LBC Use Case: When NOT to delete an LBC listing

Updated by Joel 03/04/09 9:00 PM EST

The question of how to suspend/delete a duplicate listing in the Local Business Center has always been somewhat confusing. Several readers had reported, and I had experienced, the outcome that if not done properly EVERYTHING IS REMOVED from Maps. It leaves one a little gun shy.

Here is a recap of a recent interchange between myself and Joel, a Google Employee, that has been frequenting the Map’ support areas and providing incredibly useful answers.

My hat is off to Joel and if this is a trend, to Google, for actually putting someone in the Help forums that answers questions and increases our understanding of Maps and the LBC:
***

Question: How do I know which listings I can delete?

Stevenash   

Level 1 2/27/09
I have three listings all with the same name and address.  One has photos the other two don’t.  All three say they have each displayed the same number of times.  The only one I ever actually see displayed has is the one with the photos yet when I deactivate the other two, none show in the search results.  What’s going on? 

All answers

Joel H   

Google Employee 2/27/09
Hi Steve, I see three duplicate listings in your account. It appears as if you’ve suspended two of these listings. These listings are conflated on our maps, and when you choose to suspend one entry in your account, it will suppress the entire listing on Maps. I suggestion you do the following:
1. Click Resume display on Google Maps for each suspended listing. The listings now appear with two links: Edit Delete.
2. Select Delete. A confirmation window appears with two options: Remove this listing from Google Maps & Remove this listing from my Local Business Center account.
3. Select Remove this listing from my Local Business Center account
This way, the listing on Maps will continue to appear. Otherwise, we think you’re trying to remove it. Since all three listings are PIN verified, we accept the last action as the final action on the listing.  Hope that information helps. Cheers, Joel
***
mblumenthal   

Contributor 3/1/09
Joel   

When you remove the listing from the LBC account and it returns to the index as not claimed
1)Is this not a violation of the Guidelines?
and
2)Is the listing not eligible for community editing?
Mike
***
Joel H   

Google Employee 3/1/09
In this case, Steve just has a bunch of duplicates. Notice that he indicates that all three have the same display counts? That’s a clue that the multiple listings in his account are being combine into a single listing on Maps. Removing the extra listings, in my opinion, makes account management a bit simpler.
I’m not sure what part of the guidelines you refer to – I assume you mean having multiple listings for one business? In Steve’s case, it appears he added extra listings by mistake – not to keyword/location spam our system. These mistakes are tolerable and don’t violate the spirit of our quality guidelines.
If all listings are removed from the account, the listings must be re-added & verified in order to update the information, by Steve or anyone else. They aren’t community editable. That functionality may change in the future, but for now, it remains ‘locked.’
***
mblumenthal   

Contributor 3/1/09
OK but then there will be another listing floating around the index that    

1)may not have current information at some future point and 
2)may accrue reviews. 
That doesn’t seem optimal.
Will it ultimately be merged with the original or deleted from the index?
Mike
***
Joel H   

Google Employee 12:50 AM
I’m sorry if there’s confusion.
The listings are already merged. All the listings in Steve’s account are associated with a single location & listing appearing on maps.google.com. That one listing has the current information and accrues reviews.
Make sense?

 ***

mblumenthal   

Contributor 6:42 AM
Joel
I am a little slow on the uptake. The English language is all I have and it seems to be failing in this moment. 

I am going to repeat my understanding, you nod your head yes if I have actually understood…

We have 3 claimed, not suspended (?) listings in the LBC which are identical. They each show the same impressions and views which means that Google has in fact merged/conflated them to one visual record in Maps but has not done so in the LBC. 
The above directions are to:
1. Click Resume display on Google Maps for each suspended listing. The listings now appear with two links: Edit Delete.
2. Select Delete. A confirmation window appears with two options: Remove this listing from Google Maps & Remove this listing from my Local Business Center account.
3. Select Remove this listing from my Local Business Center account
So when I choose Resume display on Google Maps, they will not actually resume display in Maps independently of the conflated cluster and of the main record that I still have in my account? 
***
Joel H   

Google Employee 9:38 AM
Head nodding yes :-)
***
mblumenthal   

Contributor 10:04 AM
Never one to stop at 3 when my understanding could be improved with 4 questions…..   

