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Hi all, I am faced with a strange issue and I suspect Google is punishing our website on a keyword level.

Our Homepage ranks for everything except the word "Miami". As soon as I use this keyword in a long tail search, our website is no where to be found on Google results (I mean no where) but as soon as I delete or replace that keyword from the long tail search we immediately start ranking.

I need help diagnose the issue since I couldn't figure out why Google is punishing our website for this particular keyword.

Quick Summary:

Our home page is targeting the phrase "Mobile App Development Miami, Florida". I used this phrase on our Meta title, meta description, H1 title and in paragraphs. From SEO standpoint my aim was to rank our home page for this exact phrase. 

The Issue:

Now the problem is, our home page ranks for everything except the keyword "Miami". Here are the keyword search results:

Mobile app development Miami     -------- No Rank

Mobile app development Florida   -------- First page

App development Miami                 -------- No rank

App development Florida               -------- First Page

Mobile development Miami             -------- No rank

Mobile development Florida           -------- First Page

ios development miami                   -------- No rank

ios development Florida                  -------- First Page

android development miami            -------- No rank

android development Florida        -------- First Page

Application development Miami      -------- No rank

Application development Florida    -------- First Page

And the list goes on like this.


Now when I say no rank I mean its no where, I can see our unrelated inner pages ranking for Miami related searches but our home page that supposed to cover this keyword is invisible on Google results. 

My Findings:

To me it looks like we are being punished for this specific keyword (Miami) so my instinct was to see if there is keyword stuffing going on or any unnatural keyword use. This particular keyword is only mentioned 6 times on our homepage so there is no stuffing. I can also see some of our competition ranking on first page using this keyword well over 12 times still ranking very well. I also have keywords like "app" and "mobile" that are mentioned 15 and 12 times respectively and still ranking well. 

I just cannot see a reason why this particular keyword is banned by Google. Why the keyword Miami? It's just bizarre for me and I really need an experts opinion on the issue. Otherwise without knowing the problem I will not be able to solve this issue.

If you guys can take a look at our home page and see if you guys can spot something please let me know. I would greatly appreciate any help you can give me in working this problem.

P.S: I don't have any warnings on my Webmaster tools so this is not a manual penalty. I guess this is some sort of Algorithmic penalty.

P.S: I am not talking about the **Google MAP** result. We appear on Google MAP but I am talking about normal Google search results.

  • JB

    Jesse Boskoff

    about 4 years ago #

    For what it's worth, I do see you on page 1 of search results for every term you mentioned above. You may want to make sure you're logged out of Google and opted out of personalized results based on your search history (https://google.com/history/optout).

  • KK

    Kevin Kelly

    about 4 years ago #

    I see you guys in the local search results, but not in the organic search results. So it definitely looks like you have an issue.

    It does not look like you are being penalized specifically for "Miami". You show up for other terms that include Miami like "Miami Mobile Web App Development" & "Mobile App Development Miami Florida". Your site even shows up for a different city in Florida - "Mobile App Development Fort Lauderdale".

    It's really hard to figure out why, without access to GWT - but here is a theory - you are being penalized for terms that end in "Miami". (all the terms you have pasted, end in Miami), I would check your GWT to see if this is true. If so then, for some reason Google is not reading the "Miami" in your html title correctly. I tried to find sites that show up for both Miami and Florida for your main search term and found a bunch of them - appworksinc.com, sdsol.com, softaddicts.com & simpalm.com - and therefore it looks like this is an issue only with your website. Since you show up as the first local result, Google knows that you are located in Miami.

    Here are a few things you could try with minimal risk

    1. Change your title from "Mobile App Development Miami Florida | iOS | iPhone | Android" to "Mobile App Development In Miami, Florida - iOS | iPhone | Android"

    2. Change your H1 from (

    Custom Mobile App Development
    Miami, Florida

    ) to (

    Custom Mobile App Development Miami, Florida


    Google indexes site changes pretty quickly, so you should know in a few days. If you suddenly start appearing for these terms you know, that this is the right track.

    It would be interesting to the community if you do see some changes and so please post back and let us know.

  • KK

    Kevin Kelly

    about 4 years ago #

    Apologies for the issues with formatting (I pasted html code. Duh!). Unable to edit it now.

    For 2. Remove the html line break in the h1

  • EL

    Earl Lear

    about 4 years ago #

    The answer is kind of simple, you are over-optimizing. Wordpress out of the gate is terrible for an over-optimizing penalty. I have an excellent pdf on it but I can't find it at the moment.

    BTW, you are doing a wonderful job on this if you are noticing this level of granular material! Will reply if I find the pdf, but I whoud try cutting down to using 'Miami' to around 1.5% keyword density and see if you can get it to stick, 1.5% I mean by the total quantity in the source of your page! If your categories and tags have the word Miami in the it will really hurt you.

    Try it, it works :-)