|JohnMu & Matt Cutts Important Algo Problem - Gives Spammers a ONE-BOX, Locking SMBs out of Search||Linda Buquet ~||9/16/13 12:35 PM|
NOTE to TCs:
Please DO NOT MOVE to Google and your Business Forum - This is NOT a Local Algo problem, even though at 1st glance it may appear to be, it's not.
(But please help me escalate to John, Matt or another Googler.)
I am a Google and your Business TC. I've reported this major problem to Jade numerous times and she's been reporting to someone on the organic side, but I don't know who.
THOUSANDS of small businesses WORLD-WIDE are being locked out of search due to a bad algo tweak that happened around 8/22.
This new algo change causes PURE SPAM fake business listings to get a one-box (like what shows for a branded search) just because they have a fake keyword stuffed business name (City KW), which in itself is a Google violation. Many are violating numerous other Google guidelines. Many even are totally bogus with non-working phone #s and dead websites.
So in addition to promoting spam listings to one-boxes AND blocking out all the other honest businesses that were in the 7 back - these bogus listings with dead phones and websites are creating a bad user experience. Consumers call the "only Dentist in town" only to get a disconnected # or a little girl's cell phone. How relevant is that?
AGAIN, even though what I'm about to share is happening to local businesses and affecting the 7 pack results - THE PROBLEM IMO IS DUE TO the ORGANIC SEARCH ALGO.
(Sorry, didn't mean to shout, but I've been sending users here to post and their posts get moved back to the Google Business forum, when this is an organic algo problem. I've been trying and trying to get someone to understand how big this problem is and that's it's not happening on the Places side of the house, but is due to the organic algo - even though it's affecting local listings.)
PROBLEM SUMMARY: This is a wide-spread problem and thousands of SMBs WORLD-WIDE are being locked out of search in favor of spam listings that score a branded one-box.
The dial was tweaked too high that tries to show a single (one box) listing for a branded search.
If the name is Alpine Plumbing and you search for Alpine Plumbing - Google properly shows you one listing - Alpine Plumbing. (All good)
But when someone has an exact match FAKE city + keyword business name like "Atlanta Dentists" and you search for "Atlanta Dentist" then that single listing gets a one-box even if it's a FAKE keyword stuffed name and is a totally spammy listing. It's getting a one box just like a brand search would. Then all the other honest Dentists in that market lose their listing and are locked out of the 7 pack.
EXAMPLE #1: Google search: Plumbers San Diego (Note: you may need to set location to the city of search to see most of these).
You'll see it shows only ONE Plumber in San Diego. This listing got a ONE-BOX and knocks everyone else out of the ranking.
Fake name (Places violation), geo stuffed categories (Places violation), address visible (Places violation), city repeated 3 times in description (considered local KW stuffing).Phone is out of service. In Map Maker the record goes to a painting company?
So again why does this listing deserve a one-box and how is it relevant to searcher - if call the only Plumber listed and the # is dead?
EXAMPLE #2: This one scored a one-box and locked out all the other Dentists in Sevierville, TN - https://plus.google.com/118167590104640721819/about?gl=us&hl=en
I called the number and it's a young girl's cell phone. Her Mom answered and was totally perplexed. (So not only bad result for consumers, but results in unwanted phone calls TO a consumer, not a business.)
Street view looks like this is residential - way out in the country - it's not even a Dental office. The site is not even built. Just boilerplate CMS, no content!.
How does this rate as the only/best/most relevant Dentist in Sevierville? It's not even valid. It's only a one box because it has City + KW in the fake name.
Those are just 2 of many, many examples I've reported in the thread below.
I started reporting 8/24 but 1st noticed the problem on 8/22. Since then tons of examples have been posted at the forum below and at the Google Business forum.
Attack of the Bad Google Local One-Boxes! (44 posts about this at the Local Search Forum)
NOTE: Each report negatively impacts at least 7 local businesses, and who knows how many consumers that are trying to find a valid service provider, so you need to multiply for full effect.
(Some of those at my forum are resolved now, but NOT because the info got to the right person on the organic search team and the algo got corrected. I think the ones that were resolved were ones where Jade got the spam team to delete individual listings. BUT the algo problem that's causing this is still the underlying issue.)
