More threads by Linda Buquet

Linda Buquet

Local Search Expert
Jun 28, 2012
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I recently answered a question in the help and support forum here, that someone said was helpful.

I realized many don't understand why merges happen and the inter-relationship between dupes and merges. So I thought it would be good to copy my answer here in the new duplicates and merges forum. I also expanded on the original explanation a lot and explain in post #2 what to do if you have a merge.

Marie asked "What would cause listings to merge like this?"
I explained...

It happens all the time. It's part of the whole merge/dupe problem.

If Google finds a listing thats a little different, say different address format and can't match it up right, she may create a dupe.

But then on the other hand when she is TRYING to match up listings with similarities to try to avoid dupes, sometimes she merges listings that AREN'T really the same business, if there are too many similarities with the listings.

Happens when there are strong NAP similarities. Like part of names the same - as in Alpine Dental may get merged with Alpine Auto down the street. Or if there are several Realtors all at same address, all same cats, all have RE/MAX in the name, she sometimes gets confused and merges them all together into one hot mess. (AKA ClusterF*)

That's why it's important for instance if Alpine Dental has 3 offices, that they all have different phone #s or they may all mush together into a big mess. Then instead of 3 listings you only have one and all the data is all mixed up on a single listing. (AKA ClusterF*)

Merges can be dicey. Here are 2 distinct scenarios

SAME BUSINESS: If it's one business with 3 different locations. Then instead of 3 listings with all the correct data, everything is mushed together into a single listing. The data gets mashed in unpredictable ways. May be the downtown phone, the south end office address and map and the north end offices description and reviews.

Or for instance lets say it's a car dealer trying to have different pages for different brands and dealerships next door to each other. When they merge now the title is the Audi dealership, the images are for Ford, the phone and description is for Chevy. See how merges can cause a big problem for the SMB?

DIFFERENT BUSINESSES: This can happen with 2 totally unrelated businesses like Alpine Dental and Alpine Auto. But often it happens with competing businesses in the same niche. So then Aspen Auto's phone # is on Alpine auto's listing. Then things often get a little heated.

OVERVIEW/BIG PICTURE - If the dial gets turned one way to try to minimize dupes, then we get more merges. Go the other direction and we end up with less merges but more dupes. So it's tricky. Usually we just have some of both, as she tries to find a balance somewhere in the middle.

Someday I should write best practices for avoiding merges. Maybe if there is enough interest in this thread, it will turn into that.

Does that make sense and help explain?
Any other questions about merges?

This post is getting kinda long, so in the next post I'll explain what to do if you have a merge problem.
Here is the standard advice I give in the Google forum for how to get help with a merged listing.

To get help with your merged listing use Google's Fix a Problem Troubleshooter
(Be sure be logged into the same account your Place page is in)

EDITED TO ADD 3/28/14 - Or better yet just call and get fixed right away.

Select the top option: Listing data >> I have used Report a Problem >> tick yes.

Then click the small link at bottom of page that says complete this form to specify correct info. Then on that next page it asks you to explain which fields are incorrect.

Google will see this is a merge and support will usually reply via email within a week or two.
Last edited:
They keep moving that dang troubleshooter. (This post is from over a year ago.)

Thanks for catching that bad link Dusty. But that's not it, here is new the link: (For merges select, incorrect info.)

BUT this article was 1st written over a year ago. Today if I had a merge I would not wait around for a troubleshooter ticket to get answered, I'd just call right away.

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