Hack to Check for Google Local Penalties

Gio Greenard

Member
Joined
Oct 1, 2012
Messages
51
Hi all,

Just some additional input (sorry I cant share the live links).

I used the method described and saw that there was a ranking difference of one position. I have only recently acquired access to the listing so didn't know a great deal about the surrounding circumstances( naps etc...).

Upon logging into the dashboard the listing had been suspended, unsure why as all seemed above board ( I'll soon find out). In any case goes to show the method does work. Nice find!

Cheers

Gio

P.S this was for a US client based in Atlanta GA.
 

Linda Buquet

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Jun 28, 2012
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13,313
Hey Gio,

Couple more details because I'm not sure if what I'm envisioning is what happened based on you only saying "there was a ranking difference of one position."

Are you saying your client's listing was live, but not in the pack. So all the other listings matched up but that one? Are you saying he was live even tho suspended, but had a rank penalty?
 

Gio Greenard

Member
Joined
Oct 1, 2012
Messages
51
hey Linda, sure thing!

I will try and get permission to share some screen shots if possible, as it's easier to explain.

Okay so in a nutshell this was what I did:

The clients listing was in the pack, ranked 2nd. I then performed the search as detailed previously and the listing was third in the pack. So I presumed there was either a duplicate issue, or some non conformity with the naps, or both.

I then I saw the warning in the dashboard. "listing suspended due to quality issues".

I have mailed Google as it doesn't add up. Firstly because the listing is still live, and secondly because exactly the same format has been used for another two locations which are fine. In addition I checked the description categories and so on and all is above board.

I don't know if it's a bug or someone has reported the listing.

I have only just gained access, so I will do more research on the matter and have a better picture of the situation soon. I'll be sure to post my findings.

G
 

Linda Buquet

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Jun 28, 2012
Messages
13,313
Thanks for the extra details Gio.

Ahhh, well when you said "In any case goes to show the method does work" I pictured something totally different. Being one place off would not really show that it works.

If he was locked out of the pack, but ranked in Places 100, then you found he was suspended that would have made more of a case to me.

Yes, odd he's still ranking if suspended. You know I seldom hear about suspended listings and don't think it happens as much any more.

Is it any atty or SMB by chance?

No need to share the screenshots in this thread. But if you end up needing help with that one, feel free to start a new thread down in help.
 

Gio Greenard

Member
Joined
Oct 1, 2012
Messages
51
Fair point, I will try with some other clients when I find some time.

When I am in the dashboard the listing is suspended, yet I still have the option to see the listing in Google maps and Google search. I will get to the bottom of it, and post Google's answer ( new thread) on the off chance another member experiences the same issue. I have to say it's the first time I have seen it happen.

I'll re run the search once I have fixed the problem. If it was to jump back upto #2 spot via the places 100 search, as opposed to #3, thus matching Google's results would this not be relevant to some degree?

Yes it's an SMB. :)
 

Broland

Member
Joined
Aug 8, 2012
Messages
136
Hi Gio. It's reverse engineering so you want to think of it in reverse. The business that pushed your client down to spot 3 in the Places 100 search and is not included in the regular search results is the one with the penalty or being filtered with this method. That's not to say your client doesn't have any other issues with their listing. Hopefully that helps.
 

Linda Buquet

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Jun 28, 2012
Messages
13,313
Promoted this thread to Google Local IMPORTANT, a section reserved for only important updates, bugs and changes. (Thanks so much Broland!)

Also changed from the original title: Local Penalties - Do You Think You Have One? Because it started as a Q but evolved into something more important so wanted the title to reflect the deeper content that grew out of the Q.
 

RadinaDisheva

Member
Joined
Jan 28, 2014
Messages
11
Hi all,

I read everything in this thread and I have something to add to the discussion, though some of you may already know that.

