Google Place (LBC): While listing in multiple languages is OK beware of merging

Late last summer, Google confirmed that having a listing in multiple languages was allowable. At the time Google noted:

Yes, users can do this. The thing is, there isn’t a feature currently available, but there is a workaround. What users can do is first create the listing in English. Then they can select the appropriate language from the drop-down menu in the upper right-hand corner of the Local Business Center and create the same exact listing in that language.

We hope to make this easier for users in the future.

Creating the same listing in a different language doesn’t violate our guidelines. Our policy states that a business owner can’t create 2 different business listings at one location.

But because of how the cluster works, most clients that I worked with were leery of the potential for mergings and decided that multilingual listings could potentially cause more harm than good. Google had suggested that for single location businesses that the secondary language listing should be created in a distinct Google Place account to avoid mergings. Apparently, according to this forum posting, that is not enough:

I work for a local attorney who serves clients speaking both english and spanish. He is very committed to his latino client-base and, as such, we have a fairly robust translated version of his site, in addition to his English site.

The problem is when we try to get local search results for terms in both languages. We’ve tried a number of different approaches to this, eventually going with a recommendation we found on a reputable local seo blog that had been suggested by a Google employee: we have two listings, one for each language. However, when we created the Spanish one we first changed the language interface of LBC to Spanish. This allows us to choose spanish categories, for example. We set these two listings up using two different Google account, a recommendation that was supposed to avoid merging.

Despite all of our efforts to do this on the up-and-up, the listings keep getting merged, with the spanish URL trumping the English one on every search result. Obviously, this is not ideal. We want to send clients searching with spanish terms to the spanish site and clients searching with English terms to the English site.

Despite the fact that Google Maps allows multi language listings, caution is obviously the order of the day if you wish to list your business in more than one language.

I would suggest that you perceive enough business benefit in attempting to have your listing in multiple languages you experiment with the following:
-create the listing in a separate Google Place account
-use a slightly different address (ie add an office number)
-use a different phone number

Please consider leaving a comment as your input will help me (& everyone else) better understand and learn about local.
Google Place (LBC): While listing in multiple languages is OK beware of merging by

15 thoughts on “Google Place (LBC): While listing in multiple languages is OK beware of merging”

  1. Here are a few additional tactics you could try to help alert Google that the English and Spanish versions of the site should be separate listings (after you use a slightly different address and phone number as Mike suggested):

    - Embed a Google Map of your office location on each version of your site, and link to the appropriate Place page.
    - Not sure how your site is structured, but Google sees subdomains as separate websites. You may consider putting the Spanish version on a subdomain

    The address and phone # are much stronger location signals, but if that doesn’t work, the two suggestions above may help a little. Good luck.

    John

  2. I’ve had the same problem with my insurance agency, very frustrating. I’ve tried everything except the office #. I’ll let you know if it works.

  3. Rich

    Are you saying that the listings have distinct phone numbers but not distinct office numbers?

  4. Hi,

    We’ve had this for the last couple years when working both official languages here in the Great White North. We have switched the language preference to Francais but find it merges with the English version.
    I will check and see if we’ve tried the changing of the office address (by adding a suite number) it’s usually one of our first tactics. Then when that doesn’t work we try the ” Throw you hands up in the air and pull your hair out ” tactic. Almost as effective at times..

  5. Would love to see an update to this. I want to have a Spanish listing for my site, but there aren’t many options that provide a real solution without making the content I’ve got now completely worthless…

  6. I would be really interested in an update as well. I have a friend who owns an offline business in Ireland – she wants the listing to be in English for the majority of her clients but also wants the ability to list in Irish to satisfy that niche market

    any ideas?

  7. @Laura
    It is not applicable. Google is no longer suggesting that you have separate listings. Although it might work in limited circumstances Google is likely to merge them. Google is suggesting instead that you add foreign language detail in MapMaker to the main record.

  8. Thanks a lot for your reply Mike. Just wondering: not good to have separate listings because as you say Google merges them in most cases, or it is also because it is against the rules to have more than one listing for the same address? Thanks!

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