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Has anyone had this happen before?

We have a client who has a gym franchise with multiple locations in our region. Today they were searching for "[city name] [brand]" and the results showed the GMB listing of one of their gyms located in a different city. The one that showed up is closer to where they are searching from, but not the closest, so it doesn't make a whole lot of sense if it is a proximity thing. I used the GS location changer and was able to duplicate the results they were seeing.

The weird thing is that when they search "[city name] [state] [brand]" or "[brand] [city name]" the correct GMB location shows up. Not to mention if I try "[city name] [different brand]" for a couple of different companies (McDonald's, Target, etc.), they all come up correct.

Even weirder is that from my location with the location changer off, the "[city name] [brand]" is also showing the wrong result, even though the city is only 1 town over from me, and the one they are showing instead is a handful aways...

Curious if anyone has experienced other things of this nature or has any sort of explanation we can pass onto them? We are assuming it's likely just a mistake with how the algorithm is reading their query for some reason.

Thanks in advance!
 

Phil Rozek

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@sixthcitysarah, in general, when a city or other place name isn't part of the query, Google has to guess as to which location the searcher probably wants to see. Sometimes that location is the one nearest the searcher (as far as Google can tell), but just as often it's a location that Google "knows" well: Usually a GMB page with the biggest pile of reviews, or that's been around the longest, or the one with the most historical clicks or other behavioral signs of life. Also, for a multi-location business, sometimes all it takes is for one of the GMB pages to point to the homepage - rather than to a subpage - for Google to assume that one's the chief.

So what I'd look at is whether the GMB page your client is pulling up sticks out in any of those ways.
 
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@sixthcitysarah, in general, when a city or other place name isn't part of the query, Google has to guess as to which location the searcher probably wants to see. Sometimes that location is the one nearest the searcher (as far as Google can tell), but just as often it's a location that Google "knows" well: Usually a GMB page with the biggest pile of reviews, or that's been around the longest, or the one with the most historical clicks or other behavioral signs of life. Also, for a multi-location business, sometimes all it takes is for one of the GMB pages to point to the homepage - rather than to a subpage - for Google to assume that one's the chief.

So what I'd look at is whether the GMB page your client is pulling up sticks out in any of those ways.
Both actually go to location landing pages, and the one that isn't showing up has better reviews but, we'd have to dig in on the other possible factors you mention but this helps and could possibly clear some things up, thank you!
 

Phil Rozek

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Yeah, if you've got two "location" pages then the landing page probably isn't why Google is pulling up the farther-away GMB in this case, unless (1) that landing page is clearly more relevant to the searcher's location, or maybe (2) that page has a much stronger link profile than the other landing page does (as in links to that exact URL; they both benefit from the domain's link juice).
 

BenFisher

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If you want to PM me the link and queries I can take a look, I have seen intestine scenarios with chains, one where after a lot of debugging we found out that even though it was part of the bulk upload, the chain setting was missing on GMB's backend, so the listing was missing tons of features and ranking.
 
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If you want to PM me the link and queries I can take a look, I have seen intestine scenarios with chains, one where after a lot of debugging we found out that even though it was part of the bulk upload, the chain setting was missing on GMB's backend, so the listing was missing tons of features and ranking.

I think we are okay for now given it's not every query/scenario! Thank you so much though!
 
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If you want to PM me the link and queries I can take a look, I have seen intestine scenarios with chains, one where after a lot of debugging we found out that even though it was part of the bulk upload, the chain setting was missing on GMB's backend, so the listing was missing tons of features and ranking.
Hi Ben, we are actually having this issue again but now for another location and our client is now asking why this can't be fixed, would it be okay if I PM'ed you on it? Or if you have any other advice on it?

Thank you!
 
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