No longer showing on Google Local Top 7

bcbSEO

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Until the fall of 2013 we were consistently in the top 7, usually spots B or C for all of our top searches - veterinarians las vegas, las vegas veterinarians, vet las vegas, las vegas vets, etc.

Then in the fall, our listing would disappear and then a few days later I would search again and we would reappear - this happened consistently for about 5 months. THEN just a few months ago we disappeared altogether.

I thought we might have a penalty but the other day I decided to perform some very geo-specific searches - "veterinarian 89117", "west las vegas veterinarian" and there we were in the top 3. I did that Google local "hack" where you view the unfiltered results set at 100. We are indeed showing up there but not in the actual searches.

----- I am not really sure what to do at this point. An SEO guy we hired a few years ago had us plug "West Las Vegas" into our page titles, meta descriptions, and keywords. I scrubbed the entire site of the phrase "West Las Vegas" thinking it might help. I also have cleaned up our NAP across the web too. Other than that.... I AM CONFUSED! Any ideas?

Pet Medical Center of Las Vegas
Pet Medical Center | Las Vegas Veterinarians & Animal Hospital
 
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Linda Buquet

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Hi bcbSEO and welcome.

Thanks for posting. Curious about the relationship. YOu say "we" like it's your practice or you work there. But you have SEO in your name. Which makes me think you are the on-site SEO. But then you talk about a previous SEO, so I'm just wondering. Just curious so I know what level person I am talking to. (A business owner or an SEO.)

Anyway I'm pretty sure I found the problem.

Are you stuck in the old dashboard? Do you know the difference between the 2?
I'm pretty sure you are. And everyone has been upgraded to the new dash except for problem cases and I think you have one.

I'm 98% sure you have a hidden merged dupe. That can cause this type of ranking and bouncing in and out of the pack.

Can you should be a screenshot of your edit screen in your Places dashboard?
I need to see the part that has description and categories.

If you had previously set up a separate Google+ dashboard I need to see the same parts of the edit screen there.
 

bcbSEO

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Hi Linda!

Thanks so much for your reply. Sorry for the confusion. I work for Pet Medical Center and handle all of their marketing, website, and SEO. Jack of all trades. The owners had changed their business name years ago, and so those were still active around the web. We had veterinarian specific pages we had to get rid of, too. They also had a call tracking service that changed the phone numbers so our NAP was all over the place. Basically a perfect storm of SEO issues. A few years ago the owner hired someone to help with our Local SEO for a few months as we were not being picked up in searches - only organic.

I would consider myself an intermediate when it comes to SEO.

I am pretty sure we are in the new dashboard and that there are no duplicates.

Here are two screenshots of the Google+dashboard:
2014-05-16_1722 - BrantBum's library
2014-05-16_1723 - BrantBum's library

Google Places for business dashboard:
http://screencast.com/t/UuxgyERr0
http://screencast.com/t/oiPWzWNq0AIE

I really appreciate your help!!
Brant
 

Linda Buquet

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Thanks for explaining Brant and for the screen shots.

Yes you have a hidden merged dupe. Google refers to it usually as a dual claimed listing.

It's a violation. And it means there is another listing in another Google account for the same business. PLACES account is what we are looking for. Could be the previous SEO created a listing in a different account. Or both you and Dr did. Or one of you did one in a different account even long ago and forgot you did it.

How can I tell?

In each dashboard you have 6 cats - the same ones. So there should only be 6 cats in your live listing.

Google hides all but one or 2 cats on the live listing, but when you click
"edit details" you can see all the categories.

This listing has 19 categories!. Some are duplicates, some are not allowed, some are violations, some are even misspelled. "Animal Hospital, Veterinarian, Veterinary Care, Kennel, Emergency Veterinarian Service, Pet Boarding Service, Animal Hospital, Veterinarian, Kennel, Emergency Veterinarian Service, Pet Clinic, Animal Clinic, Pet Hospital, Pet Groomer, Pet Supply Store, ter, Pet Dental Care, Pet Dentist, Pet Sugery.

The ones in red have problems, violations and/or spelling issues and I don't know what "ter" is.

