More threads by Broland

Aug 8, 2012
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If you have a business that seems to have disappeared from Google maps results with the recent update try zooming in or out once on the map to reload the results and see if it reappears.

Here’s the story…

A buddy who I’ve done some SEO with brought this to my attention while he was trying to figure out why his business disappeared from local maps results with the recent Google update. When performing a search on Google maps or regular web results then clicking “more results” under the local pack the business was no longer in the results - anywhere. But, if you zoom in or out 1 time after the results are loaded, it is back ranking where it was previously. Continuing to adjust the zoom his business listing that previously wasn’t there on first load is still there.

This sounded similar to some recent things I had read on this forum here and here.

Here's a another one that just came in: <a href="">Business Not Showing in Maps</a>
(Added by Linda)

So I dug a little deeper into this.

So, when you click zoom on a search it will adjust the latitude and longitude coordinates in the URL along with a zoom degree. This zoom is a two digit number and a z, right after the coordinates separated from the coordinates by a comma - so for example: ,11z.

Now if I move the map to center on the business, and zoom in to something like 17z then copy that URL (with those coordinates and zoom) then open that URL in a new window or tab, the business is still not there. (But of course plenty of businesses well outside of the current map view are.) Interact with the map to reload results either with zoom or dragging to change location just enough to reload results, and the business reappears.

18z zoom level, still not there. Once I went up to 19z zoom it actually showed up - keep in mind this is with the coordinates set to the map being centered right over the business.

The business has ranked in local for over two years for the terms. This is a business in New York City with pretty high competition, so it's dense with many results and at the default zoom level pin markers are on top of each other like others have reported. But when zoomed in a bit you can see that none of them share a location and are at least 1/2 a NY block apart.

I just tried the same thing for this case and it seems to be the exact same thing except for even at the max zoom of 21z centered on the business location his business still doesn’t show up - you have to interact with the map to get results to reload for it to show up.

This definitely seems like a bug from the recent update. I would love to hear what people think and how many other cases you are seeing of this.
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I don't think it's a bug at all. I could be wrong, but I'm seeing too many patterns among the "missing businesses" to think it's not intentional. I think 2 things are happening right now based on what I've seen.

1. I believe Google is A/B testing at the moment which explains the crazy fluctuation we're still seeing daily on trackers like Algoroo

2. I believe the criteria for the local search results filter has changed and is now filtering businesses in the same category in the same building. I have a client in NYC who is popping in and out of the 3-pack and every time he disappears, the guy in his building who offers the same service appears and vice versa.

I have a few more observations I'm consistently seeing that changed on the filter as well that I'll be putting together an article on hopefully next week.
Here's a another one that just came in: <a href="">Business Not Showing in Maps</a>.

This one was also buried under a competitor, so if you zoom on maps you see them.

Adding here to try to help us figure out patterns. previous reply disappeared. My apology if this is a repeat.

I have a client who disappeared from local listings. But yes, when you zoom out and then in, they are back at their #4 position.

I think Joy is right. The #1 position is in the same physical office as this client. Other clients in this office have dropped out as well.

So our strategy for now will be to keep working on things to take over the #1 spot. But I wonder if people will start testing with tweaking the address somehow. It would make your NAP different though.
Like Broland, I'm seeing this happen with businesses not in the same building.

You can also have the businesses appear by zooming out, not just in, which makes the stacking issue worse... yet that "fixes" it.
The filter also (I believe) filters based on spam signals like that patent I referenced says. I think it also filters based on domain, age of listing, phone #, and other things I haven't thought of yet.
Joy, if you are right that Google is doing A/B testing with maps & local listings, that could also explain the issue I posted about yesterday where I'm seeing very different results on 2 different computers in my office.
Hey Folks,
Here is another example of this that came up in the Moz Q&A Forum:

This fishing charter in Florida is still ranking well organically and was previously used to good local pack rankings. I was totally scratching my head over what happened until I found this thread here (you guys are awesome!).

Joy, I wanted to add this to the set of examples you are looking at in case it helps provide any more patterns to consider.

P.S. Forgot to mention, this definitely fits the shared building example as multiple, same category businesses are located at the address.
To update my last post, I'm actually seeing the listing jump in and out like an a/b test would through a few proxies, except for the primary keyword which hasn't bounced in yet.

I don't see how this could be anything other than a test for *those keywords*. Maybe the main keyword is just on the hidden variant for awhile..

