Using an Alternative City Name in Google+ Local Page NAP


russofford

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Hi All,

I was wondering if anyone has had any experience with, come across, or thought about the following scenario.

I have a client who has a business in St. Francis, Wisconsin which is fairly close to Milwaukee, Wisconsin. It perhaps could be considered as a part of Milwaukee or the Milwaukee Metro area for many intents and purposes.

According to the border outlines that Google Maps creates, when you search for the city name, St. Francis is outside of Milwaukee. However, their business NAP listings (Name, Address, Phone Number) are split between using St. Francis as the city and using Milwaukee as the city.

For example, both of the following NAPs seem valid and would work fine to receive letters in the mail or human traffic to the location:

ABC Widget Company
123 Example Street
St. Francis, WI
53235

and

ABC Widget Company
123 Example Street
Milwaukee, WI
53235

Is there any sense in trying to continue to standardize on the Milwaukee version of the NAP listing vs. standardizing on the St. Francis version of the NAP listing? The only reason I would try to push for the Milwaukee version would be a possible SEO effect it could have.

My logic was that having the Milwaukee in the address might help to convince the search engines to interpret the company as being more relevant for Milwaukee terms (which are more a lot more popular and competitive search terms.)

However, I do understand that the search engines are smart enough these days to figure out where the company is 'really' located (in St. Francis) without suggesting to them that it should be included as a part of Milwaukee.

I am guessing that most of the advice I receive will be 'don't try to trick the system' and 'go with the real city name' ... however...

If I start submitting my client's NAP info to Localeze, Acxiom, and InfoGroup, etc. as 'St. Francis' (to correct the Milwaukee variations found online) in attempt to create a uniform online NAP presence... and the client starts to loose ranking for Milwaukee related keywords... have I actually HELPED them in their SEO efforts in the end... just to be 'proper'? Perhaps, no, I may have instead screwed them over... and would most likely loose them as an SEO client eventually. ;)

Thoughts? Facts? Any Experiences to share?

Thanks,

Russ
 

Linda Buquet

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Sounds like a nightmare to even attempt and I personally don't think it would even work.

I've worked on cases where there were even 2 CORRECT names for a city. Both names were technically correct and accepted by the PO and show up properly on maps. Even then it was a nightmare trying to get Google to get it right.

Here's one I helped on. You might enjoy reading.

What NAP Should We Use When There Are 2 City Names To Choose From For Business?

And that was with EITHER city being technically correct. And that was with a pro map maker helping. But with all the bot edits and Google changin the city back and stuff it was a nightmare.

Bottom line though is even if you can get Google to accept Milwaukee and not keep changing it on you - depending on competition they may not rank that far down anyway.

When you search for Milwaukee key phrase does anyone rank that's that far away? See where the map cuts off in the page one SERPs and where the cluster of page one rankings are. I checked Milwaukee Plumber and Dentist and map cuts off before it gets to SF. But for a less competitive query like Milwaukee laser dentist a Dentist all the way down in Greenfield ranks. So it's all relative.
 
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Ya, that was a nightmare to work on. After several weeks, we finally got everything squared away. Thanks for your help on that, Linda;)

To the original poster's question...my personal opinion is to stick with the city they are actually located in - even if it is close to another major city. If Google thinks it's in ST, then there is no sense fighting it.

You can still rank the website for those Milwaukee terms so all is not lost.

Travis Van Slooten
 

Linda Buquet

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Thanks Travis I'm glad you weighed in. I was going to email you to see if you were OK because I haven't seen you around anywhere for awhile. (Or seems like a long time anyway.) Hope things are great and you've just been busy! :)
 
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Ya, that was a nightmare to work on. After several weeks, we finally got everything squared away. Thanks for your help on that, Linda;)

To the original poster's question...my personal opinion is to stick with the city they are actually located in - even if it is close to another major city. If Google thinks it's in ST, then there is no sense fighting it.

You can still rank the website for those Milwaukee terms so all is not lost.

Travis Van Slooten
I agree and would add that addresses are suppose to be the physical address where the business can be located. For most locations in the United States boundaries for Cities/Towns/Villages have set boundaries. Placing the municipality for NAP purposes but not actually in that municipality isn't kosher, especially on the Map Maker side of things. The locality (if present) within the City/Town/Village will be auto selected by the placement of the feature and can't be edited manually.

The good thing is that Google Search will usually help people out if the place is thought to be in one place but is technically in another. I don't know exactly how they do it but its crazy voodoo.
 
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Kill the bots! :p

Wait we had bots then too, they just weren't as bad.
I still held out hope MapMaker Syncer was doing good work. But along came AR3 and AR4... It seems that the new philosophy is to keep giving the bots a little more freedom each time they tweak them allowing the bots to do more and more damage. AR4 should be summarily killed and the others need to be put in a padded room with a large bell attached.
 
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Gregg and Andrew - did you see this post? Suite on line one dropped a US business's map marker out in the ocean off of the coast of Africa.

I found and fixed a problem today... something to be aware of
I found it interesting, but would like to see the GMM feature history to see what actually happened. If the address got borked and moved the feature because of the suite that would be weird. But it also could be a bot or malicious/careless user.
 
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I have run into a couple of similar reports of towns being locally known as one thing, but the post office delivering mail under a different town name. Honestly, if the post office, the public and Google are all at odds about what a town is called, you are in a tough spot.
 
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I have run into a couple of similar reports of towns being locally known as one thing, but the post office delivering mail under a different town name. Honestly, if the post office, the public and Google are all at odds about what a town is called, you are in a tough spot.
Especially since the guidelines for addresses in GMM speak to physical address not mailing address. Unfortunately a lot of what people view as a physical address in influenced by the USPS address.
 

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