JoshuaMackens

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organic ranking and pagerank strength for a particular keyword are only a portion of the local ranking algorithm. Location of where your google account is signed in is the primary factor.

your organic rank gets you in the conversation, but the location of the searcher will trump the organic ranking, especially when it comes to high volume searches. For longer phrases, the google box is nothing. It then becomes all about your organic serps.

I do not agree with this.

For location sensitive keywords, yes, this is true, like pizza, restaurants, etc.

But for different businesses like dentists, heating & air companies, doctors, etc. the consumer cares much less about the distance and more about quality. So, it makes sense for Google to not pay as much attention to location for these queries.

You can see this played out via organic rankings being identical to maps rankings for queries that are location insensitive and then organic rankings not matching map rankings for queries that are location sensitive. Just Google "pizza" and you'll see what I mean.

Has another expert on here seen anything different or have anything to add?
 
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I've seen the hidden address for SABs factor into ability to rank fairly heavily. Maybe Google shouldn't care how far away someone is coming from because they consumer doesn't, but they do. Even hidden addresses factor in, especially for location specific searches (on a smart phone for example). I have no idea if it's less of a factor with, say, photographers driving to do a shoot, than it is with pizza, but my guess is it's all using a similar algorithm.
 

JoshuaMackens

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I've seen the hidden address for SABs factor into ability to rank fairly heavily. Maybe Google shouldn't care how far away someone is coming from because they consumer doesn't, but they do. Even hidden addresses factor in, especially for location specific searches (on a smart phone for example). I have no idea if it's less of a factor with, say, photographers driving to do a shoot, than it is with pizza, but my guess is it's all using a similar algorithm.

Hey James, I'm having a hard time following. Can you clarify?

Are you saying hidden addresses affect rankings from what you've seen?
 

Linda Buquet

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I don't think hidden addresses affect ranking and assume that's not what James meant.

Think he was saying, even if address is hidden, the location of the biz (in the dashboard) affects where you will rank. Is that about right James?
 
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I should probably stop posting in the evening, sorry Josh! Reading that back again, I must have been kind of fried after a long day of work. Let me try again.

First interesting piece of information. I did some digging into wedding photographers a month or two ago, I grabbed a few thousand photographers from a dozen cities to check some statistics just out of curiosity. The number of SABs in the 3-pack matched the percentage SAB's overall. About 25% of the businesses ranking in the 3 pack were SABs, which is about the same ratio as it is for the industry as a whole, so I feel pretty confident saying that having a hidden address doesn't have a negative impact on your ability to rank. I was a little surprised at that result actually, I was expecting SAB's to be at a disadvantage.

What I AM saying, is that the actual physical address that a SAB has selected, predisposes them to be shown to searchers nearby.

For example, say you're a photographer 15 miles away from Portland in an outlying suburb, but you've selected your service area to be the Portland metro area. Let's also suppose that you have fairly poor SEO (saw a case like this recently). If you select a region instead of a radius, it might appear that you're located in Portland, but you'll actually find yourself showing most often for people doing a search near your hidden location, in this case it was a location that was right on the edge (maybe even just outside of) their selected service area. If you're near their hidden address searching on your phone, or near their hidden address doing a generic keyword search ('wedding photographer' for example, vs 'portland wedding photographer') that's when you're likely to see this otherwise low ranking SAB. Proximity to the hidden location at least for photographers absolutely is a factor for certain kinds of searches.
 

JoshuaMackens

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I should probably stop posting in the evening, sorry Josh! Reading that back again, I must have been kind of fried after a long day of work. Let me try again.

First interesting piece of information. I did some digging into wedding photographers a month or two ago, I grabbed a few thousand photographers from a dozen cities to check some statistics just out of curiosity. The number of SABs in the 3-pack matched the percentage SAB's overall. About 25% of the businesses ranking in the 3 pack were SABs, which is about the same ratio as it is for the industry as a whole, so I feel pretty confident saying that having a hidden address doesn't have a negative impact on your ability to rank. I was a little surprised at that result actually, I was expecting SAB's to be at a disadvantage.

What I AM saying, is that the actual physical address that a SAB has selected, predisposes them to be shown to searchers nearby.

For example, say you're a photographer 15 miles away from Portland in an outlying suburb, but you've selected your service area to be the Portland metro area. Let's also suppose that you have fairly poor SEO (saw a case like this recently). If you select a region instead of a radius, it might appear that you're located in Portland, but you'll actually find yourself showing most often for people doing a search near your hidden location, in this case it was a location that was right on the edge (maybe even just outside of) their selected service area. If you're near their hidden address searching on your phone, or near their hidden address doing a generic keyword search ('wedding photographer' for example, vs 'portland wedding photographer') that's when you're likely to see this otherwise low ranking SAB. Proximity to the hidden location at least for photographers absolutely is a factor for certain kinds of searches.

Logically, I think this is sound. I can't imagine Google turning off proximity completely, but my thinking is that they do turn it way down for different queries vs others. Honestly, I have zero data besides just my general experience to back that up. So, take it with a grain of salt :)
 
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I haven't noticed a difference, but if there isn't there probably should be. The main reason this stuck out even was because it was counter intuitive. I wasn't expecting location to be as big of a deal for some of the industries I've looked at, but what Google does and what Google should do are sometimes two different things. Location isn't something a client has much control over though, so it's not like it changes the work that needs to be done either way.
 
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Was any of the core data changed recently for the Local listing? (Name, address, phone, categories)

Have any duplicate listings popped up?

Are there any NAP consistency issues that may have resurfaced?

If you would like to post the page URL I wouldn't mind taking a deeper look for you.

This issue happened to one of my client's site as well and it turned out the problem was with inconsistent NAP issues. Still trying to bring it back up to where it was :(
 
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Hey,

Did you know that Google started suppressing local pack results for fake reviews?

I know for a fact because one of my clients was extra active on getting himself reviews from whoever, where ever and we already got him to the Top 3 positions organically and on the Map Pack, but he wanted more and more reviews so he actually went to one of the blackhat offers to get more 5 star reviews, it lasted for about 4 months until all reviews were deleted and his Map positions dropped to 20 something.

Their link profile was very good and he is still dominating the organic spots but in terms of his Map position it took us 2.5 months to bring him to the top 5 on Maps again, we had to build him a small tool that when clients visited his shop they would get a SMS to their personal phone (local signal) and asking them to rank the business/service from their mobile device.

I can say its not 5 stars but his 4.1 stars are at least REAL and google loves it.
 

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