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Old / Perceived Penalty - Preventing Google Local Pack Rankings

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 1
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭


At the risk of sounding paranoid, we can’t help but feel like our site was penalized in 2012-13 local quality / algo updates and now resides in some sort of Google purgatory that has never recovered.


Thanks in advance for reading and/or weighing in!


We have had multiple agencies audit (some technical SEO focused, some content centric and some typical strategic / inbound agencies) review our site to find that ‘eureka’ cause – To no avail.


It’s like we need to submit a reconsideration request to Google begging forgiveness and a review, but there is no way to do that for our perceived ‘issues’.


Here is some history:

In 2012-13, the site owner had multiple locations set up in local (some shared spaces, some PO boxes) to get full market coverage.


Following a quality update – These listings were all wiped away and he had to start from scratch using only his 2 actual physical locations. Following this his local/ organic rankings suffered and have not recovered (recognized difficulties tracking local) ..


Of course with any small business, there is always ways to do more (more content, more / better optimization, etc.) but competitively, when you look at the companies that are outranking us in local results, it’s comical.  Some sites don’t even exist, some are boiler plate pages and some are blatantly breaking the rules with multiple listings and/or keyword stuffing.


Currently, we adhere to all best practices very well (especially considering our resources and budget) and have still not recovered.  This perceived penalty is further supported as our local rankings haven’t shown any real growth, organic traffic is growing year over year but not at impressive rates, and our Moz Domain Authority / trust scores support our thoughts.


We know what we need to do and are actively working on content, link building, relationship building etc etc – Coupled with Adwords and offline efforts. 


What I would love to accomplish is feedback on 1. Experienced something similar and recovered somehow or 2. Someone that has a solution to test and/or audit for what I’ve mentioned above..  (beyond the basics of meta / schema/ H tags, content, etc etc)


Here is a summary:

  • No record of a penalty manual action in GWMT
  • No record of a hack
  • No bad / malicious incoming links
  • No known black hat SEO tactics (Current or historical)
  • Local NAP for both locations is good (manual and Yext management)
  • Actively cleaning up any old NAP
  • Site speed is good
  • Actively using social mediums including managing Google Plus / My Business
  • Google My Business Inside 360* tours completed for both locations
  • Following all best practices - proper address, no keyword stuffing, etc.
  • Tons of reviews across the web
  • Organic / site audits offer recommendations but nothing concrete / wrong

Thanks for any insight / ideas / experiences to be shared!


1 Expert replyverified_user

Old / Perceived Penalty - Preventing Google Local Pack Rankings

[ Edited ]
Google Employee
# 2
Google Employee

Welcome to the community, @Heather A! This is a great question for our Google Small Business Advisors, and I've made sure that they'll see your thread and come by to help out. I recommend that you also post your question to the Google Webmasters Central Help Forum, which is the best place to get the specific help you're looking for.


In the meantime, be sure to submit and verify your site in Search Console. Within Search Console, you can create "Manual Actions" report to learn more about if and why your site may potentially be penalized. If necessary, you can learn more about submitting a reconsideration request here.


Thanks for being a part of our community!




Old / Perceived Penalty - Preventing Google Local Pack Rankings

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 3
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭

Hi Brielle, and thank you!  We do have GSC set up and have had for years.  We haven't ever received a penalty and/or had to do a reconsideration request.


We are working on cleaning up the local /NAP from previous locations too.