Top Listing For These Sites? Really? How?

Gary

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Nov 13, 2012
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11
Okay someone please help me out here. I'm trying to understand how these top three sites in the Google seven pack could even get there. For starters two are flash sites with virtually no content let alone the keyword phrase. They don't even have keywords in the title tags or meta description. How is this possible? I'm really, really curious.

The search query is "nyc restaurants" and the top three results are:



  1. 331 W 4th St
    New York
    <nobr>(212) 242-9502</nobr>

    <tbody>
    </tbody>


    [h=3]Corner Bistro[/h]<cite style="color: rgb(0, 153, 51); font-style: normal; display: inline-block; margin-bottom: 1px;">www.cornerbistrony.com/</cite>
    Zagat: 23 / 30 - 1,841 Google reviews








  2. 259 W 4th St
    New York
    <nobr>(212) 691-9359</nobr>

    <tbody>
    </tbody>


    [h=3]Extra Virgin[/h]<cite style="color: rgb(0, 153, 51); font-style: normal; display: inline-block; margin-bottom: 1px;">www.extravirginrestaurant.com/</cite>
    Zagat: 23 / 30 - 850 Google reviews








  3. 16 W 29th St
    New York
    <nobr>(212) 679-1939</nobr>

    <tbody>
    </tbody>


    [h=3]The Breslin[/h]<cite style="color: rgb(0, 153, 51); font-style: normal; display: inline-block; margin-bottom: 1px;">thebreslin.com/</cite>
    Zagat: 24 / 30 - 685 Google reviews

    Even the page and domain authorities are not that high on two of these sites. In fact most of the sites in the top 7 are really weak with this search query.
    Can someone shed some light on this?

    Thanks
    Gary








 
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Linda Buquet

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Thanks for posting Gary I LOVE trying to figure out ranking mysteries.

Swamped and don't have time to check it right now, but dying to share, maybe tomorrow a really crazy ranking situation with one my my client's.

Mine is almost unbelievable and between the ones above and mine, makes me think something major changed with the algo.

Quick thought. Did you do a backlink comparison of these against a couple lower listings to see if that's what it is?

I'll look at these when I get time. And thanks again for posting!
 

Linda Buquet

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Those rankings are so weird Gary. I analyzed organic since that's normally what controls the blended ranking order, but they don't even rank in PURE Google organic. So make no sense at all to me.

One odd thing... The top 2 both had reviews from Google employees that work in Mtn View. I mean it's nothing, just jumped out at me because they are in my circles.
 

Gary

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Nov 13, 2012
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Linda, i know you are very busy so thank you for the reply. The only think I can think of is they are using the search query ("nyc restaurants") in one of the Google Places categories. I know using a geo locator in categories is a violation of Google's guidelines but the geo locator in this instance is "NYC" and not "New York City" so it is easily overlooked. I checked the backlinks of the top ranking sites for this query and they are okay at best but nothing to brag about.

Oh well, welcome to the world of Google. Maybe this is why I love this game so much. I sometimes feel like a detective on a crime scene trying to solve a mystery.

Thanks again Lynda.

Regards,
Gary Downey
 

Fulty22

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Jan 23, 2013
Messages
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Hi Gary. Maybe a glitch??
In your post I only see an address for # 1 of the top 7 when I look on google that address is actually from the listing you have for #2 Corner Bistro. Corner Bistro has a lot of reviews, nice site etc.

Have those top 7 changed since last night? Interesting. I'm curious to hear the results of the "investigation"
 

Gary

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Nov 13, 2012
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Nothing seems to have changed on my end as far as the ranking order.

This is the link:
https://www.google.com/webhp?source=search_app#hl=en&tbo=d&output=search&sclient=psy-ab&q=nyc+restaurants&oq=nyc+re&gs_l=hp.1.0.0l10.280.3738.1.5934.6.6.0.0.0.0.163.554.4j2.6.0.les;..0.0...1c.1.2.hp.BolYVGULkfk&psj=1&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.r_cp.r_qf.&bvm=bv.41867550,d.dmQ&fp=19699d9f644cb7a8&biw=1354&bih=935

I have a client with more reviews, higher PA and DA, much older domain age, search query in the title, meta description and page content, way more inbound links with very high DA and very high authority Press Releases.

I have to believe they are using the search query "NYC Restaurants" in a category. I can't think of any think else. The search query gets thousands of hits with Google every month.

It's frustrating when you can't give your client a logical answer as to why this is happening.

Thanks once again Linda.

Regards
Gary Downey
 

Fulty22

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Jan 23, 2013
Messages
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OK, I hadn't had my coffee and it's Friday of a long week. I see what you are saying now Gary. I think your original post had the numbering a little off and I didn't notice.

This is interesting. These sites appear to be ranked much more on external optimization than internal that is for sure. They appear to have a lot of good Google+ reviews and their sites have decent PR.

What I really find interesting is their write-ups on their Google+ Local pages. They are very similarly written. Not all the same words but just the way they are written looks like they are done by the same person. OK. Now I'm speculating.

Will check back later on this one. :)
 

Colan Nielsen

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Jul 19, 2012
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The first few listings don't even appear to be verified, which doesn't actually surprise me.

Linda's observation about the Google Employee reviews is very interesting. Maybe Google puts a lot of weight into the trust they have in the people reviewing the business.

I don't see NYC Restaurants as a category on Map Maker or when you click on "edit details" so I don't think that's factoring in. Although, it could still be a category in the dashboard and not show up on Map Maker or "edit details" view.
 

Linda Buquet

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I have to believe they are using the search query "NYC Restaurants" in a category. I can't think of any think else. The search query gets thousands of hits with Google every month.
Nope cats are all clean. No geo at all in any of them. I check the live page and Colan checked in MM.

From my experience if in dash they'd show up in details or MM. BUT I doubt all 3 would happen to have that particular violation anyway, so it would be nice if it were that simple but it's not.

HECK the A listing, Corner Bistro is not even claimed!!! So they didn't add to cats, their cats are all ones G added due to 3rd party info.

NOW NORMALLY I would say it's the strength of the site making them right or other organic factors like backlinks. BUT AGAIN THEY DON'T RANK IN MY PURE ORGANIC TESTS AT ALL EITHER!!!

Very weird indeed!
 

Linda Buquet

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Joined
Jun 28, 2012
Messages
14,438
Thanks for posting Gary I LOVE trying to figure out ranking mysteries.

Swamped and don't have time to check it right now, but dying to share, maybe tomorrow a really crazy ranking situation with one my my client's.

Mine is almost unbelievable and between the ones above and mine, makes me think something major changed with the algo.
Started new post so would not take Gary's post off track. This one is a totally different ranking puzzle, but pretty interesting. Take a peek.

http://localsearchforum.catalystemarketing.com/local-seo-ranking/2197-how-heck-can-site-rank-gotta-emd.html
 

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