Google+ Local: Moving Locations? New Procedure

Preparing-Move-Your-BusinessThe way that Google has been encouraging SMBs to move to a new location has long been a kludge. Last night Google announced a somewhat more intuitive procedure although it still has a touch of kludge about it.

From the forum post by Jade:

Verified business owner of a page, and is your business moving locations? Here’s what you do.

Edit your address in Google Places for Business or in the Google+ page admin area, whichever you are using to manage the page. This will either make a new page or edit the address on the existing page. It may take a week or two after editing your address before you see an update. At this point, you may need to go through a verification process again. Don’t worry — this is normal.
If you see a page that’s still got the old address, click on Report a problem and mark that location as closed. Provide the link to the new address or information about the new location if possible. You can find more instructions on closing a location here: http://goo.gl/YZIjq

Previously it was necessary to create a totally new listing in the dashboard, reverify it,  remove the old listing and then using the “report a problem” feature to report it as closed. Recently Google added the ability to indicate, when reporting, the new location so that the closed listing would point to the new listing and indicate that it had relocated.

The above, if I read it correctly, means that sometimes the intuitive act of changing the address in either the  dashboard or the G+ Page for local admin area will properly update the listing and sometimes it will create a new listing that leaves the old listing open. It appears from the above that  Google may or may not require reverification as well. Regardless the process still requires that the listing owner needs to keep a watchful eye on their listing in both the dashboard and the index for three or so weeks and if there is still a listing at the old address proceed to using the report a problem.

I am sure that Google knows but this is still too complicated and unpredictable for most SMBs to get right. Its better but still not where it needs to be. It would be nice for the listing owner if 1)the procedure was consistent across all listing closing situations (or warned the business what was going to happen) 2)was able to be managed within the management dashboard alone and never required an SMB going to the report a problem area and 3) had a consistent outcome in the index.

In some ways it appears that the system mimics the practice & outcomes that have long existed in MapMaker where you could change an address as long as it was in the same city and the move was not too far.

None of this changes the fact that the business needs to not only change their information at Google but several weeks ahead of that change their information at the primary data suppliers and other claimed listings.

Let me know if you have to close a business and what actually happens to your listing.

Please consider leaving a comment as your input will help me (& everyone else) better understand and learn about local.
Google+ Local: Moving Locations? New Procedure by

39 thoughts on “Google+ Local: Moving Locations? New Procedure”

  1. Hi Mike,

    Just wondering what you view as the best course of action when a company has moved location several times, thus has a variation of location details in Google Maps.

    A search on Google Maps for our company leaves a trail of the 2 previous locations we were based from. The trouble is, our current location is often referred to as location ‘C’ even though the other 2 are classed as ‘closed/relocated’.

    Any thoughts would be much appreciated.

    Scott

  2. Well, this is good news. At least before it was a guessing game as to how long it would be until it would hopefully merge and you wouldn’t lose all the reviews and citations.

  3. @Jorge
    Let’s hope so.

    @Scott

    1)You need to mark the other locations as closed and reference the new G+Local page and new address in the comment field
    2)You need to change the bad data at the primary list providers
    3)You need to change the data every place else that you can find it.
    4)Be sure that there no (none, zero, zip) references to the old addresses on the website

  4. What if our google+ map is showing the wrong location?

    We inputed the address but the map is showing somewhere else, i.e. farther south of the city that we listed.

    Another franchise in our corp. has their location as Dallas, but their map shows Irving??

    I reported the problem but it never resolves.

    What to do??

  5. @Fran
    Given you explanation it is difficult to provide too much advice. If the information is correct in the Places Dashboard but not when you select the link to view the listing, you need to file a request for Google’s help. First via the Report a Problem link and then 2 weeks later, via their Google Places Help Fix a Problem form for wrong information.

  6. In my experience, accounts that have a verified Google Places page, that are trying to edit a Google+ Business/Local page, to edit the details you are directed to the Google Places control panel, but the changes made there are not reflected on the Google+ Business/Local page (e.g., contact info, company information, images, etc.).

