Jun 27, 2013
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Hello Local SEO experts.

Is there penalties in local search like there is in organic?

I don't recall ever reading about it, and I've got this client that seems to be pretty well optimized in comparison to competitors (still room for improvement) but they're ranked in the 40-50 range for "roofing contractor in Milwaukee".

They were working with Local Splash who seems to have a pretty bad reputation on Yelp and other places.

Double A Roofing

Here's the BrightLocal Google+ Local Wizard report

Colan Nielsen

LocalU Faculty
Jul 19, 2012
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Penalties get applied to G+ Local pages and Google Places accounts. The big difference between Google Places and organic penalties is that Google doesn't notify a business owner if they have a Google Places penalty. Unless your account gets suspended in the old dashboard. Then there will be a big red warning message.

Linda Buquet

Local Search Expert
Jun 28, 2012
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Hi Tony,

Sorry I was offline with ISP tech and problems for a couple hours. Back now.

Colan is right.

There are however different types of penalties. Some could be on the Places side and then the one you linked to is more on organic. And I have not seen Google actually offer a penalty for that one.

Then additionally there are other problems on the Places side that can cause ranking drops like that, that aren't penalties per se.

I'll do a quick audit now and see if I can find anything out of whack.

Linda Buquet

Local Search Expert
Jun 28, 2012
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Google does not seen to like that listing for some reason. Ranks low in Places and in pure organic. But I don't see any overt violations. Here are some observations:

After checking about 9 different things, I zoomed way out but still in their area and searched by name.

Their other 2 locations are on top but that Milwaukee listing is down below other listings that don't even match the name exactly.

Then check this: "Double A Roofing" "(414) 817-7663" "Rockford" -milwaukee"Do...ockford"+-milwaukee&filter=0&biw=1252&bih=524

Some citations show that location as Rockford, WI and there is no such animal.

So a couple ideas....

1) Google does not allow SABs to have multiple listings to cover their service area. So I wonder if she just won't rank all of them. (Rockford ranks well, don't have time to check the other.)

2) Should not have mixed NAP on any pages, ideally. Wonder if between the prominent 800#, the 3 phone #s, 2 addresses AND the fact that some citations have them in the non-existent city of Rockford, WI they just confused the heck out of her and she choked?

In my training I liken the local algo to a kindergartener playing a match game. And if you throw 3 puzzles on the floor (like 3 NAPs on a page) and throw in some pieces that don't fit at all like the 800 # and the bogus city, that kindergartener will have a hard time getting one puzzle right, much less sorting the mess to do all 3 puzzles.

Does that make sense?

However the one listing at least ranks A so maybe it's something else. I did a ton of analysis several different ways, but I'm out of research time for this one. Let's see if anyone else comes up with anything.


Jun 27, 2013
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Very well understood and plenty of clarification on some ideas I wasn't sure of. Thank you, lots of actionable info here.

My first assumption was that Rockford was the first location and then expansion into Milwaukee, which was true.

With knowing that, my first recommendation was to have the Rockford and Milwaukee locations on separate pages. Now I see the potential benefit in clearing that up on all the site's pages.

I wonder if that'll have negative effects on 1st page phone call conversions though.
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