Are there cases where the same listings do not yet have the same impressions/views and are thus not yet merged? Would the procedure in this case be the same?
Mike
***

Joel H   

Google Employee 10:09 AM
In the case of differing statistics (impressions/views), they are distinct listing on Maps, and Remove this listing from Google Maps is the right option. It’s likely you’ll want to choose the listing with less impressions or views.
***

Joel H

Google Employee
8:57 PM

UPDATE: I got this a bit wrong. I apologize.

The only time you want to remove the listing from Maps is when the business is permanently closed OR you never want it to appear on Maps. If there are duplicates in your account, keep them. When I initially posted, I didn’t think about the ongoing process we have to merge duplicate listings on Maps. Because we do our best to merge duplicate listings on Maps, it’s possible that selecting Remove this listing from Google Maps may actually suppress a preferred listing in the future (the process of conflating listing happens regularly). We’ll keep our eye out for duplicate, Local Business Center verified listings, and work to refine our systems to merge the right listings as soon as we can. Until then, keep the conversation going on this topic, and we’ll be happy to continue to help as best we can. 

————————————————————-

In the case of differing statistics (impressions/views), they are distinct listing on Maps, and Remove this listing from Google Maps is the right option. It’s likely you’ll want to choose the listing with less impressions or views.

Please consider leaving a comment as your input will help me (& everyone else) better understand and learn about local.
LBC Use Case: When NOT to delete an LBC listing by

33 thoughts on “LBC Use Case: When NOT to delete an LBC listing”

  1. Yes, I agree….I am not sure that one is trend but I sure like it.

    However, one still needs to be a semanticist to decipher the directions and know enough to not pull the wrong trigger.

    Mike

  2. I recently ran across this duplicate listing issue for a client who actually changed company names and moved addresses. I have not tried to delete the older listing as it is not really a concern. But I think I will now look into it.

  3. Can ask a question to better my understanding.

    What if the listing isn’t in your LBC and it’s still in Google Maps and you want to delete it as it’s been a scrap from say… YP.com or SP.com or which ever other contributor that Google hords information from.

    We have to claim in and then remove from BOTH the LBC and Google Maps.

    And yes a big rousing round of applause to Joel for his appearance. I hope that his helpfulness spreads like wildfire amongst his colleagues.

    Props to Joel!!!

    Joan

  4. @Joan

    In that case, you could just claim the record via the Edit button in Maps and when it comes into your LBC it offers the opportunity to suspend it.

    Mike

  5. Which is generally my method however; I hear through the grape vine on the blogs that this causes all the other valid listings to suspend as well.

    Anyone experience this?

    tx
    joan

  6. I have done so with my own records…since we have a second non published phone number it occasionally shows back up as an unclaimed listing.

    Mike

  7. My situation is that there are about 4 or 5 different Google listings. All listings have the same phone number, same address, but are listed different ways, i.e.

    Maricar Billing, DDS
    Billing Maricar, DDD
    Company Name: Maricar Billing, DDS
    Company Name: Steven Billing, DMD

    The first one was created by one company, the second one was created by another source, the other two were also created by different sources, as well. I want to keep one of the listings, the one with reviews. So, what do I do with the other three. I do not have them in my Local Business Center. Is it a different process, since I actually want to delete those completely from Google Maps so that it doesn’t serve as a negative impact and keep my listing with reviews from moving up. There was an article put out that having multiple listings could serve as a negative impact and possibly move you down in the Local Maps and / or delete your listing all together.

    Please help manage this and the best way to go about this….what is the best practice for a situation like this?

