Google My Business listings offer a great way of getting users to your site, and even directly to your business. But as an almost entirely automated system, there is a lot that can go wrong with them, and they can be difficult to fix.
The most common problems are duplicate listings, or incorrect information. The first thing you’ll need to do is check whether the listings are “verified.” If the listing has a link that says “Own this business?” then it’s not verified, and you can claim it, which involves associating it with a Google account, and then receiving the verification postcard, which is the usual means of verifying a business. (Sometimes other means can be used, but getting Google to agree to that can be difficult.)
Google My Business identifies a business listing by three main factors, Name of business, Telephone Number and address. It becomes very difficult for Google My Business to differentiate which is the correct listing if any of these three factors are duplicated. This causes a lot of issues for businesses because Google could see other listings as spam.
If the business listing is already verified, you should get in touch with the current listing holder and request admin rights to the listing. If you have trouble getting in touch with the current listing owner there is a form you can fill in and submit to Google My Business for assistance on gaining access to the listing.
There are a range of different scenarios that can crop up with duplicate listings. Below, we’ll cover some of the most common, and some solutions that are usually effective:
When There’s Two Listing For The Same Business.
- Should the addresses on both listings match, check if the listings are verified. If one isn’t verified, Contact Google My Business and request for them to merge the two listings. If they are both verified, you will need to un-verify one of the listing before merging them because Google My Business is unable to merge two verified listings
- Should both the listings be verified and you only have ownership of one of them, you should first get ownership of the other listing by requesting admin access from the current listing holder, or by contacting Google My Business and have them assist you to gain access. Only when you have ownership of both listings can they be merged.
- If the addresses don’t match, find out if the duplicate business listing once resided at that address. If at some point it did exist at the address, you should go on Google Maps of the duplicate listing and select “Suggest an edit” tab, select “Place permanently closed or Moved” option and indicate that the business has moved to a different address then submit the entry.
- If the duplicate business listing has never resided at the address, you should go to listing on Maps and select the “Suggest an edit” tab then select the “never existed or Permanently closed” option and submit the entry.
- Should there be review or ratings on the duplicate listing, have them transferred before submitting the edited entry.
Listing For The Same Business At Different Addresses.
- If the duplicate listing is for an old address that the business used at some point, you should contact Google My Business to change the listing to “Moved”
- If the duplicate listing is at an address that the business never resided at. Go to Google Maps settings of the listing, select “Suggest an edit” select “Place permanently closed” and select the “Never existed” option then submit the entry.
Service Area Business Listings.
- Should the duplicate listings be verified, you should have it unverified or request admin access to the listing. Once you have, contact Google My Business and ask them to merge the two addresses.
- Should the duplicate listing not be verified, you could have it removed from Google Maps by going on google maps and selecting “Suggest an edit” tab, Select the “Permanently closed” tab and change listing to “Private” then submit entry. Private listings aren’t allowed on Google Maps.
Practitioner And Professional Listings.
- These refer to listings for doctors, lawyers, realtors etc, they are allowed their own listings apart from the office where they work. They are only allowed one listing which is under “Business Name: Professional’s Name” listing.
- Solo Practitioners with two listings are an easy fix because Google doesn’t allow two listing for a solo practitioner. In the case where there’s two different listings for the same practitioner at the same address, you should contact Google My Business and have the listings merged.
- Listings for a practitioner that once worked at the business and doesn’t anymore, you should contact Google My Business and request for the professionals listing changed to “Moved”.
- Listings for non public facing employees (e.g managers, paralegals or nurses), shouldn’t exist on Google Maps. to have the listing removed, you should go to listings on Maps, select the “Permanently closed or never existed” tab and select the “Never existed” tab and submit entry.
- Listings for deceased practitioners should be treated similar to the scenario where a practitioner left the practice. Because these listing are mostly verified, you should contact Google My Business and notify them that the practitioner is deceased. Its recommended to use either facebook or twitter when reporting these types of listings and insert a link to the deceased obituary as proof.
Listings For Multiple Practitioners At The Same Business.
It wouldn’t be ideal for practices that have multiple practitioner listings merge or removed, especially if the practitioners are still working there. An example of these listings could be a law firm that has various lawyers dealing in different legal fields or medical practices that house various doctors specializing in different fields.
In this case it would be beneficial to have the main business website clearly indicating what the business deals with and have different web pages linking to individual practitioners. This could for example list “ABC Medical Center” that house a Dentist (Dr X) and a Gynecologist (Dr Y) and a General Practitioner (Dr Z). So the main website indicates that the business is a medical practice and has pages linking to different services offered by different doctors that all reside at the same listing.
Dealing with Google My Business duplicates can be a bit of a frustrating and tedious experience. Hopefully, if you’re having problems with My Business listings, some of the advice contained herein will help you resolve the issues a it more easily.