Have You Ever Broken a One-Box?


JoyHawkins

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I have a scenario where a client is #2 locally for a keyword but Google is showing a one-box for his competitor. I have some tasks to increase his relevance for that topic but wanted to ask the forum to see if any of you had any examples where you were able to break a one-box? If so, what did you do?

For those wondering, this is a one-box (where Google only shows 1 listing, not 3).

 
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You are going to have a super tough time as that business name is an exact match to search query.

I feel your pain, I even have all the exact match OTAs to content with.




What I am hoping to do here is to get Google to trigger a local pack instead of a one box, so I am creating a shed load of different Natai Beach Resort resources that include all the resorts - hopefully at some point Google realises there are in fact about 15 resorts on Natai Beach.

But this is a long game, you are essentially trying to teach Google something it does not want to do.
 

JoyHawkins

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Yeah so the one I'm working with is an actual business that just has a super hyper-focus.
 

Phil Rozek

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You're quite charitable, @JoyHawkins. The "business" in that one-box is spammy as hell.

Just the same, I've had some luck in breaking one-boxes (always in a niche) by doing the usual suspects: content on the homepage / GMB landing page on that specific service, and trying to get a little detail (read: search terms) in Google reviews, and just giving it time.

At least from what I've observed, Google doesn't show as many one-boxes as before. The flip-side of that is as soon as Google can show more than one relevant result, you'll probably see a 3-pack or a 2Pac.
 

JoyHawkins

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Haha just to be clear, that example is definitely not the one I'm attempting to get 😂
 

Phil Rozek

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Glad you said so, Joy, 'cuz that wasn't clear to me.

Anyway, my suggestions are the same.
 
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@JoyHawkins I don't have personal experience with this but have an idea for you to contemplate.

Doesn't the one box suggest that Google doesn't consider there to be enough competition for the keyword+location to generate a 3-pack? If you buy that, then wouldn't drawing Google's attention to a few competitors help?

Sticking to whitehat tactics (always!) what about asking a question or suggesting an edit on a competitor's KP? Or making an edit to a few key citations for some competitors. (E.g. correcting a few obvious errors or adding/changing a category in a non-malicious way)

The unfortunate side effect is that you have to draw attention to at least one other competitor to trigger a 3-pack.

Just a thought.

Wasn't it you who suggested that local SEO's should be testing more in 2019? ;)
 

JoyHawkins

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Haha yes I definitely said that. We are testing this as well - I just wanted to throw the question out there to see if anyone else was running into it.
 

Nick Lansing

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Thanks for this thread. We're a US manufacturer with a similar situation. We have multiple dealers in Calgary but recently only one dealer is showing in a one pack. He loves it. The other dealers don't!

There are other factors at play but the back and forth here is informative. Thanks all.
 

pbarnhart

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Confirming what Phil Rozek posted - we've broken a 1-Pack several times, when:
  • A good (more than 50 words, not based on star rating) review was added that included the related keyword in the previous 7 days with no other actions.
  • We improved keywords and related content on the home page in the previous 30 days with no other actions (content update only).
  • We improved the quality of the related page (technical SEO only) in the previous 30 days.
Two additional things that correlated, but causation certainly not proven - we have not tried to duplicate:
  • Activated a Google Beacon at the location within 30 days with no other actions.
  • Multiple people answered Google Maps questions about a location in the previous 30 days (some remote, some after a "are you here now" confirmation) with no other activities.
We also check using geo-located devices, and noted that the 1-pack vs 3-pack definitely was affected by location. For one location as an example, 1-pack north and east at the 5 mile point, but a 3-pack west and south at the 5 mile point. However, using the geo-modifier always triggered the 1-pack this location when out of the local area.
 

brettmandoes

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Yeah I had to do this for a client who chose a business name very similar to a local competitor. I basically just focused on getting him #1 for the highest volume keyword in his vertical and made sure he had more citations than the other company. Took about six months, but we took the one box after we grabbed the number one position.

I still don't know exactly how that works, but I figured if we were in the number one position and people were clicking on the result and interacting with my client more often, Google's algorithm would be designed in such a way to assume that must be the result people want and alter the one box. ::shrug::
 

JoshuaMackens

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No advice here, haven't had this issue come up yet, but I imagine as Google is less and less confident in the result the 1 box will break up. Which tells me that you just keep hammering the keyword with listings, reviews, content, and backlinks. I'm sure it will break just like this:

Yeah I had to do this for a client who chose a business name very similar to a local competitor. I basically just focused on getting him #1 for the highest volume keyword in his vertical and made sure he had more citations than the other company. Took about six months, but we took the one box after we grabbed the number one position.

I still don't know exactly how that works, but I figured if we were in the number one position and people were clicking on the result and interacting with my client more often, Google's algorithm would be designed in such a way to assume that must be the result people want and alter the one box. ::shrug::
 

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