Does Another Dentist Own Your Google My Business Listing?

Does Another Dentist Own Your Google My Business Listing
 

Dentists Can Now Resolve Google My Business Ownership Conflicts Automatically

 
If you’ve ever encountered a Google My Business listing for your dental practice which was owned by some other dentist…or worse, you can now rest easy with this recent news out of the Googleplex.

Back in March, Google began rolling out a new feature to your Google My Business Dashboard – automated ownership conflict resolution.

This new, more streamlined ownership resolution method automates the process of regaining control of a Google My Business listing that is owned by another dentist…or marketing company, spammer, employee…etc.

More precisely, a Google My Business listing that is owned by another Google Account.
 

Why Did Google My Business Update The Ownership Resolution Process?

 
Speaking from experience, the ownership transfer issue with Google My Business listings – for dentists in particular – has been one of the biggest frustrating time sucks when engaging in Local SEO, Citation Building & Review Management for dentists.

One reason for this was Google’s former, incredibly frustrating, almost go nowhere process to resolve ownership conflicts.

Another reason is the multitude of unscrupulous marketing companies out there that have (falsely) claimed a dentist’s Google My Business listing themselves, as opposed to claiming & verifying the listing on behalf of the dental practice owner – in the dentist’s Google Account.

According to Local SEO OG Mike Blumenthal:

Besides verification issues and the inability for a business to easily get rid of inappropriate photos this has been one of the huge problems that small business owners have confronted.

Historically it required requesting access and then waiting, praying, waiting some more and then trying to get in touch with support. The old system was not for the faint of heart.

 

Why Would Another Dentist Own Your Google My Business Listing?

 
Why would someone claim a listing as an owner if they don’t own the practice?

Maybe it was the previous owner of the practice, maybe you verified it with another Google Account you no longer have access to, or maybe it was one of those robocall scammers posing as Google looking to hold you hostage, or to engage in spam on behalf of a competitor, or to publish fake reviews, or for any other reason that would not be of any benefit to the actual dentist – or the competitor in question for that matter.

Here is one of the most likely situations when talking about Google My Business ownership conflicts for dentists, there are plenty of situations but this has been one we’ve seen the most.
 

A Common Google My Business Ownership Conflict Situation For Dentists

 
Dr. Smith purchases an existing dental practice in Palm Springs, CA. from Dr. Jones, and Dr. Jones has verified & owns the Google My Business listing for their single-practitioner, single location practice.

With all the rigmarole of the practice sale & acquisition process, the Google My Business listing for the practice was never rightfully transferred to the new owner – Dr. Smith.

So, the listing in question still resides in Dr. Jones’ Google Account since she is the owner who verified the listing.

This means Dr. Smith cannot edit the business name, respond to new reviews, or upload photos to his newly acquired Google My Business listing…because it’s not his yet, it still belongs to Dr. Jones!

And since she’s already enjoying South Pacific sunsets, having traded her loupes for sunglasses, she is impossible to get in touch with to initiate the Google My Business ownership transfer that should’ve happened before the sale was complete.
 

New Automated Google My Business Ownership Conflict Resolution

 
Here’s what Google has to say:

If you’re a small business owner, time is your most valuable asset. That’s why when it comes to managing their Google My Business account, some small business owners choose to get help from employees, friends, family or other third parties. Sometimes when the people who manage the account move on, we don’t always remember to take back control of the account until they’re gone and it’s too late.

 

Did Someone Else Verify Your Google My Business Listing?

 
Some businesses have already been verified by an owner or manager and have a Google My Business listing. The listing is owned by the person who verified the business.

See if your business has already been verified by following these steps from Google:

  • Navigate to Google My Business.
  • Sign in with the Google account you use to manage your business.
  • Search for your business using its name and address.
  • Click on your business in the search results.
  • If you see a dialog letting you know that someone else has verified the business, choose one of the options below.

Try a different email address

 
You may have already verified your business using a different email address. If you have more than one Google account (for example, one for personal messages and one for business communications), sign out of Google My Business and then sign in with another Google account.

You will see any listings that you have verified with this Google account. If you still don’t see any listings in any of your Google accounts, you will need to contact the current listing owner.
 

Request access

 
You can contact the current listing owner through Google My Business to request access to own or manage the listing.

To request access from the current listing owner:

  • Navigate to Google My Business.
  • Sign in to Google with the account you use to manage your business.
  • Enter the name or address of your business, then select it from the search results.
  • You may see a dialog showing part of the email address that verified the listing. If you manage this email address, sign in to that account to access your business listing.
  • Fill out the form. The current listing owner may need to contact you for more info, so you won’t be able to submit your request without sharing your contact details with them.
  • Click Submit.
  • The current listing owner will receive an email asking them to get in touch with you, and you’ll receive a confirmation email. Check on the status of your request by clicking the link in your confirmation email.
  • Allow a full 7 days for the current listing owner to respond to your request. If you don’t hear back after 7 days, you’ll be able to verify your affiliation with the business to gain access to the listing.

