer."

QUESTIONS:
Is there anything you suggest I do to make sure that it's 100% complaint?

Does it look ok now?

Thanks again for your time and feedback.

---------- Post Merged at 11:27 PM ---------- Previous Post was at 11:25 PM ----------

Oh, this might matter.

Prior to 6 weeks ago, we listed his address as:
8880 Rio San Diego Dr, Suite 800 (the rest being the same).

We recently (6 weeks ago) changed it to 8880 Rio San Diego Dr #22.

The landlord told us we could use #22 as the address, as about 40 other attorneys on the 8th floor use Suite 800 (I have no idea why they do it that way).

However, it was ranking in the 101 spot well before we changed the Suite #.

Could that be a problem?
 

Linda Buquet

Moderator
Joined
Jun 28, 2012
Messages
14,441
Has description recently been changed? Do you have a copy of what it was previously? YES, but I just shortened it and got rid of excess words. Prior to me taking over, it had a more "spammy" approach. A lot of references to being "THE San Diego Criminal Lawyer."
WOW, I'm so psychic. That's exactly the penalty this looked like to me but not knowing previous description, I didn't know if I was dreaming or what.

Do you still have a copy of the original? I'm curious how many times city and main KWs were repeated.

I've seen a lot of listings pop back up once the description was cleaned up. But I've done consulting on serious offenses where there were like 5 - 11 repetitions and those were the ones that had a penalty stick for 4 - 8 months.

Here is one case I worked on if you are curious. Skim til you see words in red to see the KW repetition in that one. And it didn't really look spammy BUT the algo still counts # of repetitions I think and it trips a spam filter: <a href="http://localsearchforum.catalystemarketing.com/help-support-google-local/8722-organically-doing-well-google-local.html">Organically doing well, Google + Local is a ?</a>

Plus it's a violation spelled out but buried in an obscure part of the guidelines I don't think anyone has ever looked at.

Prior to 6 weeks ago, we listed his address as:
8880 Rio San Diego Dr, Suite 800 (the rest being the same).

We recently (6 weeks ago) changed it to 8880 Rio San Diego Dr #22.

The landlord told us we could use #22 as the address, as about 40 other attorneys on the 8th floor use Suite 800 (I have no idea why they do it that way).

However, it was ranking in the 101 spot well before we changed the Suite #.

Could that be a problem?
I wondered about that because I saw tons of other attys at Suite 800 and yours at #22 so it looked odd to me. Maybe looks odd to the algo as well.

Sharing suites like that can be a problem. BUT I also always recommend against making up a fake suite too. The guidelines say don't create a listing at a location where your business does not exist. And if there is no Suite 22, there is no suite 22.

HOWEVER he has 175,000 matches in Google for "Ozols Law Firm" "Suite 800" (partial citations) And 75,000 for "Ozols Law Firm" "#800"

Vs 5 and 9,000 matches respectively for Suite 22 and #22.

Soooo my feeling is that suite should not have been changed. But like you said based on the timing that does not seem to be the main reason for the rank drop.

HOWEVER any time you change NAP it can cause ranking problems. So changing it to 22 was not a great idea, and now if you change it back it may hurt. (But having it at that shared 800 could have been hurting to begin with too, not sure.)

PLUS another spam signal I believe is too many tweaks. So I would def think long and hard about what you want the address to be and realize changing it back could have consequences too.

Can't really advise what to do on the address. It's darned if you do and darned if you don't sometimes in cases like this, unfortunately.
 
Joined
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Messages
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Thank you Linda. You have been amazing.

I don't have the old spammy description, as I just simply deleted it.

Here is my final question (I promise).

Assuming the Google+ page has been penalized, should I start a new one?

Is that even an option? Just close down the old one and start fresh?

Honestly, I'm not sure what else to do. It ranks on page 11, (101) for San Diego Criminal Defense Attorney.

If you look through the listings, lawyers much further from the city center rank a lot better.

It just makes ZERO sense, unless of course there is a penalty.

So, would you start over? Just close this page down and start fresh?
 

Linda Buquet

Moderator
Joined
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Messages
14,441
Cases like this are so hard an there are many other things to take into account.
So I cannot advise you.

I can only tell you my feelings and then I'd like you to bump this tomorrow and see if we can get some other opinions.

But my thinking is NEVER delete and start over unless suspended or in purgatory and have not other choice. I say that for a few reasons.

1) A mature CID I assume it like a mature domain and carries some weight.

2) Some penalties are deeper than the listing so even if you set up a new one it does not help.

3) Any time you start over it can cause problems.

4) I had a 4th and just forgot it - LOL.

(My brain is mush from the hardest training video I just finished, which is super complicated and happens to be about a lot of these issues.)

5) IMPORTANT, there is always a delayed reaction with Google. If you fixed description 2 months ago let's say, you are 2 months in toward redemption. BUT if you start over and the penalty follows you, you are likely starting over and lose those 2 months.

