A large swath of the places your local business listing appears online, including in Google Maps and within Knowledge Panels in Google Search results, are controlled inside of your Google My Business profile. What’s more, countless other services use these local listings to verify your business information for their listings in directories, GPS systems, social media and more.
It’s a great system for small businesses. However, multi-location businesses (including franchises, corporate chains and service-area businesses) face unique challenges. The complexities in managing data for hundreds or even thousands of locations has resulted in a fair bit of confusion and even misinformation about bulk management of Google My Business listings. In this article, we’re busting some of those bulk GMB management myths.
Myth #1 – You can lock your Google business listing from Google’s suggested updates and user changes.
There is no way (whether for a single location or bulk verified account) to automatically reject suggested updates. If you have connected via API, republishing your location data will overwrite suggested updates, as long as you’ve included the fields that have suggested changes.
For example, if the suggestions are for amenities, you need to publish the amenities in order to overwrite suggestions. Even with the API, there is no “advanced notice” of these suggestions before or after they overwrite the data you’ve submitted to Google. Because suggested updates can be made frequently, your best course of action is constant and proactive management of your location, right up to daily monitoring.
Myth #2 – Google Posts can be managed in bulk for multi-location brands.
It’s true that Google Posts have been in the Google API since October 2017, but this feature is still locked for multi-location brands and chains. The only way to publish Google Posts for multi-location brands is manually via the GMB interface.
Myth #3 – If you have a bulk-verified account, you can add Service Area Businesses that will be bulk-verified.
In order for Google My Business to validate that the business listing you are publishing is valid and serves the public, you need a physical address (regardless of whether customers will be visiting it or not). For this, you must receive a postcard to your registered address, even if you’ve already qualified for bulk verification.
Myth #4 – You can delete old and closed locations.
You can delete locations from your account or ownership. However, this does not permanently remove the listing from Google Search or Maps. Marking a location as permanently closed will begin the process to help the listing fall off ranking. But how quickly that happens depends on other relevant and nearby locations ranking for the same queries.
Myth #5 – Department listings will not flag as duplicates.
While some brands qualify for department listings (business within a business), this does not stop the listings from flagging as duplicates. Because it’s likely that these will flag as duplicates, additional management and monitoring to have these published separately is required. It’s critical when managing department listings to ensure that the location details—primarily name and categories—are unique. Despite this, you’ll still likely have to clean up duplicates every so often.
Myth #6 – With bulk verification, all of your locations and changes publish immediately.
Bulk verification means you can add or update locations without having to individually verify locations. Bulk verification has no influence over the specific publishing time frame. It just removes the need for manual verification or re-verification when making large changes to your listing.
Still have questions about bulk listing management? Contact your account manager or get in touch with a Rio SEO representative to learn more.
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Krystal Taing is a Google My Business Gold Product Expert with extensive knowledge and expertise in local marketing and local search.