45 percent of customers say they’re more likely to visit businesses that respond to their reviewsOnline Reviews Survey
The Problem: Duplicate Google Listings
Duplicate Google listings are a problem because:
- They confuse potential consumers, and may result in loss of traffic and revenue.
- Your ranking strength and your reviews will be divided up among the listings, instead of being concentrated into a single authoritative listing.
- They actually violate Google My Business guidelines, which means you could be at risk of being penalized by Google at anytime, or even having your listing taken down.
How Do Duplicate Google Listings Happen?
There are several possible causes why duplicate listings on Google happen. Here are some of them:
It automatically happened because Google picked up the data from multiple sources. Google aggregates data from various third-party providers. If this data includes variants (say, “XYZ Insurance Agents” and “ZYX Insurance Agency”), it could lead to the creation of duplicate listings.
Your business information changed. Change of address or a new phone number? Gone through a business rebrand? Update the original listing instead of creating a new one. Otherwise, duplicate GMB listings could happen.
Spammers (or your competitors) duplicated your listing. The battle for search engine visibility is a fierce one. Spammers could intentionally duplicate a business listing to boost search engine performance. Or your competitors might have deliberately messed around with your data to adversely affect your rankings.
You (or someone in your team) might have created a new listing instead of claiming an existing one. When claiming a business on Google or on some other platform, there’s usually a search box to help you determine if the business is already listed or not. But if the business has, at some point, changed its address or phone number or name, there’s a chance that you might not search for the right information to find the listing. Which could then lead to you creating a new listing instead of editing the already existing one.
What to Do When You Have Duplicate GMB Listings
First, Get Your Business Verified
If you would like to correct or update your Google My Business listing, the first step is to get your business verified on Google.
To find out if the listing is verified or not, search for the business on Google Maps.
- If the listing has an “own this business” or “claim this business” option, it is not currently verified.
- If the listing is missing that label, it means it is verified, and there isn’t really much you can do until you’re able to claim ownership of the listing or have it unverified. (Follow these instructions to claim ownership of a listing that’s already verified.)
Remove the Duplicate Business Location in Your GMB Account
If you add a location that’s already been verified in Google My Business, it won’t appear on Google Maps and will be marked as a “Duplicate location” in your account.
If you see this when you log into Google My Business, here’s what you should do:
- In your “Account Summary,” click “Duplicate Locations”.
- Click into the location you want to remove.
- Click “Delete This Listing.”
Please note: When you remove the duplicate google listing, make sure that you’re not removing the location that’s already been verified. Otherwise you’ll need to verify that again.
Report Duplicate Locations on Google Maps
You can also try to remove a duplicate listing by reporting it on Google Maps. Here’s how to do it:
- Open Google Maps, then find the business location you want to report.
- Click “Suggest an edit.”
- Mark the location as “Place is permanently closed or has never existed,” with “Duplicate” as the reason.
- Click Submit.
Merge Google My Business Pages
You can also merge a duplicate google listings with the one you’re managing (therefore retaining the duplicate’s reviews).
It may take some time, though. You’ll have to reach out to Google My Business Support. Fill out this form so that you can talk to a GMB specialist, and make sure you have ready the URL of the verified listing that you want to keep, as well as the URL of the duplicate listing that you would like to merge.