More examples and reports from the Google and Your Business Forum:
Where have all the Google maps listings gone? There are a 199 Google local results missing from several searches?
(Google "Phoenix DUI Lawyer" goes to one box with a listing linked to an SEO site about SEO services. It's not even an attorney - but is listed as the only atty in Phoenix???)
There are many more reports at my forum and the Google Business forum. Above is just the tip of the iceberg. (I happen across more every day, without even looking, more than I can bother reporting.)
Can a TC help me by escalating to the right person/team?
|Re: JohnMu & Matt Cutts Important Algo Problem - Gives Spammers a ONE-BOX, Locking SMBs out of Search||Ashley||9/16/13 12:37 PM|
Long post. May help to keep it short and avoid so much text decoration so it's easier to read though examples are helpful.
I moved this to Chit Chat in our forum though since you're not a webmaster asking about your site. Don't worry, that subforum still gets plenty of attention. I've also escalated - but that doesn't mean you'll necessarily get a Google response.
|Re: JohnMu & Matt Cutts Important Algo Problem - Gives Spammers a ONE-BOX, Locking SMBs out of Search||Linda Buquet ~||9/16/13 12:48 PM|
Since I'm advocating on behalf of so many webmasters and business owners who have been affected, I thought ranking/indexing was the right place.
Sorry for the length, colors and shouting. I've been trying so hard to get the attention of the right team and everyone keeps thinking this is happening on the local side. (Actually there is a part that the local algo plays in that listings with fake KW stuffed names should get caught in a filter and not go live or should be suspended for violating the guidelines.) But the issue I'm trying to bring to light here is the algo that creates branded one boxes is dialed too high I think.
Thanks again for your help!
|Re: JohnMu & Matt Cutts Important Algo Problem - Gives Spammers a ONE-BOX, Locking SMBs out of Search||Ashley||9/16/13 12:56 PM|
Just to be clear - is this what you're referring to?
|Lysis||9/16/13 12:56 PM|
I dunno what a 'one-box' is and never saw anyone post about it here. I looked at the san diego search and it looks fine to me...several plumbers listed with different addresses.
If you escalated it to your CM and the CM said she's on it, I think you should be patient and then of course as you know they can't always tell us what's up. As you know, sometimes the answer is "that's the way it's supposed to be" and that's it.
but I looked at your one example and it's fine for me.
|Ashley||9/16/13 1:14 PM|
I believe I know what you're talking about and can repro with other queries on my end.
I don't really know what to suggest at this point. Normally I'd say the knowledge graph is separate from local results, however in my tests when the knowledge graph appeared the local results didn't - so I can understand the issue.
It could be something Google is testing since they're always tweaking the SERPs. It could be a sign of how they plan to restructure results. Who knows!
I understand business owners are sensitive to this, but at the same time it's organic ranking. They don't own any placement and Google is opaque and dynamic. You have to learn to roll with the punches and focus on making the best website you can and hopefully you keep showing up on page 1 regardless of how Google structures results. Easier said than done, though.
|Lysis||9/16/13 1:20 PM|
Incidentally, I did the san diego plumber one, and the one guy came up, but then I did it again and Maps showed with all the locations.
They must be testing this out...just a thought and a guess!
|Linda Buquet ~||9/16/13 2:11 PM|
Ashley thanks that's it.
Lyris "I dunno what a 'one-box' is and never saw anyone post about it here. I looked at the san diego search and it looks fine to me...several plumbers listed with different addresses."
You need to change location to San Diego to see it. What the local searchers would see searching for Plumbers San Diego is what Ashley showed.
There is a single listing and it's a bogus listing - instead of 7 businesses to choose from in the 7 pack with reviews and map markers. All the business listings you are saw at 1st for legit business do not show up if you are searching from that actual locations.
Edited to add: Yes they just fixed that one for SD Plumber I think individually after reading this post. But many others are still out there. So they fixed one, didn't roll back the update that caused this.
|Linda Buquet ~||9/16/13 2:13 PM|
Ashley I totally get rolling with the punches when the algo changes.
