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Common Causes of Merged Google Places Listings

As Google continues to develop and push its local search results upon users looking for local services, a growing number of businesses flock to claim and update their Google Places listings. With the increased traffic has come an increase in the issues experienced by business owners in controlling the information Google displays on their business. Among the most frustrating issues is that of merged listings.In this article we will explore the common causes of merged or incorrect information appearing within you Google Places listings.1. The main reason for merged listings to appear is that existing web-based listings such as those on yell.com or other directory sites already contain inaccurate information on your business. Google simply crawls these sites, gathers your information and creates a listing based on what it finds. If that information is flawed, technically, that’s the fault of the business owner for not policing citations of his business across the internet, not Google’s. So the best advice is to ensure all citations of your business are logged and updated if necessary.2. Merged listings have been known to appear if you own multiple businesses or locations in the same town or building. This can confuse Google which finds it difficult to differentiate between the various offices or locations and can lead to a merging of information from two or more locations into one. To prevent this you should always use different contact details that are kept unique to each business, office or location.3. Beware if you have the same name as another business in the same area. This can lead to information from your business and a competitor two doors down being merged – the only winner of this one is the business who gets the phone number! Keep your business name unique, if it is the same as another business then find a way to differentiate it in your listing.4. Inaccurate map marker. I have seen map markers placed in the wrong cities; don’t rely on Google to get this one spot on for you. Go into the map and edit your location. Ensure that marker sits as close to your doorstep as is possible. This is essential if a street view image exists of your business as this will reinforce the user experience.As Google Places becomes the norm for localised search results, it is now more than ever essential that you invest the tie and effort into updating your Google Places listing. Follow the points above and avoid the pitfalls and you could see your website’s traffic increase and hopefully your sales with it.