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    J.R. PortmanJ.R. Portman

    I have a great client, Integrated Spine & Disc, that tasked me with a single mission – keep them in the pack for the search term “mandeville chiropractor” in their area. Over the past 3 months, and largely with the guidance of this forum, I did the following for the client and basked in the glow of success when they showed up second in the seven pack for their chosen search keywords:

    -G+ local optimization
    -Citation campaign thru moz local
    -NAP cleanup and dupe removal
    -Google Business View

    This week they have dropped out of the seven pack entirely for those keywords and they are not even in the 20 businesses listed in Google Maps, though interestingly one of the individual practitioner listings from their company is now ranking well without any changes being made. They don’t have any on-site SEO so no changes have been made to the site, and as far as I can tell they aren’t being penalized for anything. I would guess it is an algo change affecting them, but all of the other search results in the pack seem to have remained fairly constant.

    I’m not sure how to figure out what I need to work on to bring them back in the seven pack. Guidance for how to proceed would be appreciated.

    • This topic was modified 5 years, 1 month ago by J.R. PortmanJ.R. Portman.
    Mary Bowling

    It sounds like you did optimization for Google Maps, but not for organic. Since the Pigeon update, ranking in the local packs hinges greatly on organic rankings. So now, you need to optimize the website and increase its domain authority via quality incoming links.

    J.R. PortmanJ.R. Portman

    Thanks for the feedback Mary. A reputable company was handling their website SEO for years up until earlier this year, so lots of link building has already been done in the past. A quick comparison with the MOZ bar between their site and the top ranking competitor in the pack shows that my client has equal or greater domain authority, Home Page authority and link count already than most competitors. I have suggested onsite SEO to them already, but I wonder what other strategies I can use to identify the culprit here? They are being outranked by competitors that are deficient in many SEO ways compared to them so I want to make sure and suggest a tactic that I’m fairly certain will produce results.

    Mary Bowling

    JR, Google has designed their penalties so that you suffer the loss of rankings for the very term(s) you’ve over-optimized for, either on-site or via link text.

    Since you are so intent on getting them to rank for a single term, they may have given the other SEO company the same goal. Just because there was a “reputable” SEO compnay working on their site, that doesn’t mean the links they built meet today’s standards. What used to be encouraged as far as link building is now condemned.

    I’d start by checking the on-page optimization, the backlink text profile, the panguin tool and Google Webmaster Tools and GA for clues.

    Linda BuquetLinda Buquet

    Hi JR,

    Mary is likely right about the site.

    But there are 3 other important things that could be penalizing you on the local side of the house.

    1) There is a closed listing at that address, with the same phone. Partially different name. So maybe rebranding?

    2) Dupes always hurt ranking, even legit practitioner dupes.

    Both new maps and classic maps hide dupes these days so need to dig. No dupes show for phone search BUT check this. Use CLASSIC and search for: “Chiropractor 3441 East Causeway Approach Mandeville, Louisiana”

    Those practitioner dupes are claimed and optimized. Should be ‘minimized’ instead so they won’t displace the main practice listing.

    Oops sorry, browser keeps locking up. Saving before I lose what I’ve typed so far. Back to explain after I reboot.

    Linda BuquetLinda Buquet

    Sorry, continued below…

    Mary makes some great points about the organic side.

    1) Re closed listing… Joy and I have been seeing a TON of cases where an old closed listing at same address and phone or even same phone and old address, seems to be penalizing or wrongly suppressing the new listing.

    2) Re the practitioner dupes.

    1st off the names are in violation now that descriptors are no longer allowed. Don’t think that would give you a penalty BUT adding KW to the names makes them MORE important for the KW “Chiropractor” when what you really want to do is strip those down and MINIMIZE them, so they don’t hurt the main practice ranking. The link below explains how.

    Additionally those Dr listings are maxed out with images, all the categories and huge KW rich descriptions. PLUS they are both going to home just like the practice listing is.

    So basically they are all competing for one spot in the pack and essentially cancelling each other out OR just confusing the algo, because they all look fully enhanced and important.

    So which one should she pick for the pack? She’s not going to give one location 3 spots in the 7 pack. Sometimes she just gets confused, throws up her hands and does not pick any. OR ranks a Dr with zero reviews, when you really want the practice with 19 reviews to rank.

    I wrote up a strategy for minimizing the Dr dupes and dealing with the ranking problem below. All the consultants that have tried it tell me it works well. And Google even agreed when I showed it to them, that this makes sense.

