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  1. #1
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    Minor Changes to Business Name

    I know that changing a Google+ Local listings NAP can have an impact on reviews disconnecting from the page as well as a bunch of other issues.

    I'm wondering what type of affect a minor change to a business name can have. For example:

    Joe Smith Agency - Big Time Insurance

    Changed to:

    Joe Smith Big Time Insurance

    What are some of the impacts of a minor name tweak?
    Colan Nielsen l GMB Top Contributor
    Vice President, Local Search at Sterling Sky
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  3. #2
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    Re: Minor Changes to Business Name

    Ahhh great question Colan!

    But I don't think there's a very predictable answer and the right answer is, it likely depends on a variety of factors.

    You really just can't predict at all what Google will do but here are some potential outcomes.

    1) Have you done thorough NAP research to see how many matches Google finds for each version of name?

    2) If you change it, then build citations, change site to match, there is a very good chance a month or 2 from now she's just going to change it back on you ESPECIALLY if there are lots of citations for the old version of the name.

    3) ANY NAP change can potentially cause reviews to be lost. Of course reviews are so messed up anyway right now. BUT if client has tons of reviews I'd err on the side of caution making any NAP change unless really necessary.

    You took my training a long time ago so maybe have not heard me say this line. But my VERY general rule of thumb regarding NAP changes these days, due to all the reasons above is...
    If it AIN'T BROKE - DON'T FIX IT!


    So what I mean by that is - if name is WRONG or city/keyword stuffed, then YES it's broke and you must fix. However if real name and most citations are for "Joe's Plumbing Inc" and listing is just "Joe's Plumbing" then the name is technically correct and accurate so I would likely not advise tweaking name just to try to possibly capture more citations. (Same with address, if it's wrong fix it, if suite is missing and needed, fix it - but if it's a matter of a minor abbreviation to capture more citations I would not risk rocking the boat due to several current issues.)

    But in your case I would question WHY the name change? What is REAL name? And are there many citations for "Joe Smith Agency" OR "Joe Smith Agency - Big Time Insurance."
    Linda Buquet .:. Forum Founder, Google Local Specialist

    If you benefit from advice here... Please pay the community back by sharing on social OR helping someone else at the forum. Thank you!

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    Note: Due to mulitple RSI injuries, pardon short replies. Typos? Blame it on "Dragon".

  4. #3
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    Re: Minor Changes to Business Name

    Supposing you had a corporation called, for example, Senior Housing Inc.
    Suppose G scraped some of their locations to create Places pages and named them all Senior Housing Inc.
    However, say the Chicago location was actually known as "Shady Pines", and in about 55% of local citations it appears as Shady Pines.
    When you go to claim the page, is it therefore ok to rename it as Shady Pines?

    Also, if changing the NAP can result in reviews being dropped, is that therefore a potential Rep Management tactic you could use to 'reset' a GP page where the business has nothing but bad reviews?

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    Re: Minor Changes to Business Name

    Major name changes are not allowed, only minor corrections. If the name is completely wrong, then a new listing needs to be set up.

    You can request the old one to be closed; but if it is in fact the same company then more likely that the second name would be added on to the original listing as a hidden name and the other listing would be marked as a duplicate of your new listing. Reviewers always do a lot of research before closing a listing.

  6. #5
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    Re: Minor Changes to Business Name

    Linda, I just noticed while going through my emails that Colan replied to my comment above about 1.5 hrs later, but the comment is not there. Did he delete it, or is the forum dropping posts?

  7. #6
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    Re: Minor Changes to Business Name

    Quote Originally Posted by Flash View Post
    Major name changes are not allowed, only minor corrections. If the name is completely wrong, then a new listing needs to be set up.
    If Name field is a (probably non validated) Primary or Secondary Key, surely any name change (minor or major) should be handled in the same way?

  8. #7
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    Re: Minor Changes to Business Name

    Quote Originally Posted by Simon James View Post
    Linda, I just noticed while going through my emails that Colan replied to my comment above about 1.5 hrs later, but the comment is not there. Did he delete it, or is the forum dropping posts?
    Hi Simon, I deleted a response that I left. I can't remember why. I probably didn't like whatever I posted...
    Colan Nielsen l GMB Top Contributor
    Vice President, Local Search at Sterling Sky
    Connect on Google + and Twitter

  9. #8
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    Re: Minor Changes to Business Name

    Quote Originally Posted by Flash View Post
    Major name changes are not allowed, only minor corrections. If the name is completely wrong, then a new listing needs to be set up.
    Flash, you mentioned in another thread that if a business moves to a new address then a new listing must be created, but only if the move is outside of it's current city.

    Is there a similar guideline for when an edit can be made VS when a new listing should be created based on name change only?
    Colan Nielsen l GMB Top Contributor
    Vice President, Local Search at Sterling Sky
    Connect on Google + and Twitter

  10. #9
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    Re: Minor Changes to Business Name

    Quote Originally Posted by Colan Nielsen View Post
    Flash, you mentioned in another thread that if a business moves to a new address then a new listing must be created, but only if the move is outside of it's current city.

    Is there a similar guideline for when an edit can be made VS when a new listing should be created based on name change only?
    The HC article is: Name - Map Maker Help

    Basicially if you change the formatting of the name, fix spelling or other spacing issues then its not a "change." Rebranding or changing the name is requires a new feature.

    Quote Originally Posted by Simon James View Post
    Supposing you had a corporation called, for example, Senior Housing Inc.
    Suppose G scraped some of their locations to create Places pages and named them all Senior Housing Inc.
    However, say the Chicago location was actually known as "Shady Pines", and in about 55% of local citations it appears as Shady Pines.
    When you go to claim the page, is it therefore ok to rename it as Shady Pines?

    Also, if changing the NAP can result in reviews being dropped, is that therefore a potential Rep Management tactic you could use to 'reset' a GP page where the business has nothing but bad reviews?
    Technicaly you can have an incoporated name as "official" in GMM and the commonly recognizable name as "primary." However what would be your undoing is if the company never went by Shady Pines. Google doesn't treat names like marketing tools, rather they try to convey what exists in reality. The reason for the Official name is some businesses have a Corporate name that doesn't match the name that they're called by. It's used to avoid duplicate and validation. Better to not push the envelope with names!

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