But in this case I believe the algo to be faulty. Google wants to serve relevant results. How is it relevant to make one site rank like's it's the only one in town when it a totally fake listing, or violating guidelines or the number is out of service and the site is dead? How can it rank as the only/best listing?
The algo did not universally change and drop all local listings. It only affects markets where there is a spammer breaking the rules. Then it gives them an exclusive spot, even if it's a bogus listing and locks everyone else out. Just not good for users, businesses OR Google.
Here are a few more that have not been fixed that are fake or violating guidelines and knocking every other business in that city out of the pack for that phrase:
(FYI you need to change location to city to see it)
dentists denver (Domain is dead, parking page. One reviewer said this might be a locksmith not even a dentist. Street view looks like a warehouse. No Dental office there.
atlanta personal injury lawyer (fake name, domain expired, phone disconnected)
phoenix personal injury lawyer (spammy site, fake name and location)
Dentist in Sevierville TN (phone is a young girl's cell phone)
Phoenix DUI Lawyer (Site is an SEO's marketing site, not even attorney)
Plumber in Baltimore (parked domain not even live site)
Philadelphia dentist (site dead)
So again, not a matter of boo hoo, algo changed and my ranking dropped - it's a matter of BAD results showing and ALL the other local listings are missing in these cases.
That's just a few there are tons more.
|Ashley||9/16/13 2:18 PM|
And folks have been using the "Feedback" link on the knowledge graph/one-box?
That seems like one of the best ways to make sure the right people have visibility.
|Linda Buquet ~||9/16/13 3:18 PM|
"folks have been using the "Feedback" link on the knowledge graph/one-box?"
My concern is not so much the knowledge graph for that one result. I think if I did feedback on knowledge graph they'd think I was just reporting that listing, which would not get to the bigger issue that's at the core of the matter.
My bigger concern is the one box in the main SERPs that is replacing the 7 pack that should be there. But I guess maybe the feedback link at the bottom of SERPs would report about the regular search results being off, to that department.
Thanks for the suggestion Ashley. I'll start telling everyone to try that too.
|Robbo||9/16/13 3:29 PM|
|travler.||9/16/13 3:36 PM|
And the location map bottom of page is for NYC and the copyright is Copyright © www.bestplumberdallas.org
A plumber to the world!
|Linda Buquet ~||9/16/13 5:29 PM|
LOL, good one.
I clicked through to bestsandiegoplumber.org on Chrome and top of page it said London like it did for Robbo. But title tag and copyright was www.bestplumberdallas.org like it was for travler.
Then I copied the URL to FF and it said San Diego at top of page instead of London but still had Dallas in title tag. I'm near SD, so I guess they are trying to do some type of dynamic code to try to rank in whatever city you are searching from. But I think their dynamic GEO script is a little buggy. ;-)
The header says "Logo Here". Contact us says "Your address here". So just someone doing a rent-a-site model or something.
Anyway they really earned their spot as the single most relevant listing for San Diego Plumber, eh? Not even a plumber or real business - just some marketer trying to rent or sell a site.
|Linda Buquet ~||9/16/13 9:15 PM|
Sorry Ashley. I didn't add colors this time. It happened when I copied from the posts above. And I can't go back and edit here like I can at the GB forum.
|U I Plumbing & Electrical||9/17/13 2:40 AM|
I will show you some examples from google.co.uk
plumbers darlington https://www.google.co.uk/?gws_rd=cr&ei=IyI4UpTaHMuQhQfezoHwDA#q=plumbers+darlington&spell=1
plumbers doncaster https://www.google.co.uk/?gws_rd=cr&ei=IyI4UpTaHMuQhQfezoHwDA#q=plumbers+doncaster
that is approx 557 local listings that have vanished off the face of google.
this is a global problem for an unknown number of business it could be hundreds of thousands globally.
I wander if google ad words was only showing 1 sponsored link would that stay broken for months, bounced around forums with no resolve offered ?
I doubt it. it seems to me that because this a non paid section of google no one at google seems to care a dam.
google need to remember its because of organic users they are making billions a year in profits.
no one wants to see ads all over a search engine.
|U I Plumbing & Electrical||9/17/13 3:29 AM|
Hi Linda, would it be a good idea to start getting lots of people weighing in there feelings about this terrible problem ?
