What Do I Do If There’s a Duplicate Google My Business Listing?
Your dealership’s doing great online, you have a fully optimized Google My Business listing (and, if you don’t, stop now and read on my blog on it) that you’re updating and using to interact with users on a daily basis. But then you spot it, something that looks awfully familiar, but just slightly off. It has all the information (or at least the main parts of it) of your dealership, but on a GMB profile that isn’t yours. That’s a duplicate GMB listing out in the wild. We need to tame it and take control of it, or get it taken care of (humanely, of course). This handy blog that follows will guide you through what the big problem with duplicate GMBs is, how to make sure your own is verified and how to report and deal with those pesky duplicate GMB listings.
Why Do Duplicate GMB Listings Exist?
There are several reasons why a duplicate GMB listing could exist, and they’re all a pain in the butt:
- Someone internally created a new listing: We’ve seen this happen multiple times, and it’s especially common with dealerships who have many different offerings like Sales, Service, Parts and Financing. Given a dealership and their many moving parts and areas of expertise, there’s a case to be made to have multiple listings for these divisions, but it takes a lot to maintain and handle. Unless it’s part of a concerted strategy led by strategists who know what they’re doing, it can cause more harm than good. For example, this means someone on the financing team can’t just create a new GMB listing for the Finance Department, with all the same business and address information as the dealership as a whole. It’s still under the dealership umbrella and can’t be separated like that, as it’s still a part of the same business. Make sure nobody is taking it upon themselves to create a separate GMB listing within your business, it can unknowingly cause problems like this, especially if nobody knows about the pitfalls. There are exceptions, though, maybe you have a specialized used vehicle centre on your same address lot, and as long as you have proper year-round separate signage, a separate business name, phone numbers (answered by someone from that business) and categories, you should be able to have multiple listings at the same address. For any eligibility questions, to possibly see if one of your services or separate business offerings are eligible for its own GMB, be certain to check with Google’s guidelines for representing your business to make sure everything you’re representing online is correct and in-line with their practices.
- Someone externally created a new listing: Maybe a customer searched for your listing and for whatever reason didn’t find the original one, so they were a keener and created another profile on their own, even with the correct listing still in existence. It has happened, and is another reason for duplicate GMBs you have to be on the lookout for.
- Spam: Perhaps your competition is feeling nefarious, causing them to make another listing of yours just to mess with you, or maybe one of your employees doesn’t understand SEO and thought that adding another listing would somehow boost ranking performance (like we covered above). Hint: it doesn’t. But it still remains a popular reason for duplicate listings.
- Incorrect Handling of Updated Information: Did your dealership change names, phone number, address or anything else of the sort? Cool, but hopefully you didn’t just create a whole new profile, that’ll just lead to duplicates and trouble. Stick with the one profile and update that sole one as needed. Avoid the duplicates.
- Google created one: Google can’t be perfect all the time (even though they try) and quite possibly could’ve aggregated data from a third-party listing that incorrectly triggered a listing when one already exists. Bad Google! But we can’t just ignore it.
What’s the Issue with Duplicate GMB Listings?
Why a duplicate GMB listing is a problem might be obvious to some, but it’s worth spelling out so you understand why you can’t just ignore one and go about your business as usual. Google is all about delivering the user the best and most relevant answer to their query, and if a duplicate listing is floating around with a lot of the same information as your correct business information, it can easily slot over your correct one. We encountered this issue recently with a client of ours, where an employee of the dealership made a duplicate listing, with all the same important business information as the primary listing, which started to usurp the correct GMB profile, making it not show up at all and only display the incorrect duplicate listing. That’s an issue, and not only for just overtaking your profile in ranking; it can also filter away reviews (which will negatively impact your profile ranking) and customer engagement. The kicker is that the user will most likely be none the wiser as to what is the “correct” listing (after all, they were most likely searching for it in the first place to find information on the business that a GMB presents), and may unknowingly be interacting with a profile that’s not the right one, who is presenting incorrect information, and we don’t want that. Okay, so, you see a duplicate listing, you’re tired of me yammering on about why they’re bad, you get it, and you just want me to tell you how to fix it. Fine, but we need to clear something up first.
Verify Your GMB Listing
Let’s make sure your own bases are covered. Yes, you’ve created or claimed your own GMB profile, but we need to make sure you as the business owner/manager are the one who has primary access to the business listing. That’s where verification comes in. It’s dead simple to verify your business, and ever-generous Google has given you a variety of ways to do so, from mail to phone to email and more. Once you got that covered, you’re in good standing. Now, when dealing with a duplicate we need to check if that listing is verified or not because that’ll affect the direction of our next steps. If the listing says “Claim This Business” or “Own This Business” then that means it’s unverified and you’ll be able to take it over and remove it or merge them through Google’s help. If it is verified, things get a little tougher, as you need to be the owner of both to merge or close the duplicate one down, which means trying to contact the owner or Google themselves.
Reporting and Removing a Duplicate GMB Listing
So, what do you do if you spot a duplicate listing out in the wild? If you found one in Google Maps all you need to do is click “Suggest An Edit” then mark it as “Permanently Closed or Never Existed,” then mark “duplicate” as your reasoning. This is a quick and simple method that allows you to do it right from the profile on Google Maps. If the duplicate has the same address as yours, and they’re both verified, you have to unverify the duplicate and merge them. If you don’t have ownership of one, like mentioned earlier, you have to gain ownership of it. If only one is verified, then reach out to Google to have them merged. If you yourself have added a listing with an address already verified in GMB, it’ll show up in your account under the Account Summary section under Duplicate Locations, where you can simply delete it from there. Getting rid of duplicates isn’t really all that tricky, as long as you have the proper ownership, and when in doubt, get in contact with Google.
This is all to say, don’t freak out if you see a duplicate listing of your Google My Business profile anywhere across the web. It’s, unfortunately, more common than you think, but with proper knowledge and following the correct steps, it’s easy to ensure only your proper GMB listing is the last one standing.