    How do we edit the details of a Google+ Business/Local page when you are automatically directed to the Google Places control panel?

    It seems like the Places/Business/Local integration process is not yet complete. Is there any advice for accounts that have a verified Google Places account that want to edit the details of their Google+ Business/Local page that is linked under their search results?

    I have read articles on how to merge the accounts, but that only seems to merge the reviews and address.

    Any help would be appreciated.

  7. If a google places listing has not been claimed by a business, but it has an old address. What would be the course of action? Report it as closed and add a new listing?

    Thanks

  8. @Brent
    Firstly you need to understand that in the end the data all ends up in the same place. Secondly you are correct that the integration is still not complete.

    Google however suggests that once you have merged your local listing with the verified Page that you only edit from the G+ Page editor.

    To get to the G+ Page editor you login as either the owner or the manager of the Page and click in the upper right corner on your profile photo. The pages that you manage will show up there. Select the page that you want to edit and you will see a blue button that says “edit business information”. That is where you should do your editing. (You can also get to it via this URL: https://plus.google.com/u/0/dashboard)

    With one exception. If you want custom categories, you can not enter them via this interface and must use either the Places dashboard, the Report a Problem link or the MapMaker interface.

  9. Thank you Mike for the timely post.

    I’ve been in the middle of updating my insurance agent’s listing in Google and Bing the past few weeks. I’ve been worried I’ve been doing something wrong but it turns out they’ve been klutzy. I think Google and Bing are understanding the treasures they can reap from local businesses so it’ll only be a matter of time (and frustration) before we can have accurate listings.

  10. Mike,

    This is great news! Based on the steps and the process it almost seems like the old way is easier.

    Is the main advantage that it keeps the info, authority, and reviews?

    Thanks,
    Patrick

  11. @Mike You cannot use MapMaker to add custom categories. The only entity which allows such behavior is Places/+Local.

    Regarding the new moving Guidline announced by Jade makes it easier to mark an old feature as closed and add a new feature for the business. This is done via the Dashboard so it is a trust source (persumably owners know when their business moves). When Places/+Local announced their new “This place has moved/relocated to …” it was a logistical nightmare for the people/bots attaching messages. If someone marked a business closed via Map Maker or even the ‘Edit this business’ if the person didn’t indicate where the business had moved to/from it would take some investigating to undercover said data.

    Since most business owners and others don’t know they can’t just change the address this procedure makes it more intuitive. Person changes address, it appears legit, there isn’t a feature at the new address old feature closed new one created in one linked action.

  12. @Mike Custom categories haven’t been allowed for a while now. I didn’t see a link on your post, it looked like one but I couldn’t click and it wasn’t in the Source. Were you referring to the Map Maker help article <a herf="http://support.google.com/mapmaker/answer/1096096?hl=en&quot; title="Select a category"? There is no reference to custom categories and requires selecting a category from the ones already in the system. The best category to describe the feature is used first and anything not covered can be added as an Other/secondary category. Which means for a pizza joint you would add "Pizza resturant" as the primary category and nothing else. You wouldn't add "Resturant" as the primary category and "Pizza Resturant" as the secondary category because Pizza Resturant is the most specific and accurate. Categories aren't perfect but at least Google isn't allowing business owners or the bots to just stuff anything they want into the categories.

  13. The way that Google staff has explained the allowance of custom categories is for when a category is completely missing (nothing is close), then you can use it. It’s not to be used to replace an existing category or repeat something already implied. That is why you are supposed to use the most specific category available, as that usually implies most of the functions of the business. It is explained better at http://support.google.com/mapmaker/answer/1066491?hl=en&ref_topic=2889732, which is where staff will send you when explaining it rather than the last link.

    To continue Andrew’s example using the information from that page (and staff explanations), if you’ve used Pizza Restaurant then you are not to use Restaurant even though it is a category; the guidelines state to use the most specific and no others. The next part can then be a bit confusing, as until recently Mexican Restaurant was not a category but it now is one, I’ll pass them feedback that this needs updating; but what they then explain is that custom categories is for when there is only a general category or perhaps none at all. Since Mexican Restaurant did not used to exist, you would put Restaurant as it is the most specific one available, and then you could add the custom category of Mexican Restaurant due to it being missing.

