There has been lots of discussion about why big brands seem to be performing worse in pack results post-pigeon. Originally it looked like this was a byproduct of how Google was processing brand queries combined with an abundance of local spam. However after seeing what has happened to some large, multi-location brands after they transitioned to the GMB Locations dashboard it looks like another piece of the puzzle could be related to this slow & clunky upgrade process.

Specifically, we have been seeing new GMB location pages created even though the brand already had an existing page for that location. To make matter worse, we are seeing the old page lose it’s verified status as it is moved over to the new page. While the verified status is getting moved to the new page, optimizations are not. This means there are now 2 location pages out there and the newly verified one that is getting returned in search results don’t have any post history, proper categories or relevant banner images.

For instance, this page used to be the claimed, verified and optimized page for Days Inn Chicago (notice the “Linked Website” checkmark), and after the migration to GMB Locations this is now the “Verified” page for that same location. And if you do a Google Search for “Days Inn Chicago“, the page linked to that Days Inn location is the new page.

Google Changing Location Pages in SERPs

Something that’s interesting to note, the new “verified” page has the sponsored “Make a Reservation” widget.

New Page Has Sponsored Booking Widget

While we aren’t seeing this for every location in migrated bulk accounts, this is still a huge nightmare for large, multi-location brands and is costing them SERP real estate. The money they have spent on Google local page optimizations is getting throw to the wayside during this migration. Maybe it’s time to start offering large brands dedicated GMB support…

Share This Story!

About Author

12 Response Comments

  • Colleen  November 12, 2014 at 6:50 pm

    Fighting this battle right now and its exhausting. Shocking Google has no idea how to fix these issues. Fair warning to people fighting this – make updates from the master account – while Google won’t say it I have seen them overwrite data updates a manager account made on a specific page.

  • Dan Leibson  November 13, 2014 at 7:56 am


    Great advice.

    Fighting this battle requires significant patience and empathy as sometimes the support calls can take over an hour and support reps are not always sure how to best handle it. Unfortunately, they are the gatekeepers we were given, not necessarily the ones we need.

  • Linda Buquet  November 13, 2014 at 8:22 am

    You could not pay me enough to deal with big chain multi-location issues. Seriously if someone offered me 5 million, I would turn it down flat!

    And that’s not even a direct reflection on the GMB Locations product – it’s just due to all the other potential problems that can and often do come up with citations, dual claims and everything else.

    I admire the brave souls that attempt to handle the big ones, but it would keep me awake nights and put me right into the nut house!

  • Josh Teague  November 13, 2014 at 9:23 am

    Very well said Dan!

    We thought we were out of the woods with a few of our clients when the migration completed because Google used it as an excuse for most our issues (or a reason they can’t fix them); however, it turned out to be just the tip of the iceberg. As you stated, more problems started cropping up everywhere with dupes, multiple owner conflicts and dropped verifications.

    Colleen – Quick question for you: are you using an official domain email address or a gmail address? We’ve found that even with the master account (and a domain email), Google is reluctant to help baring multiple verification hurdles.

  • Colleen  November 13, 2014 at 10:33 am

    Josh –

    we’re using a gmail account as the master account (account we used for years, so we’re trying to stick with the history). SO far, the only way we’ve been able to fix the data issues/which account Google believes is the authority is to transfer ownership of the account to the manager email. Which defeats the whole purpose, but that’s Google.

  • Phil Rozek  November 13, 2014 at 10:38 am

    Dan, great write-up. I’ve noticed this for single-location businesses, too. These awful pages just come out of the woodwork – and rank.

  • Scott Hendison  November 13, 2014 at 1:25 pm

    This is all too typical, and really frustrating. Even worse when you try to explain to a client that Google really is this screwed up – It’s embarassing.

  • Dan Leibson  November 13, 2014 at 1:48 pm


    Having a brand email is key. We also have clients update the page linked to the GMB page with the brand email to totally close the loop on association with the brand. This has gotten us through numerous hurdles.


    5 million is a pretty big number. If you turn it (or less down) send them our way 🙂


    Thanks! I haven’t seen it as much for our single location clients.

  • Jim Froling  November 13, 2014 at 7:37 pm

    True, single location businesses with sucky online profiles (no ver GMB Page, few links/citations, etc.)rank higher than legit companies working it. Why? How?

  • Brian Barwig  November 14, 2014 at 12:35 pm

    Seeing a lot of the same issues raised above. Duplicate pages being created and ranking above the original page. Google reps not knowing the issues and how to handle big brand accounts. Its massively frustrating and time consuming.

    Agree with Scott as well, it’s embarrassing to try and explain to clients that Google messed up their verified page and we had nothing to do with it. Why is our new, duplicate page ranking above your old, verified page? I wish I could tell you…..

  • James Robinson  November 14, 2014 at 3:19 pm

    We’ve found it quite hit and miss with Google support – some staff are very knowledgeable and have helped us loads, others seem to just be reading from a script or something! Persistence is key to getting the right person – if at first you don’t succeed, hang up and request another call back!

    Up until now we’ve been doing well post upgrade, but today had main account get 10% in loading profiles and hang. Uh oh, won’t get any further…

  • Cody Baird  November 23, 2014 at 7:42 am

    Taking the time to set up a TLD email (ie before citation clean up is the only way to go. It will also simply the process of dealing with dupes suppression coerectly at a publisher level.