Transferring Google Local Business Center Accounts
Posted on January 6th, 2010
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.