I wanted to share some knowledge about working with a Google local listing which will help both the account managers here at Semify and our resellers out there selling local SEO. My goal is to help you guys sell this more effectively by tackling some tough issues that create some mind boggling questions from potential (or even current) clients. So let’s dive into the first local listing issue I want to cover - Page Ownership issues.

Per the Google Quality Guidelines, “Do not create more than one listing for each business location, either in a single account or multiple accounts.” The reason I bring this up is because it is such a common issue for so many people, but we’re not talking about it. Many people out there have heard of the dreaded “Google local Suspension” or heard a client say, “why am I not showing up on Google?” What so many professionals fail to bring up are some of the reasons outside of page content that may answer WHY a listing is not showing up in a top spot or at all.

This is a major violation which could problems that can happen when local listings are claimed in more than one account including:

  • Pending review
  • Data inconsistencies (changes on the live listing you can’t control - data keeps changing back and forth between the 2 listings)
  • Missing images
  • The inability to respond to reviews
  • Suspension and ranking penalties
  • Problems with page edits.

This also creates a debacle when dealing with Google support, because they require you to verify the email address which “owns” the page. If there are multiple email addresses linked to the page, it creates a lot of problems all around. This is one of the biggest problems for a Google local listing that most people don’t talk about.

So that is why claiming a page under multiple accounts is a bad idea. You must be asking how we can fix a situation like this or prevent it from happening, right? Well you’re in luck because there are multiple ways around this potentially sticky situation. The first solution is to stop it from happening in the beginning. In every questionnaire required to start work on a local SEO program there is a section for login information. By pressing the client a little bit to remember, it can save months of headache and get them off to the right start.

You’re probably asking, “How can I tell whether a Google local listing is already claimed/verified?” Although Google is always going through changes with this product, one of the most consistent indicators of a “claimed” page is the appearance of the business description; also referred to as “from the owner” section. If that section is actively appearing, then it is a good assumption the listing has been claimed at one point in time.

A more accurate way to tell whether a listing is verified or not is by clicking the “manage this page” button on the right hand side of the Google local listing. If the page is already verified then it will take you to the phone lookup screen. If this happens, you will need to press your client to remember the login information.

If the page is not claimed that button will redirect you to the page edit screen, and from there a new account can be used to claim the listing.

Hopefully with more people armed with this information, less people will have trouble with their Google local listings in the future due to unwitting mistakes when they first claimed their pages. Local SEO is an important part of a well-rounded marketing strategy, especially for businesses who wish to do a chunk of their business locally. Avoiding these snags will save you time and stress and let you get to work on your other online marketing campaigns!