Can you merge two Google Business Profile (formerly Google My Business) listings? Yes, you can combine Google Business Profile duplicate listings. Here’s how. In the local SEO world, we frequently run across different scenarios in Google Business Profile (GBP) that involve merging duplicate listings.
Merge 2 Google Business Profile Listings
In order to assess how to merge duplicate Google Business listings, you first have to figure out which types of duplicate listings they are before you can ask Google to combine listings. Google will perform different actions based on the type of duplicate in order to join listings.
- Duplicate listings for storefronts
- Duplicate listings for service area businesses
- Duplicate practitioner listings
Listings for Businesses at Physical Locations (Have Storefronts):
2 GBP 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 or combine or join. Google Business Profile 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 Business Profile and ask them to merge the 2.
Pro-Tip: If you don’t know your login to access your main GBP or the GBP you identified as a duplicate, check out this video on “What to do When You Don’t Know Your Login for Google Business Profile”
2 GBP Listings for the same business at different addresses:
- If the incorrect address is an old address of the business whether nearby or not (they were there at some point in time):
- 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 Business Profile (GBP) to get ownership of both before the Google Business Profile listing can be combined. The GBP 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 Business Profile. Check out this Local Search Forum thread for more detail on that.
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, you need to contact GBP to get the listing updated if the person now works elsewhere. For professional/practitioner listings, the real owner of the listing is the individual, not the company they work for. Therefore, you cannot transfer reviews or other information from a practitioner listing to the practice listing.
- If a listing exists for an employee who is not public-facing 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”.
What’s the Difference Between Merging A GBP Listing & Moving A GBP Listing?
When you join a GBP listing or, in other words, merge a listing, Google takes 2 listings and mashes them together. They usually default to this when the addresses & names on the listings are the same.
A move is when Google takes a listing and points it to another listing, like a 302 redirect. Doing this causes the first listing to vanish from the search results.
Why Should You Care About Duplicate GBP Listings?
Contrary to what you might have heard, duplicate listings are no longer “ranking killers” for SEO. They used to have a negative impact on ranking when I first started in this industry over a decade ago which is why it was important to know how to remove a business listing or how to delete a duplicate Google business page but currently, they are mostly an issue because duplicate listings filter each other due to the Possum update so having multiple listings means that they are competing for the same spot and Google might not choose the one you want to show to the user.
The most common use case I see for why duplicate listings are problematic is when Google is ranking one listing that is pretty blank and has no reviews and is filtering out the listing that has tons of reviews and other Knowledge Panel features, this will affect your local SEO strategies significantly. Although you’d still rank, the loss of reviews on the listing could have a negative impact on how many potential customers actually call you.
Before doing anything listed below, always make sure you check both listings to see if there are reviews that need to be moved.
Here’s a quick video overview where I go some live scenarios that I highlighted above.
Did I miss any scenarios you have come across in your local SEO industry travels? Tell me about it in the comments.
If you’re a local business that needs help ranking on Google in either the 3-pack or organically, at Sterling Sky we can help. We offer SEO audits, consulting, or monthly local SEO services. Contact our office today for more information.
Check out what Ryan had to say about our local SEO services on Google.
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October 15, 2020