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Google My Business Troubleshooting: There Are Duplicate Listings for My Business

Last updated on October 11, 2022
11 minute read
Key Takeaways

  • Duplicate GMB listings are against Google's guidelines.
  • Find the steps to resolve duplicate listings depending on your scenario.
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Skill Level

Intermediate
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Maybe a previous employee set up a Google My Business (GMB) listing and you didn’t know, so you created a new one. Or maybe you’ve recently restarted your SEO efforts and forgot you already had a listing. Whatever the reason, you suddenly find yourself with duplicate listings. 

This is problematic for a few reasons, the most important one being that duplicate listings violate Google’s guidelines. Even if it slips through the cracks at Google, duplicate listings can have a negative impact on your business:

  • Much like duplicate content, duplicate listings make it hard for Google to decide which one to rank over the other. This could result in Google displaying an older listing with outdated information. 
  • One of your listings might have more reviews than the other. If Google displays the listing with fewer or no reviews, you could lose business from searchers who rely on reviews to make their decision. The same issue could arise if you regularly reply to reviews on your new listing, but Google ends up displaying the one you haven’t been maintaining. 
  • Other websites like Yelp could take your business information from the outdated listing, further spreading incorrect information like an old phone number. 
  • All of these scenarios can lose you clicks and ultimately bookings. Searchers rely on the information from your GMB listing to decide whether to do business with you! (Need a refresher on the importance of GMB? Check out our introductory guide.) 

Luckily, once you realize you have duplicate listings, you can fix it by following the steps outlined below. The process will depend on a few different factors, so jump to the scenario that best applies to you.  

Scenario 1: I own both of the listings I want to merge. 

Scenario 2: Someone else has claimed the listing I want to remove or edit. 

Scenario 3: I have a listing incorrectly marked as “Permanently closed.” 

Scenario 4: My business is moving to a new location. Should I create a new listing? 

Scenario 1: I own both of the listings I want to merge. 

  • Step 1: Before you ask Google to combine your listings, you need to ensure that the addresses match exactly on both listings. Make sure you write out information like suite number in the exact same way (e.g. if one says “Suite 104” and the other says “STE 104,” update one of them to match the other). 
  • Step 2: Google will not allow you to merge two verified listings, so if you’ve claimed and verified both, you’ll need to unverify one of the listings. This means removing the listing from your GMB dashboard. Before you proceed, double and triple-check which listing you want to remove, and make sure you transfer any important information to the listing you want to keep. 
    • Sign into Google My Business and head to the “Info” tab. 
    • Select “Remove listing” to delete the desired listing from your dashboard. 
    • Check all the checkboxes in the window that appears, then select “Delete account.” Note that this will unverify the listing, but it won’t remove it from Google Maps. 
  • Step 3: Submit a request to Google to merge your two listings through their GMB help page.
    • Under “Tell us what we can help with,” type “Merge profiles” and select the appropriate description from the options provided.
      screenshot of google my business help form for merging profiles
    • Review Google’s suggested resources, then click “Next step.”
    • Fill out the contact form with your information and request. Be sure to provide the URLs for both listings. To get the URLs, search for your business on Google Maps, click on each listing, and copy the URL.
      screenshot of google maps url

Once Google processes your request, you’re good to go! You should now have a single listing for your business. 

Scenario 2: Someone else has claimed the listing I want to remove or edit. 

You can tell if a business has already been verified if you don’t see the “Own this business?” (in the knowledge panel) or “Claim this business” (in Google Maps) option on the listing. Perhaps a previous employee managed the listing and you no longer have a way to contact them to transfer ownership of a listing. In this case, you’ll need to take control of the listing following these steps before you can proceed with merging. 

  • Step 1: Go to https://business.google.com/create and search for the business listing. 
  • Step 2: If the business has already been claimed, you’ll see a screen with a hint to which email address owns this profile. If you don’t have access to the email address, select “Request Access” and fill out the form, then submit.  
  • Step 3: Google will contact the current owner of the listing, and you’ll receive email notifications on the action they take, whether they approve or deny your request. 
    • If the current owner doesn’t respond within three days, you may be able to claim the business. To do so, go to the original confirmation email for your request and follow the instructions to verify the business. 
  • Step 4: Once you have ownership, follow the steps in Scenario 1

You can learn more about this process on Google’s help page, including alternative instructions for service-area profiles (those that don’t have a business address). 

Scenario 3: I have a listing incorrectly marked as “Permanently closed.” 

Say you find a listing for your business at a previous location or incorrect location, and it’s marked as “Permanently closed.” This could give customers the wrong idea, and it could potentially hurt rankings. You want the old listing to indicate that the business has moved to a new location. To do so: 

  • Step 1: If the old listing marked as “Permanently closed” is currently verified, first you need to unverify it following the steps outlined in Scenario 1
    • If you don’t own the listing you want to edit, follow the steps under Scenario 2 to claim the listing first.
  • Step 2: Once it’s unverified, send a request to Google to ask them to mark the listing as “Moved to new location.” 

Scenario 4: My business is moving to a new location. Should I create a new listing? 

No, when moving to a new location, you should not create a new listing. Instead, follow these steps to update your information. 

  • Step 1: Update your address on your website. 
  • Step 2: Update your address on your existing GMB listing. 
    • Google should automatically move your reviews to your new location. There are a few exceptions for businesses heavily tied to the location (such as a golf course). Read more about moving Google reviews
  • Step 3: Update your address on your social media profiles and any listings for your business on local directories

You might be wondering if it’s worth going through these sometimes complex processes to keep your GMB profile accurate and up to date. The answer is always yes. GMB is a crucial resource for your business, and following the appropriate steps to avoid duplicate or incorrect listings will bring you many benefits. For more on how to take advantage of GMB, check out our guide to optimizing your listing

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