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What Are the Top 10 Negative Ranking Factors?

In this episode we delve deep into the NEGATIVE ranking factors for your Google My Business Listing.  Did you choose the incorrect category for your business? Are you using a PO Box as your address?  Oh no!  Take a listen for the rest of the tips! This week's episode was inspired by the recent Local Search Summit from Whitespark.

Jamie:    All right, Adam.

Adam:    Hey Jamie.

Jamie:    Okay. Another edition of local SEO and 10, very excited about today's topic

Adam:    Today is a good one. Actually, I just wanted to where it comes from, I've spent the last three days going to the white spark local search summit. It's a three day basically online conference where you're able to attend seminars from ton of local search experts. And so I've been going through there. If you're interested in going to that, please go check it out. I found a lot of really great information and you know, it's over now, so you have to go and pay for the replays. But like I said, full of tons of really good information about local search and of course, how to improve your business online.

Jamie:    And who was this? Who was a conference targeted to?

Adam:    Mostly agency owners like me, but definitely if you have a local business and you're trying to do stuff yourself, then it's, it's probably a good idea for you just to take a look at the, the seminar titles, see if anything, piques your interest and then go take a look. Yeah, that's right. So from there I have these, I wanted to give the top 10 negative ranking factors for your Google listing.

Jamie:    All right.

Adam:    So we talk a lot about, Oh, we got to do this. Good. You have to do this really well. You have to do this really well. Well, these are the top 10, most common mistakes for tanking your listing. So you could do everything else correctly, except one of these and boom, you just blew yourself out of the water. So, now is the time where you can just go through and say, am I doing this? Am I doing this? Bam. All done. Okay.

Jamie:    Yup. Alright, start.

Adam:    Okay, here we go. Number one. Anyway, I'll, I'll go with the ones that I like. And then the, the ones, if we run out of time, we'll we'll put them in the, in the show notes, but number one, incorrect business category. We've talked about that one before. It's really common where we see a business that chooses the wrong category for their business. So make sure that, you know, this is my category. This is what the kind of business that I want to pull in. And this is exactly what I do to make sure that you're actually you've actually chosen the right category and other sub categories. There's a great tool that you can, you can use. It's called Plepper, (P L E P E R.com). They have a cause Google introduces categories, new categories all the time. They don't say they do, but they do. So this is a great way. Great place a resource for you to go and check and see if there's any been any more categories that have been assigned to your business without your knowledge. So you can put those in and then you'll be better. Sound good?

Jamie:    Yeah. Yeah. Alright.

Adam:    Next two are kind of a related one is your listing. You used a false, so you went to Craigslist and you're like, Hey, can I get a verification postcard done there? And some guy takes your money, verifies it for you. And then next day, shut down.

Jamie:    Ooh.

Adam:    That happens all the time. And in conjunction with that, of course, no ups, no post office box. You can't use any of those. Basically the general rule of rule of thumb is can you meet a client there on a regular basis? You know, during your hours, can someone go to your business, go to that location and talk to somebody in your business answers? Yes. You're good answers. No negative ranking factor. Oh, that's ridiculous.

Adam:    Yeah, it is.

Adam:    I'm just the messenger.

Jamie:    I like, come on. How many businesses are online now? Like Google, how about that?

Adam:    Well, you can go to their address.

Jamie:    Oh yeah.

Adam:    I don't know. Alright. Next one is guess what your site was hacked. So re on a previous podcast, we talked about that HTTP or HTTPS. You want that S at the end of that because that stands for secure. So once your site is secure, that helps in its ranking on Google and Google local. So you want to make sure that your site is secure and of course that it hasn't been hacked. That would suck. Right?

Jamie:    Of course. Yeah.

Adam:    So sometimes that happens. And when it does, you know, your browser will shoot up a giant message saying, this site is hacked. So what do you want to do? And most people of course turned back. And so when Google picks that up, bam, that's a negative ranking factor you're out. Hmm. All right, this next one I liked. And that was because it's tough when it happens, but negative reviews. So if you have a bunch of negative reviews about your business that are on there, you better react to them and you better, you know, do something about them. If you have a string of one star reviews that are pulling your, you know, your re your ranking or your rating down, you gotta do something about those. So you either got, gotta counteract that by getting a ton more positive reviews or internally you have to start reevaluating, why you're getting so many, one star reviews make, I think that makes sense. How many, how many is too many? I, I, in my opinion you know, if your aggregate rating is a 1.2 or a two point F under a 2.5 or even a three, you want to start, you know, paying attention really, really dramatically, especially if in you're in a really competitive environment.

Adam:    If you have a lot of people in the same category as your business, you want to make sure of course that you're a 5.0 or 4.9 would be great, but, you know, do your best. Basically don't get negative reviews. There you go. Next one of course is if you don't have reviews at all, all right. You know, if you have few reviews and your client, or your sorry, your competitors have a ton more reviews than they knew, then you're out of luck, man. You're, you're not even, not only will you not show up in that Google three-pack, but the click through rate, when people compare your business to your competitors, that will also be dramatically affected, of course, because, you know, if your competitor, your competition has, you know, 200 reviews and you have five there's are all five stars and yours, yours are five stars too. I'm still gonna go with the 201, just, you know,

Jamie:    Oh, I don't want to, you ought to have a 200 or fake?

