Reader Question: Who Owns My Google LBC Listings?

Here’s a great question from a reader that I thought deserved a blog-post-length reply. Reader, Amy, writes:

My issue is that I’ve recently joined a company (client-side) and there’s no trace of who set up the LBC listings for each of our hotels, whether it was someone internal or not.

So now that i need to edit the listings for the company, how can i do it without the login details? I’ve searched extensively for advice from Google… to no avail

I would imagine that many people run into this issue, and I’d like to give some advice to help get the ball rolling in resolving it.

How Did Your Google Local Listing Come To Be?

First of all, it’s important for you to understand that when Google created their local index, they scraped business data from many places (yellow pages, directories, etc.) So, in other words, the businesses listed in Google’s local results are not necessarily there because they were submitted to Google. A great many of them are there as a result of Google pulling them from third party sources.

So, the first thing for you to determine is whether your company’s hotel listings merely exist as a result of action on Google’s part, or whether they were created and claimed by a person at/for your company.

Go to GetListed.org.

This terrific little tool will enable you to enter the business name and zip code for each of the hotel locations. GetListed will crawl Google’s local index for you, and in just seconds, will tell you whether each of your Google listings has been claimed/verified or is sitting there unverified, and therefor, is simply the result of Google pulling information from elsewhere to create a listing for you (without you knowing about it).

Before I go further, let me explain the claiming/verifying a listing involves the business owner (or his Local SEO consultant) logging into Google’s Local Business Center and requesting that Google either phone you or send you a postcard so that you can verify that you are the owner of the business.

Here is an example from GetListed.org of an inn in California that has not claimed their business listing:

Business Not Claimed In Google

If the hotel listings show as having not been claimed, just click the link on the GetListed results page to ‘Claim Your Listing’. This will take you to the login page for Google’s Local Business Center, at which point, if you don’t currently have a Google account, you can create a new one. If the company already has an account (such as for Gmail or Adwords or something else) you can use that username and password to log in.

Then, simply follow the steps within Google’s LBC to verify your listing either by postcard or phone call, and this will also be a good time to make sure that that the data about each business location is as accurate and thorough as possible.

I would suggest, Amy, that you try this step first with the hotel’s various locations. Then come back here and let us know whether you discovered that the hotel listings have already been claimed or not.

8 Responses to “Reader Question: Who Owns My Google LBC Listings?”

  1. on 07 May 2009 at 4:06 pm Stever

    This brings up an issue I’ve been thinking of and related to another discussion we had recently (gmail accounts tied to LBC, Analytics, webmaster tools, etc…)

    I’m now telling clients that they should have a completely separate gmail used solely for the business and website. Many have been using personal gmail accounts for this stuff.

    Regardless of the trust issues involved in allowing an SEO to have access, what happens if the owner sells the business? And all that stuff is tied to a personal email account. Or an employees email account and they quit, or are fired. Or the wife and there is a divorce, that could get nasty.

    Needs to be separate, and easily transferable should the business trade hands at some point.

    That said, I have no idea how to proceed with a lost of forgotten gmail account if a Google Maps business listing has already been claimed.

    A question to be asked in the Maps Help Forums, and see what Google says about that.

  2. on 07 May 2009 at 4:50 pm admin

    Hey, Steve!
    Thanks so much for coming to comment on this. Your scenarios make an extremely strong argument for having a unique account just for LBC management. Very good advice, I must say.

    I’m really hoping that Amy will come and tell us what happens when she checks to see if the listings are claimed or not, and am crossing my fingers that they are unclaimed.

    I’ve been thinking about this all day, trying to come up with some solution should it turn out that the listings were claimed and the account is lost. So far, I haven’t had any concrete ideas, and it sounds like you can’t think of an easy workaround either.

    However, your words to the wise are good ones! Thanks for taking the time to comment.
    Miriam

  3. on 07 May 2009 at 6:14 pm Mike Blumenthal

    The answer to the question of who owns the listing is: the last person to claim the record.

    If the records are already claimed then she can go into Google, create a new account and then go into the record in Maps and select /More Info/Edit/Add this business and reclaim it in the new LBC account. She will obviously need to verify. But a record once claimed can be reclaimed by someone else in Google’s world. The new LBC’s owners authority comes from the reverification process. This also allows for some additive details that might enhance the ranking as Google will show the “provided by business owner” info from both the current and previous claims.

  4. on 07 May 2009 at 6:36 pm admin

    Ah! Mike, that makes sense. Well, at least, it makes sense as a process, though perhaps not as a business policy.

    So, creating a new account would be the key, because Google’s somewhat odd policies allow this to be done. I had actually wondered about this at one point today, but then thought it might accidentally create a repeat listing and that you’d have to then find a way to delete the older listing. But your advice wouldn’t require this and is much simpler than I realized.

    If Amy does come check out this post, you’ve done her a big favor to point the way, and I really thank you for sharing your knowledge with me, too, Mike!

    Cheers!
    Miriam

  5. on 08 May 2009 at 1:55 am Amy

    Thanks everyone for your help. Unfortunately as I’m based in the UK I can’t use getlisted.org. Do you happen to know if there’s an international or UK version of this tool?

    In the meantime, I’ve tried going into the listing and clicking on add/edit, and then logging in with a new gmail account. This brings me to a page with two options – ‘add your business’ and ‘upload a data file’. If I select ‘add your business’ it takes me down the route of creating a new listing from scratch. Should there be an option somewhere to claim the listing, at which point I could do the verification?

  6. on 08 May 2009 at 3:20 am Mike Blumenthal

    Create what seems like the new listing. (it is counterintuitive). However, when you create it be sure that all of the details are the same. In the worse case scenario, the two records will merge.

  7. on 08 May 2009 at 2:55 pm admin

    Ah, Amy, I didn’t realize you were overseas. Mike’s advice is good. Give it a try!
    Miriam

  8. on 02 Mar 2010 at 7:32 pm Nathan

    Does anyone know of a GetListed.org site that works in Australia?

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