See all cats here: Google Map Maker

So 1st plan of attack. You, Dr and any staff that could have created a listing, need to check all Google accounts to see if you can find it. Often the Dr found duplicate listings and claimed to try to delete them. Sometimes even the Drs husband or wife did one. If can't find, then check with SEO if he created one.

I'm thinking based on the # of cats there may even be 2 additional listings.

FYI you can't see these as live dupes. They are only dashboard listings and all the data has merged into one live listing. Hence the name I give these "hidden merged dupes.

If you can find the listing, let me know (don't do anything yet) and I'll advise what to do.
But if you can't find it/them then we need to take another route.
 

bcbSEO

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May 16, 2014
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Here is what I have found so far. So we have a staff gmail that is connected to the actual listing but my personal account has an unverified listing for a veterinarian that previously worked there...

2014-05-16_1824 - BrantBum's library

Also, the old name of the business has a listing marked as closed:
https://plus.google.com/113007277452870814060/about?gl=US&hl=en-US

Could either of these be the issue? Both don't appear to have the unique categories that you specified in your last post.

I reached out to the owners to make sure they don't have any hidden ones claimed.

What a mess! Thanks Linda!
 

Linda Buquet

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Thanks for checking and finding those.

No this one would have the same name, address and phone or very close to it.
The other 2 would not usually have merged into this one since different names.

Also so you know Google will occasionally add cats. But usually only one or 2. Not 4 or 11.

Worth a try to see if you can find these. But if you can't there's a plan B. It's a little more involved though so best if can find.
 

bcbSEO

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May 16, 2014
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Hey Linda,

I think I am going to need to do plan B. I contacted the various people that would possibly have a duplicate listing in their places dashboard and did not find anything, including the SEO guy and owners.

Thanks again for your help on this, I greatly appreciate it!
 

Linda Buquet

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OK here is plan B. You need to contact support via phone, prove your listing is the authorized listing. Tell them you believe the listing is "dual claimed". (Use that term, hidden merged dupe is mine and they may not realize what you mean.)

Tell them you want the other listing unverified. Depending on how long since anyone made an edit in that dash they will handle different ways... Sometimes they will just unverify. Sometimes they'll give you a hint as to who owns so you can try to get them to unverify. And sometimes they will email the owner of the other account to ask them to delete the listing. But if it's an old account with email that no one checks or email to someone that's unresponsive it can tie you up. Hence me recommending you try to find it yourself 1st.

Phone support hours are Monday - Friday, 6 AM - 5 PM PST. Wait til then. Be logged into the account the listing is in, then click here: https://support.google.com/business/#contact=1&topic=3450784.
Click the BLUE "Call us" button at the top during those hours.

Let us know what happens.
 

Barry Zuber

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Jul 26, 2013
Messages
17
Dear Linda:

Instead of calling Google, why wouldn't you do this first?:

  1. Claim the listing on MapMaker
  2. Make the appropriate edits to the categories
  3. Submit and see what happens

Not being argumentative. Just thinking through the options.

Thanks,

Barry
 

bcbSEO

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May 16, 2014
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Hey Linda,

I spoke with Google support this morning and was told that there was not a dual claimed listing. He said that the categories that are in Mapmaker are from various 3rd parties and that everything on our listing looks good on their end. He also said that we would know if we had a duplicate because Google would suspend our listing.

The guy also said that Google probably doesn't think we are important enough to show on the top results and that the more links, reviews, clicks, etc the better we should rank.

Thoughts?
 

Linda Buquet

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Thanks Barry, all opinions are always welcome.

The reason he can't claim in MM is there is no listing to claim.

It's a hidden merged dupe you can't see or edit. He already has his listing claimed in Places.

But really the problem is not the cats per se. So editing the cats would not fix a thing.

The problem is that there is another listing in another dashboard somewhere.
The cats are just the visible symptom of the underlying problem - a dual claim.

Having 2 claimed listings is a violation, plus causes all kinds of data problems.

Lately I'm seeing hidden merged dupes causing ranking issues, which is the problem we have here.

If he can't find the owner of the other listing, the only way to unverify it is to get support to do it.

