GMB Listing Not Showing Up? Check the Local Algorithmic Filter

Posted on July 23rd, 2021 at 1:00 PM

Is Your GMB Listing Not Showing Up? It Could Be the Local Algorithmic Filter

Note: Before we delve into this particular case of the Google My Business filter, we want to point out that the most common reason that a business listing is not showing up on Google Maps is that the business lacks authority. If your GMB listing is not ranking well, you might think that your listing is missing, when in reality the listing is just not displaying widely.

There is a difference between a GMB listing not ranking well because it is not optimized, and a listing not showing up because it is getting filtered. Make sure your listing is optimized.

What is the Local Algorithmic Filter?

The GMB filter is the part of the Google Maps algorithm that decides what business listings to display (or not display) when there are multiple similar listings that are in close proximity to one another. If there are many listings that have the same primary category or are named very similarly within a short distance of each other, the algorithm will choose only the strongest ones to display and filter out the rest.

This situation occurs frequently with lawyers, as law offices are often found within the same building and/or clustered around court buildings. With so many law offices to choose from, Google will display the most authoritative listings unless the search parameters are more specific.

Examples of the GMB Filter

Let’s take a look at this filtering effect with an actual example.

A search for “San Diego Lawyer” yields five pages of lawyer results, which is about 100 listings. These listings are found in various buildings across the area.

Google Maps Algorithm Filter for Lawyers

Now, let’s narrow down our search results within a specific building on this map

In this search, Google tells us there are six pages worth, or about 120 lawyer listing results just for this one building alone.

GMB Filter for Lawyers

If only one building contains 120 lawyers listings, why did the first search show us only 100 results? That’s the Google Maps filter in action.

Note that the filter works on a per keyword basis. A listing that doesn’t show up for one search because it is getting filtered, may display prominently for a slightly different search.

GMB Filtering Affecting New Locations for Chains

The pattern shown above is the most common way the filter will be applied, but the filter can also affect chain or franchise businesses. This occurs when a new business location is opened near an existing established location.

If the new location is named the same as an existing nearby location as often occurs with chains, the new location will be overshadowed by the older location (that has much more ranking authority) and the new location will not be displayed until it gets more established.

Duplicate GMB Listings Can Cause Filtering

If a location has an unknown duplicate listing at the same address, this can cause the original listing to get filtered. This is counterintuitive as the duplicate listing is sometimes not even verified and usually has fewer reviews than the “good” listing. Nevertheless, sometimes the Google Maps algorithm will choose to display the duplicate listing while hiding the stronger entry.

Duplicate filtering cases are easily spotted by a business owner, as they recognize that the number of reviews is lower than it should be, although they may not realize that the listing they are looking at is a duplicate.

What is the Difference Between Getting Filtered and Ranking Poorly?

When a listing is ranking poorly, it will generally rank further down the list of results. But as you move closer to the location of the business, the listing will rank higher.

When a listing is getting filtered, it typically won’t show up at all, even when checking on top of the listing location. Google has decided that (at least one) other nearby listing is a much better match for the query and won’t display the filtered one.

The example above used lawyers, but the filter can affect any category of business. If there are competitors with the same primary GMB category, located near each other (within about 200 yards, to give a rough number), and have overlapping keywords in the GMB name, the filter can take effect.

How To Tell if Your Listing is Getting Filtered?

To know if your listing is getting filtered, perform a search on Google Maps while zoomed in on your location. If your listing does not show up in the results sidebar while nearby competitors are displayed, then your listing might be getting filtered.

One way to check if a listing is being filtered is by moving the google map slightly after a search.

Notice below, that after the map is moved (dragged), some of the red pins change. The new pins that appeared are listings that were filtered out from the original search.

Checking the Google My Business Maps Filter by Moving the Map

How to Fix Your Listing if it is Filtered on Google Maps?

Depending on the three filtering scenarios listed above, there are different tactics you will want to attempt. They are not guaranteed to work, but they will give you some chance to get the algorithm to update itself.

In the first case, the filter is being applied to a listing because the listing does not have enough authority compared to its competitors.

To remedy this situation, GMB and website optimization will need to be performed to increase the listing’s authority. If the listing is being filtered due to a name similarity, changing the name of the listing may be the quickest way to get out of the filter. If the competitor listing causing the filtering is fake or is keyword-stuffed, then reporting the listing is the best course of action.

When a new listing is filtered due to an existing listing in the same franchise or chain, it is more difficult to correct. Oftentimes, these listings all have the same associated website, so performing SEO on the website will not have any effect. Instead, ensure that directory citations are created and indexed, the GMB profile is filled out completely, and the GMB posts feature is being used weekly. At that point, time will correct the issue.

In the last case of filtering due to a duplicate listing, the duplicate listing needs to be merged with the original listing. This can be done by contacting Google support. Be very clear when communicating with support which is the “good” listing and which is the “bad” listing because errors have been known to happen.

Believe it or not, there are a lot of nuances and minor technical issues that can cause a listing to get filtered that were not even covered in this article. There is an infinite number of scenarios on Google Maps and although the scenarios covered above will apply to most filtering issues, there may be other situations where a GMB listing is not being displayed properly.

If you think that your listing is getting filtered and none of the fixes here are working for you, join our Local Search Discussion Facebook Group to ask our help community for more ideas.

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