    Overcoming New Google Places Duplicate Listing Problems for Dentists, Doctors, Attorneys

    In that post I advocate NOT even claiming practitioner dupes in most cases, for a variety of reasons, so keep that in mind for next time. But since these are already claimed just strip them down. Name should be name only. And most important links should go to Dr bio page or meet the team page or whatever.

    Hope that helps a little.

    • This reply was modified 5 years, 1 month ago by Linda BuquetLinda Buquet.
    • This reply was modified 5 years, 1 month ago by Linda BuquetLinda Buquet.
    J.R. PortmanJ.R. Portman

    Mary – Thanks for the advice for the new approach to on-site SEO and tool suggestions. Is GA Google Analytics?

    Linda – Thank you sooooo much for the detailed response and article link. Yes, I see now that optimizing those ind. practitioner listings was not a good thing to do, and in the future I’ll leave any ind. pract listing unclaimed. I have stripped them down to prevent competition with the main practice listing and made all the edits you suggested.

    As far as the closed listing is concerned, if I understand correctly I can’t delete it from maps, so what action can I take to keep it from penalizing the new listing? What steps have you and Joy taken for the cases you’ve come across where the closed listing is causing problems?

    Linda BuquetLinda Buquet

    Hi JR, good deal on the edits. If that was the only problem, you’d likely see improvement pretty quickly. But if there are onsite and closed listing complications that’s another story.

    On the closed listing problem. I’ve identified it as a problem many times when I’ve done troubleshooting but I no longer personally work on listings or do consulting, so have not dealt with trying to find a solution.

    But I think Joy has. We’ve talked about it a few times but I’m just not sure what all she’s tried and what has worked. The main thing is cautioning against marking listings closed in the future if there is anyway they could be merged or just ignored. But in this case it’s already an issue, so not sure.

    She’s a member here so hopefully she’ll see this post. If she doesn’t reply by tomorrow I’ll try to ping her.

    Mike Blumenthal

    One way to “minimize” the practitioner listings is to use an interior page of the site like a page about that practitioner as the URL in My Business.

    Linda BuquetLinda Buquet

    Thanks Mike, I agree and explained that’s the most important thing, above. And I see he already changed the URLS and the change went live right away.

    JR did you take the KW out of the names too? It’s still showing live. Did it make you reverify?

    Mary Bowling

    Yes, by GA I meant Google Analytics.

    When I do a site: search to get a quick view of page titles, etc, the home page does not appear for me. Normally, the home page of a site appears first in the SERPs for that search.

    You might want to see if you see the same thing and investigate further if you do.

    J.R. PortmanJ.R. Portman

    Linda – yes, I took the keywords out of the names, but that edit is still pending. No, it didn’t make me re-verify (yet, at least).

    Mary – I see what you mean about the homepage not showing up in a search for site:http://www.mandevillechiropractor.com/
    What do you think that could mean? Sorry, on-site SEO is not my strong suit, but that’s why I’m here…

    Mary Bowling

    Any guess I make is just a guess at this point, but my first thought when I see something like that is that the page is either being penalized or dropping out of the main index.

    I’d start by running a site crawl to see what I could find out from it. Then, I’d check robots.txt, meta robots, xml sitemap, redirect and canonical loops, WMTools, GA, backlinks and anchor text.

    I’d also ask the client about the other domains redirected to his current site to see if there may be any history that can provide you with clues on where to dig deeper.

    David Mihm

    Agree with the above feedback from Linda and Mike that somehow Google is now conferring more authority on the Address-Phone-Website combo that lists Dr. Miller as the business name, rather than Integrated Spine and Disc.

    If this continues, you might go one step further than Mike suggests and give Dr. Miller his own URL to try to fully separate him as a distinct business in Google’s eyes.

    Google’s policy around practitioners is asinine to say the least. So until they provide a true suppression solution for verified listings that are managed in the same account, I’m of the opinion that you should try everything you can until something works to surface your desired listing.

    J.R. PortmanJ.R. Portman

    Thank you all for your advice and feedback. This is exactly why I am a member of local U, for support such as this. Otherwise, I’d be spinning my wheels trolling blogs trying to find the answer.

    The issue persists as of now, despite me having downgraded the IP listings, but it hasn’t even been 24 hours yet. I’d like to see if the change I made to places affect a change before delving into on-site stuff. Frankly, I know virtually nothing about on-site SEO (yet) so I wouldn’t even know where to begin, despite your suggestions Mary. Do we have a beginner’s guide to onsite SEO somewhere in the forum so I can learn how to do the things that Mary suggested?

    David- as to your suggestion of giving dr. miller his own URL, do you mean creating a separate website just for him to disassociate him with Integrated Spine? Couldn’t I also just leave the website field blank on his listing or would G just autopopulate?

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