I can post the link to this discussion in lots places so effected people can speak up.
Have you passed this link to others at your end ?
if lots of us speak up then surely google will listen eventually ?
|U I Plumbing & Electrical||9/17/13 3:36 AM|
also Linda on this point
If I send you examples of one box searches from google.co.uk can this Jade person help me get those fixed.
where should I post the examples ?
|Ashley||9/17/13 7:44 AM|
I don't think we need more examples here.
This forum is for crawling, ranking and indexing though - so if you'd like U I Plumbing & Electrical - I recommend you start a new thread and add your URL and get some tips for ranking well again, regardless of what features Google tests with the KG box or with local results.
|Linda Buquet ~||9/17/13 8:10 AM|
@U I, I already escalated your thread to Jade over at the Google Business forum, but I'm sure she can't just keep working on getting all these fixed individually.
Here is another one I just ran into.
Search: Houston Dentist - https://plus.google.com/108474567735577995422/about?gl=us&hl=en
That listing has the one-box and locks everyone else out.
Phone disconnected. Site dead - domain parking page.
|naturallyrestore||9/17/13 9:16 PM|
I hope I am in the right place! I wrote to you on another thread and hope it is okay that I write here. Here is my previous message:
when searching for "remedial massage northcote" my business:
24 Hartington St
(03) 9482 1888
usually appears in the first three business listed on maps when doing a general search. it has done for many years. (located in australia)
when searching for "remedial massage northcote" only one business is now listed!
this is not happening in surrounding suburbs when searching "remedial massage kew, fitzroy, preston" etc
google seems to have taken all listings for remedial massage in the northcote off the maps except for "northcote massage".
pls help me so my listing is reinstated.
can I do anything else about this? Is google going to revert it back to the way it originally was?
thank you for your help.
|Linda Buquet ~||9/17/13 10:44 PM|
I see this thread more as a general thread to alert Google to the issue. I'm sorry but I didn't have time to get over to the other forum today. I'll reply to you over there.
|Scott Rawlins||10/21/13 6:01 PM|
I would also like to add a "one box" that I found today for Marietta GA Dentists
No site. Phone is Google voice. And this is a residence and not a dentist office. Fake, keyword stuffed name.
|Louise Boylen||10/31/13 8:42 PM|
We have a holiday accommodation business in Montville, Queensland Australia. Montville a tourist town and accommodation is its biggest single business category. So “Montville accommodation” is a relatively common search. Since late August, there has been no Google map/7-pack result for the search term “Montville accommodation”. Late August, the seven-pack was replaced by one Google+Local that went to a disconnected number and non-existent business. I reported it and Google took it down but the map result has not reappeared. Now instead of 7+ local businesses being shown on page one, over half the organic listings are multinational third party booking engines. I have reported it three times using the Google problem reporting channel.
|Mark Bragi||11/5/13 3:33 PM|
You sound very passionate about this issue.
There are a couple of big assumptions that you have made in your argument for which you simply have to backing.
--You are assuming here that there was an algo tweak around 8/22, what proof do you have? how do you know there was an algo tweak?
--Again, a huge assumption on your part
--Is this an assumption or a fact? How do you know its effecting thousands of SMBs world-wide? What proof do you have?
--Here it just sounds like you (or your clients) are not happy with the new SERP layout. It sounds to me that you may be a bit biased.
|Scott Brennan||11/10/13 8:19 AM|
Thank you for addressing this Linda.
|Karthickram Mani||11/12/13 11:52 AM|
I have couple of problems
1, Hotels in Cuddalore - One Box local is Getting Listed. My Website Hotelsuriyapriya.com is not listed...
2, Another company, My Website is changed with incorrected data by Google Automated Internal Syncer 3 -
V Care Water Systems
they have wrong data
Actually Correct Data is :
V CARE WATER SYSTEMS
Plot No-11,61 B , Allapakkam Main Road, Porur,
Chennai- 600 116. Tel : 044 - 64151619,Cell: +91 9791044958
website is www.vcarewatersystems.com
|synchronysyed1||11/16/13 3:18 AM|
To the Google Local Team,
I would like to keep you informed that you have updated the wrong contact informations about our company in Google Places
We are maintaining the Google Places account named : syed...@gmail.com
We are Maintaning the new Google Local Business Account New Version with googl...@synchrony.co.in
We have edited the right information on both panels, almost 8 edits are still pending in Map maker, the Google Automated Syncer 3 & 4, updates the wrong information again and again after numerous edits.
