Why do I rank locally above the 7 pack?

marcus118

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Feb 10, 2014
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I'm working on a local law firm doing SEO and local search. I have a verified google+ local page but i dont rank anywhere in the 7 pack - rather I rank above it organically!

I'm sure there could there are host of reasons why this could be, but what are the more common reasons?

Only thing I can think of is that my client's location is on the outer edge of the city and most folks in google maps are in the city center (2014-02-11_0924 - marcus118's library)

I guess what I don't understand is if google thinks I'm too far from the city centroid to show in the 7 pack, why would it rank me above the 7 pack for a local query?

Thanks!
 
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Linda Buquet

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I guess what I don't understand is if google thinks I'm too far from the city centroid to show in the 7 pack, why would it rank me above the 7 pack for a local query?
Hi Marcus,

The answer to the question quoted above is simple. They rank high in organic and they just have a problem on the Places side of the house, so their listing is not blended into in the pack.

There are many reasons this can happen. I teach a whole section about this in my training. I call it being disconnected from the pack. Could be dupes, violations, NAP confusion (which can happen for a variety of reasons) or proximity.

If you care to share a link to the Place page and one specific search term, I'll move this post down to the help section, then I can try to research when I get time and hopefully others will weigh in as well.
 

Linda Buquet

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Thanks for posting the details Markus.

I'm getting ready to leave for most of the day but will try to share some of the issues I found when I get back if I can.
 

Linda Buquet

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Hi Marcus,

The more I dig on this one the more problems I find.

1st off realize attys are under heavy scrutiny because many set up virtual offices or shared offices just to appear they are in multiple cities when in reality the secondary offices are not staffed, they are seldom there and therefore are not allowed to have a Place page. Not saying that's the case here, don't have time to go deep. Just saying this is part of the problem this atty is up against due to questionable issues I've discovered. (And if I can find these issues so can Google.)

Google drops you out of the pack for a variety of reasons like duplicate confusion, NAP confusion (multiple listings or multiple sites with the same phone is just one variation of NAP confusion) or violations.

She's like a kindergartener playing a match game. Super smart but easily confused. Give her broken or duplicate pieces and she has a hard time putting it all together.

http://goo.gl/maps/lA1gw Bunch of different problems

#1 this could be the reason they are knocked out of the pack.

Can't have the same phone on 2 listings. I mean technically you can, BUT it often confuses the algo, can knock you out of blended AND can lead to a merge which can be a bear and eats one of the listings.

Additionally it could contribute to the feeling (if a human moderator looks at listing) that one of the locations isn't really valid and full-time, if it does not even have it's own phone.

#2 That Sentinel Legal Services, LLC listing. Check the website. It's a bare template site, but the same phone # is on the site that's on the Harris Law site and both the practice listings. So now we have 2 sites and 2 practice listings all with the same phone. Confusion escalates.

Plot thickens. The guidelines say one listing per location. Practitioners cannot set up additional listings to represent all their different specialties.

3) Check this: http://goo.gl/maps/dxCqa

A listing with a KW stuffed name is at the same address: "Pacific Bankruptcy".

At 1st I thought could be shared office. Then noticed they both have 2 offices that are at the exact same address. So seemed there was more to the relationship than shared office.

THen look at the snippet on the Pacific Bankruptcy "N.E. Portland New Office! Hackett & Harris 3913 N.E. Hancock Suite 100. Portland, OR"

Several places on the Pacific Bankruptcy it refers to the practice not as "Pacific Bankruptcy" or Hackett Law but Hackett & Harris.

#4 Then check this: http://goo.gl/maps/T2EMI

The Pacific listing phone #, surfaces a listing for your client Harris. Same #. Probably same address but address hidden which is weird for atty.

So anyway Google has all kinds of signals that these guys are connected and it's either confusing her and may also be a violation depending on the real world relationship.

So it seems like they maybe are or were partners? And still share an office? Which is going to cause further confusion with Google and again could be a violation if this is just really one big practice which it appears to be. If so they have to pick a name and should only have one listing.

I'm an hour in and that's my limit on free support, plus carpal is killing. But hopefully that will give you a few ideas about why they may have dropped out of blended. And like I said every time I started digging I found more conflicting issues. Have a feeling I just scratched the surface, but I'm out of time and need to go help some other folks now.

