More threads by JoshuaMackens


Local Search Expert
Sep 12, 2012
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So, I've been trying to crack the roofing marketing for one of my clients for a long time now. We're on page 1 organically but I can't seem to break into the Google Places listing which is a real shame because we have great reviews.

Places Scout tells me that we're stuck at #11 in the Google Places results. We would need to be #1-#7 to rank in the local pack on page 1.

Lo and behold, today we jump to #3 in the local search pack. What I mean by that is the old Google Places search engine that Places Scout can still access:

We are #3 in that search. However, if you do the same search on Google's regular search engine for the exact same keyword, we do not rank 1-7 in the maps. What do you think gives? I checked our Google+ Local listing and there's no reason for me to believe we are being filtered or penalized. Not to mention the fact it's very strange we show up #3 in the Places search engine but not on the map at all for the blended search results.

Either Google isn't reflecting the Google Places search engine at all anymore or I suppose we are penalized.

Any guesses?
Hi Josh,

"Any guesses?"

To guess we need to know which client is yours.

I can't take time to research the #3 I see because I could be on a different data center or there could be personalization at play - so me and others that try to help you could all be seeing totally different results and waste time researching the wrong listing.

Then I'll show you a hack that was shared here that can help you see if you have a penalty too, but 1st I want to check a couple things.
Glad I asked.

Yesterday they were #3 for me too.

But if I would not have checked til today, now they are #2 so I would have been researching the wrong one.
They are #2 now. Google is just pouring more gas on my fire haha.
I don't have time for a deep dive right now, but noticed several problems after a quick peek and it does appear they are penalized.

See this: <a href="">Hack to Check for Google Local Penalties</a>

Additionally even if competitive market and they don't rank well, if not penalized they should always rank #1 for KW + their specific address:

They rank F. Others out rank them at their own address: so that clearly shows there is a problem.

What happened with the company I referred you to? They would have done a deep dive and would have already pointed all the issues out to you by now?

I understand you asked if the consulting came with a guarantee of ranking increase?

Here is why it cannot... and no one should guarantee an instant fix with Google.


If you go to a Dr, that Dr should run all the right tests, explain all the options, explain what could be wrong or be honest if they can't figure out what's wrong. But even if the Dr can't figure out what's wrong and make it all better. Or even if the medicine they give you that they 'think' will work for you does not make you feel better - you still pay for their time, for their skills and knowledge, for the appt and for running all the tests. You don't go to Dr saying if I pay for an appointment, can you guarantee I'll get better?

Every person's body is different and reacts differently to medication.
Every G+ Local case is different and bottom line - no one can control what Google will do!

But there are 2 other very real possibilities...

1) So it could be the penalty is for a past violation that can no longer be seen. They could recommend you fix all the current visible problems, but some penalties last 8 months so the penalty could stay due to the old corrected problem.

2) The penalty could be due to one of the existing problems they identify, BUT even if you fix immediately - the penalty could still linger.

So it's possible doing an excellent job on the consulting and giving you all the right answers would not result in an instant ranking fix. But does not matter. The only hope of recovery is to use best practices, to find and fix the potential problems. Sometimes the penalty lifts right away. Sometimes it takes time to recover.

But sooner fixed, the sooner back on track. And they SHOULD be B or C in the pack if not for the penalty.

There was an address change for this business about 4 months ago. It seems the database hasn't updated to that yet because when I search for "roofing company" at the old address, as you did with the new address, it shows us #1 immediately, as you said it should. I wonder why the database hasn't updated to our new address?

Regarding the consulting company you referred to, I didn't really want to discuss my reason for not going with them publicly out of respect for them and yourself but the person who approached me quoted a price and didn't give me any specific expectations.

They didn't do a review as you just did and present themselves as possibly having a solution to my problem. It was all generic. Had they done what you did, they probably would have had my business. I suppose it was just the sales process that didn't get me too excited about moving forward because they gave me no reason to expect they would be able to tell me something I didn't already know.

Again, had they done what you just did for free, I probably would have been much more intrigued.

I didn't want a guarantee in ranking, I wanted a guarantee that they could help. That they saw issues that I didn't see. Maybe I didn't communicate that well enough.

At any rate, thanks for the reply. You don't have to do a deep dive. It's enough to know you see issues. Thanks!

Also, feel free to delete the part about their company as I don't feel like outing a company in a public forum. I just felt like I needed to address it since it was brought up.
Thanks Joshua, main reason I brought it up is you emailed me for help. I told you who could help, then seemed like instead of taking my advice and paying for help, you posted back here asking for free help. But now I understand... Thanks for that feedback!

But more than anything I've been wanting to share that analogy and will be doing a post giving that analogy to consultants as a way to show clients why they should not guarantee or discount their services. So sorry if I got carried away, but it seemed to fit here.

Interesting they moved 4 months ago and still rank at the old address.
No problem. Setting expectations is important. I never guarantee rankings with a client. I'd rather lose a sale than guarantee something I can't control.

Also, my situation changed a bit from when I emailed you. I was sitting at #11 and didn't know anything was wrong when I emailed you. Literally a few hours later, Places Scout threw me into the top 2-3 for roofing company and then I knew something was really wrong.

I'm trying to fix it myself but you pretty much just sold me on if it's not fixed in a week from what I'm doing, I'm probably using them because of their relationship with you. If they will give me the same advice you would, it's worth it because now I know there's definitely something wrong. Beforehand, I didn't know that was the case & spending that money to find out nothing new, that wasn't appealing.

Times have changed :)

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