Google My Business Changes How They Deal With Practitioner Listings - Sterling Sky Inc

Google My Business Changes How They Deal With Practitioner Listings

About a month ago, Google My Business support changed the process of how they handle practitioner listings.  I did announce this to my local SEO training subscribers in May but also wanted to publish a public guide on it.

Multi-Practitioner Businesses

If a business has multiple practitioners and has a practitioner who no longer works for them, there are 3 different scenarios that would describe why that person is now gone.

The practitioner retired

The process for this has changed.  Previously, if you had a practitioner that retired, the default response you’d get from Google My Business (GMB) support would be to mark the listing as closed.  This is a horrible experience for the business since many of their clients/patients would be searching and thinking the entire business is closed.  Google will now entirely remove the listing from Google Maps if you specifically request that.

The practitioner is deceased

Similar to the above scenario, Google My Business would default to marking the listing as permanently closed.  I personally find this messaging even more terrible for someone who is dead.  No one wants to see that.  In these cases, Google will now entirely remove the listing from Google Maps if you specifically request that.

The practitioner now works elsewhere

Nothing has changed for this scenario.  The correct action here is still to update the listing with the new location’s information.  Not exactly ideal for the business but Google My Business considers the true owner of a practitioner listing the person it names, not the business they work for.


Solo-Practitioner Businesses

We often run into scenarios with dentists and insurance agents where a business will purchase another business that was run by a solo-practitioner.  For example, this State Farm Insurance agent took over for another State Farm agent and kept the same customers and often the same phone number or address.  In these cases, Google My Business won’t update the listing for you (they can’t change a practitioner listing to another practitioner) and their default response was just to mark the listing for the old practitioner as closed.  This is particularly troublesome for solo-practitioners considering they often only have 1 listing total so there isn’t a separate practice listing that they can get control of.

In these cases, Google will now entirely remove the listing from Google Maps if you specifically request that.

If you’re bringing these cases to the Google My Business support team, be aware that since this is a new process there is a possibility that they might tell you that they have to mark it closed.  Feel free to reference this article if that’s the case – I’ve already had several of these successfully completed.

Personally, I’m very happy about this change and give a big kudos to the individuals over at Google that helped make it happen.

12 replies on "Google My Business Changes How They Deal With Practitioner Listings"

  1. Joy –
    “if you specifically request that” this means I still need to contact GMB support team and request for it. Right now in the dashboard it still gives us 2 options: “Mark as permanently closed” or “Remove listing” which only remove to the dashboard.
    Right now what we still doing is report it via “Suggest an edit” link.

  2. Joy, just wondering what do you request from Google if a Dentist is selling his entire practice to another Dentist? Do you ask them to remove the current listing and replace it with your new one? What if the practice is a single practitioner do you really need to do anything in this case?

    1. Hey Ken,
      I would generally suggest you get access to it so you can keep all the reviews and history. If you don’t want to do that, or are unable to, you can ask Google to completely remove it per what this article mentions.

  3. I was excited to hear about this option as I work with a very large orthopedic practice and have to deal with physicians with popular GMB listings retiring from time to time. BUT I called GMB Support today and was told repeatedly that the only way to deal with retiring physicians is to mark the business as permanently closed, even when I explained that the physician is retiring and asked a few times if there was any possible alternative so searchers don’t see a “permanently closed” message that would make them think our entire location was closed. The support person ended the conversation by quickly mumbling something about a survey and the call cut off with no survey. -_-

    1. I’d suggest using social support (Twitter or Facebook) and even include a link to this article.

  4. Does GMB Support ever ask for any type of supporting evidence for the situations where a complete removal takes place? Obviously they can look at a website to confirm a practitioner is no longer present, but that could be the result of a practitioner simply moving to another practice… Or since this article sounds like a the ticket to get it done, maybe that’s all that’s needed.

    Also, since we know Google does not like to get rid of data, I wonder if listings that are totally removed really are… you know, actually really removed 🙂

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