Does Merging Google My Business Listings Help Ranking?
This article is part 4 of 9 from my LocalU presentation from March 2020. If you missed the event, the videos are available for purchase here.
Duplicate listings are a problem that has always existed in the local search world. Although Google has drastically improved its ability to flag duplicate listings that get created, the system is far from perfect and we still see a large number of duplicate listings on Google Maps.
The main reason why you’d want to deal with duplicate listings is because of the filter. If you have multiple listings at the same location, Google will usually pick which one they show, and it’s not always the one you want.
Does merging 2 listings help increase ranking? Often people think that when they have a duplicate listing, the best option is to get it deleted from Google Maps. Depending on the situation, it’s not always a good idea to do that.
We helped a dentist that had a duplicate listing that was marked as permanently closed. It shared the same address, had a different phone number, and an almost-identical name.
A few days after we had Google My Business support merge the main listing with the duplicate, we saw huge spikes in local rankings (ranking tool used = Whitespark).
We’ve seen this same pattern in many other cases as well. In this other example, both the main listing and the duplicate listing ranked. When we had Google merge them, the result was basically like combining the ranking power of both listings (ranking tool used = Local Falcon).
When Google My Business Won’t Merge Listings
If the addresses/locations on the 2 listings aren’t the same, Google will often mark the listing as “moved”. This is not the same thing as a merge and we don’t see the same positive impact on ranking.
Additionally, if the duplicate listing is actually a listing for a practitioner that works there, Google won’t merge it unless the business only has a single practitioner.
There seems to be ranking equity that comes along with an aged Google My Business listing. To make sure you make the most of this, I’d suggest the following.
- If you’re purchasing a new business, make sure you get access to the Google My Business listing so you can update it instead of creating a new one.
- If you’re moving your business, update the existing listing, don’t create a new one.
- Check for duplicate listings and if you find listings, have Google My Business merge them.
Questions? Let me know in the comments section.
This Post Has 11 Comments
What is the best process right now to ask for listings to be merged? I am struggling with getting that attention from GMB.
Currently, the only way to contact GMB support is via this help form. https://support.google.com/business/gethelp
When you submit a request there, it will send you an auto-responder via email. You need to reply to that auto-responder and you should hear from someone in 48 hrs.
My business is registered in Canada but I provide a service outside of the country. Would it be better if I used an address in the country I provide the service in?
Yes, it would.
Hey Joy! Thanks for this blog post. Is merging listings a new thing? I researched this a few months ago, and my understanding was that merging loses all reviews, etc. Is that no longer the case? I have a client with two listings, both of which have 20+ reviews (they didn’t know about one of them), and I’d love to get those combined. Thanks so much!
Hey Jacques. Definitely not a new thing. You shouldn’t lose any reviews when a merge is done but I would be clear to tell Google you want the reviews moved as well when you request they merge the listings.
Ever seen a negative impact to rankings after a merge of two listings for the same business at the same address (names being a bit different)? We just did one where anecdotally, it looks like rankings took a significant hit. But still a bit early, so will need to look at data as time progresses.
Yes. If they merged the stronger listing into the weaker listing (instead of vice versa), it could have a negative impact.
Thanks for confirming, Joy. What’s interesting in this case is that the CID URL for the weaker one redirects to the stronger one. So on the surface, it looks like they did things right…