How should I handle my new client's "fake" business locations within Google My Business?
 by Kristi Hagen

How should I handle my new client's "fake" business locations within Google My Business?

  • Six years ago my new client set up his GMB tree services listing using a P.O. Box address.

    At the time he was also told he could claim listings for buildings that he owned even though the tree services business didn't own any of them. So, he proceeded to set up a total of 6 locations in the eastern section of a single state — none of which are the actual physical business location since it isn't a brick-n-mortar type business.

    So, fast-forward to today: We want to delete the "fake" listings and set up a new listing for their actual address. What is the best way to take down the fake listings without Google or customers thinking the business has closed?

    BTW, to make matters a bit more complicated, the fake listings do have real reviews. We'd like to move those reviews over to the new "actual address" GMB listing. Is that possible? If so, what's the best way to do that?

Answer:

We advise you to be very careful with this. It doesn't always work out the way you want it to, so we recommend you take it one step at a time and then wait between making changes!

Start by adding a listing for the real location and begin heavily promoting that location hoping to get it ranking well and getting lots of good reviews. That includes adding the real address to the website and replacing the PObox address with the real address in the data aggregators and any other important sites that are relevant to this type of business. Then wait and see what happens before planning your next move!

We noticed that one of your 5 listings is published with an address. You should check to see why that one already has a physical address while the others do not. We're assuming the others must be listed as Service Area Businesses (SAB). As long as they're marked that way, Google will probably not do anything evil to them in the foreseeable future. So if they're ranking well and bringing in leads, consider them "bonus" locations as long as Google continues to list them without problems.

Be prepared to also change the listing that's showing a physical address to a SAB if any problems pop up....

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