    But to then add Mayan Restaurant, an even more specific category, means that you shouldn’t be putting Mexican Restaurant as it was not as specific as possible. Similarly, putting Tortilla Restaurant, Mol Restaurant, Burrito Restaurant, etc. is considered category spam; it is supposed to be the most specific and no more. That last bit is better explained in the Reviewers Guidelines, which is not public.

    The ability to add more categories is supposed to be for when the categories you have do not imply something. So adding Takeout Restaurant and Live Music Venue would be allowed, as neither is implied by Mexican Restaurant.

    Unfortunately, a lot of this is explained to us, and then they point to this part of the guidelines, and suddenly you get it; but just reading the guidelines doesn’t make it all obvious. We continue to suggest improvements whenever we can.

  14. I think one of the underlying problems is that they inherently don’t update the same listing but create a second. I discovered this when making an address update – I needed to tweak the address. A few days later I have a second listing in place – showing about 100m from my location.

    This is probably a dumb question but what is the difference between the markers – round dot or round with pointed marker?

  15. @mick
    Round pin = street address hidden (or unknown) and not visible to end user.

    The second listing usually will go away in time but this is why google says to use the report a problem so as to be sure it goes away.

  16. @mike ah, of course, thanks! I fiddled around with the address so caused the second map location entry.
    I also just discovered the transit station link on the Google+ page. A bit confusing as it is wrong, or should I say not optimal.

  17. The Googles has gotten better about responding to “report a problem” requests. This is a good thing and my guess is that they’ve thrown some more staff at this. It used to be just a black hole. We’ve had 4 clients we’ve needed help with and have had good response from Google 1-3 weeks response time. And by “response” I mean – correction.

    By far the best solution for moving locations is NOT TO MOVE.

  18. Hi all,

    I am having a hard time understanding the different between Google+ and Google Local/Maps. Yes, I do understand that Google+ is trying to integrate. The problem I am having is that my business has an “active” listing on Google+, however it appears NOWHERE in Google local or regular google maps.

    I run a resume writing service in Phoenix. In the past, I ranked 1st or 2nd for all resume writing search terms. Now, when I do a search in google for “resume writing services” a list of 10 companies appears and I am nowhere to be found. However, on my Dashboard or Control Panner for Google Local, it says my ad is “active”. And when I click on the link that says “see your google listing” it takes me to my active Google+ page! But I don’t care about that, I want to appear on regular GoogleMaps! or Google Local!

    Can someone please explain to me the difference? And why I’m not showing up on regular Google Local searches anymore?

    Thank you in advance for your time!

  19. I just learned that a long time customer will be moving, so I will keep the forum appraised of any discoveries I make during the move process. I have three current concerns:

    1) When customers have to change a phone number as well as location, I believe they are hurt by Google’s algorithm that gives great weight to telephone numbers that have been in use by the company for a longer time. (This algorithm was originally developed by a theoretician at Superpages)

    2) When customers change their location, assuming we are successful in changing their NAP info in all the directories they are listed in, will the seniority of the old location pass to the new location.

    3) Changing NAP information across the board can be very difficult, especially when you include all the resource information you have added to blog articles, social network posts, guest blog articles, forum commenting, etc. Will that extraneous info weaken the new location listing?

  20. Welcome news and a step in the right direction. Our company recently moved locations so not only do we get to do “move location” citation updates for our clients on occasion, we get to do it for us now. Kinda nice to be able to test out this new process on our own company.

  21. We just made an address change for a client who was managing through the Places dashboard.

    Google required a postcard verification (not unexpected). We’re still waiting on that.

    Interestingly, they’ve also stopped showing the listing in results as well as maps. I can’t find it even with the most vigorous search.

    I suppose this makes sense, if they’re attempting not to show incorrect information. We’ll see how it goes when the postcard arrives and we confirm the listing.