I can't respond to the Moz thread because I don't have 500 Moz points yet (I'm close). If you want to tell the guy, the reason why he's filtered is these guys who are first have the same address:

From my understanding so far, in order to get unfiltered he's basically competing with that guy and if his listing becomes stronger, he'd appear and that guy would disappear.
Hi Joy!
No worries - I wasn't expecting you to respond on that thread at Moz Q&A, but I saw you plan to write an article and thought it could be another example for you to draw from :) Looking forward to your article!
Some important updated information on this. For a few various reasons (only some that I can share) this seems like it could actually be a type of spam filter... but I'm also still not convinced it is not a bug.

If it is a type of spam filter then I suppose we have found a sort of updated version of

Either way here are some notes that might be helpful:

- I just started seeing this today on the bottom left corner of Google Maps search, which I don't ever recall seeing before:

Update G Map On Move.jpg

If it is checked then on refresh the missing results reappear and if unchecked the results stay the same.

- Several missing results have been able to be recovered and popped back up in the results by editing the business name in the Google My Business dashboard. That includes the one I originally researched and talked about in the OP of this thread. In some ways that would make us think it's a bug with the typical edit your listing and it comes back - but it could also be that it was a penalty filter that is now being dodged, or in some of the cases a filter due to a long business name with a descriptor. There isn't enough data yet to be conclusive. If some people want to try it (at your own risk) feel free to post the info here or PM me with the details of the business if you would like a recommendation on how to change the business name without having too much risk of NAP data and other factors.

- For "more local results" searches the isolated part of the URL search string that seems to affect getting missing results to reappear is the combination of both: &fll= &fspn=
These are not in the default search URL but are added on interacting with the map, but those are just the parts that affect getting missing ones to reappear. (In case that is useful to anyone else...)

- If you use your browser zoom function as opposed to the zoom on Google's map it will also refresh the results and missing listings we be re-included. This gives us some clues.

- A very smart developer I showed this to (who is not an SEO) is of the opinion that this is an intentional filter by Google. One of the first things she told me to try was the browser zoom to see if that affected it. It was explained as Google serving up a specific cached set of results and then refreshing the DOM for different results on a refresh. And it is also likely done for some sort of mobile optimization. It's important to note that not only missing results reappear but also the order of results may change some. This was prior to me seeing the "update results when map moves" on Google maps today which seems to further back up this theory - if you inspect element on that you'll see an option for a different number for "jstcache".

That's all the time I have for this at the moment but wanted to update with these things so they can hopefully help others figure things out.

Update G Map On Move.jpg
I just tried changing the name slightly of a listing that disappeared (and is in the same physical location as several others of its type that also disappeared.) I'll keep you updated on whether or not it reappears.
Broland - you're the man! Thanks so much for keeping us updated as you notice these changes.

The map move thing makes sense and I love that Yelp does that, especially when I'm searching for restaurants. Makes sense Google would add it and could explain some dropouts.
Thinking more about the ramifications of the move the map feature.

RANK TRACKING - It's already hard between personalization, location of searcher and all the other variables. Now there is also - did they move the map while searching.
Saw one of my clients drop from the local pack last week, even though they have been there for quite some time. Been scrambling for a few days to see if I could "fix" the problem. No glaring issues were found, but then started reading this thread about the results being "filtered" by address (building) - and that seems to be the case here.

Looks like the firms in spots #3 and #4 (when looking at the local finder) have been filtered out of the local pack because they are at the same address as the firm in spot #2, so Google pulls the firm in spot #5 for the local pack instead: local-results - david.digregorio's library

Could this really be the case? Seems to put those located in large buildings at a disadvantage --- especially in the legal vertical, where we see 10+ attorneys in the same building.
I have looked at about a dozen cases in detail now and yes, filtering by address is definitely a thing. It's actually by building, not address. I had someone w a different address for the same building have it happen. Before we really only saw this with practitioner listings getting filtered due to phone#/website. Now the filter also looks at addresses as well.
Have you tried any fixes yet Joy? It seems like this is completely unfair to so many businesses.
I've been experimenting with changing suite numbers to numbers that don't actually exist so that they are guaranteed not shared with prior records and so far still no change. I have two clients both professionals offering same service in same building - different businesses, names, phone, websites, but share a suite number. Changing suite number has had no effect. Unless Google tweaks this to accommodate situations like this, ALOT of professionals are just going to have to redouble efforts to out-power the others whom they share space with. This will be hard for a ton of attorneys, CPA's, therapists, etc.
Hi All

Just throwing in an observation >> "near" used in query has been tightened up.

Previously you would still have "authority" listings appearing for: service "near" location.

Now it seem, listings are more defined by actual distance to defined location.

Odd, but this too seems to be fluctuating ( A/B ) in and out of results.

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