Google Local Adds New Troubleshooter to Move Reviews When a Business Relocates

house-moving-3Google has announced in the forums their ability and willingness to now move reviews when a business has moved locations and to remove reviews with significant brand changes for a given location. The request by the business to do so is done via a new troubleshooter form.

The guidelines that will apply to requests to move reviews can be summarized as follows: same business at a new location, reviews will be moved; New business at the same location reviews will be removed.

This new (and welcome) capability in no way affects the policy or procedure around removing inappropriate individual reviews –  flagging the review as inappropriate via the G+ Plage and if dissatisfied with the lack of response then filing a troubleshooter report.

Here are the specifics of the guidelines:

Change of ownership

If you are the new owner or manager of an existing business that hasn’t changed it’s name, reviews will not be removed. You can use owner responses to respond to previous reviews and clarify any changes/improvements to the services your business is providing.

Change in name

If you are the new owner or manager of an existing business that has changed its name, reviews may be removed if your business meets specific criteria.

  • Rebrand: Reviews can be removed from the listing if there’s been a significant change in well known, distinct brand name changes. Hotels or fast food establishment that switch franchise affiliations or car dealers that specialize in a different makes of cars would qualify for review removal.
  • Name changes related to change in underlying services: For instance, a business that switches from Jade’s Chinese Garden Restaurant to India Palace Restaurant, or Al’s Sporting Goods Store to Performance Bike Repair, would qualify for review removal
  • Partners or other business affiliations that disassociate: For example, if Perkins and Rogers, Attorneys at Law becomes Perkins, Attorney at Law because Rogers has left the practice to form his own, all reviews would be detached. Note that all reviews would be removed, not just the ones that refer to a particular practitioner

Name changes that don’t reflect core changes to the business’s services aren’t eligible for review removal. For example, if Dasha’s Dry Cleaner becomes Dasha’s Super Dry Cleaner, or JFK Limo Service becomes Super JFK Limo, reviews will remain in place.

Out of business

If your business closes, reviews will remain attached to the closed listing.

Physical location (address) move

If your business moves from one location to another and keeps the same business name, Google will generally move the reviews to the new location. There are some exceptions for businesses heavily tied to their locations, like hotels, golf courses or scenic attractions.

Submit a request for us to move reviews using this form. Currently this is only available for users of the new Google Places for Business dashboard, but we expect to expand its availability soon. I will update this post when it is available more widely.


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19 thoughts on “Google Local Adds New Troubleshooter to Move Reviews When a Business Relocates”

  1. Google fixing stuff…now I’ve seen everything.

    This is great. Thanks for covering it, Mike.

    What would be nice is a step-by-step walkthrough, along the lines of “Click this, then click that.” I’m trying to figure out the sequence of steps to request a review move.

  2. Will this apply to professionals, such as dentists, who can have a listing for the practice as well as for the individual providers? If reviews are under the doctor, but they have created a G+ local business page with the practice’s listing, can the reviews me moved to the parent listing? (That would be SUPER exciting in my corner of the world!)

  3. @Kelly
    That does not seem to fit under any of the above situations. Although I have no idea… fill out the form or call support, give it a go and let us know. 🙂

  4. This is definitely a nice feature and I have a client that I was going to try it with, but when I click through to the troubleshooter, the pop-up “Contact Us” form says “Please contact us using the form below”…but there is no form below. Can anyone actually see the contact form, or is it just me? I’ve tried Chrome and Firefox.

  5. I’m so sad that it’s only for new dashboards. I only have a couple of clients with those. The listings that give me the most headaches are all managed through a bulk listing, so no new dashboard. This would have been a lifesaver for me. 🙁

  6. Mike, do you see this as the beginning of Google “Customer Service” / “troubleshooting” for other issues as well? Might they expand this troubleshooting feature or is this specific for reviews?

  7. @Jeffrey
    Google has committed to all around better support for the SMB that is using their business listing dashboards. In January they added phone support for verification issues and shortly after that added phone support for data quality issues.

    In Europe, along with the closings of the forums last week, they recently added email support for all questions.

    So as Google develops internal tools to solve these sorts of problems, they are giving them forward facing opportunities to be fixed via a real support system.

  8. @Jeffey said: “do you see this as the beginning of Google “Customer Service” / “troubleshooting” for other issues as well?”

    There have been 2 troubleshooters for awhile now that get you support on all the other types of problems.

    FYI the link to the “move reviews” troubleshooter Mike linked to above only works if you are working with and logged into an account that has the new dashboard.

    But for other problems like incorrect data, dupes, merges and missing listings – on the old dashboard use this troubleshooter: (Which includes a phone option in the US as Mike mentioned)

    There is also a separate verification troubleshooter.

    If you are in an account with the new dash, click the help link, then contact us and you will get several troubleshooters for various types of problems there too – complete with the phone support option for any type of problem.

  9. Informative article, however the link to the “move reviews” troubleshooter Mike linked to above actually links to a “remove reviews” form. I would also be interested in finding the URL of the verification troubleshooter as my new location does not have postal delivery.

  10. Thanks for the update Mike. The last time we moved our business location, we nearly went out of business, because Google kicked our listing from Page 1 of organic search and local search to page 5. It took about 18 months to claw our way back to Page 1. Right now we are preparing another move, necessitated as our business continues to grow, and would like to minimize the impact on our ranking this time. However we are also suffering from the consequences of the change in local search algorithm, limiting display to the top 3 – so, being in the top 7, we are now off Page 1 again, and our local search traffic has dropped to 25% of what it was before the change. It’s a disaster. Our business has dropped off a cliff in the two months since this change was rolled out.

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