Vicky Trainor

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Thanks in advance for reading this, it's not just a gmb related question so I hope is ok to post here.

My client has 2 websites & currently 2 x GMB's at the same physical address for his business. 1 x website (& GMB) is for general plumbing. The other website & GMB is for drain care.
Currently the business names are different "drain care" & "Plumbing"
but otherwise the two gmb profiles currently share the same address and phone number.
Client wants to have one name for the business: "Plumbing & Drain Care"
Which would make both gmb profiles identical - except I could give them different categories.

From a gmb perspective it would make sense to merge them however we still have two reasonably aged websites with good authority each ranking quite well (one older & performing better than the other). The domain name for each would still work with the new business name.

I'm pretty sure I can't have two gmb listings with identical Name, Address & phone even if different categories, but how to do this for the best interests of the client (long term) with having TWO websites.

Should I be looking to combine the websites?

And if so, if drain care is the primary service should we build out that site and move content over from plumbing + redirects.
Or, vice versa because the plumbing site is the older, more authoritative one.

Citations are all over the place for both businesses - I think it would make sense to consolidate as one but concerned about the implications and which way to go about it? Or, is there another easier route?

Hope someone can help.

Thanks in advance and very grateful for any input - or even questions to clarify the issue! :)
 

Phil Rozek

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@Vicky Trainor, correct: Google doesn't want you to have two GMB listings in this case. Your client probably would get away with it short-term, if not also long-term, but he'd be vulnerable in a number of ways.

You can definitely keep the two websites, though. Wouldn't necessarily merge them.
 

Vicky Trainor

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@Vicky Trainor, correct: Google doesn't want you to have two GMB listings in this case. Your client probably would get away with it short-term, if not also long-term, but he'd be vulnerable in a number of ways.

You can definitely keep the two websites, though. Wouldn't necessarily merge them.

Thanks Phil (I'm a huge fan of yours by the way, I'm an avid subscriber of your blog & have learned a lot from you over the last few years :)

If we combine as one gmb listing we can only link to one website from the gmb profile & knowing how all important that primary category is I now have the dilemma of which one to go with (plumbing or drainage). Currently both profiles have the same category (plumbing) but I have been thinking of changing one to drainage services.

What if we only changed the name on drainage site - so business name technically remains different on both listings, only the address & phone remain the same - which is how things are at present (with the exception of the category currently being the same also).

I realise that it's still probably not within T&C but that's how it's always been....so long as client is aware of the risk/vulnerability.

With 2 websites but only one gmb we would have to compromise one one "category"/service over another whereas if we keep it as is, not the case.
Or, if we integrate the two websites as well as the gmb we can push the second category via onpage efforts etc.

Thanks so much for weighing in. Perhaps I'm overthinking this....? :)
 

Phil Rozek

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Thanks Phil (I'm a huge fan of yours by the way, I'm an avid subscriber of your blog & have learned a lot from you over the last few years :)

Thanks!

If we combine as one gmb listing we can only link to one website from the gmb profile & knowing how all important that primary category is I now have the dilemma of which one to go with (plumbing or drainage). Currently both profiles have the same category (plumbing) but I have been thinking of changing one to drainage services.

What if we only changed the name on drainage site - so business name technically remains different on both listings, only the address & phone remain the same - which is how things are at present (with the exception of the category currently being the same also).

I realise that it's still probably not within T&C but that's how it's always been....so long as client is aware of the risk/vulnerability.

With 2 websites but only one gmb we would have to compromise one one "category"/service over another whereas if we keep it as is, not the case.

Or, if we integrate the two websites as well as the gmb we can push the second category via onpage efforts etc.

Thanks so much for weighing in. Perhaps I'm overthinking this....? :)

Unless they're separately licensed and distinct businesses, Google doesn't want you to have two GMB pages. No matter how you slice and dice 'em. For better or for worse.

If you want to be squeaky-clean compliant, you'll need to get rid of one listing (probably the drainage one), conflate the categories, and make sure drain-care services are prominent on the "general plumbing" site, so that you might rank in the organic results.
 
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This may seem a bit esoteric but, to start, I think there is a bigger, business-related question to answer: Does it make sense to join the two businesses? I wouldn't want to merge, say, a BBQ Restaurant and a Podiatrist Clinic. These two businesses seem like two that could be safely (even wisely) merged, but that's for you and your client to determine.

As @Phil Rozek points out: if you have one business, you have one GMB listing. (According to the guidelines.)

I see advantages to this: you consolidate your reviews and concentrate your SEO efforts.

Speaking of consolidating reviews: perhaps someone more knowledgable than me on the subject of GMB could suggest a clever way that you might be able to merge your two accounts so you don't lose reviews. (I'm not suggesting anything shady. It just seems to me that if one person was running two separate but related businesses, they should be entitled to maintain those reviews through minor changes such as a new location, name change, or in this case, a merging and "re-packaging" of how the businesses are presented.)

Finally, if it makes sense to merge these two businesses it makes sense (IMO) to have one website. E.g. BestBuy uses one site to sell both home appliances & audio equipment. Move content from the "old" site to the "new" site. Merge the common content (e.g. contact us, about us) and create logical sections for the unique content. A well-organized navigation menu and lots of internal linking will make sure the site is cohesive, rather than looking like two businesses mashed together.

