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I have a confession (why do so many of my blog posts start out this way?)—I don’t want to write this blog. Why? Because I really don’t want to get started on what a complete and utter shit show I think this whole Google Places and Google+ Local merger has been.
Even Search Engine Land agrees with me:
“Confused about how Google Places is different from Google+ Local? You aren’t alone. Do you need one, both, or neither? Google hasn’t made it easy for small, local businesses to understand, and it’s left many frustrated and annoyed.”
For almost a year now, Google has been saying that it plans to merge Google Places into Google+ Local—that eventually Google Places would cease to exist. Well, it still exists and it’s still as confusing as trying to navigate the New York subway system while intoxicated (I told you not to get me started).
But many businesses have received emails from Google Places lately that at least indicate that Google is trying to eliminate some of the riff-raff.
Google Places Duplicate Listings
Does the email above look familiar? The Google Places Team recently sent an email to many business owners saying:
“We’d like to inform you that Google Places no longer accommodates more than one authorized owner per business location. Your account contains one or more listings that have been identified as duplicates of other listings and as a result, some of the information you provide will not be shown to Google users anymore.
“To get more information or request access to the other listings, please log into your Google Places account.”
Why Did I Get This Email?
Google is attempting to eliminate dual claimed listings. If you received the email above, it means that Google has found duplicate Google Places listings for your business claimed by multiple Google accounts. To remedy this problem, Google has decided to pick one of the accounts and listings to be a dominate one and stop displaying info from the duplicate listings. Unfortunately, Google doesn’t know your business as well as you do, so it doesn’t always know the best listing to choose as the dominant one.
And even more unfortunately, Google doesn’t give you much information to fix the problem except to tell you to log into your Google Places account.
It just gets worse from there. If it turns out Google hasn’t chosen your listing as the dominant one (aka if you received the email above), you’ll probably see the following message when you log in:
“You cannot update this listing because it has been marked as a duplicate of another.”
You’ll get further instructions when you click “Learn more.”
Are you kidding me, Googs? If I’m stabby at this point, I can only imagine how enraged a small business owner would likely be. If you’ve never thought about outsourcing your online marketing before, I bet Google Places will make you want to take the leap. Then I can just throw my laptop through a window while trying to fix your Google Places listing and you can save yourself the cost of the window repair.
If you do want to try to remedy the problem yourself, you can fill out this form or call Google Places phone support.
Deleting Duplicate Google Places Accounts
Once you have access to the dominant Places account, you can log in to the Google Places dashboard to remove duplicate or unverified listings. From your Dashboard, you can now also check the Google+ page associated with that listing.
Once you’re in the dashboard, head over to the unverified listing, scroll to the bottom and hit “remove this listing.”
I realize this is all a gigantic fuster cluck, but hopefully this represents a step Google is making towards cleaning up the mess it’s made with Google Places and Google + Local.
About The Author: Blue Corona is a data-driven online marketing company with offices in Gaithersburg, MD and Charlotte, N.C.
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