You can also attempt to contact the current owner directly using the contact information in their business listing. Include instructions to add you as a listing manager or transfer ownership of the listing to you.

The key change here is the, “If you don’t hear back after 7 days, you’ll be able to verify your affiliation with the business to gain access to the listing.”

 

How Does A Dentist Transfer Ownership Of Their Google My Business Listing?

 
This is what Dr. Jones should have done during the sale of her practice to Dr. Smith.

If you’re the only user associated with your Google My Business listing, you can add additional owners and managers.

Here’s how to transfer ownership, we’ll reiterate Google’s process to add a manager after this.
 

Transfer Ownership of Your Google My Business Listing

 

  • Sign in to Google My Business.
  • Make sure you’re using card view. If you’re viewing your locations as a list instead of cards, switch to card view by clicking the cards icon on the right side above your locations.
  • Choose the listing you’d like to manage and click Manage location. If you don’t see this option, click Edit location.
  • Click the three dash menu in the top left corner of the page, then click Manage users.
  • Locate the user you’d like to transfer ownership to and click the box on the right-hand side of their name.
  • Select Primary Owner from the dropdown menu that appears. You’ll only see this option if you’re an owner of the listing.
  • Click Done. Primary ownership transfer happens immediately.

The old process was pretty frustrating, and basically left it up to the new owner to submit this “ownership transfer request” to the existing owner, from which the existing owner had to respond to an email from Google to OK the transfer.

After that was done, it was a standby to standby SOP BS from Google. Most ownership transfer requests we initiated on behalf of member dentists sat dead in the water at that point.

Therein began the time suck.

Nowadays, with the new automated ownership conflict resolution of Google My Business listings, things are a lot easier.
 

How Do Dentists Add Managers To Your Google My Business Listing?

 
Owners of listings can invite additional users to own or manage a listing.

Adding owners and managers lets users share management of a listing without having to share personal account information. Owners, managers, and communications managers all have different levels of access to the listing.

Only an owner can add or remove users. However, a manager may remove himself or herself from a listing. Google Groups can’t be added as managers or owners of listings.

Here’s the process, again, directly from Google:

To add an owner or manager to a listing – from a DESKTOP COMPUTER:

  • Sign in to Google My Business.
  • Make sure you’re using card view. If you’re viewing your locations as a list instead of cards, switch to card view by clicking the cards icon on the right side above your locations.
  • Choose the listing you’d like to manage and click Manage location.
  • Click the three dash menu icon in the upper left-hand side of your screen, then click Manage users .
  • In the top right corner of the “Managers of [your business]” box that appears, click the “Invite new managers” icon
  • Select the user’s role by clicking Owner, Manager, or Communications manager below their name.
  • Click Invite. Invitees will have the option to accept the invitation and immediately become listing owners or managers.

This window displays all active owners and managers, as well as people who have been invited to become owners or managers. You can cancel pending invitations by clicking the X in the row with the invitation you want to remove.

To add an owner or manager to a listing – from a MOBILE DEVICE:

  • Open the Google My Business app.
  • Tap the three dash menu icon in the top-left corner.
  • Tap Manage users.
  • Tap the plus icon + in the top-right corner.
  • Enter the name or email address of the person you want to add as an owner or manager, then tap the plus icon + to the right of their name.
  • Select their role by tapping Owner, Manager, or Communications manager in the menu that appears.

This page displays all the active users as well as people who have been invited to become owners or managers. You can cancel pending invitations by tapping the three dot menu icon next to the invitation you want to remove, then tapping Remove .

You can also change a the role of a user by tapping the three dot menu icon next to their name and tapping Edit role. Select their new role by tapping it in the menu that appears.

When an invitation is accepted, the owners of the listing will be notified via email. All users in the account can view the names and email addresses of the owners and managers of the listing.

NOTE: Reverse engineer the aforementioned process to remove owners & managers from a Google My Business listing.
 

What Happens After A Google My Business Listing Is Transferred To A New Owner?

 
Again, according to Mike Blumenthal’s blog post, after the new owner is verified the original owner’s listing will become a duplicate. It will be unverified and their edits will not be live on maps.

Unless access is granted anything provided by the original owner, like photos and review responses, will not be transferred over.

Reviews and customer provided photos will remain attached to the listing.
 

Want More Google Reviews? Grab This Toolkit

 
Google Reviews Toolkit for Dentists

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+Chris Barnard is the Managing Partner at Social Dental Network, a boutique digital marketing agency consistently generating tangible return on investment for dentists across North America & the U.K.