If the "old" site has lots of backlinks you want to maintain, keep the old domain and hosting package and set up 301 redirects. (Use 1-to-1 redirects for each page.) Use Search Console to upload the updated sitemap of the "old" site to encourage Google to crawl it and recognize the redirects.
 

Vicky Trainor

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Speaking of consolidating reviews: perhaps someone more knowledgable than me on the subject of GMB could suggest a clever way that you might be able to merge your two accounts so you don't lose reviews. (I'm not suggesting anything shady. It just seems to me that if one person was running two separate but related businesses, they should be entitled to maintain those reviews through minor changes such as a new location, name change, or in this case, a merging and "re-packaging" of how the businesses are presented.)

I haven't looked in to this yet, so would be grateful if anyone can save me the time to research it - I was hoping, assuming even, that they would be able to combine their reviews from both listings. Thanks for flagging this.
 

Colan Nielsen

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@Vicky Trainor, correct: Google doesn't want you to have two GMB listings in this case. Your client probably would get away with it short-term, if not also long-term, but he'd be vulnerable in a number of ways.

You can definitely keep the two websites, though. Wouldn't necessarily merge them.

I agree with Phil 100%. Google will mark one of them as a duplicate at some point anyway. Especially if you make the business names identical. You can ask GMB to merge the two listings and they should be able to combine the reviews. The merged listing should be able to rank for both plumbing and drain related searches as long as you have both categories on the listing and the website is optimized for both.
 

Cherie Dickey

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"Creating one great site instead of multiple microsites is the best way to encourage organic growth over time."

I'm a firm believer in this strategy, especially when the services are as closely related as your client's. It's far easier to maintain, and create content for, one website, and you only need to worry about earning mentions, citations, backlinks, etc for one as well. It makes for a stronger site overall.

Thinking "out loud" here, haha:

The thing that would make me hesitate on recommending a merge of the two sites is that you say both sites are established with some age, and presumably some backlinks. It's more difficult to get an internal page to rank, so you would want to make sure the HP is optimized for and contains content for both plumbing and drainage. Changing the official DBA to "Plumbing & Drain Care" would help with this as long as the content supports it. You say citations are already a mess, and changing the business name will complicate that even further, however... BUT if you plan on cleaning those citations, it might be best to just rip the band-aid off and change them all to the updated DBA.

^^ This is a lot of work though that may not be 100% necessary if your client's budget doesn't allow for it, and they are generally happy with the results they are seeing from their websites. If the sites are not directly competing with each other, then simply merging the GBL listings might be the way to go.
 

CallumS

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I agree with Phil 100%. Google will mark one of them as a duplicate at some point anyway. Especially if you make the business names identical. You can ask GMB to merge the two listings and they should be able to combine the reviews. The merged listing should be able to rank for both plumbing and drain related searches as long as you have both categories on the listing and the website is optimized for both.


Google.... or a savy competitors SEO ;)
 

Vicky Trainor

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Hi again,
We are looking at the one site one gmb solution. Question is, site A is ranking better - especially in Maps. Site B would be redirected to Site A.

Site B's GMB profile has 4 times the no. of reviews as Site A's so we plan to keep Site B's GMB profile.

Question is....will we loose maps rankings by "swapping" over the gmb attached to site A.

I hope that makes sense.

Since site A's gmb profile has fewer reviews we're ok to let that go - have heard horror stories over loss of reviews when merging so not wanting to risk losing the ones we DON'T want to use.

Thanks in advance for any advice here :)
 

JoshuaMackens

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Honestly, if it's working for you now and there's no real improvement to make in rankings, why change what's working? If it isn't broke, don't fix it.

The only issue is getting reported at some juncture. You have to assess for yourself the likelihood of that happening. If it's low, my advice would be to stay put. I've seen too many local businesses switch up their strategy, which works perfectly well, to accommodate Google only to have their rankings fall off.

Your only issue is you are in violation of Google's TOS. If you were in a competitive area, I may consider consolidating to get out in front of someone reporting you. But in my experience, reporting is rare. However, based on the chatter here at forum, it seems like this tactic is picking up adoption speed.

My only point is, at least consider that it's working well as it is now. After looking at that and assessing the threats of being reported, then decide if you should move forward with a consolidation strategy or not.
 

Nikki Stine

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I haven't looked in to this yet, so would be grateful if anyone can save me the time to research it - I was hoping, assuming even, that they would be able to combine their reviews from both listings. Thanks for flagging this.

Vicky, at first glance, it didn't look like anyone replied to this portion yet. I have successfully merged GMB profiles and reviews for a client. I actually used the @JoyHawkins article I pasted below as my reference.

The key was that the reviews you want moved must come from an unclaimed profile. So, although it seems counter-intuitive, you have to unclaim the duplicate listing first. Then Google will move the reviews to the claimed listing... and shut down the duplicate after.

The Proper Way To Deal with Duplicates in Google My Business [2018 Edition]
 
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