More threads by Dan Foland

Dan Foland

SEO Director at Postali
Local Search Expert
Sep 25, 2018
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This is a follow-up to this thread: Anyone Else Noticing Local Results Vanish for Sex-Related Legal Queries?

As an SEO that works with all types of lawyers and law firms all over the US, I've been keeping tabs on sex-crime related search terms in the local pack and Google Maps.

Almost a year ago exactly Google stopped showing local results (3-pack & Google Maps) for most sex crime defense related searches.


(Screenshot from Bright Local for sex crime defense related search terms.)

As of late May, 2019 it now appears that Google is again allowing some of these search terms to display local results.


In my opinion, this was the right move by Google, and not only because some of my clients are in this field. People searching for sex crime lawyers aren't looking for ways to commit a crime, but have already been accused of a crime and thus are looking for legal representation which should be available to everyone regardless of the crime.

Twitter discussion:
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Very interesting. They don't normally reverse stuff like that.
Very interesting. They don't normally reverse stuff like that.

I was a bit surprised too. Though, I was also surprised when they stopped showing local results for these terms. It's obviously understandable to not allow results for search terms related to sex crimes, but context matters.

There's a huge difference between people searching for terms that would be illegal and people searching for representation to their legal issues.
@Dan Foland , this is great news and thanks for sharing, I'd actually stopped looking thinking this would never return.

Time to go back and start checking the past few weeks of data, it looks like from you chart it started near the end of May.

Thanks again, if I have any findings I can share I will post here.
Here we go how long will it take for Google to revert back!?

Search was "sex abuse lawyer"


Update: Jason Brown says these are old listings so probably showing again after this latest update.
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I stopped looking too. It had been a year since they were displayed. However, we recently signed a new client in the same niche and as I started to explain how this niche is more difficult due to no 3-pack/map listings I discovered this.
Dan & I were chatting about this today. It looks like this might have changed again. I saw local results completely vanish for a client for sexual harassment keywords. The Local Finder literally returns no results. This happened over the weekend. Dan checked a few of his clients and shared this (tracking sex crimes keywords):


Hmmm, quick checks and spam looks like it might be winning.




Note: I'll be reporting these btw
...if they haven't been already by the local SEO posse :sneaky:
@AndySimpson The same exact thing happened last time Google stopped displaying legitimate lawyers. Google continued to show spam listings that had artificial keywords in the business name. For example, the screenshot I've attached would have never happened previously. But since legit lawyers are gone, only spam shows up.

IMO this move by Google isn't logical or morally right.


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