Google Maps: How to Remove Duplicate Records in the Local Business Center

It is not uncommon in Google Maps for one business location to have multiple business listings. They come from Google’s many data providers, readers who create new records before checking for existing records and from the Local Business Center itself.

There has always been confusion about how to handle these duplicate records as the wrong click could remove the business from Maps completely. Even though you thought you were suspending the duplicate you might be suspending all of your records. The process is counter intuitive to the point that in the past even Google has had trouble describing the process of duplicate record removal.

Google has now published an authoritative description of the duplicate removal process (updated 5/9):

Disclaimer: Before you get started, it’s important to remember that a listing contains information merged from multiple sources. Suspending a duplicate listing could cause the original listing to be removed from Maps, because all sources of information for both the original and the duplicate might be suppressed.

  1. Choose the listing that you’d prefer to keep in your account. Make sure that you have all your enhanced content (photos, business hours, description) attached to this listing and this listing only.
  2. For duplicates of this listing in your account (the ones you want to remove), remove all enhanced information. Keep only required information, like the business title, address, and onephone number.
  3. Submit these changes and verify as necessary.
  4. Now, sit tight for a couple of weeks – just for good measure.
  5. Delete the duplicates from your account, choosing Remove this listing from my Local Business Center account.

That’s it! Now you should only have one entry to control the details of your business listing. Be patient with updating certain kinds of information, like pictures — they should eventually appear in Maps.

Kudos to Google and Joel for posting this instruction.

Please consider leaving a comment as your input will help me (& everyone else) better understand and learn about local.
Google Maps: How to Remove Duplicate Records in the Local Business Center by

76 thoughts on “Google Maps: How to Remove Duplicate Records in the Local Business Center”

  1. @Patrick

    I have used a cell phone and it didn’t have any impact on ranking. My gut says there won’t be if there are enough other signals.

    Certainly there is a trust factor that will likely force you to post card verification and possible dupes in the index later on.

    Google certainly knows which phones are landlines, cell, business lines and home as to exactly how they use it, is unclear.

  2. Yes the post card is a problem, what if you start with a landline and get phone verification, then change telephone number to cell number is that a hard hit when google see’s that?

  3. @Patrick

    Same deal, if you change the phone number, Google is likely to want to post card verify. It is obviously intended to keep spam and bogus listings out of the system.

  4. Hi, I’m working with a client who has two listings and both of them are verified. The problem is that they have absolutely no clue who verified them and do not have access to them (I’ve tried every single account they can think of). One of the listings is a for a store that they have closed and I need to delete it. I really would like to have control of both locations, however since they have already been verified I have no clue how to go about this. Please help.

    Thanks in advance.

  5. There is little to be done other than create new, verified, accurate listing of the current business. On the closed business you can only use the “report a problem” link if you can’t locate the LBC account

  6. Mike, Thank You for your knowlwedge
    I have another question about phone numbers, if you use a land line at your home as your phone number, but your office address that you input into google places/ google local business has a different number or numbers is that a issue?

  7. Hi Mike,

    This post and comments have been very helpful! I have a question, however –

    I have several clients that have multiple listings in Google Maps and their LBCs. I understand that when the ads have identical impressions and actions that they have been merged. I am wondering though, How do I know which ad is actually accruing the impressions? In other words, if I want to delete the duplicates how do avoid deleting the ad that is accruing impressions, or does it even matter?

    Thanks! Alyson

  8. @Alyson

    Google does not view the two listings as separate listings but mere reflections of the “cluster” for that business so in that sense it doesn’t matter which one you remove from your dashboard. However, information in the listing will remain in the cluster, unavailable to you so you should delete all unnecessary details from one of the listings, make the primary info the same and then remove it from the dashboard.

  9. duplicate listing issue.

    In my google place
    Here is the Link to my active listing on google maps
    http://goo.gl/maps/vlMG

    when i edit my business information in my google listing. all the changes goes to the duplicate google map: http://goo.gl/maps/Ee1j

    Here is the duplicate google map link:
    http://goo.gl/maps/Ee1j

    when I edit my business in google listing . all the changes went to
    the this duplicate listing that I would like to keep http://goo.gl/maps/Ee1j

    I would like to delete http://goo.gl/maps/vlMG
    Then activate and keep http://goo.gl/maps/Ee1j

    I did report the problem to google

  10. I really want to put a call tracking number in my Google Places profile so I can tell the difference between calls through print ads and calls through online marketing (Google Places, Website, etc). Do you recommend doing this? Is there any smart way for me to segment conversions through online and offline marketing channels?

  11. I have a client that has two Places pages. One is a previous location that is no longer in business and has not been verified and the other is their new location that has been verified. The Places page for the previous location has a bad review that we would like to get rid of. What is the best way to get rid of the previous location that has a bad review? I have seen “This place is permanently closed” notes on other businesses places, is this what would result or can the Places page with the bad review be deleted completely?

  12. @Herb
    Marking the place as closed will ultimately make the listing diasappear. If you do not want to wait for that process, you can claim if you still have access to the mail address and then suspend it.

