Danny Sullivan just tweeted that Google is screwing up royally when it comes to searches for “dana point jet ski”:

I thought it would be interesting to see if we can figure out why this is happening and whose screw-up it really is.  Here are some of the smoking guns:

  1. Dana Point Jet Ski shows danapointharbor.com as its website on its Google+ Local page.  I am guessing Dana Point Jet Ski has not claimed its Google+ Local page yet.  Note to DPJS: Claim your Google+ Local page and update the URL.
  2. Of course, it doesn’t help that danapointharbor.com has a URL with “Dana Point Jet Ski & Kayak” in its title: http://www.danapointharbor.com/dana-point-jet-ski-kayak/.  But that URL links to danapointjetski.com, so you’d think G would be able to figure that out.  BTW, I have put my kids through college on G not being able to figure things out that you’d think G would be able to figure out.
  3. But maybe the issue is that the business doesn’t show it’s full name in the title of its home page.  It just shows “Dana Point Jet Ski – Jet Ski Kayak SUP Rentals”.  Nowhere on the site does it use the full business name in the title.  Perhaps just adding ” & Kayak Center” to the home page title would push it into the #1 spot.
  4. And there are plenty of additional NAP issues.  I did a Yext scan (use the name “Dana Point Jet Ski & Kayak Center” and (949)661-4947″) and found 142 different location data errors – many of which were a different business name.  For example, Mapquest calls it “Dana Point Jet Ski” and the Mapquest profile links to the Patch listing for the business instead of directly to the business website.  Yelp thinks it’s a Polish-run shop and calls it “Dana Point Jetski and Kayak Center”.  I haven’t examined all of the citations, but I wouldn’t be surprised if some of them pointed to http://www.danapointharbor.com/dana-point-jet-ski-kayak/.  Looks like the business should start doing some serious citation claiming/updating/fixing.  Hit me up guys.
  5. Danapointharbor.com likely has a significantly more inbound links than danapointjetski.com.  I wouldn’t be surprised if http://www.danapointharbor.com/dana-point-jet-ski-kayak/ has more links than danapointjetski.com.
    Dana Point Jet Ski Links
  6. This one is a bit fuzzy, but Google may be interpreting “dana point jet ski” as a generic local query instead of a branded query.  For instance, when I search the full business name, the title tags are more accurate.
    Dana Point Jet Ski & Kayak Center
    It’s still connecting the Harbor to the G+ Local page though, so I think this one can be chalked up to the fact that the G+ Local page is still linking to danapointharbor.com.I am sure there’s more to it, but time to get back to my day job.
    You’ve always wondered what SEOs do all day, right?

Looks like Danny added some more info about the situation on SEL.

UPDATE: Looks like the algo is working it’s magic (or someone at G pressed a button).  About 3 hours after I published this, Google is now not showing the biz name in the title of danapointharbor.com in the SERPs:
Dana Point Harbor SEO Update

UPDATE TO THE UPDATE: Looks like someone over at Dana Point Jet Ski & Kayak Center decided to update the link on their G+Local page cause now all is right with the world:

Share This Story!

About Author

12 Response Comments

  • Mike Zaremba  April 30, 2013 at 3:24 pm

    Wow. That was incredibly fast research and publishing.

    Or maybe I’ve been surfing the information super highway, processing mindless information, longer than I thought.

    Either way I’m impressed.

  • Andrew Shotland  April 30, 2013 at 3:30 pm

    The dirty little secret of SEO is that problems are often easy to find. Unfortunately they are often incredibly hard to fix.

  • Jeremy Page  April 30, 2013 at 3:44 pm

    Wow, props. I followed your post from Danny Sullivan’s and you were spot on. I have also had other issues fixed with Google after claiming Google Places

    • Andrew Shotland  April 30, 2013 at 3:47 pm

      Thanks Jeremy. Based on Danny’s post, it’s unclear if they have already claimed their G+L page or not. It sounds like they have claimed it but it keeps getting overwritten. If this is the case, they have to fix the NAP consistency issues.

  • Phil Rozek  May 1, 2013 at 3:59 am

    “Looks like the algo is working it’s magic (or someone at G pressed a button).”

    Someone at Google had already pressed a button…with his nose, when he fell asleep on the controls. The normal, sensible search results came back when he woke up and took his sleepy noggin home.

    I wonder if Dana Point Jet Ski (the business) would run into trouble with their business name; it’s awfully search-engine-friendly. Some directories – not to mention Google – might pooh-pooh it, if they haven’t already. (Might explain some of the NAP inconsistency you found.)

  • Alan  May 1, 2013 at 5:46 am

    Did you check the DMOZ listing? It seems that Google often pulls results from there, but there is code you can use to stop it.

  • bill bean  May 1, 2013 at 6:20 am

    Useful case study.

    “easy to find, incredibly hard to fix” seems like a good maxim for local seo

  • Linda Buquet  May 1, 2013 at 8:26 am

    4 edits are pending trying to change the URL to the right website.

    There are a bunch of other issues with this one too that may be contributing to Google’s confusion.

    There is a listing for “Dana Point Harbor Beach” at the same address and same phone#. See both here http://goo.gl/maps/uiaFU

    Plus going back in MM history, when this listing was 1st added the business name was listed as: “Dana Point Harbor – Kayaking Beach” and address was “Kayaking BeachDana Point, Los Angeles” (So it was messed up from the beginning then the name changed on the listing which creates other problems.)

    Then on the ‘other’ listing – the Harbor Beach listing – a bot added to categories “Canoe & Kayak Tour Agency”. And at another time a bot added the name “Dana Point Harbor – Kayaking Beach” to the Harbor Beach listing.

    So these two are over-clustered and all mixed up. Check out the MM history of both here: http://goo.gl/bLbkd

    This one def falls into Andrew’s “incredibly hard to fix” bucket.

  • Andrew Shotland  May 1, 2013 at 9:30 am

    +1 Linda (is there a +1 comments plugin?)

    Alan, I had not checked the DMOZ listing. It doesn’t seem like that’s the issue here, but then again, you never know.

  • Shane Kretzmann  May 2, 2013 at 9:23 pm

    I’m so glad I haven’t come across this issue with a client. I can’t even imagine having to figure this one out, let alone trying to explain it lol

    • Andrew Shotland  May 2, 2013 at 9:47 pm

      Good thing Will never reads local search blogs…

  • Dorothea  May 3, 2013 at 12:12 pm

    My guess: somebody pushed a button. The coincidence in this case is just to big.