Hijacked Listings, Inability to Claim, and Best Step Forward?


KSanders

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Hi all,

My aunt is a well-known divorce attorney in Oregon and has been doing very well on reputation alone for years, but asked me for help since her number of clients have dropped off recently.

Glaring issue is a large number of citations (81 via a quick whitespark search) have her name, old office address which she shared with another attorney, and old phone number. He is still there and the phone number hasn't changed. He has updated all p1 listings with her name that now link to his website. He used to own a computer company and it looks very intentional. I know, aunt neglected this...tried to tell her, but family members can be stubborn.

When someone calls looking to consult with my aunt, the receptionist tells from the old office tells potential clients that she left town. Now, there's some obv. legal issues here, but the receptionist works for the building owner, which alleviates this guy of most risk.

That aside...I have her G+ page updated to the correct phone number and address, which ranks 2 for her name, beneath a Oregon business directory (old NAP, link to other guys website). Google hasn't indexed the new address or phone number from G+ page yet.

Put up a site on an EMD of her name and ranking ~15 for divorce & family law related keywords with minimal effort. Name is ~11. Overall market competition is weak compared to what I normally deal with, so key queries shouldn't be hard to take, but I'm stuck on the citation issue...

What's the best step forward here? Tempted to hammer out 300+ citations with her new NAP info and let her draft up letters/emails regarding use of her name. I've dealt with similar situations, but usually there's some element where I can claim the listing...here, it's basically his listing under her name. Yext doesn't look like it'll resolve the issue and I don't have a ton of faith in their program anyway.

Calls and emails can get most of the situation resolved eventually, but I'm concerned about how that impacts her ability to rank in what has just become blended results for main keywords (divorce lawyer, family attorney, etc.). Very easy to claim you don't have the logins for stuff like this, drag it out, and we end up having to pay dex and other companies money to claim/enhance/update listings. Aunt is ruthless when angry, but getting 81 of these cleaned up will take time.

TL;DR - Aunt's old shared office partner handled listings at old address, updated them under her name because people search for her by name, cannot claim and am concerned about how name inconsistencies will impact efforts to rank in pack.

Any advice on the best approach? Sorry about the length/mild rant. All advice and perspectives appreciated.
 
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Hi Kyle,

Not certain I'm crystal clear...

So let me see if I have the core issue right.

She used to be at that location and phone but moved?
She would naturally have old citations with her name, old address and phone.

So where does hijacking come in? He left her NAP on the listings and changed it to his website? Is that the main thing?

But if they are in her name can't you or she edit?

Sorry tired and that was long so not sure I followed.
 

KSanders

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Her name, old address, old phone. She moved into a new office address w/new phone, he stayed with old address and old phone. She was advertising in the phone book years ago, which is where most of these appear to come from, since none were manually built. He was getting her overflow and some referral work.

Major citation sites and all on p1 for her name have been claimed by him, have a link to his website, and information about his firm. Manta says on the listing it was claimed by him in July 2014, which is about when she says new client flow slowed down. If the intention wasn't to swoop business, why would you leave her name there and have a receptionist tell people she doesn't live in town anymore?

I doubt their office is going to be very helpful in most phone verifications :p

Remaining listings are some variation of her name/business name, but his address and phone number, making it difficult to claim. Very few link to her website, since it's new.

Assuming we can get the main ones updated easily, what's the best move for the rest we can't update?

Change the business name to something like Aunt's Name Divorce and Family Law?

Try to overpower the old info with new citations?
 
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This is a weird one. I'm not sure.

Let's see if Darren, Phil or other pros that work with citations have any ideas tomorrow.
 

Phil Rozek

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Krystal,

You'll need to start with fixing your aunt's listings on the main data-aggregators (ExpressUpdate.com, LocalEze.com, and MyBusinessListingManager.com). Then square away Facebook, Yelp, CitySearch, YellowPages, Foursquare, and SuperPages.

That will accomplish a few things:

1. The other attorney's listings are less likely to rank as well.

2. Your aunt's listings - if not her Google Places page - will be more visible.

3. Some of the incorrect listings (that use your aunt's name) may get updated, once your aunt's correct info is on the trusted sites I mentioned.

4. Any complaints you lodge with the sites that still have the other attorney's info are more likely to be successful, if you have a citations profile that backs up your claims.

Don't build the "300 citations" until you've done the above. In fact, I wouldn't suggest building more than maybe 80 citations at all. There is a serious point of diminishing return.

By the way, you can't do the above without your aunt's involvement - or that of someone at her office. She'll help you help her if she's serious. Otherwise, the other attorney wins, and your aunt is unlikely to claim her seat at the Local Feast.
 

heckler

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Solid advice Phil.

Making sure the registrar information is your Aunt's new address and phone might help Google sort out what has happened.
 

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