At least that's the next logical step to try I think and calling support is not a big deal.
I'd rather call support any day than deal with MM. :p
 

bcbSEO

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May 16, 2014
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Hey Linda,

Did you see my last thread about calling support?

Here is my last thread:

I spoke with Google support this morning and was told that there was not a dual claimed listing. He said that the categories that are in Mapmaker are from various 3rd parties and that everything on our listing looks good on their end. He also said that we would know if we had a duplicate because Google would suspend our listing.

The guy also said that Google probably doesn't think we are important enough to show on the top results and that the more links, reviews, clicks, etc the better we should rank.

Thoughts?

 

Linda Buquet

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No sorry, you can see by the post time, I was still working on writing my reply to Barry when you posted, so didn't see your post.

Hmmm, sure looked dual claimed to me. And FYI I've had 3 different support reps tell me 3 times a listing I was sure was dual claimed was not. And then later a 4th support person found 3 old claimed listings, so it was really tied up in knots. So I KNEW it but the 1st 3 could not see it. So not saying there still is a dual claim, just sharing one experience I had.

The fact that it was jumping back and forth in rankings suggests a dual claim too.

That's odd, I've never seen Google add 13 extra cats before. Only 1 or 2.

Well anyway, if they are right then this is part of troubleshooting. You have to rule things out. (Is the computer plugged in? Yes? Ok move to the next obvious problem.)

So I've used up all the time I have for this one.

Anyone else have time to take a look and offer other opinions?
 

bcbSEO

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Thanks again for your help. I have an update.

I called Google again because the guy I originally talked to seemed really new or just didn't really care. The second guy was extremely helpful. He had me to into my Plus account and told me to look for the yellow bar that said "changes have been made, etc." and then I noticed our address was like this:

9140 W Sahara Ave, Canyon Gate Master, Las Vegas, Clark, NV 89117

It should be: 9140 W Sahara Ave, Las Vegas, NV 89117

I have NEVER seen it like this before today. Very odd. Anyway, I changed it to the correct address and hit save. He said it showed up immediately on his end and that while there was no duplicate listing, this could be the problem.

Weird huh?
 

Linda Buquet

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He kinda sounds more like the newb to me.

Google often adds that type of extraneous data to the address and I don't think it hurts anything.
A bot just did it I think.

QUESTION - Is your Map Marker in the right place on your live listing and in your dash?

vetlasvegas.jpg

Above is a screenshot from MapMaker and in the history I see this maps editor keeps moving your marker. Sometimes if your marker is off it can cause ranking issues due to lack of location trust.

Here it is zoomed in. http://goo.gl/maps/NKkWs Is that location correct?
Or is one of the green dots in the MM image more correct?

This is where Google maps says the street address is: http://goo.gl/maps/q1EsA.
Is that correct???

Don't change anything, just let me know.

I can see in history Google just made 2 changes but does not show me what they are.
Must be support reps you talked to.

 

Barry Zuber

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Jul 26, 2013
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I want to be sure we all learn from this as correct Google listings are important for ranking.

I reread the entire thread to see where or how you knew this might be a symptom of a dual listing but it is not clear to me how you might know. The only thing I can find is your quote here:

"The fact that it was jumping back and forth in rankings suggests a dual claim too."

Is this more of a gut-call coming from you deep experience with Google listings or is there something more technical that jumps out at you?

--Grasshopper
 

Linda Buquet

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I reread the entire thread to see where or how you knew this might be a symptom of a dual listing but it is not clear to me how you might know. The only thing I can find is your quote here:

"The fact that it was jumping back and forth in rankings suggests a dual claim too."

Is this more of a gut-call coming from you deep experience with Google listings or is there something more technical that jumps out at you?

--Grasshopper
Hey Grasshopper, I agree we should all learn and compare notes.

Think you may have missed this part where I explained.

Yes you have a hidden merged dupe. Google refers to it usually as a dual claimed listing.

It's a violation. And it means there is another listing in another Google account for the same business. PLACES account is what we are looking for. Could be the previous SEO created a listing in a different account. Or both you and Dr did. Or one of you did one in a different account even long ago and forgot you did it.

How can I tell?

In each dashboard you have 6 cats - the same ones. So there should only be 6 cats in your live listing.

