More threads by JoyHawkins


Local Search Expert
LocalU Faculty
Aug 23, 2014
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I was curious to know from you who have worked in the local SEO space for awhile, how often you get a client who has a manual penalty with Google (not because of your efforts but shady companies they worked with in the past)?

I am finding currently they are managing to rank in Google Places even with a penalty but they have 0 organic ranking.

I was curious to see what the rest of you have found.
Hi Joy, Great Q!

So are you saying they have an organic penalty but rank in Places?

Where do they rank? Because usually the top 2 -4 in the pack are based on organic ranking order, but the lower ones are pure maps results, so the site does not matter.

To answer your Q I don't think I have 1st hand with organic penalty. Most of the cases I troubleshoot are the opposite. They rank in organic but not in the pack.

Great point. They have several locations and rank for most of them but the highest is a 4 (so D). So you think they probably have no shot of getting in the top 3 with the penalty?

Have you found with the new SERPS not showing any organic features (like the author photo) are still relying heavily on organic SEO ranking factors? I haven't noticed any change.
Not sure, running out door.

Just emailed you my friend that deals with organic penalties.
I'm certain that they're still incorporating organic factors into the packs. Mike Blumenthal is writing up his thoughts and will publish soon. We'll be releasing a tool to analyze the pack as well.

So, yes, I doubt they have a chance of moving higher in the local rankings. I did a link cleanup job for a client and got his manual penalty lifted, but after months of additional work, I still haven't been able to get him ranked higher. It's like the penalty is still haunting him. :(

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
First, it should be noted there is a difference between a manual penalty and an algorithm penalty, such as penguin or panda. You probably already knew this but just in case, there it is.

If they do have a manual penalty, you would have gotten a notification through Google Webmaster Tools (GWT) and it would also be listed in GWT under manual actions.

In any penalty I have seen (algorithmic or manual) the client will still maintain their ranking in local results. However, in the universal (or what everyone else calls organic) they will plummet.

Manual penalties, in my opinion, are much better to have as you have communication as to why you're under a manual penalty, if you've come out of it (they'll tell you when they lift it) and there's a much shorter turn around time.

If it's algorithmic, that sucks. It won't recover until the next update which updates seem to be anywhere from 4-7 months apart.

The solution for both types of penalties is the same, clean up links, which is normally what penalties revolve around these days.

Hope that helps.

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