Hope that helps and best of luck!
 

Linda Buquet

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Thanks Darren. Hope it made sense. So tired can't keep eyes open and didn't take time to proof. :confused:
 

Linda Buquet

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LOL you are too kind. Just went back and fixed like 9 typos since I knew someone was reading it. Decided better clean it up a bit before I go conk out. :eek:
 

marcus118

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Feb 10, 2014
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Excellent many thanks Linda! I'd love to check out your training. I've historically only been an SEO guy and don't really dabble much in the local search space since I respect the fact it's a whole other world.

The scariest part of this example is that the former vendor who set up and "optimized" all this is a very well known online marketing vendor in the legal space :eek:

I guess I'm stuck cleaning up the mess!

Thanks again.
 

Linda Buquet

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...don't really dabble much in the local search space since I respect the fact it's a whole other world.

The scariest part of this example is that the former vendor who set up and "optimized" all this is a very well known online marketing vendor in the legal space :eek:
Yes local really is a whole other world. And this one only touched on a small sampling of the crazy issues that come up. I grew up in traditional SEO too and this is all about that because you still have to do on-site SEO well, but then there are additional issues on the site that need to be addressed. But then when you get into all the Places gotchas it get really complicated. I've trained a lot of "well known online marketing vendor" in the legal or other verticals who've been doing this for clients for years, breaking all the rules and didn't even know it.

But I'll also warn you that with attys in particular, they often are super aggressive, play fast and loose with their name (so usually have lots of NAP problems and dupes) and often break the rules themselves, setting up multiple listings for virtual locations etc. I know big name attys that have had all 10 of their Place pages shut down and have been suspended.

So word to the wise, before taking on a new attorney client learn to do extremely thorough dupe research and NAP research before accepting the client and charge extra for dupes and cleaning up the mess or it will be a very unprofitable time suck you wish you had never gotten into.
 

JoshuaMackens

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Sep 12, 2012
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Linda, isn't it possible with a business that doesn't have any NAP problems that your local search directory "power", for lack of a better term, may just be weak and your website is just that strong.

I know that's not the case here but I've seen instances where NAP hasn't been a problem (seemingly) and the organic outranks the pack. I just chalked it up to the local search directory prominence, reviews, and Google+ Local page being weak.

Thoughts?
 
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I actually just pulled my attention away from Olympic Hockey on that one Linda. Nice read to get my brain going this morning.
 

marcus118

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Feb 10, 2014
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so what do you do when you have multiple businesses owned by different people operating out of the same physical address and both businesses fall under the same categories? for example 2 independent law firms sharing an office.
 

marcus118

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Feb 10, 2014
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so what do you do when you have multiple businesses owned by different people operating out of the same physical address and both businesses fall under the same categories? for example 2 independent law firms sharing an office.
anyone? i'd really appreciate it.
 
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Hi Marcus,

As long as they have different phone numbers, different business names, and different suite numbers, it should be no problem. That's a very common situation with doctors, dentists, lawyers, and real estate agents. Google knows how to deal with it.
 
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Hi Darren,

Yesterday I spoke with a Google Places CSR who told me that it is now ok for the lawyers to all share the same number as the main firm so long as they can be reached through that number. They also mentioned that all lawyer listings should have the business name in the following format. "Firm Name: Firstname Last Name". I'm assuming this will diminish rankings but interesting to hear from them.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

Linda Buquet

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Yesterday I spoke with a Google Places CSR who told me that it is now ok for the lawyers to all share the same number as the main firm so long as they can be reached through that number.
Chris I think that's a different scenario. You are talking all attys in the same practice.

Marcus's issue and what Darren was referring to is when separate practices/attys that are different businesses are all in the same office building.

If all same practice, just like with multiple Dentists in the same practice, it's always been fine and to all have same # and that's normally the case.

They also mentioned that all lawyer listings should have the business name in the following format. "Firm Name: Firstname Last Name". I'm assuming this will diminish rankings but interesting to hear from them.
That directly opposes what Google management has told us when this issue has been discussed. That naming convention could lead to a merge. Plus it's better to have name only in case the atty leaves the practice.

Maybe a map maker RER will stop by because I believe they have the same name guidelines on the MM side.
 

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