How To Report and Remove Fake or Duplicate Google Business Profile Listings

April 8th, 2024, 09:00 AM

Duplicate and fake Google Business Profile listings can have a big negative impact on your local SEO efforts.

Not only can such profiles confuse and mislead customers, having multiple business listings for the same business goes against Google's guidelines for representing your business and can potentially cause a whole range of technical issues. 

So, in order to avoid Google Business Profile violations and ensure your customers find the right information about your business, you should monitor Google Maps for fake or duplicate GBP listings and report any to Google as soon as you notice them.

How Do Fake or Duplicate Google Business Profile Listings Get Created?

There are a few different reasons why a business might have multiple listings on Google Business Profile.

The simplest explanation is that multiple people have added the same business to Google Maps for some reason, with no malicious intent behind doing so. 

This could happen, for example, if an old employee started creating a listing and never finished taking ownership of it, then you unknowingly created another listing for the business instead of claiming the existing one. Or, maybe you moved locations and created a new listing for the new location, instead of updating the old listing.

Another reason why a duplicate GBP might exist is that scammers have created a fake listing. They might do this in order to sort of hold it "hostage" and try to extort money from you, or perhaps to deceive would-be customers in some way.

Fortunately, Google takes fake Business Profiles seriously, and has measures in place to make it easy for legitimate business owners to get them removed.

How To Remove Duplicate Google Business Profiles

Method 1: Merging Duplicate Google Business Profiles

If two Google Business Profiles exist for a business and both actively appear on Google Maps, the easiest way to remove the duplicate GBP listing is to merge them into one.

In order to be eligible to merge duplicate Google Business Profiles, you must actually represent the business in question. Then, you can simply suggest to Google Support that they merge the profiles. 

Google will review your suggestion and merge the listings into one if they find the request to be valid. This process may take up to 72 hours.

Method 2: Reporting Duplicate Google Business Profiles

Another way to remove one or more duplicate Google Business Profiles is to report them to Google Support for removal.

This is similar to merging GBPs, except that you suggest to Google Support that they outright remove the duplicate profile instead of merging it, with the reason being that it's a "Duplicate of another place."

How To Remove a Duplicate Google Business Profile From Your Account

In some cases, you might have two Google Business Profiles for the same business in your Google account, with only one of them actually being verified and showing up on Google Maps.

If this is the case for you, you don't actually need to remove the duplicate profile that isn't showing up on Google, but you might wish to do so in order to clean up your account.

To remove an inactive Google Business Profile from your account, simply go to your homepage, then navigate to "Actions" and then "Remove businesses" and then "Remove." Next, select the profile you want to delete — make sure you're selecting the unverified profile!

How To Report a Fake Google Business Profile

To report a fake Google Business Profile with potentially malicious content/intent, you can use Google's Business Redressal Form.

This is pretty straightforward, and just requires you to fill out your contact info, the name of the business or organization that is being impacted, and details about the malicious content, including its URL and a description of why you believe it is malicious.

As we mentioned earlier, Google takes fake Business Profiles seriously, so as long as your request is valid, they should usually deal with the duplicate fake listing within a few days.

Tips for Avoiding Duplicate Google Business Profiles:

  • Claim Your Profile: Claim your Google Business Profile to help prevent others from taking it over and creating duplicate listings. Verify your ownership using Google's verification process.
  • Check for Existing Listings: Before creating a new listing, search for your business on Google to see if a profile already exists.
  • Update Existing Listings: If you find an existing listing, take ownership of it and update it with accurate information, rather than creating a new one.
  • Report Duplicate Listings: If you find a duplicate listing, report it to Google to get it merged or removed, using the "Suggest an edit" option on the profile. Provide detailed information to help Google verify the duplicate.
  • Change Your Address if You Move: If your business moves locations, make sure to update the address on the existing listing instead of creating a new listing.
  • Educate Employees: Ensure that all employees are aware of the importance of maintaining a single, accurate Google Business Profile and how to avoid creating duplicates.

Final Words

Fake or duplicate Google Business Profile listings can harm your local SEO efforts and mislead potential customers. To maintain the integrity of your online presence and adhere to Google's guidelines, it's crucial to report and remove any such listings promptly.

These listings can be created innocently, by multiple individuals adding the same business, or maliciously by scammers seeking to deceive customers or extort money. Google provides methods to address these issues, including merging duplicate listings and reporting fake ones.

To help prevent duplicate listings, claim, verify, and update your Google Business Profile, check for existing listings before creating a new one, and educate your employees about maintaining accurate profiles. 

By following these tips and taking action against fake or duplicate GBP listings, you can ultimately ensure that customers find the right information about your business online, helping you drive more local business!

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