We are losing our identity online becos of this wrong contact information. Please we request you take this information serious and fix the incorrect business information.
Link to your local Google+ page (previously known as a Place page):https://plus.google.com/104434610658181938149
Business name : V CARE WATER SYSTEMS
Business location: PLOT No:11,61 B,ALAPAKKAM MAIN ROAD,PORUR,CHENNAI-116,TAMIL NADU
Business telephone: 044-64151619/43806785
Business category : WATER TREATMENT
|Hayley-Silkstream||11/19/13 1:01 AM|
This is happening in the UK right now too.
A search for: https://www.google.co.uk/#q=intensive+driving+courses+southend gives us this as top "1-pack" result: https://plus.google.com/103980415415430734336/about?hl=en
I've noticed your original query appears fixed now? Or maybe its because im in the UK and google wont let me set my local area to San Diego.
|Hayley-Silkstream||11/20/13 12:31 AM|
I submitted suggested changes to the companies real brand name using Google Map Maker. Fingers crossed its picked up by somebody.
|karthickram.Mani||11/27/13 2:04 AM|
There is no Google Maps Box for the places in area Hotels in Yelagiri in India.
Google Maps and Google Search both has to help users, very tough with out maps.
|Mr Chris Gregory||11/27/13 7:44 AM|
I'd like to add to this post.
The movers in Kitchener listing is spam.
There used to be 6 listings, now there is only one.
The listing that is showing up as the #1 result is false.
I tried to call the number, but it only accepts outgoing calls. I'm guessing this number is for a pay phone.
On the Goolge+ local page, there is no website, no brand identity, no posts or activity, and no way to contact the company. Remember the phone number doesn't accept calls.
See SERPs and Google+ local image below.
Any idea why this is happening?
How could Google allow a spam listing to dominate their local SERP?
|Karthickram Mani||12/25/13 8:38 AM|
for the keyword
payroll software in chennai
is also faces Trouble with one box problem
|Kate Veinot||1/29/14 11:13 AM|
There are many of these on Google.ca (Canada) as well-
Pest Control Toronto (Searching from Toronto, ON, one-box showing)
Property Maintenance Kitchener (searching from Kitchener, Ontario- Actual business name is David Leblanc, Handyman)
Keswick Dentists (searching from Keswick ON, only Keswick Dental Centre showing)
Dentist Richmond Hill (searching from Toronto, ON, only 1 showing and it is closed)
Richmond Hill Dentistry (searching from Toronto, ON, only 1 showing)
|Kate Veinot||2/5/14 10:08 AM|
Fitness Equipment Rental Toronto
|Brian First||2/6/14 12:57 AM|
Wondering if this will ever end: https://www.google.co.uk/#q=end+of+tenancy+cleaners+london
This one box has been there for months now..
|Jeremy Trimme||2/14/14 11:21 AM|
This is a smaller search but still should be fixed. If you search piano mover sacramento or any combination or similar terms there is only one result listed.
|Linda Buquet ~||2/16/14 8:16 AM|
Thanks all for continuing to report. The one boxes continue. Mike Blumenthal, the leader in Local Search has blogged about it several times over the past 6 months.
Hummingbird, Local Knowledge Graph & Shitty Search Results
Mining for Google Hummingbird Guano in So Cal
Google Local: Hummingbird Diarrhea Persists 6 Months On
Maybe Google will take note now. A one box just ate an entire city.
Search Google Maps for "San Antonio Tx". The city is nowhere to be found.
A business called "San Antonio Car Carrier" - has the whole city locked up! (below is a screen shot.)
It also happens in organic. The only pinned result (branded one box) is San Antonio Car Carrier. And that business does not even have a web site, or at least not connected to that listing. (I posted about this at my forum with a lot more details, which I won't bore you with here.)
Now I realize this is a slightly different problem. I believe this one is more of a maps problem than it being an organic algo problem. I suspect it's due to the double state in the address TX, TX.
