Duplicate GMB Listing and What You Should Know



Lately, many have asked how to manage duplicate listings in Google My Business especially since MapMaker is sleeping with the fishes. The following outlines some of the best practices on different scenarios for how to proceed when this happens.

A good place to begin is to look up if the listing is verified. Listings with “claim this business” or “own this business” selections are not verified. If it does not have either of these labels, it is verified – resistance is futile until you have it unverified or until you have ownership (if you own it in GMB). You gotta nail this before you move on to what’s below.



Storefronts

  • Verify if the address on the two listings is the same. Contact Google My Business support to merge the two listings if the unverified copy has the same address as the verified listing
  • Determine if the business was once at that address if they don’t match
  • If that address is whack and has nothing to do with the business:
    • Utilize Maps to pull up the listing
    • Select “Suggest an edit”
    • Adjust the toggle next to “Place is permanently closed” to Yes
    • Click “Never existed” for the reason and submit. *Caution: have reviews on the listing transferred before you do this.
  • You will want to have the duplicate tagged as moved if it lists an old address (there at some point but moved)

Service area business

  • Verify if the address on the two listings is the same. Contact Google My Business support to merge the two listings if the unverified copy has the same address as the verified listing
  • Service area business is not allowed on Google Maps, so if the duplicate is not verified you can have it deleted. Google My Business will permit them, but unverified listings will use Google Maps rules, not Google My Business. To have it deleted:
    • Find the listing on Maps
    • Select “Suggest an edit”
    • Adjust the toggle next to “Place is permanently closed” to Yes
    • Click the reason as “Private” and click submit. *Caution: have reviews on the listing transferred before you do this.

 

Listings for Practitioners

Professionals such as lawyers, doctors dentists, etc… are permitted to maintain their listings that are detached from an office they occupy unless it’s the only office they occupy. This would be considered a “solo practitioner” and therefore should only have one listing, constructed as “Business Name: Professional Name.”

Solo practitioner: two listings

Easiest set-up to repair because practitioners should only have one listing. If you happen to be showing a listing for your practice and the practitioner, request Google My Business to combine the two and it will automatically merge the ranking strengths. Your new listing will show combined reviews as well (if each listing had reviews). There is one situation where you should not request the two be combined – if both listing rank together and holding two of the three spots in the 3-pack – this is very uncommon.

 

Listing for Multi-practitioners

You will not be able to remove or merge the listings if the business has multiple practitioners and they still work there. These quite frequently already exist and no one knows what to do except prevent them from competing with a listing for the practice.

A smart approach would be to organize having multiple listings rank if there are different specializations. For example, if your offices house an OBGYN and a pediatrician, you can link them. Marry the two by having the pediatrician listing link to a page on the site that ranks highly for an OBGYN and having the OBGYN link to a page that ranks highest organically for pediatrician terms. This enhances pages visibility instead of having them compete.

A law office is another example. Having the main listing optimized for terms like “law firm” and then link it to a lawyer who specializes in personal injury law. Link this with another lawyer who specializes in criminal law. The advantage is the organic ranking is now linked for several different keywords.

Note, it is an unrealistic strategy on Google to monopolize the entire 3-pack by trying to aim for having three of your listings all rank for the same keyword. Filters are maintained that prevent the same website from appearing too many times in the results. If you happen to be in a niche market, this is all but impossible to accomplish.

Ex-employee Practitioners

It’s not uncommon to see listing for practitioners that have moved on from your business. When finding a listing for a former practitioner, you will need to contact Google My Business and request they mark the listing as moved in the practice listing. It’s very important to ensure it is moved to your office listing and not the business at which this practitioner is currently employed. If you want to actually see why this is – bad, bad very bad – here’s a case study to show you why.

If it’s a verified listing, things become problematic because Google My Business cannot transport it until it’s unverified – the horror! If the practitioner is refusing permission that allows you to remove it, the next best thing is to persuade them to update the listing with their current info. Only use this as a last resort as this is not ideal.

Employee Listings (not public-facing)

You might discover a listing for an employee that is non-public-facing and it should not be on Maps. Some examples would include a hygienist at a dental office or a nurse at a doctor’s office. It is possible to have this listing removed by:

  • Populate Maps and find the listing
  • Select “Suggest an edit”
  • Adjust the toggle next to “Place is permanently closed…” to Yes
  • Click “Never existed” for the reason and select submit

Practitioner listings for the deceased

Yikes… probably a painful situation to manage, but it happens. The resolution mirrors the treatment for someone who has left the practice. There is one further step to perform – because the listing is most likely verified, you won’t have access to their Google account. Make it a point to explain to Google My Business help that the person has passed away and include the URL to their obituary as a reference for them. It is best to use Twitter or Facebook for this URL.

Producing practitioner listings

If this listing is newly created, issues could arise if attempting to do it from the Google My Business dashboard already linked to a verified listing for the practice. This is the error you will see:

You have two options:

  1. Generate the listing via Google Maps. You can accomplish this by searching the address and selecting “Add a missing place.” No inclusion should be made for the practice/firm name in the title or this will probably not go through. Google Maps will send you an email acknowledging the listing was added successfully and you can claim it on GMB.
  2. Request help by contacting GMB support.