GoogleMaps has taken on a very difficult task.
With so much information on the web and with so many varying components and inconsistencies in the way information is presented, the task of compiling and identifying local businesses is Gargantuan. Google has been storing information for several years from an array of sources; telephone registration, advertising, utilities, phone books, and blogs. Each different source has provided local addresses and other local information. In collecting this data Google has decided to try its hand in providing a more local resource directory. They want searchers to be able to find the local restaurants, doctors, dentists, plumbers, pest controllers. But in amassing such data they must sift out the inconsistencies, inaccuracies, and the old with the new.
The Map Merger
Maps in Google often merge because of too much similarity to another listing. Two doctors sharing the same building for similar practices (i.e. pediatricians), will have the same address, minus a suite number. These doctors have a high probability for being merged. Even if one is on the 1st floor and the other on the 51st floor.
Business Name Similarities:
Other local listings may be merged because the business name is too similar. Let’s take “Tulsa Pest Control” and “Tulsa Pest Control Deals”. In this case Google makes a judgment call based on the information they have. If “Tulsa Pest Control” is registered with the BBB, Structural Pest Control Board, and the local chamber of commerce and “Tulsa Pest Control Deals” is not then Google will most likely merge it to “Tulsa Pest Control”. However, there are other factors that could sway this the wrong direction. Claimed listings, online spam, or the most recent content.
Same Business Name Different Locations:
A company with mulitple locations may see their listings merge. Key factors in merging these local listings are the website address and the phone number. If you have one phone number for all of your locations then you are at a high risk of being merged. Sharing the same website will also push you closer to a merger.
How to unmerge Google local listings.
Step 1: Claim the listing
If the listing is unclaimed then fix the listing and then claim the listing. You can tell by the portion that says, “Edit this place – Business Owner?” that the listing is unclaimed.
If the listing is claimed then first fix it in your Google Places. You can tell it’s claimed by the owner-verified check at that top. If you have not claimed the listing and it says owner verified then you will want to claim the listing for yourself. Simply click on the text “Owner Verified” and it will take you to Google places. You can create your profile there and claim your listings.
Step 2: Correcting the information elsewhere
Because Google is relying on other sources for their listings you must go to those other sources. The best way to unmerge the listing is go to the primary source of all local listings: InfoUSA If you two businesses with similar addresses then enter in both businesses. BE WARNED: This is a sure fire way to increase your phone calls! But they are not the phone calls you want as InfoUSA will sell your information to businesses that solicit other businesses. So your calls will increase, but mainly because of solicitors. Overall the best fix is going to the root of local business listings.
But this may not fix all of your woes. Changing it at the source may not delete previous errors. If Kudzu.com picked up the old address they are not going to purge their system with the new info. They simply keep adding to the pile. So if your incorrect information keeps getting feed back into google’s bots, google will continue to add and merge. This may make your work a little more tedious. You may need to search out and destroy all of the bad addresses for your business on the net. You may need to pick up a phone and call Kudzu.com to have the information corrected or removed.
Another example, the Las Vegas phone book has an old address published for Bulwark Exterminating in Las Vegas. To correct this I need to contact the Las Vegas yellow pages. Affiliate Marketers may also cause mergers and confusion in the maps. If this happens to you, don’t be fooled, they caused it! They can fix it. The simplest fix is to tell them to remove their listing all together from google maps. I don’t think Google intended for the maps to be filled with affiliate marketers, …despite what shows in the search. This may be a scary thought for you as you don’t want to loose potential business from their spam listings. But continuing to allow them to list in the maps means you are paying for a listings that you should be able to achieve yourself for free. Further, you are adding to and promoting the growth of the internet marketing cesspool. Let’s keep it clean for everyone’s sake.
Step 3: Wait for it.
Google will not make or show adjustments immediately. Some updates will take place very quickly. Within hours or a couple of days. But most will take much longer. Give it 3 to 12 weeks. But these 3 steps should solve your merging problems. If they do not then move on to Step 4.
Step 4: Last Resort: Create a new listing.
If Step 1-3 do not fix your problem after 3 to 12 weeks then you may attempt to create a new listing all together. Make sure that you still follow Step 2 so that other sources are mimicking your business information. Unfortunately without these outside references your business listing will not stick.
Just to sum it up…
Unmerging Local Listings is not easy and it will take time, but it will work.