Basic Places Practices Update: How do you claim an owner-verified listing?

A common issue that arises in the forums is the business owner that is unable to change or enhance their listing because they no longer have access to the account that it is in, perhaps because they lost the password , the employee that had claimed the listing is no longer employed or they had a falling out with their SEO company.

It is possible to reclaim the listing and last year I provided instructions on how to do so. The instructions are accurate as far as they went but there are often complications with a listing claimed into multiple accounts. For example the Place page might display unwanted photos or categories from the previous Places Dashboard. Worse might the fact the even though you had claimed the listing, you would still not be able to comment on reviews as the system thought that the other claimant was domininant.

With Google now offering additional customer service it is possible to solve some of the quirks and issues that arise with the reclaiming process.

Here are the updated steps:

1) Go to the Places dashboard/locations page of the new account and select Add another business.

2) Enter the phone number for the existing claimed listing, select “find business information” and go through the process of editing the listing that Google displays.

3) Change as little as possible initially and be sure to keep name, address and phone number the same.

4) Google will require you to reverify but you will be the dominant controller of the listing. As the last to claim the listing most of your data will be given preference.

5) It is preferable to claim it with an email at your business domain so if there is a dispute in the future, you will be recognized as the authoritative listing holder.

Suggested Additional Steps:

6) Get in touch with Google Places support using this form:

Select: Someone else has verified the listing.

This will have the previous claimant removed and prevent the listing being reaccessed from this account. This will guarantee that the new claimant will be the account that is able to respond to review. It will also prevent the other account holder from making changes to the listing. 

If there are still unwanted photos or categories still in the listing (from the old claim) communicate back to the Google support person that helped originally via the same case number and ask them to remove them.

Google support still has a long way to go but it has made progress and at least now common problems like this can be addressed.

Please consider leaving a comment as your input will help me (& everyone else) better understand and learn about local.
Basic Places Practices Update: How do you claim an owner-verified listing? by

13 thoughts on “Basic Places Practices Update: How do you claim an owner-verified listing?”

  1. Thanks for posting (re-posting) this type of info Mike, it helps us keep sorta-kinda as up to date and on top of things as you are ;-)

  2. Mike:

    Seems like one tiny adjustment from one year ago “might” make a substantial change for the many smb’s and seo’s that struggle with getting control of a places record that was claimed by someone else in the past.

    Giving preference to the last and most recent claimant might just unlock records previously claimed by other people.

    I have to admit something, relative to a complaint on an issue I raised earlier and you referenced in this article: http://blumenthals.com/blog/2012/05/02/google-places-now-requesting-business-licenses/

    If google’s processes give a business or its agent more control over a record that would be a big big big plus. If it takes more stringent or authoritative efforts to verify ownership of the record…so be it.

    Hopefully once a record is established google can effectively reduce the other influences on the cluster that come from all sorts of crazy third party sources that do not reflect the dominant information under the control of the existing smb.

  3. Thank you! I just had a client contact me yesterday because she set up the Places listing for her nonprofit employer in her personal gmail account and wants to switch it. This will help rectify the situation. As always, thanks for providing such valuable advice!

  4. How do you fix a problem where you have a listing that has been around for years and than you change the address. Old address still shows on the new Google Local listing?

  5. @Ned

    At Google you need to use the “Report a Problem” mechanism to indicate that the old location is “closed”.

    However, you also need to be sure that you change the address the whole of the internet so that you don’t lose your prominence.

  6. This is what I was afraid off. With over 100 business directories with wrong address, this will be quite an undertaking. I was hopping that there was an easier way. Thank you for a quick response.

  7. @Ned ~ Address Changes are a complete & total nightmare.

    @Mike ~ This is an awesome update. Thanks so much for again being the lighthouse in the fog of Google Places.

  8. I totally agree with Jeffrey, it is nice to know that someone can shed some light on us. Thank you Mike.

  9. Last week we made some edits to a previously owner-verified listing. This week the business owner got “a phone call from Google” asking to verify the business categories chosen. That was all they wanted to do – verify the categories specifically. No sales gimmicks. No weirdness.

    When I first heard this I surely thought it was not actually Google calling. But the business owner said the caller ID said “Mountain View, CA” and that’s why he answered the call. (650) 253-2000 was the number. I called it. It’s Google.

    Mike do you have any thoughts on this?

  10. @Jeffrey

    Google started calling businesses about a year ago. They have really ramped up this effort in the past 6 months. If there is anything askance with the listing, you can expect it to disappear very quickly after the call… they are getting serious about listing quality.

  11. Thank you for all your suggestions on Claiming an Owner-verified listing. I clicked on the link that you provided in STEP 6 and see that the option to select “Someone else has verified my listing” is no longer a choice on the Google page. I was wondering if you had any other suggestions at this point.

    Thanks for all your help!

    Suggested Additional Steps:

    6) Get in touch with Google Places support using this form:
    http://support.google.com/places/bin/static.py?hl=en&ts=1386120&page=ts.cs
    Select: Someone else has verified the listing.

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