Google Plus Local Listing Ownership Conflicts
The effective approach of using Bulk Management when optimizing for Google Places, versus individually claiming listings, has taken a new turn for the worse. Google has recently implemented a new process for Places pages, and over the past two months Location3 has been seeing significant ramifications with regard to the organic data management of our clients. This new process prevents dual ownership of accounts, meaning that a location’s data cannot be managed within a brand’s bulk account if it has already been claimed by a franchise or location owner – or anyone else, for that matter. If a bulk feed is submitted or updated, the account holder for the previously claimed local listing will get an alert notifying them that they are no longer able to make edits as the listing is already owned by someone else.
When the franchisee, or other listing owner, clicks on the Learn More link they are directed to a Google Support article which states: “We only permit one owner per listing, but a listing owner can add up to 50 managers.” Next, the listing owner is asked several questions including, “Is this listing verified in another account which you can control?” and “Is this listing verified by a user whom you’re able to contact?” Once the listing owner answers these questions an email is then sent to the Google Places bulk account owner.
The email example below explains the process for taking back control of a duplicate-claimed listing and offers an instruction link for adding a new Manager to an account. However, these instructions only apply to adding a Manager to the individually claimed account, not to bulk accounts.
Ultimately the listing itself must be removed from the brand’s bulk account and turned over solely to the franchisee or location owner. In a nutshell, the process as a whole winds up looking something like this:
If this is a long-term Google solution to dual ownership then franchise brands would have very little choice but to abandon any hopes for brand consistency and accuracy management for their local listings. However, it is our opinion that this is only a short term Google process hiccup, as we’ve seen many times in the past. In our estimation this is likely a gap that is occurring during a transitional development towards future improvements in the overall management process and ultimately a true solution for dual ownership. Our fingers are crossed that this is the case.
Special thanks to Nick Neels for his contributions to this blog.