Common Issue: Your Google Places listing was verified by an ex-employee or SEO company and you would like to get control back from them but you've been unable to, perhaps because of a lost password or falling out.
Who has control of my Google Places listing?
Why am I not able to control the listing of my very own business that I own and control every other aspect of? How do you claim an already-verified listing?
Typically, the listings have already been verified by a previous SEO company or website developer that you employed to handle "all your online stuff."
If you're reading this, it's probably because you have already gotten stuck in the process of claiming your listing and received a response from Google letting you know your listing is verified by another user.
But don't worry, it doesn't mean you've been hacked! Well, you could have been hacked but it's unlikely your Google Places account would be their first target. In reality, this is a common situation and there is indeed a process to reclaim control of your listing (requesting admin rights can be a tricky process to navigate if you're not already familiar with the verification process). Just don’t expect a 24 hour response. You should be prepared to wait up to 1-2 weeks to gain full control of your listing.
What to do if someone else claimed your Google Places listing
Here are the updated steps to reclaim ownership of your business listing:
- Go to either the Google+ Business Login and click "Get your page" or the Places for Business page (Get started for free).
- If you're not already logged into Gmail, you will be prompted to log in. Google requires you use a Google account to manage your listing.
If you do not already have a Gmail account, click "Create an account."
Best practice is to claim and manage your business listing with a business domain email (e.g., email@example.com) so if there is a dispute in the future, you will be recognized as the authoritative listing holder. If you have a business email, click "I prefer to use my current email address" instead of choosing a Gmail username.
- Choose "Local Business or Place" (unless one of the other categories better describes your business).
- When you get to the map page, locate your business. Enter the phone number for the existing claimed listing, or search by business name and address. Select the listing you wish to claim.
- If the listing you selected is already claimed you will see the following pop-up from Google:
Someone else has already verified this listing
Click "Request admin rights."
This listing has already been verified by another user. If you want to add this listing to your account, you can make a request that will be sent to the current verified user.
- Make a request to change listing ownership. In this step you will be submitting a ticket to Google Support via the troubleshooter. Fill out the form as follows:
If you set up a Google Account using your business email, use this as the official email address to manage your business on Google.
If you're using a personal Gmail or shared Gmail to manage your listing, be sure to also include an official business email address you have access to. This will really help your chances of a quick turnaround with the ownership transfer (any email addresses you submit will be shared with the current owner of the listing).
- Leave a message for Google to share with the current listing owner (1,000 character limit).
In your message (keep it brief), be sure to state you are the business owner or are authorized to act on the business owner’s behalf with explicit permission to retain ownership of the listing.
Google will send a message similar to the following to the current owner:
You are currently the verified owner of the Pride Pool Service Google Places listing at [http://plus.google.com/115555555555555555555/about]. We are writing to let you know that another Google Places user has recently requested ownership of this listing.
To ensure business information appears as intended, each listing can only have one verified owner. If you wish, you may contact this other user directly at [firstname.lastname@example.org] and agree who should own and manage the listing. Although we have not shared your information with them, they have asked us to pass the following message to you:
"[Your message here.]"
The Google Local Team
- Once your report has been submitted, you may have to wait 1-2 weeks while a representative of Google investigates. Among other things, Google will look at recent account activity for your listing as well as the email domain associated with it. Expect quicker resolution if your email domain matches your website.
- Wait a week. If you have not received an email reply after 7 days, call Google Support to facilitate the process. You will enter your name and number (preferably the business phone) and a Google Specialist will contact you, typically within less than a minute (Mon-Fri 6am-5pm PST) to help with your local listing.
You may not want to wait a week to contact Google and that’s fine. At any point during the process, you can contact Google to get help with your request for change in listing ownership. Often times, it takes more than one follow up effort to gain ownership.
- If you have made it this far and were successful in getting your listing released, Google will require you to re-verify the listing via Places for Business. Once you do this you will be the dominant controller of your Google Plus Local page in a time when, "There can be only one."