Adam:    Well, sometimes that happens too. But the idea is that click through rate is going to be much higher for that one with more reviews, especially if it's double, triple, even more than that, just because people are, you know, they're not going, they're not jaded. Like you, Jamie, these are all fake.

Jamie:    No. Well, what I see is in my category that are my, you know, I see a lot of these and these businesses are ranked exactly where we are. They, you know, they're right there with us in the three pack. So yeah. I'm sure Google has an explanation for that, right Google?

Adam:    Yes, they do.

Jamie:    All right. It's not podcasts, not about me.

Adam:    All right. So another one is really interesting. And I've seen this with law firms where a long time ago, when they started the law firm, somebody started a Google, my business listing for them. Then that person said peace out y'all and took off. Then they took that login and password with them. And now nobody can go in and do anything to that. Google my business listing. So they started another one. And so then you have two competing, Google my business listings for the same business at the same address. And when we confuse Google, we lose. So when that happens, when it, you know, you have to go, there are some steps that you can do for a claiming that other business. And a lot of times you can get control of that business.

Adam:    But if that happens, yeah, it sucks. So you want to make sure that you don't have that happen, right. So if somebody creates a Google listing for you, you know, in your business, one of your staff, you want to make sure that they're, that staff member is definitely not the admin or owner of that listing that you are in, because yeah, well, in turn, I've seen that too, when they leave and they take everything with them, there's no law that says they have to give it back. I guess you could Sue him. I don't know. But in any case, Google is silent about these, but when you confuse them, they really will they'll, they'll basically not give either result. And that's, you know, that can be really, really tough for a business owner to hear.

Jamie:    Got it. Yeah.

Adam:    And we've seen that, I've seen that, like, I've seen that with dental offices, I've seen that with law offices, of course lots of different ones. So make sure that you have control over your listing and make sure there's not multiple ones that you're at the same address for your business. Ah, terrible.

Jamie:    Got it. Okay.

Adam:    This next one falls along with that one and that's you have a Google, my business listing that that intern took off with, and then they marked it as permanently closed.

Jamie:    What? Who would do that?

Adam:    I don't know, but it's probably not a good employee. So when that happens, then yeah, you definitely have to call Google. You know, you have to, you can tweet them. That's a good way to get in touch with them, go to their they, they do have a forum for search and for local search that you can pose your question and get some help that way you know, with COVID they basically turned off their phones for, and so talking to somebody at Google is much more difficult. This is where you're going to need a specialist. Probably if somebody marked your business who had admin or ownership of it as permanently closed, it is really just them going back in and clicking one button and saying, it's not closed anymore, but you know, if you don't have access or if that person has a grudge against you, then you know, you can be Sol and that's tough too.

Adam:    All right. Last one is if, say, for example, your at, at your business address is that a shared workspace. So you all have the same street address and maybe a different box number or something like that that can confuse Google. And so when that happens, you should understand that you have to be creating a ton of stuff on your website to overshadow those other listings. Because if you don't and they're in the same category as you, if you don't do it, then Google is once again getting to be confused and then you're out. So negative ranking factor, number 10.

Jamie:    Well, this must happen in every single law office, every single dental office, every single doctor's office, every single, every single outcome, Google Adam. Okay, cool. Cool. Does it, you keep saying they get confused. Are they a three year old toddler or are they a zillion dollar business?

Adam:    The second one, but Jamie, they don't care. That's so you have to understand that the whole, you know, all of this leads back to, does Google make money on this? Yes or no. And really they make money on the more money on local search or local. They make money on ads, right? So they have a big motivation to get this right, but there's so many listings. There's so many businesses that expecting, you know, this to go right for everybody, you know, people are people and they make mistakes. I understand. If you find that you have any of these kind of these things happening, or you just don't know what to do, then you can of course reach out to us, but you can also, you know, if there's a local SEO expert that you depend on, or you can trust, reach out to them, most likely they can solve the problem. I know I've in my experience, we've solved every one of these problems for, you know, I don't know, hundreds of clients. And when we do, it's great because you can see night and day from one month, the amount of phone calls, they do 180 degree turn. It's great. When we fix stuff like this, it's, you know, it's like turning on a light switch. So I love that. I mean the incorrect business listing, that is a, Oh boy, not one definite you know, you turn on the spigot really fast when you fix that.

Jamie:    Fantastic. Anything else you want to wrap it up with?

Adam:    Thank you to a white spark for this those great, that's a great idea for a conference, a three day seminar. Everything was free for the first, you know, for live viewers, after that, if you want to pay and see the, the, the replays definitely would, recommended.

Jamie:    All right. Very good. I'm sure you'll have that in the show notes and how people can find those. And once again, if you enjoy this podcast, make sure to share it out with other agency owners, but any business owner that's has a listing online. They really need to know this, especially if their intern you know, permanently closed their business. That's kind of a big indicator, but make sure to review and you know, give us five stars on that review. We really appreciate it. It improves the rankings of the site to have that local SEO intent. That's right.

Adam:    Well, thank you very much. Thank you very much, everybody have a good day.