First of all, I recently found this forum thread from 2011:
http://www.warriorforum.com/<wbr>main-internet-marketing-<wbr>discussion-forum/328064-<wbr>google-showing-different-<wbr>results-when-you-set-results-<wbr>per-page-100-a.html

"When you request a 100-results-per-page display, your query is sent to a Data Center that is not frequently updated (since most web users do not access search results uptill 100th result)."

So it seems logical that on a Places 100 search we're seeing an old version of the SERP, from the time that these listings were not penalized yet.

On the other hand, a few years ago I came across another forum thread where a similar issue was discussed, but unfortunately I can't find it anymore. Someone stated that all places queries with up to 40 results come from the nearest server and are usually identical to the result in Places 10, Maps, and the local pack. But when you do a Places 40+ search, your query gets redirected to a different, centralized data center which is updated first and faster than the local servers.

So do you think it's possible that on the 100-results SERP we're seeing the "freshest" data, which is yet to come to our local servers? Therefore these are listings that were at some point penalized but are no longer under the penalty and it's a matter of time for us to see them on a Places 10 search.
 

Linda Buquet

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13,313
Thanks Radina, always good to analyze this stuff for different possibilities.

However not sure that ones correct. There are other assumptions thrown around in that thread I don't buy either like: "If you set Google search to display 100 results instead of 10, you are not giving their server time to sort them out, you are rushing the search results therefore."

So not sure if this is accurate but again, it's good to try to figure out.

I just remembered Mark from Places Scout who is VERY technical talking about how your results will vary if you select 100 or some other # of results. It seems he explained why. If I get time I'll ask him about it.
 

RadinaDisheva

Member
Joined
Jan 28, 2014
Messages
11
Sure, I'm just throwing a guess.

The thing is I can't find a reason for some of those "hidden" listings to be penalized.

Here's a random example:
auto repair las vegas nv - Google Search 2014-05-23 19-36-57.png

This is the Places 100 SERP for the same query:
auto repair las vegas nv - Google Search 2014-05-23 19-39-18.png

Can anyone find a reason why this listing may be penalized? Because it looks just fine to me.

auto repair las vegas nv - Google Search 2014-05-23 19-36-57.png


auto repair las vegas nv - Google Search 2014-05-23 19-39-18.png
 

Linda Buquet

Moderator
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Jun 28, 2012
Messages
13,313
That one has some cat violations, which could indicate a hidden merged dupe that's in the old dash. And hidden merged dupes can cause a penalty. BUT lately I'm seeing non-compliant cats that Google just scrapes and adds too, so may not be that.

Plus realize that there are penalties that can linger. I've seen penalties stick for 8 months after the violations were cleaned up. So could be we are looking at page that was fixed but penalties are still in play?
 

seoWest

Member
Joined
Aug 15, 2013
Messages
63
According to Myles over at BrightLocal:

"Today Google removed their Maps results pages so they are no longer accessible."

Looks like we will no longer be able to use this hack :-(
 

Linda Buquet

Moderator
Joined
Jun 28, 2012
Messages
13,313
Thanks Dino, I just saw the discussion about this on G+, thanks for the head's up there too.

Just playing catch up on the forum and email then will see if I can find a work around.

Also curious to see if something else has changed on the back end.
 

seoWest

Member
Joined
Aug 15, 2013
Messages
63
You are welcome. I will keep an eye peeled on the BrightLocal platform where Myles is providing updates.
 

Linda Buquet

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Jun 28, 2012
Messages
13,313
We are all brainstorming on G+ including Joy, Myles, David Mihm and other bright minds!

I'm crippled with connection problems, so may not be very active today.
 

Linda Buquet

Moderator
Joined
Jun 28, 2012
Messages
13,313
OK here is a new detailed post about the rank tracking problems and the
death of our little local penalty hack! :(

<a href="http://localsearchforum.catalystemarketing.com/google-local/19547-rip-places-search-causing-google-local-rank.html">RIP Places Search - Causing Google Local Rank Tracking Problems - New Google Update</a>
 

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