More citations, better rating than competitors yet the ranking...


Gimbo

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... is really poor. Don't really know what to do anymore, seems like i can't get a GMB page to the 3-pack i feel like i have done everything right. I checked the competitors citations and added my self to the major directories on top of that i built many more citations then what they have. I have ton of images, 360view, the dashboard is 100% I got a really good on-page seo to the website (just in case google values this) with a good chunk of links. The reviews are not many but it's about as many as the competitors, even though i am not ranking i'm like #17 in the local rank for one keyword and #9 on another kw this is starting to really annoying me, feels like it's impossible to rank in the 3-pack now a days. I know my GMB doesn't have the age that the competitors got (it's about 8months old) but is the ageing such a huge ranking factor? that it destroy my ranking this bad

I would really appreciate any help that i can get on what i'm doing wrong (I've done all the best practices for local ranking but it still doesn't help)
 
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Citations still matter, but I don't think they matter like you're describing anymore, and haven't for years. Here's a great study on local ranking factors from last year. It's pre possum so a lot's changed since then, but it'll still give you some good stuff to steer by. First thing I'd look at is organic, like Brad said. Is the page on the site that the GMB profile links to ranking on page one for the query? If not, you're unlikely to be in the 3-pack. If you are ranking well organically and not showing in the map, best practice things could be holding you back (citation coverage, consistency, reviews, etc) but it could also be that you've got some other kind of underlying issue. Duplicate profiles, getting caught in possum's filter, etc. Depending on the market, in 8 months you could be doing alright, though age is definitely a factor.

If you can post your NAP and problem search query I'd be happy to take a quick look.
 

Gimbo

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Thanks, I'll send you the NAP as PM. The page is ranking between #9 and #13 from day to day while I'm checking its ranking for one of the kw and on second page for the other kw and i think even that is an ageing factor as the website is well optimized with good inbound links compared to competitors. But I'll PM you the NAP that might give you a better understanding if there are any other underlying issues.

Really appreciate the help
 

JoshuaMackens

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It is likely to be your GMB age. As long as you don't have any other issues you're unaware of (duplicate content, etc.) this sounds like the main culprit. You could be looking at 12+ months before you see the reigns taken off of your listing, so to speak.

You also need to consider where you're getting your ranking information from. Is it a ranking report? If so, where is the location that ranking report is checking from? If the local business is far away from the searcher's location physically, you are less likely to rank for the term. Proximity is much more important than it used to be. It could very well be that you're ranking very well near your business location but your search location for the ranking report is 10-15 miles away, putting you at an extreme disadvantage and giving you wrong information.

I'm also going to half agree with James. You don't need to put such an emphasis on citations. Not because more citations won't help because I believe more citations will always help (which is where James and I disagree I believe) but because your time would be better spent and more impactful building backlinks at this point. Citations, reviews, on-page optimization all have a point of diminishing returns, a soft ceiling. Backlinks do not.

Incidentally, where are your ranking organically? If you're ranking very well organically but struggling in maps, that would lend itself to the GMB age issue. If you're ranking poorly organically then that's probably your culprit.

Finally, keep in mind rankings are an ancillary indicator now anyway because they are so volatile due to personalization. It is very possible that what I mentioned above about your ranking report location being far away from your physical business is true and that your SEO is actually doing fine. How can you find that out? Look at your traffic. And if your client is on the ball about tracking leads, ask them about leads. Rankings can be misleading.
 
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Haha, yeah, Joshua and I have had the citation conversation before. Sounds like Gimbo's all over the citations already though, which is why I figured that wasn't the missing piece in this case.

I just looked over a PM with NAP info that Gimbo sent, I figured I'd post a general update for anyone interested. The search in question is actually in Sweden, and they're looking great in google.com, both for searches near the business location, and for searchers farther away. They're only ranking poorly on google.se. I advised that the algorithm is different in the US and Sweden, so what we're used to looking for may not fully apply. Things look good organically, so assuming everything else is in order, it may just be that profile age is a much bigger factor on google.se's local algorithm than it is on ours. Organic also appears to be much less of a factor for google.se, so it may be that some of the hard work that's been done isn't counting in their favor yet. Someone used to working with clients in Sweden would have a better chance of spotting the specific missing pieces for them though, I'm stumped.
 

JoshuaMackens

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Haha, yeah, Joshua and I have had the citation conversation before. Sounds like Gimbo's all over the citations already though, which is why I figured that wasn't the missing piece in this case.

I just looked over a PM with NAP info that Gimbo sent, I figured I'd post a general update for anyone interested. The search in question is actually in Sweden, and they're looking great in google.com, both for searches near the business location, and for searchers farther away. They're only ranking poorly on google.se. I advised that the algorithm is different in the US and Sweden, so what we're used to looking for may not fully apply. Things look good organically, so assuming everything else is in order, it may just be that profile age is a much bigger factor on google.se's local algorithm than it is on ours. Organic also appears to be much less of a factor for google.se, so it may be that some of the hard work that's been done isn't counting in their favor yet. Someone used to working with clients in Sweden would have a better chance of spotting the specific missing pieces for them though, I'm stumped.
Excellent work. Sounds about right.
 

rammy94

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Hey James, my GMB is linking to my homepage but I've actually put all my efforts into ranking specific inner pages for the service would this effect my local rankings in the map? I'm ranking in top 3 in organic but I've dropped in the map pack.

Thanks!
 
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Depends on the specifics, but yes, sometimes I recommend clients link to an internal page instead of the home page. Mostly for multi-location businesses, but every once in a while there might be a case where you'd want to do that even for a single location business.

You almost always see 3-pack entries with a corresponding page on the first page of the organic results, so I'd definitely suggest linking to your 'best' page for the queries you're trying to rank for, but I'd love to see a proper study on what the correlations are for all this at the moment.
 

rammy94

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Thanks for the reply!

I recently bought a GMB course and I'm pretty sure he'll be discussing this issue. So if I learn anything new I'll definitely let you know. :)
 
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Multi-location businesses typically want to point the GMB page to the specific location page. The only case where that doesn't typically happen is if they haven't built out those pages yet. At that point I would build the pages and then adjust the GMB pages.

For a single location, I typically will only send to the homepage unless the location page is overwhelmingly strong. You want to have the strongest and more relevant page possible linked under GMB.

If you link to one specific service page, then you could potentially pigeon-hole yourself into only searches for that service. If that's all you care about though, then maybe you could do well on that one segment.

Depends on what your business goals are, and the overall strength of pages within your site
 

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