  22. @Bede
    I am curious how far the business moved? If it has moved more than some unknown amount Google will likely generate a second listing. I am curious if that happens to you.

  23. Hi Mike,

    The business moved less than a mile. Same zipcode, different street.

    Google got the PIN to them in about 1.5 weeks. Entering the PIN transitioned the listing to “Being Reviewed” status, and it’s currently sitting there. I’ll check back in when they take action.

  24. I have a somewhat different problem and am at a loss to fix it.
    My business marker on the map has dissapeared from my actual location and reappeared a hundred yards to the West of where it is actually located.

    When I click on it to report a problem it simply says that this place is not yet supported.

    Strangley enough a search on my business still places it at the correct location but as I say without the marker.

    Is there any way I can fix this? Some of my local search results have dissapeared or slipped down the rankings so the placing of this marker is clearly a trust issue with google.

  25. Much as I love Map Maker, it took me about a month and a half’s worth of repeated requests with multiple accounts to secure a “closed” status on my firm’s old location.

    In fact, I eventually wound up just calling Google and sorting it out over the phone.

    I’m not sure why this one thing in particular was so tough to do, as I’ve made edits I considered to be much more significant levels of change and had them go through in days.

  26. Has anyone had any experience with attempting to move a closed location to a location that is an already existing location? I was curious if that works, or if it would create a duplicate listing for the already existing location.

    Thanks for the great article, Mike! I haven’t dealt with moving locations yet, and great to find info and references about the new process.

  27. @Roger
    It would be a difficult process and unlikely to work as you would need to reopen the old office (ie reverify) and then move it. The occurrence of a duplicate depends on how far it is moving. It would create a temporary duplicate that might or might not get merged with the real listing.

  28. @Mike

    The old office is actually still open, but is about to close (so hasn’t been marked as closed just yet). They have another location (their only other location) a couple of blocks away. So, my goal was to try and transfer reviews to the location that will stay open, as we mark the other location as closed/moved.

    That makes sense about the duplicate review. Kind of what I was thinking, and probably not worth the risk.

    Thanks for the reply. Really appreciate it!

  29. @Roger – The old method of moving a place was to mark it as close and to open a new listing. That method has not changed, but what has happened is that you now can just change the address within Places and it will be evaluated by the algorithms to see if it is just a correction or a move. If it moves down the street, then the system will close that location and open a new one for you. So the effect is the same.

    Also, reviews are not part of a location, but rather reside on another database and attach via algorithms during re-indexing that seems to happen about once a month. If they are just moving down the street, and they keep the same phone number and name, I would predict there is a good chance that they will eventually attach to the new location.

    I would still advise you do it, the advantage is that the old location will not day “Close or moved”, but rather will say “Moved to…” and provide the new address with a link.

  30. Thanks Flash, you beat me to it!

    Also if your reviews do get lost, contact support. They can frequently restore them now as apparently Google has upgraded their internal capacity in this regard.

  31. @Flash

    Thanks for the info!

    I was just hesitant to try it because the “new” location is not actually new and is the Google+ page of their main location, which has existed for some time. While I want the reviews to transfer the main location, I’m just not sure about creating a duplicate listing for it (since it seems like that’s what the ‘moved to’ will do).

    I’m thinking of marking it as moved to the other locations, and then contacting support when/if a duplicate is created and doesn’t merge with the current listing.

    Thanks again for the help!

  32. You’re going to love my situation ;-)

    My portrait studio has been in Australia ACT for the last three years. I’ll be moving home to Northern Virginia in August, and the home based studio is going with me.

    My business G+ page already has 9 people in Virginia who have circled me and I do have about 35 +1s. I would love to be able to move this page in-total to my new location.

    We currently have tenants at the new address so having Google snail mail a card to it now would be a bad idea.

    As complicated as all this is, I’m looking for the most efficient way to make the move and get things started up as fast as possible. I’m also looking for things I can do now. Things like adding NVA folks to my circles.

    I found this site at the top of a Google search. Good on ya Mike.

    Ken

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