More threads by Cordell Crowley

Oct 17, 2018
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Have a weird situation going on with a client's business, and after looking into it further it seems like it might be an issue specific to the fact they are an SAB that I'm worried may be a bug.

They are located in Nederland, TX and have a strong ranking both with their GBP and with their website itself in organic. Rank consistently at 1 or 2 on both Google Maps and the organic website rankings for searches such as "nederland florists", "florists near nederland tx", "nederland flower delivery", etc.

The weird part is that when the geo-modifiers are removed in the queries, their Google Maps listing just completely disappears—doesn't even show up on the longer list after clicking "more places". It's just totally gone. Their website still ranks at the top in organic though when this happens, so it's only the GBP that is disappearing, which is another thing that leads me to believe it may be a bug with their SAB GBP.

I attached just a couple screenshots here for reference; have more though. Sparkle and Co. Florist is the business in question. I did some research on other clients and found similar-ish trends but truthfully I don't have many other SAB businesses (and the ones I do have don't rank as consistently as this one), so it's hard to get enough good data which is I wanted to reach out here get others' opinions.

Florists Nederland Tx.jpg

Florists local search.jpg
Google claims that SABs should not rank any worse than businesses with their address showing, but that is not the case when we tested it Does Hiding Your Address Impact your Google Business Profile Ranking? - Sterling Sky Inc

For what it's worth, when I do a search for "florist" with my location set to "Nederland, TX' they are #1 in the local pack, see below. The address is also showing, did you change this recently?

Do you use a grid rank tracking tool to check rankings for explicit vs implicit keywords? If not you should as manual checks like this are largely unreliable.

If you're not using a grid ranking tool, at least use a location spoof tool (I use the "gs location changer" chrome extension). That's the first thing I thought of, unless you're located in the same town.
If you're not using a grid ranking tool, at least use a location spoof tool (I use the "gs location changer" chrome extension). That's the first thing I thought of, unless you're located in the same town.

GS Location Changer is exactly what I am using to simulate the search as though I'm in Nederland, TX for the "florists" search in the second screenshot.

I understand that SABs have historically had issues with ranking well/etc., but this is a brand new issue entirely where the listings are just straight-up disappearing (doesn't show up in More Places even going to the very last listing in the SERP) unless the geo-modifier is added. Which as we all know, not all potential Google users are going to include the names of the cities/etc. and sometimes just do a search for plumbers/florists/locksmiths/etc.

We did re-add the address onto the listing (they do accept walk-ins but prefer not to except during the busier times of year) shortly after I made this post and now they are showing at #1 on the 3-pack again for the basic "florists" search when I have my location spoofed to Nederland, TX—same as what Elizabeth shows in her screenshot also, which you can see their map pin on the right, which is absent in my initial screenshots on 3/29 when they were still an SAB.

All in all I do believe there's definitely something buggy going on that is more than the simple ranking issues we've all seen with SABs.

I have another florist (my primary clientele) in Batavia, IL that is also now being affected by this.
Batavia Flowers 1 in Maps and Organic.jpg

Can see in this one that they are ranking at #1 on both organic and Maps with the geo-modifier included.

But in this one...
Florists Batavia Flowers 1 organic no Maps.jpg

With location spoofed to Batavia, IL and doing the basic "florists" search, their Maps listing disappears again. And again, it is nowhere to be seen when clicking into "More Places" either. Organic still at #1, and you can see one of the competitor listings (Farmdog Flowers) is now at #1 with their physical storefront. The other listing that was at #3 in the first screenshot is also gone, as it was also an SAB.

Obviously I'm not expecting a "fix" of any kind for this since it's an issue on Google's end specific to SABs, but I do think it would be worth some more research.
The article I shared above highlights that hiding your address and becoming an SAB does indeed impact rankings - I am not sure I would classify this as a "bug" but certainly something Google says should not be happening as they claim there is no ranking difference between SABs and address shown businesses.

You can always tweet this example at the Search Liaison on Twitter and see if he will look into it!
Joy's article was great—but I guess part of my disconnect is I feel that there is a key difference in "drop in rankings" versus "disappearing entirely". Going from 1 to 9 or 2 to 14, and examples like that, would follow that trend and I wouldn't question it beyond "oh, Google's causing SABs to rank lower again". But going from 1 to Nothing or 2 to Nothing... Idk, I feel like that's a separate issue.

I wasn't aware Danny was keyed in on Google Maps algo versus just the core Google search (website results), but I'll give it a shot. Tempted to just start having all of our SAB clients show their addresses anyway despite Google's guidelines (which I know Joy has also alluded to somewhat).
Oh that's a good point, not sure if Danny is keyed into Maps algo!! In that case, try tagging the GBP account

I agree, loss of rankings vs dropping is different. Have you tracked this with a Local Rank Tracking gird yet to see if you lose rankings across the board?

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