Updated: May 3, 2017. Removed references to MapMaker and updated all the processes to reflect what to do on Google Maps. Stay tuned for a much more in-depth version of this to appear on Moz in a couple weeks.
There are so many different scenarios that could exist in the Google My Business (GMB) world when it comes to duplicate listings. The approach you take with them could mean the difference between ranking and not ranking.
Before doing anything listed below, always make sure you check both listings to see if there are reviews that need to be moved.
Listings for Businesses at Physical Locations (Have Storefronts):
2 Listings for the same business at the same address:
- If they are both verified, and you are the owner of both, you need to unverify the listing you want to merge. Google My Business cannot merge 2 verified listings.
- If they are both verified and you only have ownership of one, you will first need to get ownership of both before they can be merged. To start this process, try and claim the listing you do not have control over and it will prompt you on how you can get control from the existing owner.
- If only one is verified, go into Google Maps and get the URL for both the verified and the unverified one and write them down (save this somewhere). Reach out to Google My Business and ask them to merge the 2.
2 Listings for the same business at different addresses
- If the incorrect address is an old address of the business (they were there at some point in time):
- Contact Google My Business through Twitter Support (@googlemybiz) and ask them to mark the old listing as moved.
- If the incorrect address is one that the business has never existed at:
- Go into Google Maps, select “Suggest an Edit”, switch the toggle beside “Place is permanently closed” to “yes”, select “Never Existed” as the reason, and press submit. *Note: if there are reviews on the listing, you should get them transferred before doing this.
Listings for Service Area Businesses (SAB)s Without Storefronts:
2 Listings for the same business at the same address or different addresses
- If they are both verified, you will first need to contact Google My Business (GMB) to get ownership of both before they can be merged. The GMB team will have to merge the 2 for you.
- If only one is verified, go into Google Maps and pull up the unverified listing. Select “Suggest an Edit”, switch the toggle beside “Place is permanently closed” to “yes”, select “Private” as the reason, and press submit. *Note: if there are reviews on the listing, you should get them transferred before doing this
- *Important Note: Unverified listings for SABs should never be marked closed, they should always be removed since they are for private addresses (home addresses) which are not allowed on the map unless they are verified through Google My Business
Listings for Professionals/Practitioners
- Public-Facing professionals (doctors, lawyers, dentists, realtors etc) are allowed their own listings separate from the office they work for unless they are the only public-facing professional at that office. In that case, there should only be one listing formatted as “Business Name: Professional Name”
- If you find an unverified listing for a public-facing professional who no longer works at your location but did at some point, contact GMB support and ask them to mark the listing for the professional that no longer works there as moved to the practice listing. In order to accomplish this, the practitioner listing *must* be unverified. If it’s currently verified you need to get access to it first and delete it from your Google My Business dashboard to make it unverified. For more details on why it absolutely must be done this way, read my case study here.
- If a listing exists for an employee who is not public-facing (ex: a hygienist, nurse, or paralegal) or someone who never worked at that address, you should go into Google Maps, select “Suggest an Edit”, switch the toggle beside “Place is permanently closed” to “yes”, and select “Never Existed”.
Did I miss any scenarios you have come across? Tell me about it in the comments.