Transferring Google Local Business Center Accounts

Following my previous post where I recommended that Google should be allowing shared user access in the LBC I’m now thinking about best practices for transferring accounts. Basically how to pull it off with the minimum disruption to your listings current rankings.

Maybe your web designer went ahead and created a maps listing for you, in their account. Or a family member that knows a bit about the web went ahead and did it for you. But now you want it in your own account where you can control it.

As it stands there is no way to simply transfer ownership of a business listing from one Google account to another. Essentially you must delete one listing and create a new listing in another account. This will temporarily remove the original listing from search results and may take some time for the new listing to resume in its place.

I am actually in the process of doing one of these now and the following is how I’ve gone about it. With relative success. We did loose a couple spots in rankings.

Create A Listing in Second Account

First create the new listing in the other account. Make all the details of that listing identical to the other one. Same name, description, contact info, etc… but add a few more details such as a few extra “Additional Fields”, maybe a few more images. This may make the new listing the more powerful of the two.

Wait for the Merge

Wait a couple weeks to see if a data merge takes place. In the two different LBC accounts you should start to see identical impression and action statistics. Also the listing details on the place page for that business should be now showing those extra’s you added to the new listing version. This is similar to merging duplicate listings within the same account, except in this case its across two accounts.

Edit Original Listing

Once you are fairly confident a data merge has occurred go and edit the original listing, the one you want to remove from the other account. Strip out all the information except the name phone and address. Delete the description, images, hours, additional fields, etc… but don’t touch the name, phone and address fields. Save those edits.

Wait Some More

Now wait and watch for a couple weeks. Hopefully rankings did not plummet, the listing appearing in results still has all its details, from the new listing you created, all or most the reviews and web citations (”more about this place”) are still appearing in the businesses place page, etc…

Delete the Old Listing

Now you should be able to safely delete the old listing from that other account.

What I saw happen in the case I’m dealing with is some of the reviews from other sources, outside Google’s own reviews, got dropped. I do expect them to return at some point. The business dropped out of the top 7, where it had been ranking #7, falling to #9. Loosing those reviews may have been the kicker there. Seems we still have all the web citations. When those reviews come back, plus other optimization tricks begin to kick in, we should see this business back into 7 pack, and hopefully ranking a bit higher next time.

Update: They came back into the top 7, at #4, after a few weeks.

7 Comments on “Transferring Google Local Business Center Accounts”

Stu on January 9th, 2010 wrote:

You can delete this later, but I use Chrome and your subscription feed is a bowl of html stew.

I don’t know why it would be my problem.

Stever on January 9th, 2010 wrote:

Ugg, thanks Stu, will look into it.

Zad on February 23rd, 2010 wrote:

This is a very informative post. Do you have any idea if there’s anyway to do this with Google Analytics & Webmaster tools? I am the first half of your article – web master who put another client’s stuff in my personal account. Now I need to separate it to it’s own account so my client can access and see for himself without going into my personal stuff :(

Stever on February 24th, 2010 wrote:

Zad, with Analytics you can set others as users. Then they log into their own Analytics account and can see the data from there.

Have your client create an Analytics account within their G account. Then set them as a user in your Analytics. You can set them as an admin which lets them view all the accounts in your Analytics, or as a guest user that just sees stats for the one website account. But the main account is still yours and cannot be transferred. So, inside their account create a new profile for the same website. Then Google around for info on how to include more than one Analytics id in the java code, so now both accounts are collecting the data. Once the new account has enough data you could then turn your account off. You will loose previous data though, so wait till the client has sufficient data to work with in that new profile before you cut them off from yours.

With Webmaster tools there is no way to transfer. But there is nothing in there really all that important that it can’t be undone and redone. Basically create new webmaster tools account for the client, in their G account. Verify it, add sitemaps, etc… Done. Delete old one from your account if you wish. You can have multiple G accounts using webmaster tools for the same website. Not a big deal.

Stever on May 23rd, 2010 wrote:

Update on Webmaster Tools accounts. You can now share users, Andrew Shotland has a how-to post here.

Andrew Shotland on May 27th, 2010 wrote:

Very devious Stever. I like it.

Best Old Posts on Local Search: the Classics | on May 11th, 2012 wrote:

[...] Transferring Google Local Business Center Accounts – Steve Hatcher [...]

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