csb

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Last year my photography business was positioned in the 7-pack for a search for [city] + "wedding photography" consistently.

This year it dropped out and I'm not sure why this is.

Do you think that a G+ business profile name of "[city]+wedding photography by [name]" is structurally deemed spammy and is likely the reason I was dropped from the 7-pack ? I suspected that although this name reflects precisely what is on the home page of my website is might be over the edge, but because I stayed in the 7-pack for so long, I just assumed all was well.

Any help you can provide would be great. Although this particularly organic search is only one of many ways clients find me, it's a very important one and my business has definitely suffered.
 

Linda Buquet

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Hi csb,

I think I saw you post over at the Google forum including the actual name you used which helpful to know. Linking to that post because it has lots of additional details that are helpful. https://productforums.google.com/forum/#!topic/business/aRDFJGTNwUg

You said: "although this name reflects precisely what is on the home page of my website".

What's on your site does not really matter because I could put on my site: "best darned photographer in texas" or whatever I want to put on my site. That does not mean it's my name. Often it's more like a tag line which is not allowed. I can also change whats on my site whenever I want. But you never change your actual branding unless necessary because it's expensive and because it causes Google problems.

You said you changed it to a different name. But the real question is what is the real name? What name is on your bank account? How do people make out the check? What name is on lease, etc. Google checks against some legal records.

So the original name was likely a violation. But name violations are like speeding. Lots of people do it, not everyone gets in trouble for it and some never get caught. And yes having KWs in the name, IF that is really part of the name, does help with ranking.

However changing your name at all, even for the better can create major problems with Google. It breaks NAP, messes up your citations, and loses trust with Google.

So sounds like changing name caused a rank drop. Could be partly just changing the name at all and could be partly because it's no longer keyword stuffed.

Need to be sure name is right now. Then never change it. Your business name is like your SS# - an important identifier that ideally should never change. And you'll need to go out and change any citations that are inconsistent too.
 

csb

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Thanks Linda. Just to clarify--I dropped out of the pack before changing my name. Changing the name was an attempt to address what I thought might have been the reason for being knocked down.

The name on my bank account is my name. I think it's fairly common in my niche for photographers simply to go by their name. I opted not to go with 'butterfly photography' or 'schmaltzy snaps' just because it doesn't really suit me.

The name that is currently on my g+ biz page now reflects what is in most of my citations, I think. This is something I will research and work on.

What is confusing about all of this to me is that we're told that we must have the location and service in the title tag of our homepage or it will be extremely difficult to rank for [location + service] searches. So if I need to have those words in my title tag but also my branding [my name], it seems to me that my title tag is unavoidable. But how am I supposed to have this title tag and then offer something different (because we can't have keywords !) as a name in my G+ business profile. Clearly I need to go back to the drawing board--even if I was on page 1 for a year with almost no citations and supposedly spammy G+ profile name.
 

Linda Buquet

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Ahhh, the way the other post was worded, I thought you dropped after changing name.

Do you know approx when your ranking dropped?

Yes city + KWs on home and in title tags is advised and your name can go there too providing it does not make title tag too long. But name on G+ L needs to be real name.

I don't have time to do a complete analysis to see any other reasons you may have dropped. I did notice one other potential problem though.

It's kind of hard to tell from streetview but do you work from home?
 
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