Local SEO issue for two businesses in one location

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Long story short, I work for a law firm that shares the building with another law firm. We are personal injury, they are criminal defense. When the criminal firm bought the bldg, we added through USPS a "b" designation for our suite # in order to differentiate the addresses with google. We've seen a major drop in rankings since last fall when possum hit, which I know dealt with filtering some of these results, but we are actually two different businesses, with two different addresses, albeit similar. We are getting crushed on local and organic results, where we used to rank in the top 3 for most all of our most powerful keywords, now we're 5-15 on maps, and page 3 for organic keywords. We've resorted to adwords which we never had to do before, and isnt an ideal way to market for personal injury, from an ROI perspective. Diagnostically, When I type the address into google (with the "b"), I get a map snippet that shows the other business "at this location" but not us.

This is compounded by the fact that these two law firms used to be together, doing both personal injury and criminal defense. They then split off, but stayed in the same building. To me this means its even more likely that google is filtering us out, as their algorithm might be more likely to see our previous affiliation and filter us, or at least, is clouding its ability to see us as separate entities.

Short of moving, what can be done to help us differentiate in our location? I made sure our google business categories are appropriately designated (at some point recently, they both auto defaulted to "general practice attorney" so I had to go in and change them back. Not quite sure how long they were both having that designation.

Any thoughts or input would be greatly appreciated. Thanks all
#businesses #issue #local #location #seo
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  • Profile picture of the author st0nec0ld
    Originally Posted by Jake@lakotardenton View Post

    Long story short, I work for a law firm that shares the building with another law firm. We are personal injury, they are criminal defense. When the criminal firm bought the bldg, we added through USPS a "b" designation for our suite # in order to differentiate the addresses with google. We've seen a major drop in rankings since last fall when possum hit, which I know dealt with filtering some of these results, but we are actually two different businesses, with two different addresses, albeit similar. We are getting crushed on local and organic results, where we used to rank in the top 3 for most all of our most powerful keywords, now we're 5-15 on maps, and page 3 for organic keywords. We've resorted to adwords which we never had to do before, and isnt an ideal way to market for personal injury, from an ROI perspective. Diagnostically, When I type the address into google (with the "b"), I get a map snippet that shows the other business "at this location" but not us.

    This is compounded by the fact that these two law firms used to be together, doing both personal injury and criminal defense. They then split off, but stayed in the same building. To me this means its even more likely that google is filtering us out, as their algorithm might be more likely to see our previous affiliation and filter us, or at least, is clouding its ability to see us as separate entities.

    Short of moving, what can be done to help us differentiate in our location? I made sure our google business categories are appropriately designated (at some point recently, they both auto defaulted to "general practice attorney" so I had to go in and change them back. Not quite sure how long they were both having that designation.

    Any thoughts or input would be greatly appreciated. Thanks all
    Hello, this might help https://moz.com/community/q/google-p...s-same-address
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    • thank you for the reply. That post and the replies and suggestions are from 2013, and my impression is that possum changed the game substantially for specifically this issue. So I'm looking for current best practice standards for this issue.
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      • Profile picture of the author MikeFriedman
        When you changed the address, did you change it in all of the local business directories too? Not just Google My Business, but also Yelp, Foursquare, Manta, iBegin, YellowBook, Whitepages, etc.

        There are about 65 worthwhile ones that should have all been updated too.
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        • Yes, we have updated it on all the directories, with the help of yext and Brightlocal and also manual search. It is pretty consistent around then web.
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  • Profile picture of the author Nikos
    Hi Jake,

    I really hear you. I'm afraid Google started filtering business listings before Possum launched. Let me do a bit of research and get back to you with some suggestions.

    Do you have a different phone number than the other law firm and does Google (and other sites) know about it?

    Thanks,
    Nikos
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    • Hi Nikos,

      Thanks so much for your reply, Well, when we partnered with the firm from SC, we kept the same local number. but earlier, when we split from the criminal defense/dwi guys who we share the bldg with, we created and maintained seperate phone numbers, emails, and addresses (we're "b")
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      • Profile picture of the author Nikos
        What I certainly remember from various local SEO webinars I attended, is that having a different phone number is the strongest differentiator you can achieve in order to avoid filtering. Other than that I can't recall if there are other things you can do to avoid this issue. You said you now have distinct contact details and an optimised GMB profile so I'm afraid you're running out of options now.
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        • thats what Im afraid of. Something is definitely off, and Im running out ways to diagnose and fix this. I'm unsure of what kind of person we could find that could definitively set this right. My SEO guru seems to be at a bit of a loss and I'm not running to hire someone site unseen who hears a little about it and says "yeah I can fix that".
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          • Profile picture of the author Nikos
            There are certainly many capable local experts on the market but what you need first is to exhaust your options.

            In your position I would consider contacting GMB support but I'm afraid they won't help - if this is a matter of who outranks who. In any case they are accessible through Twitter.

            I would also read related threads that could offer guidance such as this one http://streetfightmag.com/2017/04/24...sary-with-gmb/

            I hope I helped.
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            • Thank you. I've spoken to GMB several times about this, and they never offer anything palpably helpful. They read off a script, and when the questions get too specific they revert back to the script. They couldnt explain for example why google keeps changing our business category from "personal injury lawyer" to "general practice attorney", forcing me to change the category, which has a negative impact on the listing, every time you make a change. The same is true for the other firm in this bldg, they keep getting auto changed back to "general practice lawyer" from "criminal defense lawyer". When I asked GMB, they parroted: "optimize your profile and dont make changes" as if it was a pre-recorded msg. I keep hoping one day I'll reach someone there who can think freely, but alas, not yet.

              I'll check out that link thanks!
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  • One more interesting puzzle piece:

    We've known for a while that we're not getting credit for many of our backlinks that I can manually go and put my eyes on. Some business directories, some legal directories, even some large news sites. I'm assuming the issue is not the credibility of these sites, which are undisputed. But when I run a backlink check through a place like majestic, click on the link, and then type into google site: (link) when I dont see the link result in question pop up in the SERP, I am to understand its not indexed? If this is the case, am I to understand that google is selectively de-indexing some of our backlinks?

    Several people have run scans on our domain and say nothing pops out to suggest google has penalized us in any way, but they sure aren't comfortable giving us link credit. Whats up with that? Ever since we restarted APIA/LRD website last fall, we've been VERY slow to get credit for some of our biggest links, and now theyre trickling in, but still not even close.
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  • Profile picture of the author TheShark
    Not sure if you ever got this fixed. I can tell you - having to deal with this specific issue for over 10 years at different locations with attorneys specifically (and many different changes in google)...you stated you are using the "b" address. Is the other attorney using "a" or just generic 101 and you are using 101b?

    We've found that it needs to be 101a and 101b, NOT 101 and 101b.

    There are several other specific things you can do for attorneys at the same address - but that is just one thing.

    The GMB setup is going to be crucial - although with the onsite SEO and support pages.

    Good luck with the situation.

    TheShark
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