  8. Hi Mike,

    Yes, I understand that I have to claim each one of them. But I was told that once they are set to Active after validating / claiming them, then I would delete from Google Maps. This would suspend it. Once it shows suspended, then I would go back into the Local Business Center, I would then delete it from my Local Business Center so that it doesn’t stay in there anymore. These steps that you have say to basically remove the enhanced information, such as maybe the email, website, Description, click submit, then validate / claim. Once that happens and it is active, you would just wait for a few weeks, then you would delete from Local Business Center. This doesn’t say anything about deleting from Google Maps, then to delete from Local Business Center. Only validating it, then removing it from Local Business Center will not remove it from Google Local Maps if you don’t suspend / delete it from Google Local Maps. I just have to, have to, have to be sure on these steps because this is what I tell some of our customers:

    If you are the business owner:
    1. Visit and sign into the Google Local Business Center. If you don’t have a Google Account, click Sign up for an account now and follow the instructions
    2. Return to Google Maps (click on the icon in the upper-left corner of the Local Business Center)
    3. Search for your listing (make sure to select the correct one that needs to be deleted)
    4. Select the listing and click on the business name in the information window pop up
    5. Click Add or Edit your business (under the address and phone number)
    6. Claim your business
    7. Check your business information
    8. Scroll to the bottom and click Submit

    It will then ask you how you want to verify your listing:
    1. Select verify by phone
    2. Google will call immediately and provide a five digit PIN code (Please write this code down and hang up)
    3. Go back to your Local Business Center Account and enter the five digit PIN code in the PIN code box
    4. Press “Go” to validate your business

    After verifying your listing by PIN, click Delete. You’ll be brought to a page with two options:

    ** To delete your listing, select ‘Remove this listing from Google Maps. One you are finished with that, please go back into your Local Business Center. Click delete again.

    **To disassociate the listing from your account, select ‘Remove this listing from my Local Business Center account.
    Even if you remove the listing from your account, it may continue to display on Google Maps if data is provided from other sources.

    Once the listing is deleted, please allow up to 60 days for Google to remove the listing. For more information, please read the following article:

    http://www.davidmihm.com/local-search-ranking-factors.shtml

    Is this all not correct? I had specifically gotten this from Google in Help a few months ago.

    I appreciate your quick feedback from last night, that is amazing how quick you responded. Thank you Mike! Please let me know.

  9. After you validate the additional listing with just the bare bones information in the secondary record, you need to 5)sit and wait until the extra listings “merge” into the cluster.

    You would not want to delete them from the LBC right away but wait for several weeks until the stats are the same. Once they are the same then you know that Google perceives them as merged in the cluster and that they represent one listing.

    At that point then if you want to clean up the LBC then you may delete and choose the option **To disassociate the listing from your account, select ‘Remove this listing from my Local Business Center account.

    This second listing since it is merged with the main listing will then in affect disappear after you release it back to the Maps index.

  10. Okay, got it…thank you so much for that!

    So, if a practice has 5 Google listings, they are all called something different, some similar and some not, but have the same phone number…I should add all of them into one Local Business Center account, strip each one except the one I want to keep, validate each one, then eventually they will all merge together, then will delete those other ones from the Local Business Center only?

    Or is the only one that I want to keep need to be validated? Then when that is validated all of the others will sit there with the validated one and then eventually merge?

    Thank you, you are a huge blessing of information to me. I was so lost and confused.

  11. You want to make all 5 of them have exactly the same primary information ie business title, address, phone & then verify.

    The goal is to give Google the necessary information to merge them into the main record and to give Google the trust that you are the owner of the records.

    By doing this any information associated with these other records will flow to your record ie web pages or reviews thus making the primary listing stronger.

    At the end of the 2 weeks (or whatever it takes to have the same stats on each of them), you don’t technically have to delete and return to the index but it helps keep your LBC “clean”.

    Suspension runs the risk of suspending the primary record if the merge had begun on the secondary record.

  12. Okay, I got it.

    Now, here is my concern. So, if a practice has two listings, one we manage for them and it is in our Local Business Center (we can have 100 of them in there of all different businesses). We have our practices responsible for deleting the duplicate profile. How will that work if the one that needs to be deleted is in their profile, and the one that is correct and we manage is in our Local Business Center account?

