More threads by Linda Buquet

Linda Buquet

Local Search Expert
Jun 28, 2012
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Just made a very cool discovery I wanted to share with you all.

An ex-client just emailed me to say she's trying to advertise with Adwords Express. She wanted to know which of the 3 listings that showed up, should she pick.
She sent me a screenshot.

Well I've done a ton of work for them on dupes and such, so was concerned how they could have 3 listings. Checked live and confirmed there was only one.

Asked how she got to the screen that says "Select a Business" and showed the 3 listings. Replicated on my own listing so I could see it live. Then figured out what's up.

This Dental office had merged with G+ before I started working with them. So #1 is their G+ page. #2 is their Place page. (Both were claimed and have images).

#3 just had a map, so looks unclaimed. Correct name. Suite formatted differently.
Correct address on main listing is XYZ Road Suite 100B. That 3rd listing was XYZ Rd # 100-B.

So this is a dupe Google scraped and created at one point then merged. So it does not show up live. You'd never know it ever even existed.

2 potential issues this new solution I'm giving you could help with.

1) Bad NAP. Google never makes things up. She got that address from somewhere. So would be worth checking to see if some clean up is needed for any merged dupe NAP variations that show up. (Would not worry about it too much in the case above, but if was more than address formatting that was off - maybe name or phone was different, may be worth correcting.)

2) I've talked at length about how many problems a hidden merged dupe can cause and how it's a violation to have 2 listings claimed in the same account. Here is one of my main posts about the problem:

WARNING: Dual Claimed Ranking Penalty - Drop like a Rock or Get Suspended

But sometimes you aren't sure if there is another claimed listing because you can't see it live. It's merged, therefore hidden. Sometimes a previous SEO or someone MAY have done it, but no way to know for sure if a hidden merged dupe is at the root of the problem.

There are a bunch of telltale signs of a hidden merged dupe I can usually identify when I'm doing a troubleshooting consult because I know what to look for. But this would confirm it and I wish I knew about this a long time ago.

So for example if you suspect a problem with a hidden merged dupe or dual claimed listing, you could TRY this. The listings it displays only shows NAP and an image. So hard to tell if they are claimed dupes or not. BUT if there is an image, it's likely claimed in another account. If so, then that could help you determine if you need to contact support to get that listing unverified.

I WOULD NOT DO THIS... unless you suspect a problem. In other words, I would not add this to your process as an initial set-up step or anything. Or do it just for fun. But if needed here's how to do it.

Log into client account. Go to:
Will show any hidden merged dupes. Which could help on a few levels, as explained above.

Again this is an ADVANCED troubleshooting tip. Most will never realize they even have a need to use it.
But there are a few here that I know, like Colan, who will be all over it. And those of you that have Drs. Dentists and Attorneys... I bet on some listings when you check you'll find 6 - 8 previous dupes that have been merged with all different variations of the name. On some of those attorneys that are aggressive marketers, heck you might find several that looked claimed that were done by a string of previous SEOs. :(

What do you think? Please report back if you try it and find anything interesting.
Awesome discovery Linda! Extremely helpful for citation audit work. Thank you for sharing!
Great discovery, Linda. Need to test it out and I'll report back.
Love this tip Linda - thanks for sharing.

I just wanted to add that I tried using this under a master account that my company uses for most Adwords management, as well as our Google Places listing.

For whatever reason, it takes me through an absurd redirect chain that brings me back to the main My Client Center (MCC) view - I am unable to view the actual Adwords Express page.

When I tried it for a small home contractor client's Google Places acct that had no MCC tied to it, it worked fine. Perhaps this is a slight caveat that affects the viability of this method.
Twitter discussion with more tips and ways to use my little discovery.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p>VERY cool discovery by <a href="">@CatalystLocal</a> that will be helpful in citation audits <a href=""></a> You should read this.</p>— Darren Shaw (@EdmontonSEO) <a href="">August 13, 2013</a></blockquote>
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<blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p><a href="">@CatalystLocal</a> absolutely. Thanks for the great discovery. I found an old listing and got a mysterious photo off a client's listing!</p>— Darren Shaw (@EdmontonSEO) <a href="">August 13, 2013</a></blockquote>
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<blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p><a href="">@EdmontonSEO</a> Ahhh, another great way to use that discovery. Plus could find old merged 1 that's penalized & holding main 1 back</p>— Linda Buquet (@CatalystLocal) <a href="">August 14, 2013</a></blockquote>
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Darren's tip was a good one. Sometimes when you get an image stuck in your listing or other cats that are not in your dash it's due to a hidden merged dupe.

I've even seen listings that appear FINE appear to be penalized and stuck in the rankings. Come to find out there is a hidden merged dupe that was penalized or even suspended.
Great tip here Linda. Definitely some good info to refer to down the line if I run into any dupe trouble. Thanks!
Keep in mind all, the biggest thing this will do is help you find HIDDEN dupes that Google has already merged on back end. Live dupes you can find on maps and easily report. This is for stealth dupes that may have been morphed into the main listing.

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