Organic Rankings Recovering From Medic; Local Still Not Improving

JasonKhoo

Member
Joined
Sep 14, 2018
Messages
67
After the medic update, we had two sites that saw a Huge drop off with an average of about 30% drop in Analytics traffic. However, the biggest concern was our rankings, which we track through BrightLocal.

I agree with the sentiment that Joy Hawkins mentioned in her Search Engine Journal piece that I think the update was centered around content, because we got cracking and created hyper local content. In total for 2 sites we created about 5 pieces each with an average of 2000 words a piece.

Subsequently, we've seen organic rankings start to rebound, but local is yet to make a dent.

During the time period in March - July, our client's two sites saw good number of rankings be #1 on Local/Maps, we almost have none appearing number one. We are stuck at around 2 & 3.

I just completed an audit and we'll focus on just one site. The listing has:

112 Active Citations (next closest competitor has 71)
1040 Back Links & 65 Referring Domains (next closest competitor 4660 BL & 142 RD, 3671 of the 4660 come from one domain that the competitor has a paid ad on. The links are followed which is improper implementation from what I know, so I'm hoping Google will see this and ignore because the links were built in the last month)
17 UR & 26 DR (next closest competitor has 29 & 25)
539 Reviews (next closest has 162)
10 min driving from center of city (competitors beat us at 7, 5 and 4 minutes)

The one competitor with the 4000+ links makes sense to me why it would be ranking better, but they other competitors have less than 200 links and even low referring domains. And the only metric I can see is that our distance from the center of the city. As I mentioned, we use to always be 1st, but after Medic we saw the drops.

Some tactics I am thinking:

Begin Posting on Google Local: Our client does not post on google local and I don't believe any of our competitors do.

Write More Localized Content: Keep writing the content that is hyper local.

Lengthen Home Page: The home page is not too text heavy as it was designed with aesthetic, so I am thinking that we should add much more content on the home page, though I am unsure about this strategy, we have loads of content on the site, but it's in the blog and other pages.

Any tips that anyone else has seen to help this?

 

JasonKhoo

Member
Joined
Sep 14, 2018
Messages
67
Hi Joy,

Thanks for the response! We have more than 3x reviews than any competitor, but I'll look into recent frequency of reviews acquired.

Organic, I'll see what the office participates in and see if there is any organizations we can also think about joining. When we do join, do we want to ensure that we get listed and linked as well.

I find many of my clients do work in the community but they don't end up getting a mention or anything on the organization's website.
 

Tyson Downs

Member
Joined
Jul 29, 2013
Messages
140
On the local side I would work in reviews. For the organic side, I would look into joining more professional organizations or memberships that gives the business more credibility.
I hear this frequently about more reviews, and I understand how they can help with CTR, but with our dozens of clients, and dozens of tests, we've seen no correlation with reviews or recency of reviews. Joy, are you seeing something different? If so, can you share more details?
 

JoyHawkins

Administrator
Joined
Jul 18, 2012
Messages
3,116
Hey Tyson,

I had a really unique scenario come up earlier this year when Google removed all the anonymous reviews because I was able to see exactly how the loss of reviews impacted ranking across multiple businesses. It was fairly safe to conclude that the ranking drop was related to losing reviews because it happened within a few days of the reviews disappearing and happened across several listings. The full article with all my findings is here.

I'm not sure if recency with reviews is a factor but would definitely say volume of reviews is.
 

Cherie Dickey

Local Search Expert
Joined
Jan 30, 2018
Messages
295
Hey everyone,

I think frequency also makes a difference with reviews in GMB. If your last review was from over a year ago, and you have a competitor who has half the reviews you do, but they earn a new one every month or two, then I think that would have a factor in rankings as well.

I'm also of the mind set that reviews in other review sites matter as well - not just Google. In fact, Google has started to pull reviews from other review sites into the KP. So, a more robust review profile across the net could have impacts on rankings as well.

Regarding backlinking, It's important to remember that it's not as much the number of backlinks that matter - it's the quality. I've had clients with a pretty fair amount of backlinks have trouble ranking as well as (I thought) they should have been. Taking a close look at the backlink profile, I found that a lot were coming from less than reputable sites and places. Disavowing those links gave the client's site the push it needed.

Looking at your competitor's link profile, even though they have 4,000 of them - it could be just a few of them lending the right kind of authority. The directories, blogs sig lines, etc don't do much (and can sometimes hurt), but if a few of those links come from a highly reputable article written about the business? That carries a lot of positive weight.

I advise my clients to work on good old fashioned public relations. Connect with your community, other business owners, and your local chamber. Pay the membership fee, and get listed (and linked to) from there. You'll get a good backlink and citation out of the deal, and you will also gain networking opportunities. Donate to your local charities, and sponsor a local cause or little league team. Get your name out into the community in a positive way, and don't be afraid to let them now that you would greatly appreciate a link back from their website if they have a sponsor's or referrals page.

-Cherie
 

Tyson Downs

Member
Joined
Jul 29, 2013
Messages
140
Hey Tyson,

I had a really unique scenario come up earlier this year when Google removed all the anonymous reviews because I was able to see exactly how the loss of reviews impacted ranking across multiple businesses. It was fairly safe to conclude that the ranking drop was related to losing reviews because it happened within a few days of the reviews disappearing and happened across several listings. The full article with all my findings is here.

I'm not sure if recency with reviews is a factor but would definitely say volume of reviews is.
Thanks for your response. I don't know if based on your case study it can be concluded that the rankings drop was from reviews being lost. If that was the case, why would Emergency Dentist NYC lose 56% of their reviews, but only drop from #8 to #9? I would think if they lost that many reviews they would drop significantly?

My takeaway from that is that perhaps those businesses lost rankings just because that's what happens, normal fluctuations, not because they had reviews removed.

The other theory is that since they had a lot of anonymous reviews, perhaps their reviews can't be trusted as much because if they had a lot of anonymous reviews, then who knows if their business can be trusted....

The thing is, we just don't know.
 
Joined
Sep 12, 2018
Messages
14
My clients are all local businesses - 2/3 are having trouble recovering from the updates the last few weeks. Traffic is down, calls are down, and rankings are down for organic. Mobile was also shaken up slightly, but I'm assuming that is because these 2 clients have not made it to the MFI. I'm not surprised that these two didn't make it to the MFI, but I have a feeling that it's affecting our organic rankings.
I tried doing a lot with site speed, but that hardly had an impact. Next step is trying to build more credibility and authority as suggested in this thread :).
 

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