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Hey guys. What is a sure way of knowing whether your local listing was hit with a penalty or whether something against the guidelines was holding your listing back from ranking? I'm thinking a site I manage has been hit with a penalty, but I can't seem to figure it out. Some things that I think may have dragged the listing down in rankings:

1. Having a block of surrounding cities listed above the footer (although I can imagine Google picking this up as a violation since it is a legitimate list of cities that the business serves, and whether they interpret that as manipulating the rankings);

2. Having NAP of several office locations in the footer, all in Schema code;

But, the office is ranking for particular service we do offer (bankruptcy), but I changed that category a few weeks ago, yet I'm still ranking for it. I don't want to rank for it because we don't want to emphasize that particular practice area.

Any and all input would be greatly appreciated, thanks!
 

Linda Buquet

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Hi Mark,

1) Yes it can cause a penalty. I've posted about the specific penalty and it's listed plain as day by Google. But listing a bunch of cities won't always get you penalized, it just is a possibility.

2) Not a penalty for this one but creates location confusion which can cause ranking problems AND can contribute to merging which causes a myriad of other problems and can make some locations disappear altogether.

But as I explained in the other thread you have a MYRIAD of problems and really need to have someone help you re-do everything properly. Trying to figure out and fix a prob here and there I don't think is going to get it.

As I've explained before, part of it is the shot gun approach you are using, that is giving Google the wrong signals. Part if it is the way you are handling multi-locations wrong and part of it is that you could be penalized for your locations, if Google considers some of them a violation.

You really need help getting all of this fixed because it's like a giant puzzle and you have a bunch of broken and missing pieces. Just getting one or 2 in place likely won't cut it, since you are just guessing which ones might be most important to Google but don't know for sure. And it might not be just one or 2 things that would fix it. I think your whole puzzle just needs to be re-worked to make it all fit right.

Did the referral I gave you not work out?
 
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They contacted me and we discussed the issues a bit, but I wanted to try a couple of things first before I invested some cash, which is a bit tight these days. I'm trying to figure out whether to invest money in taking the basic class you recommended or investing in a consultant. Do you have an idea as to whether the issues plaguing my situation would be covered in that class?
 

Linda Buquet

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No that class would be helpful only for general overview of how it all works.

You need serious troubleshooting and a bunch of different recommendations for specific changes that need to be made. That local basics course won't touch on all the specific problem areas you have.

It's like law. A consumer could go to a course on divorce law that would give general overview. But to dig in and get help if they have a complicated case they need atty to look at all their specific issues and recommend best course of action on multiple fronts: kids, assets, etc.
 
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