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GMB Ranking Mystery

Hey everybody, I have a bit of a GMB ranking mystery!  Hoping someone can shed some light, or suggest other factors to look at.

So, I'm looking at family law firms in the Chicago area, and trying to understand why the top result is doing as well as it is:

This listing seems to come out on top for "divorce lawyer", if I do a grid scan of the downtown Chicago area.

Now here's why it's a mystery (to me at least!): They have 26 reviews, with a 3.5 average rating. 

The competition is beating them up on reviews:

2.) 4.2, 13 reviews
3.) 5.0, 2 reviews
4.) 4.2, 63 reviews
5.) 4.7, 121 reviews
6.) 3.6, 22 reviews
7.) 4.7, 211 reviews

And so on.  I think at this point, many of us would ask, "but what about keyword stuffing"?  Well, in this case there's no stuffing -- they just have their partner names in the title.

So the website must be really knocking it out of the park, right?

Not really. 

The website in question has a DA of 21, vs. several competitors with DA in the high 20s to low 30s.  They have 41 referring domains, while the rest of the top five have hundreds.  The only factor standing out is that they have 12% of their backlinks coming from Alexa Top 10,000 sites, which is a higher percentage than the competition.

Anyone know what I'm missing?

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How many GMB categories do you use?

Categories are one of the handful of ranking related levers under our control in GMB, so I'm wondering, how many do you use? 

Colan Nielsen wrote an interesting article about category dilution on Sterling Sky.  Turns out, as long as the categories are properly related, category dilution is not really a thing -- you can actually see ranking improvements from adding more related categories.  Adding totally random categories does seem to hurt your rankings.

I was curious how many categories the average law firm is using, so I set out to gather data on around 600 GMB listings.
As you can see here, the vast majority of law firms are using just 1 category.  Is this a missed opportunity for them?  (Yes, there is one intrepid law firm using 15 categories).

So what categories are most used out there?

I would say from this data that people are not putting a lot of thought into their categories.  There's the super generic "lawyer", but if you dig deeper, there is a very long tail of more specific categories.

My takeaway is that there's an opportunity here for most law firms to improve their rankings.  Adding a few specific categories that describe their services, instead of just "lawyer", can help Google understand their relevancy for certain queries.

What do you think?  How many categories are you using?
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How to track LSA visibility?

How do you track how often your ads are shown with the Local Service Ads program?  I haven't used it myself, so I'm wondering if Google gives you any stats on how often your ads are being shown, and how they're performing. 
Hey folks, just wanted to share a free Chrome extension for busting spam on Google Maps.  Getting rid of GMB spam is an easy way to improve your own search visibility. 

There are all kinds of spam -- whether it's lead gen operators "ranking and renting" GMB listings, or companies opening a fake second location, these tactics hurt businesses that are playing by the rules.

Google offers the Redressal Form as a support channel for spam.  To have spam removed, however, you'll need some proof.

The GMB Scanner extension finds address issues that violate Google guidelines:

  • Virtual offices
  • P.O. Boxes
  • Residential addresses
  • Vacant properties

You'll still need to do your own research, but GMB Scanner can point you in the right direction.

Hope it helps, and I always like to hear feedback!
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