When Google first introduced its local maps and business listings there were no penalties for multiple business listings. This led to some businesses trying every trick possible to game the search rankings with multiple listings for one brick and mortar store.
Not one to be tricked, Google has been vigilant in updating its guidelines while still attempting to keep its services useful to business owners of all types. When Google’s business listings upgraded to the Google+ services and became Google+ Local, one of the big focuses was on multiple listings.
Multiple Listings Are Okay If Used Properly
When it first rolled out Google+ Local’s guidelines for multiple listings, it did so while adding a new feature – multiple listings for professional businesses. Buildings that house multiple professionals such as doctors’ offices and law firms could now accommodate multiple listings at one address, so long as each listing had a unique person or department and dedicated phone number associated to the entry.
This was back in March (and we covered it more extensively in our blog). A problem many local businesses are running into is that they are unaware they have multiple listings or multiple Google+ accounts.
Audit Your Office’s Google Accounts and Take Back Control
Perhaps the main reason most businesses are hit with a ranking penalty or a suspension of listings is because they have multiple listings. The tricky part is that these multiple listings may not be on your main listing account, nor will they show as duplicates on your Google Maps search. They’ll be merged into one main listing on the maps, which should be your first clue.
If you’re in your Google+ Local dashboard, examine the content of your listing. Get to know exactly what’s on there, then compare it to what you see on the Google Maps search result for your business. If there are extra pictures or conflicting information, you may have a hidden listing on another account.
How do these listings happen? Sometimes it’s just by error – you’re asked if you have a Google+ Local listing and don’t know, so someone in your office makes one. Similarly, if someone on your team is making a business profile for your company and they ask for a Google+ Local URL, they may just make a fresh one instead of asking if your company already has one.
Most often multiple listings happen when businesses hire a new SEO or marketing professional to help them clean up their local listings. Those SEOs may just go create a new fresh listing rather than tracking down existing listings or optimizing what’s already there. This results in multiple listings and will eventually lead to problems with the guidelines for Google+ Local.
If you’re wondering why your Google+ Local isn’t performing as it should, it’s time to call in a local business listing professional that knows the ropes. We Do Web Content is here to help your business clean up its local act and make sure your best profile is your only profile! Call us at 888-521-3880 orfill out our contact form to get our local business listing optimization team on the case!