More threads by Paul Gregory

Paul Gregory

Sep 5, 2020
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I am in the beginning stages of some consulting for a local chiropractic business in the ATL area.

I pulled in the local SERP today, and I am definitely perplexed. Now this is a "keyword + location" search performed in a different city, so I know it doesn't behave exactly the same as pulling it up locally, but IMO these rankings are bizarre.


  • 4 of the top 6 results have comparably low reviews.
  • 2 have no website whatsoever.
  • Most have unimpressive backlink profiles
  • A few of the sites aren't mobile responsive
  • A few of the top results are very distant from the "centroid" of these results.
What is accounting for these results that I am not considering?

Thanks in advance! :)
@Paul Gregory, a few factors:

1. Location-sensitivity. Because of the density of local chiropractors in a place like Atlanta, because the query is non-location-specific, and possibly because Google somehow knows that people with bad backs tend not to want to drive much, Google's results for "chiropractor" usually will be clustered closely around wherever the searcher seems to be. Which means the results don't have to be that good.

2. The GMB names.

3. If the landing page URL points to Facebook page or a GMB site, or a Google Site, etc., rather than to a clinic's domain, that can help. That's been a loophole for years, and it still seems to work.

4. If any of those GMB pages is very new, Google may be giving it a crack. Google seems to test out results in that way.

By the way, one of those pages you may be able to get removed. (I think you know which one.)

You may want to check various ZIPs in the Ad Preview Tool, to see if you see the same results you did in that screenshot.
Organic search ranking factors like backlinks have no impact on GBP rankings. Reviews are not a direct ranking factor at least not after 20-30 depending on niche. They do help dramatically with CTR. Map ranking offsite factors including user signals dramatically impact map rankings. Even though many experts disagree, I feel citations are still crucial to rankings and trust. Encourage clients to interact with your GBP.

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