Google hides all but one or 2 cats on the live listing, but when you click
"edit details" you can see all the categories.

This listing has 19 categories!. Some are duplicates, some are not allowed, some are violations, some are even misspelled. "Animal Hospital, Veterinarian, Veterinary Care, Kennel, Emergency Veterinarian Service, Pet Boarding Service, Animal Hospital, Veterinarian, Kennel, Emergency Veterinarian Service, Pet Clinic, Animal Clinic, Pet Hospital, Pet Groomer, Pet Supply Store, ter, Pet Dental Care, Pet Dentist, Pet Sugery.

The ones in red have problems, violations and/or spelling issues and I don't know what "ter" is.

See all cats here: Google Map Maker

I'm thinking based on the # of cats there may even be 2 additional listings.

FYI you can't see these as live dupes. They are only dashboard listings and all the data has merged into one live listing. Hence the name I give these "hidden merged dupes.
So in the past this was true and Colan will confirm that way too many cats like this, is usually a symptom of a dual claimed listing or hidden merged dupe. (But Colan is off on Holiday today.)

But what support said is also true... Now with the new dash if someone claimed the listing before you did, then your listing will get a duplicate warning in dash. HOWEVER if you were the 1st claim and it's the other that did the 2nd claim, I don't believe you get a warning.

But I'm seeing a bunch of cases just exactly like this one, too many cats and bogus cats that violate the guidelines. Listings that to me look like they are dual claimed and have ranking problems.

WHY would Google add cats that violate their own guidelines and why would they add a cat like "ter" which isn't even a word. Looked more like a messy 2nd dashboard to me, but could have been a sloppy bot scraping sloppy 3rd party citations with misspellings like Sugery I guess.
 

Barry Zuber

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I can see all 19 categories in the Map Maker link.

Is it correct to say that Map Maker compiled the 19 categories from the dupes?

If that's the case, I would think Google technical support should be able to see the dupes and unverify or "disconnect" them from the real listing.

Barry
 

Linda Buquet

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Is it correct to say that Map Maker compiled the 19 categories from the dupes?

If that's the case, I would think Google technical support should be able to see the dupes and unverify or "disconnect" them from the real listing.
No Barry, what happens IF it was a hidden merged dupe is...

EXAMPLE: 1 claimed listing has 4 cats. Another for the same business with same NAP has 6 cats. When the listings are merged by the algo cuz NAP is the same, then the live listing would have 10 cats. MM did not add the cats. Google merged 2 listings together. So what you see live, is all the data from both dashboards combined into the live listing. That's how merges work.

When it's a bogus merge lets say for Mike's Pizza and Mike's Auto Repair. You see one live listing with the Pizza name, the auto address. Maybe the Pizza phone and review but the auto pics and cats from both businesses all mixed up. So it's fairly easy to see it's 2 businesses merged together.

But when it's the same business, with same NAP it's not obvious except for a few telltale signs. One of the most obvious is cats.

BUT support told him this was not a case of a dual claimed listing.

But I just asked Google management to get more clarification on how all these cats were added. Support said they were added from 3rd party directories, but again I've never seen bots add this many until lately. I'm seeing lots of listings that look like this and they've all had ranking drops.

I'm also asking Google management why bots are allowed to scrape and pull in bogus cats that are not correct, cats that are violations of the cat guidelines and typo cats.
 

bcbSEO

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May 16, 2014
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The green pins in MM would reflect INSIDE the building. Pet Medical Center is a free-standing building with no other tenants. The actual location of Pet Medical Center of Las Vegas reflects the front the building.

On Maps - the street address PIN is WRONG. It is showing us in the middle of another parking lot.

Here is a screenshot of the satellite image: 2014-05-19_1449 - BrantBum's library

Also, I just noticed this as well: 2014-05-19_1503 - BrantBum's library
There are 4 businesses with different addresses that are attributed to our physical location. Like I said above, we are the sole tenants in that building...
Waite & Associates Inc - 9230 W Sahara Ave
King Jay L CPA - 9230 W Sahara Ave
EV-Charge America - 9030 W Sahara Ave
Pizza Hut - 9014 West Sahara Avenue
 

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