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Contact Page address and location influence in organic search

     
9:45 pm on Dec 15, 2012 (gmt 0)

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I have one site which is doing fine, the subject is widgets.

The top subdivision of the site is along the lines of devon widgets, birmingham widgets, cheshire widgets etc.

Below that the subdivision is at a page for each shop a in devon, shop b in devon, shop c in devon etc.

The earnings per click in this sector are remarkably high and I have monitored 30 or so individual pages over the last two years as the site has developed.

Looking at my stats it seems that a couple of pages are doing far better than the others for no apparent reason. All the other pages do as well as I would expect based on a variety of factors.

One common factor with the three pages that are doing abnormally well is that they are located near to where I live. I am always open about people contacting me so I openly publish my contact address on the site.

So the question is, does the publication of my home address on my contact us page influence which pages G favours. At the moment (and this study is over a couple of years) it does seem so.

Any thoughts, other those concerned about address and location privacy?
2:13 am on Dec 16, 2012 (gmt 0)

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I've seen sites in different niches and by different designers go up several pages or positions just for adding a phone number in the footer; and that was the only modification to the site. Never seen one suffer or not move because of it.
2:25 am on Dec 16, 2012 (gmt 0)

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Worked for a company that sold widgets online only. We always ranked #1 for "<our city> widgets" for the city where our corporate headquarters was located. Our corporate HQ was listed in Google maps, and on our site. We always suspected that some part of Google's algorithm was somehow seeing us as a local business.
8:23 pm on Dec 18, 2012 (gmt 0)

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Trust might also be a factor.

I see many 'online only' ecom sites have no physical address in their contact info.
8:56 pm on Dec 18, 2012 (gmt 0)

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I'm with Hoople, trust or quality factor.
10:12 pm on Dec 18, 2012 (gmt 0)

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Have seen exactly the same as deadsea, with a site selling nationwide ranking well for one city/county, based solely on the address of the HQ.
10:15 pm on Dec 18, 2012 (gmt 0)

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I'm with Hoople, trust or quality factor.

True, but it's not the only one.

We always suspected that some part of Google's algorithm was somehow seeing us as a local business.

Contact details can cause problems for globally focused sites.

For trust, a number of other inclusions can likely compensate and some might consider even blocking their address' from Google.
11:47 pm on Dec 18, 2012 (gmt 0)

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True, but it's not the only one.

Of course not. Nobody said it was.
1:33 am on Dec 19, 2012 (gmt 0)

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I should also say that the company I worked for had pages targeting every US city. We had "Seattle Widgets" and "New York Widgets" pages. We almost always ranked in the top three for any given city, but we would rise and fall in and out of #1. Sometimes we would be #1 and sometimes one of our competitors would be. For the city of our HQ, we were always #1. It was a suburb of a larger city, not a major market.
10:58 pm on Dec 19, 2012 (gmt 0)

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@deadsea - for now that would seem to be the best way of addressing every location, and if necessary adding a contact in with each [ if they exist ]. Then block the address as it may confuse Google.

Who knows what Google might do in the future, so provision for a right turn.

Google often seems to get compromised with conflicting signals that it's algo cannot reliably handle. I suspect this with such things as the same content on multiple TLD's - where having got the green light from Google for it's implimentation and avoiding duplicate content filtering, Google can still can get confused about what to rank, and the overall ranking effects can be detrimental.

So, equally, having a contact may cause localisation signals to determin where your ranking should be geo based. If you suspect this, try blocking it for a while and then see what happens. It may be that a permanent geo categorisation is determined at the outset which is hard to remove. But the strongest signal you can apply is in the titles to counteract this, I believe.

Anyone with multiple service locations can possible combine both an element of the title with a validatory address that reflects part of the title. But there would need to be a reasonable amount of varied content on each page to support this - and indeed it might be clumsy from a UI point of view.

Adding the address, of say your head office, for a global distributor to Google Places, may also contribute to the confusion, at times. Some clarification from Google might be helpful on this.

An address may contribute to an overall trust rank, but if the address stuffs the rest of your geo targeted rankings, I'd look to other forms of trust to support your site.