(I reported to Jade and she reported to Maps, whereas the other issues in this thread, (the standard one boxes) she's been trying to get the organic or knowledge graph team to correct.)
However it still sort of goes to show the brand algo is cranked too high. When someone searches Los Angeles Attorney, San Diego plumber or San Antonio Texas, they should not get a single business, just because they have the city in their name.
|Hayley-Silkstream||2/21/14 3:47 AM|
Hi everyone, just to let you know that today the bad plus one box that I reported via Google Mapmaker has been resolved!!
It appears as though my suggestions were noted, and somebody at Google has appended the companies brand name to their keyword stuffed page name, which has resolved the issue.
I encourage everyone to try this, while we wait for someone at Google to advise when this issue will be fixed.
|Hayley-Silkstream||2/21/14 3:54 AM|
That is just crazy! It would be nice if somebody at least said "hey were working on fixing this".
|Linda Buquet ~||2/21/14 5:14 PM|
Actually yesterday Google just amended the Places guidelines to say that now it's allowed to add city or keyword to your business name.
SO if this algo is not rolled back or corrected I predict we'll see even more bad one boxes.
|Hayley-Silkstream||2/24/14 12:49 AM|
Hmm hopefully this will be fixed very soon in this case then, surely now whole cities are being swallowed up it cant go on much longer. In the meantime, I will continue reporting any I find here https://www.google.co.uk/mapmaker as this solved the bad plus one box for one search at least.
|slimshack||2/28/14 11:23 AM|
So I am not alone?
Try a search for "driving lessons brighton" (UK) and one company comes up. There are hundreds of instructors in this fine city and we are being locked out of potential business. Please Google help some struggling small businesses!
|Linda Buquet ~||2/28/14 11:47 AM|
Another industry leader I know is now in direct contact with a Google engineer who has asked for reports of all of these, so I think maybe now we will make some headway. You just commented on his blog so he's aware of that one now too.
|slimshack||2/28/14 11:56 AM|
I love his work!
|Kate Veinot||3/6/14 8:22 AM|
Pest Control Toronto (Searching from Toronto, ON, one-box still showing)
Durham Windows and Doors (one-box still showing)
Country Homes Milton (one-box still showing & all spam results showing in maps... mapmaker edits getting flat out denied, no reason. I Object not working)
MLS Milton (one-box still showing)
Property Maintenance Kitchener FIXED
Keswick Dentists FIXED
Dentist Richmond Hill FIXED
Richmond Hill Dentistry FIXED
So I'm half for half seeing them fixed. Some of them are because I've reported spammy listings in MapMaker, but now MapMaker edits are getting denied for no reason so I don't see that working anymore..
|Kate Veinot||3/6/14 8:41 AM|
And Brick Cleaning Toronto reverted BACK to a one box
|Hayley-Silkstream||3/6/14 8:52 AM|
I presume that you are in Canada Kate? Thanks for the update on mapmaker.
Interestingly, searching "dentist richmond hill" on Google UK with my geo location set to UK actually gives me a 7 pack of Canadian results below the top 3 organic uk ones!
|Hayley-Silkstream||3/6/14 8:53 AM|
Maybe its because all the other results are busy being displayed to us UK searchers ;)
|Linda Buquet ~||3/6/14 10:25 AM|
Spam pays off in Google Local and is rewarded instead of penalized.
There are a LOT of Dentists in Newport Beach.
Up until yesterday a search for: Newport Beach Dentist (location set to that city) Resulted in a one-box.
The page that locked the rest of Dentists out is spammy. City + KW - City - KW City URL structure. mynewportbeachdental DOT com/newport-beach/dentist-newport-beach/
Title tag spammy too with City & KW repeated 3 times: Newport Beach Dentist | Newport Dental Center | Dentist Newport Beach
But Google saw me post it at Mike's blog or on my forum and fixed that one. Still ranks high in organic but at least is no longer locking the other Dentists out of the pack.
So again some of these one offs are being fixed and thank you for that. But there are still many more out there and with the latest Places guideline change that allows you to add KW or City to your name, I think we'll see even more one-boxes, if the algo is not corrected,