Ellen

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Issue: When location set to city where business is located, client's Google My Business listing returns in the search results and it also ranks in the Local Map Pack for "[product] near me". Client is the only carrier of this [product] in this city, but client's website does not rank in the traditional organic results. Google will return much farther away businesses that carry [product] in the traditional organic results, including out-of-state, which leads me to think this is a website authority type of issue and something to do with linking.

I can't share client info, but I do want to see if I'm missing any avenues for research and troubleshooting.

Here's where we've been looking so far:
  • Used BrightLocal Local Search Results Checker, used Mobile Moxie SERPerator set to client city.
  • Thorough link audit -- found some suspect links but GSC shows no manual penalty, no security issues.
  • Reviewed on-site optimization -- did discover some meta title tags that included ".... City | City ..." that we've cleaned up and fixed.
  • Checked for major crawl errors.
  • Checked for page speed issues -- website has similar score to other similar websites in same niche that are not experiencing the issue.
  • This business is not located in a major metro. Also checked results in surrounding local cities and still see the same issue.
  • Website is indexed.
  • Website did go through a domain change a month and a half ago -- submitted change of address via GSC.
  • Website does return in traditional organic results for branded queries such as [Business Name] and [Business Name in City].
  • Did find some of the content (a sentence here or there) copied onto other websites. Those other websites look very spammy, and have nothing to do with niche of business.
Any other areas I can check out?

Thanks in advance!
 

Colan Nielsen

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Hi @Ellen

When you say they don't rank organically do you mean they rank poorly or they literally don't rank at all? If poorly, how far back are they?
 

Ellen

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Literally don't rank at all. Went as far back as page 15 in BrightLocal Local Search Results checker and still didn't find them.
 

Conor Treacy

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That submit of a domain change of address, that takes a REALLY long time.. I mean, an insane amount of time. I have one client that it is still showing as "in progress" and it's been 4+ months. It has populated the new domain in Google SERPS but the console stilll says it's moving to a new location etc etc.

I see you said it's indexed too - so that rules that part out.
 

Ellen

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Update: Monday we saw this website return to page 1, currently position 3 or 4 at present for [products] near me search. We made a change to the home page title tag earlier that morning 1/13/20 and, of course, that same day Google announces start of rolling out January 2020 update. Go figure.
🤷‍♀️
Could have been as simple as a more direct title tag change, and, really wish we had made that change the week prior to core update to have a better view of causality. Oh well. Better luck next time.

Thanks everyone for the replies!
 

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