    I guess that won’t work, or can I just do the same thing? They would just strip the information but have all of the other info exactly the same as WE at our company has it, then eventually they would merge. I guess what I’m asking is do all of the multiple listings that you want to merge have all be in the same Local Business Center account?

    Are you going to be at the SES convention tomorrow?

  13. @Maricar
    Sorry for the slow response, been on vacation.

    Having the listing in 2 LBC accounts certainly makes it more confusing but it should work much the same. They do not have to be in the same LBC they will merge regardless. However, if two LBC’s are making changes to a listing it could get complicated as to what info came from where.

    However it might be easier to delete (but not suspend) from the other LBC then claim that other listing if it floats free in the index.

  14. Good for you! So glad to hear you were on vacation and know that it was well deserved. I’ll have to send you something for the wonderful assistance that you’ve given me. I figured you were busy or something and were confident that you would respond at some point. I really love this blog.

    Do you know anything about Business Quality Guidelines? I read it over and over again, and I can’t tell what I am doing wrong. This listing will not let me verify it. I read that it doesn’t meet business quality listing guidelines. The information provided isn’t eligible for verification. So, I look at my address that I have in there:

    Towncare Dental of Ft. Myers
    6150 Diamond Center Ct, Bldg 300 – Suite 2
    Ft. Myers FL 33912
    (239) 433-4746

    Does Google follow the USPS guidelines for address, i.e.:

    Diamond Center Court
    Diamond Center Ct
    Diamond Center Ct.
    or
    Suite 1
    #1
    Ste 1
    Ste. 1

    It is so confusing….I’d like to send you a thank you something, how can I get that to you?

  15. Google doesn’t seem to much care about address formatting, they can handle it and understand it any which way.

    The likelihood is that you have triggered one of their spam filters perhaps by including the city name in the business title.

  16. Hi Mike,

    Long time no chat….;)

    So, I have a few customers that have 7 or 8 Google listings. I have added them all into one Local Business Center. Here is what I did with fake business names:

    1. Maricar Billing, Inc – this is the one I want to keep
    2. Billing, Maricar
    3. Nanneth de Leon, LLC
    4. Hugh Steven, DMD
    5. so on
    6. so on

    So, I added 1 through 4 in one LBC account. I beefed up #1 with the most information. #2-4, I added into LBC, but changed the name, (title), address, phone number, and everything else stripped. The problem is when you get to the 4th, 5th, or 6th that you change to match exactly, then validate them, it won’t let you validate anymore at one point and stops. So there is no way to validate those ones that we want to merge into one. Do I need to add them into LBC account, then validate each one, then change the info? Or what am I doing wrong?

    TIA,
    Maricar

  17. @Maricar

    Sounds like 2,3,4 would be perceived as spammy since they have different names for same business at same address thus you are prevented from creating more.

  18. Mike, wouldn’t that be the reason why I have to change the different names to match the one you want to merge it with? That is what I have been doing. Or do I keep the business name the way I found it, but make sure address and phone number are the same?

  19. mike, what if i’m not a business? i mistakenly added a marker with a personal address, can it be removed? i claimed it and tried to suspend it, but now there are several duplicates of it in the business manager. Am i supposed to ‘complete’ (add phone number/cat) them all before they will be merged? i’ve added too much personal information already, can i use a dummy phone number/cat, wait for google postcard to validate them, then use delete from maps, then delete from lbm too and they’ll be gone forevermore?

  20. mike, thank you for your info. I have presently listed in google local 2 listings for the same address. i have attempted to delete one listing that i believe to have been corrupted with a fraudulent review. i have followed your procedures to take out enhanced info , delete from local business center, etc. with no luck. Question: If i do not want google to potentially merge duplicate listing info (fraudulent review) into the identical listing i’m seeking to keep do i not have to delete duplicate listing (which showed different statistics) from google maps and not only lbc? This specific issue of dealing with the elimination of fraudulent reviews from a listing where a more accurate duplicate listing exists doesn’t ever seem to be addressed. Thank you for your time.

