More threads by marvellouz

Oct 19, 2016
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Someone want to try reverse engineer this? They are currently rank #2 for the keyword "man and van bournemouth" and location is obviously bournemouth, but they break all the rules. the website is, I used placesscout to get all the data.

1) Their GMB business title is removals, man and van hire bournemouth - which is obviously spam as their website is bhexpress and what business title has a comma in it?

2) They are furthest from the centre compared to the other 4.

3) They have the lowest amount of backlinks which is like 1-5 depending on which data you use compared to 34/42 for #3 and #4.

4) They have the lowest Majestic TF, CF, Moz PA, DA, ahref PR, DR.

5) They have the lowest amount of citations.

6) They have a spammy title which consist of 21 words (keyword stuffing penalty anyone?)

7) I cant even find their FB page

8) They have no social signals

Now if we are to believe Moz local ranking signals which is:
backlinks(none), onpage(spam), GMB(inconsistent and spam name), citations (virtually none), reviews (none), social signals (none) - How are they ranking #2?

I'm puzzled. Thanks for playing :p

I looked up man and van bournemouth, and this is what I'm seeing... same for you? Notice how there's an A, B, and C along the left instead of 1, 2, 3. That means it's a brand 3 pack, not a regular 3 pack. Ranking factors are a bit different, some of the standard factors matter less for brand keywords. Joy wrote an article about that a bit ago, you can read it here.

Notice, in the case Joy wrote about at least, for branded keywords having a good domain matters less, organic ranking factors matter less, a lot of the things you pointed out don't help as much for a branded search. Of course, business name also mattered less in that case study, which is a little strange since that's about all this listing has going for it. I looked up their address, it's pretty far outside the city.

Either way, my guess is you're seeing this result because it's a brand search 3-pack instead, so it follows some different ranking rules. If you or a client are competing with this company, I'd start by investigating if it's even a real business, and if it is, getting the name changed to the real name (BH Express it looks like?) will likely help knock them down a few pegs.

Thanks for that new bit of information I didn't know about branded pack. That said it still doesn't answer my question unfortunately.

Hidden addresses may hinder ranking for a branded 3-pack - he has hidden address my client doesn't. It's the 247.

Location mattered more for branded 3-packs. - I'm closer to location than he is based on postcode.

Using the proper primary category mattered More for branded 3 packs - we have the same primary category.
Hidden address and 24/7 Open is a blackhat technique to rank well in Local. I hope Google fixes this soon.
As I said, he's using a fake business name. Google has too many factors, many of which you have no way of tracking (for example, what's his bounce rate/CTR? That alone could make the difference) your goal shouldn't be to understand exactly why he's there, you can't pin it down that well. You can however look for ways to either fairly knock him down a peg, or see things he's doing that you're not. Here's Joy's guide on spam fighting, follow her steps to figure out his real business name and get it changed. That alone should get him down below you again.
As I said, Joy's article is the place to go for figuring that out. Since Removals, man and van hire Bournemouth is a verified business, you should make the edit in Google maps, suggest an edit. There's no place there for comments, so just make the edit to the correct business name, and if it gets denied, appeal on the GMB forum, along with the proof you've got that they're lying about their name. That'll get it changed.
Thanks they're definitely doing something black hat but I'm wondering what.

Now they're rank 2 and 4 at the same time. Anyone knows what they could possibly be doing to achieve this? Will help us understand the algorithm better.
It is curious that it's up so high organically as well, but as I said, it's not useful to spend too much time coming up with theories in specific cases like this. The best studies are all going to involve larger data sets, like this one. As I mentioned, there's any number of ways they could skew results that wouldn't show up in any tools we have access to. (Bots for influencing CTR and bounce rate for example, either to raise theirs or to tank statistics for the competition). I'm not saying that's what they're doing of course, I'm just saying that I've pointed out everything that's jumped out to me, at this point I'd move on to mitigation. In any science, theories aren't helpful unless you have a plan for testing them, which you can't do when looking at a single business like this. There's only so many hours in the day, and your primary task presumably isn't to fully understand every single ranking factor and it's weight that Google is using in this case, it's just to influence the rankings so that more deserving companies are up top instead. Wisdom without application doesn't help anyone after all.

So, since their GMB name is clearly spam, get their name cleaned up and see if that helps.
Granted I only skimmed this, but this seems fairly obvious unless I'm missing something. Their keywords are in their GMB.

Game, set, match.

Also, James is giving good advice. Don't focus so much on what they are doing correctly as much as what you can improve upon for yourself.

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