  13. Mike –

    Appreciate your post and your helpful advice throughout the Google Help forums. I have a duplicates issue for which I have sought advice in the help forums. Two high ranking posters gave completely different advice on how to fix the issue, furthering my confusion. Hoping you’ll agree with one or the other. I have an unverified duplicate with a slightly different address and marker location, same phone number, website, etc. Pictures and reviews have been scraped from another web directory. Poster #1 recommended claiming the listing and then suspending it in my places dashboard. Poster #2 recommended going to the various web directories that are providing the info for the duplicate, and correcting any slight address inconsistencies, and then just wait. He said do nothing directly to the duplicate listing. As an aside note, someone (or perhaps Google) has been reporting my duplicate business listing as “permanently closed”. I reopened it once (signed into Google under a different account), and it worked for a while, but it is now closed again. Poster #2 said to keep reporting it as open. Suggestions?

  14. The process recommended by Google has changed over time. There is no fundamental difference between the “mark as closed” and “claiming & suspending” the listing. They both will have the same affect over time. Both are acknowledged by Google as tactics in this situation to keep the record from showing in Places and slow if not stop the dupe from showing up.

    The one piece of advice that is SOUND is to fix the bad record upstream from Google so that the bad record will ultimately be removed from the ecosystem and keep the problem from recurring.

    Leaving the record alone might over a great deal of time lead to a merge. But what is the advantage of waiting?

    Is not the primary issue to avoid consumer confusion? If that is the case either claim and suspend or mark as close + the upstream clean up will lead to short AND long term success

  15. Mike –

    Your response is appreciated! One quick follow up Q – if claimed/suspended or marked closed, what effect will that have on google ranking of my original page (which is relatively nonexistent because of the two listings) versus waiting for a merge?

  16. @Jay

    Right now, you are not ranking well, so the reality is that it could not be any worse.

    If you get all of the upstream records squared away and all of the citations point to your new location, then your long term standing of your principal listing will be enhanced.

    So while there might be some theoretical benefit IF you could merge the two listing clusters, the practical reality is that you will end up playing whack a mole and keep running into the very same issue. And customers will continue to be lead to the wrong location.

    Suppress the wrong record by one of the two methods, correct the wrong records across the internet, build out good citations and you will in the end have good rankings.

    In the cases where I have reported a listing as closed, I was able to achieve good rankings within the standard 4-6 weeks.

  17. Hi Mike,

    I have a client who a year ago had 4 or 5 Places listings, only one of which he created himself. His listing is very complete with descriptions, pics, etc. Over the course of many months we have been claiming the duplicates, waiting for the postcard, and suspending them as they have all been very minimal in the information they offer and 1 or 2 with the wrong phone number. There has been no apparent effect on his main website.

    Recently, we received the PIN for the last duplicate, verified it and suspended it. Within days, his main website listing dropped in the rankings from page 1 for all SEO keywords to oblivion (>50). The timing suggests that the two events are related. Is this possible and/or likely?

    His original Places listing remains live is alive and well in the SERPs. He has been an SEO client for more than a year now and ranking well since early on. Any ideas what could have happened? Also, he is located in Canada if that makes any difference in Places anymore.

    Thanks for any insight you can provide!

  18. I’ve just wasted the better part of a day chopping and changing between 2 listings and back again – my client was actually showing up in the top 4 local search listings for two of his main queries but I realised I would never reach my goal of blended or merged results (very attainable in his niche) until the duplicate is expunged completely.

    My brain hurts. I just cut and pasted the reviews from the offending page as a pre-emptive measure to ensure they are not lost.

    Many, many good suggestions in here and for all the super-smart kids running around in the Googleplex making paper planes out of their boatloads of moolah, doodling on whiteboards as they iterate and ideate the next great algo change to rock our socks off, there’s surely got to be a better way than this. This entire process is the antithesis of the accurate collection and presentation of useful data for local to search and dine out on.

    It’s much like photographing the entire world without asking, I’d have made sure I was at home that day and had a nice frock on for the Street View cars to capture if only I knew they were coming. Just drop all these duplicates on the unwitting local businesses and their seo people to clean up and sort out. Duplicate data is dirty data – the entropy of a system.

    Why didn’t they just have the Street View car guys and girls just pop a postcard into every letter box on the earth opn the way round with a short questionnaire for business owners only – NAP? <— sarcasm btw

    Don't get me wrong, I love the big 'G' and it's 'Don't be evil' ethos and the fact that it creates ongoing employment for all of us good folk who scramble this way and that to try to optimise our clients results.

    I guess what I'm saying is the velocity at which such large scale product innovations as Google Places and Local Listings are deployed with the incalculable data at their disposal at given minute seems to contradict the ultimate goal of improving the overall quality and relevance of search. Assumption is the mother of all… you know how it goes.

    The big 'G' barely has any viable competitors in its field and may be too caught up in trying to stick its chubby fingers into too many other tempting pies like social and mobile to roll out a polished, well executed product that enriches the daily experience it influences and profits from.

    Take the time to get it half way right before dropping it on us, or us in it.

    Places and Local have changed search forever for the better but did it have to be this painful?

    'I am not a spammer" hee

  19. Hi Mike,

    I have new information on my issue outlined in my previous post (#72).

    After a couple weeks of no apparent movement for the site whose ranking plummeted after suspending a duplicate Places listing, I relented and unsuspended the listing. In less than 24 hours the website referenced in both the duplicate and original listing was ranking well for all keywords again as if nothing had happened.

    Do you have any ideas what the connection between the website and it’s Places page has evolved to at this point? It appears to be very influential from an SEO perspective.

  20. It means that the one you suspended had merged with the other listing. I assume that now they both have the same impressions and actions.

    It is always best to deal with duplicates the way that Google suggests…. by using the report a problem link.

  21. It is really hard to identify and delete duplicate data. So using any software is a great help which can identify and even delete duplicate data. On such software is deduplication software.

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