  21. I see of no way to accomplish what you want. If you suspend one listing it is likely your other will be taken down as well. That is a risky strategy but it may work.

    If you strip the listing with the bad review it will ultimately merge into your other listing.

    My first thought is to have your business join the witness protection program, changes its name and move to a small town in Utah. :)

    My second thought is that you need to have the review removed at its source. Most local directories will cooperate in that endeavor, if the reviews source is Google then it is much more difficult although I think not impossible.

  22. thanks mike. witnees protection program is not an option. how about this: remove listing with fraudulent review from google maps. then re verifying good listing without the floor number of the same present address. that way after the first listing is removed from google maps, google would take note of same address without the floor of building i’m on being still active.

    thank you for your help and great responsiveness!

  23. Hi Mike,

    Thank God for your site and comments! I read the March 4, 2009 duplicate listing comments multiple times and it is still far from crystal clear to me. In fact, like others (I presume) I am about to start crying:(

    I claimed my site on google local and was listed on page 3. As I am checking up on things last week I notice that I am no longer on google local. Than I discover that they have me listed by a somewhat wrong name for my business, with a skeleton description, and a wrong phone number.

    I log into my google account and discover that they now have 2 business listings for me. The top one is the correct one, with all my info and picture, and it states “modified Feb. 14th” and “awaiting next update”. In a panic I took measures to delete the second/wrong listing. Now that one says a postcard will be mailed to me with a pin (since it had wrong phone number) within 2 weeks. And “awaiting verification to remove this listing.”

    This morning, after reading the infromation on your site, I follow the instruction of Joel, the google employee and remove the additional/wrong listing from my LBC. Now I am just left with one listing, the correct one, which still says, as before, “awaiting next update.”

    So now what happens? How do I now get google to activate my correct site? Anything I can do on my end?

    Why in the world did this second wrong listing get on there in the first place?

    My apologies for the long email! I will buy you a drink, 2 drinks, ok, however many drinks you like:)

    Robert

  24. Awaiting next update is a not very particular message that means that the system has not caught up itself yet but that your listings is essentially sound and should be viewable in the index, if not already, then shortly. Often the message persists even after the listing is visible.

    Joel suggested that you edit the listing to be the same and have the two records merge and then remove it. Is that what you did?

    These extra listings show up in Maps due to the many sources of data that Google uses. You may want to do a search on Google to see where else this wrong information is showing and have it changed there so it stops coming into Google

  25. Mike, thank you so much for the super prompt response! I really appreciate it!!

    Paragraph 1, awaiting next update….so basically sit tight and give it a few more days to fix itself is what you are saying? From my frantic googles search disussion on this topic I have read that there are many out there stuck in “awaiting next update jail” and do not know what to do after months have gone by.

    Paragraph 2, all I did was exactly what he said to do. I copy and pasted his very own words:
    1. Click Resume display on Google Maps for each suspended listing. The listings now appear with two links: Edit & Delete.
    2. Select Delete. A confirmation window appears with two options: Remove this listing from Google Maps & Remove this listing from my Local Business Center account.
    3. Select Remove this listing from my Local Business Center account.
    This way, the listing on Maps will continue to appear. Otherwise, we think you’re trying to remove it. Since all three listings are PIN verified, we accept the last action as the final action on the listing. Hope that information helps. Cheers, Joel

    Paragraph 3, did google search as you suggested and all I found was the my business (with the wrong name and phone number) appearing first, followed by a couple of results for my website. Nothing else apparently.

    I am amazed that something that appears to be so easy can turn out to be so excruciatingly complicated.

    Again, thank you for your help!

    Robert

  26. Hi mike, I’m wondering if you can help me. I created a location in google maps by mistake (thinking it was private). I’ve since requested it be removed and it has been removed from google maps, however it remains in “my profile” and I create any other locations in google maps then people can view my profile and see all my ‘recent edits’, including the ones I don’t want people to see. Is there a way to clear my ‘recent edits’ of deleted entries?

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