Recently Google has decided they will no longer merge professional’s listings with the main practice listings in Google+ Local. It is causing all kinds of duplicate listings with Google+ Local for such businesses like: dentists, lawyers, doctors, etc. Linda Buquet first blog about it back on June 19th, 2012 here.
This is a major challenge for local SEO’ers who have dentists, doctors, & lawyers as clients. As we all know having consistent NAP info in local search is essential to ranking well. Many of the top SEO’ers back this up in the Local Search Ranking Factors.
She even got confirmation from Google Support that they do no plan on amending this decision.
“If a business and medical practitioner exists at a location, we want it to be displayed on Google Maps in order to give our users the most comprehensive information possible.”
Questions We Need To Get Answered With This Change
I assume now the best thing to do is claim those listings and optimize them, but there are still some questions I need to know before making proper decisions on how to best manage clients who have this duplicate listing challenge that will not go away.
Question 1: I am not certain yet, that when claiming them if we should be make the DBA (doing business name) as only the professionals name or if we should add the practice’s name + professionals name…? Maybe if Mike Blumenthal or Linda Buquet or Nyagoslav Zhekov are reading this blog post, they could chime in with their thoughts on how to best handle DBA info for professionals.
Question 2: Should we as local SEO’ers now build citations for the professionals too…? My feeling is no (well not yet) because this could lead to further confusion about the business.
If you are a local SEO’er, let us know what your thoughts are about the recent duplicate listing challenges in Google+ Local and how you plan on handling it in the comment section below.
Possible Solution To This Dupe Problem
I guess what we could do is, kick it old school by claiming the listings and merging them by filling the info as being the same, then waiting for Google Places Dashboard to show the same data, then purging the extra listing from the account. We used to do this all the time before you report duplicate listings. If that doesn’t work and you claimed the listing and merged the data, they I suppose you could also submit to Google Places support to merge them too.
My only concern about this is that ‘professional’ listing might come back. All it takes is an approved data provider to feed Google Maps with the wrong NAP info and bingo! Another dupe listing! Which then means we are back at square one. ;( I’d love to hear the opinion of some of the local SEO’ers about this pretty big challenge. I have seen this badly affect: Dentists, Doctors, Lawyers, Real Estate Agents/Brokers and many other businesses that house many independent professionals under one address and main phone number.
As Chelsea Lately would say, “What hot mess!”
FYI, 5 other note-worthy recent local SEO blog post you should read too:
- Google+ Local, Google Places, or Google Maps – Name Changes Don’t Matter, the Back End Still Creates Problems
- The Sound of Trouble Knocking – A Call from Google Places India
- New Study: The Best Citations Sources By City
- Google Paid Inclusion Programs: Buy a Top Ranking Today
- How Google May Identify Implicitly Local Queries