So if it was me I would not kill it and start over. But I tend to be ultra conservative because I'm the one that helps everyone clean up the mess when things go south. :p

But let's wait to hear some other opinions next week when more are online. Remind me to bump and tweet it and we'll get some more insights. Some of the more adventurous types might say, no I kill and restart listings all the time with no problem. :eek:
 

JoshuaMackens

Local Search Expert
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Sep 12, 2012
Messages
1,781
Sounds like it's the address and maybe the spammy description as well.

I've changed a description before and had it pop right up. So it makes me think maybe that it's both.

You're saying there are a lot of lawyers that are in the 800 Suite?
 
Joined
Jul 11, 2014
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23
Hi Linda,

I'm bumping per your instructions.

To the poster above - yes, a lot of lawyers at Suite 800. So we changed it to Suite 22, but saw no difference. I also changed the text, but saw no difference.

So the question now is, wait for it to improve or start over?
 

JoshuaMackens

Local Search Expert
Joined
Sep 12, 2012
Messages
1,781
I wouldn't start over. The penalty is probably due to some type of NAP issue and that's not at your Google My Business Page level.

You didn't see a change because Suite 22 isn't consistent across all of your citations.

How long has this been going on?

How long has the Google My Business Page been active?
 

Linda Buquet

Moderator
Joined
Jun 28, 2012
Messages
14,441
@Mariono thanks I already tweeted and G+ed it this AM which is why we are starting to get some replies now.

Sounds like it's the address and maybe the spammy description as well.

I've changed a description before and had it pop right up. So it makes me think maybe that it's both.
They had the ranking problem back when it was Suite 800, before they changed it to #22.

I think it's a penalty hangover from the description. Like you I've had them pop right after cleaning it up but in some extreme cases.

I've seen a penalty hangover that lasts 4 - 6 months in some cases where there was excessive repetition. (Like that thread you just commented in.)

BUT since we don't have a copy of the 'before' I can't say for sure that's it.

FYI one part of training I just finished really stresses that SEOs need to copy/save and do screenshots of EVERYTHING before they touch a listing and then every step of the way as things change. I list everything that needs to be recorded including description, but also things like CD and what cats show in MM even if not in dash and tons more...

Then when something like this comes up it's so much easier to troubleshoot, if you have full history.
 

JoshuaMackens

Local Search Expert
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Sep 12, 2012
Messages
1,781
I would think the reason it didn't rank before was because of the plethora of other lawyers sharing the same address?

While that's not supposed to cause an issue in a commercial building it still wouldn't surprise me.

Are any of the other lawyers ranking any better?
 
Joined
Jul 11, 2014
Messages
23
Thanks again Linda.

So the plot thickens. I called Google+ Business support and they said there is NO penalty attached to the page. They said the page is in good standing.

They gave me a few pointers:

1. Interact with the page more
2. Respond to reviews
3. Upload more pics
4. Have a longer description

---------- Post Merged at 02:52 PM ---------- Previous Post was at 02:51 PM ----------

Hi Joshua,

Yes, a bunch of lawyers use #800. None of them rank well. It's literally like 50 lawyers using the same exact address.

I'm not really sure what to do. Furthermore, the attorney is going to be moving to a new address in October. We might do nothing until then. If the "penalty" (despite what Google says) is still there, I might start a new page.
 

JoshuaMackens

Local Search Expert
Joined
Sep 12, 2012
Messages
1,781
I don't know how Linda feels about Google support so I will let her speak her mind on this as well, but I wouldn't take their word for it. Remember, they are trained what to say and I doubt most of them even know Google penalties for Places exist. By "the account is in good standing" that probably meant it wasn't suspended for anything.

You're definitely in a penalty IMO.

I still think it has to do with the attorney plus 50 other attorneys at the same address. Do any of them share the same phone or website?
 
Joined
Jul 11, 2014
Messages
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I don't know how Linda feels about Google support so I will let her speak her mind on this as well, but I wouldn't take their word for it. Remember, they are trained what to say and I doubt most of them even know Google penalties for Places exist. By "the account is in good standing" that probably meant it wasn't suspended for anything.

You're definitely in a penalty IMO.

I still think it has to do with the attorney plus 50 other attorneys at the same address. Do any of them share the same phone or website?
I agree. I don't think she knew what a penalty is.

No, it's like 50 individual attorneys with their own phone # and websites, so it's a mess.

Do you think I should just start a new page?
 

Linda Buquet

Moderator
Joined
Jun 28, 2012
Messages
14,441
I agree with Joshua. Support 1st off won't even comment on ranking issues and they only look at if something is wrong as in broken. They also like he said probably don't know about some of the unwritten rule penalties and even if they did, would not talk about it because they feel like if they educate about where they draw the line in the sand, then the word spreads and it just helps the spammers know what to avoid.

If the problem is the address, starting over won't help. And sometimes penalties are attached to the business, not just the listing.

But I already said I wouldn't start over. Let's see if we can get a couple more opinions.

Then what I would do is run all the pros and cons by the client. Let them know starting over could possibly fix it or it could possibly make it worse and let him choose.
 

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