Rich Owings

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I've got a dentist client who had two locations, one in city A and one in city B. He recently sold the practice in city B, but the GMB listing there is still under his brand name and is getting bad reviews post-sale. What's the best way to deal with this? Mark it as permanently closed as a map edit? Mark it as permanently closed in GMB? Edit the name in one or the other to reflect the new name?
 

Colan Nielsen

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Hey @Rich Owings the best solution is likely to mark it as closed. You could ask Google to move the reviews (if there are positive reviews you want to keep) but that is not something they always do.

You could also ask GMB support to "move" the old listing into the new one. They will do this on rare occasions and the benefit of this option is:

- The listing will completely vanish from Google Search and Google Maps, making it impossible for customers to accidentally see.
- Since the listing doesn’t show up anywhere, the “Permanently closed” message won’t show up anywhere either.
- Google actually sets the Google Maps URL for the old location with a 302 HTTP status code, and when you load the Maps URL for the old location, it will forward to the new location.
- Reviews from the closed listing will transfer to the new listing (double-check to make sure that happens).
- The actual record for the listing for the old location doesn’t disappear in the backend so there isn’t a loss of data that would cause Google to want to recreate the listing in the future.
 

JoshuaMackens

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Hey Rich,

If you're concerned with the bad reviews, I think I would just ask the person who bought the practice to change the name? That way they don't have their GMB page just go missing. I imagine they wouldn't be very happy about that as it is likely they own it now as a digital asset via the sale. You could also put in a map edit if they won't or do not know how to change the name.

Also, I didn't think about this, kudos Colan, but you could probably get all the positive reviews from his time owning the business over to your page like he said. Could be a big win.
 

Colan Nielsen

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Joshua, it sounded like Rich was saying that the practice he sold it to is going to be under completely different brand name which means totally different experience for the user. In this case you wouldn't want to just update the name on the listing. The new practice should be creating a new listing for their brand.

Rich can you confirm that the new practice is a completely different brand?
 

JoshuaMackens

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Joshua, it sounded like Rich was saying that the practice he sold it to is going to be under completely different brand name which means totally different experience for the user. In this case you wouldn't want to just update the name on the listing. The new practice should be creating a new listing for their brand.

Rich can you confirm that the new practice is a completely different brand?

If I bought the practice, there's no way I would start a new GMB listing, right? Also, in my opinion, it is a better user experience because the practice isn't closed, it's rebranded and under new ownership. So when someone searches in that town for the old practice, the new practice will come up and they can call and inquire about what happened. When marking the practice "closed" I would argue that's not telling the full story and is also misleading. I would argue it's not as good of a user experience as changing the name. If I was a patient I would want to know what happened to my old practice. I'd rather see the new practice pop up than the old one saying it's closed when it's not really closed.

No matter what, if I was the new owner, I wouldn't start a new GMB page and I would feel entitled to any digital property just like I was entitled to any physical property resulting from the sale.

From Google's point of view though, would they insist on a new listing? I thought for sure their stance would be to just change the business name? I thought I had run into that before and that was the recommendation?
 

Rich Owings

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It is a new owner and a completely different brand. My understanding is that, in that situation, Google wants an entirely new GMB listing. And it turns out that there is already one in place for the new practice.

I tried to deal with this months ago when the sale closed but was told we weren't allowed to touch it. Now that there is a bad review, they want me to fix it!

I'm not too concerned about merging reviews since city A's listing was in much better shape regarding reviews than city B's. And I have my doubts that Google would "move" and merge it anyway. I'm going to ask the owner if they are okay with me marking it as permanently closed.
 

JoshuaMackens

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It is a new owner and a completely different brand. My understanding is that, in that situation, Google wants an entirely new GMB listing. And it turns out that there is already one in place for the new practice.

I tried to deal with this months ago when the sale closed but was told we weren't allowed to touch it. Now that there is a bad review, they want me to fix it!

I'm not too concerned about merging reviews since city A's listing was in much better shape regarding reviews than city B's. And I have my doubts that Google would "move" and merge it anyway. I'm going to ask the owner if they are okay with me marking it as permanently closed.

Sounds like they did it themselves. Glad you got it sorted out!
 
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