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  1. #1
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    Swapping locations with a competitor

    Hey all, first post!

    So I have a client who is swapping locations with a competitor. So, it would be just an address change situation, but we're in contact with the competitor's SEO firm and they are willing to swap Google, etc listings with us to try and keep from having to re-verify by mail.

    Here's the scenario broken down:
    • We're taking over competitor's physical location and renaming it to our brand.
    • We'll keep the competitor's phone number (and address obviously).
    • The same is happening for the competitor. They are getting our location (address) & phone and will just be renaming it.
    • We're ranked around 1-3 across the board for our target keywords
    • The competitor is ranked around 7-10 or lower for those same terms


    My question is, do you guys recommend swapping listings or just marking our respective locations as close/moved and starting from scratch with new listings, snail mail verif and all. We're not getting the competitor's login info..rather we're considering just deleting (for Google at least) our respective listings from our dashboards and claiming each other's after that.

    I think either way we're going to have to do quite a bit of citation cleanup work but I've never dealt with a scenario like this so I want to make sure we do this right an avoid any potential pitfalls.

    Thanks!

    - John

  2. #2
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    Re: Swapping locations with a competitor

    Hi John,

    I have to admit, this is the first time I've heard of listing swapping

    Are you literally swapping login information?
    Colan Nielsen l GMB Top Contributor
    Vice President, Local Search at Sterling Sky
    Connect on Google + and Twitter

  3. #3
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    Re: Swapping locations with a competitor

    Hey Colan,

    No, not swapping login info. The suggestion was that basically, on Google places, we'd both just delete the listings from our dashboard to free the other up to claim the listing. The idea being that we may not have to do snail mail verif. if we then claim the other's listing (hoping for only phone verif).

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    Re: Swapping locations with a competitor

    Thanks John. There are a couple different routes you could take, and you have identified the two that make the most sense.

    Since the branding is changing, I'm leaning towards closing and creating a new G+ Local listing.

    Can you share more details on the two businesses? Links to the G+ Local pages would be helpful.

    Thanks
    Colan Nielsen l GMB Top Contributor
    Vice President, Local Search at Sterling Sky
    Connect on Google + and Twitter

  5. #5
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    Re: Swapping locations with a competitor

    Quote Originally Posted by Colan Nielsen View Post
    Thanks John. There are a couple different routes you could take, and you have identified the two that make the most sense.

    Since the branding is changing, I'm leaning towards closing and creating a new G+ Local listing.

    Can you share more details on the two businesses? Links to the G+ Local pages would be helpful.

    Thanks
    Rebranding, name changes and moves all require closing and reopening. I suggest making this perfectly clear on both of your websites as it will likely set off red flags with Google.

  6. #6
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    Re: Swapping locations with a competitor

    Andrew,

    Moves are now supposed to be dealt with by editing the address in the Places Dash. Not closing and re-opening.

    I don't think it has been made clear what Google's advice is for name and brand changes, unless I missed that.

    A name change should be fine in the Places Dash. A branding change is a different story and I agree should be dealt with by close old, open new.
    Colan Nielsen l GMB Top Contributor
    Vice President, Local Search at Sterling Sky
    Connect on Google + and Twitter

  7. #7
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    Re: Swapping locations with a competitor

    Quote Originally Posted by Colan Nielsen View Post
    Andrew,

    Moves are now supposed to be dealt with by editing the address in the Places Dash. Not closing and re-opening.

    I don't think it has been made clear what Google's advice is for name and brand changes, unless I missed that.

    A name change should be fine in the Places Dash. A branding change is a different story and I agree should be dealt with by close old, open new.
    I mispoke, page owners would make the change in the dash for current listings. I mistaken mentioned how you would do it using Map Maker which requires an extra step of setting up a new feature and having to revalidate/claim the listing for the new location.

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    Re: Swapping locations with a competitor

    John also posted this Q at the Google forum but worded it a little differently.

    I guess our options are as follows:

    1) Swap listings by unclaiming then reclaiming. Maybe avoid having to reverify by mail a second time?

    2) Change the address on our listing (and our competitor does the same).

    3) Mark our listing as closed, then create an entirely new listing (the companies aren't technically closing, they're just changing names).

    treebles another TC gave this advice:

    so your business is moving to their location and theirs to your location.
    If that is the case, both should use option 2.
    Change your location in the Places Dashboard or the Google+ management interface, whatever you use once you have moved.
    The process is explained in this Google announcement.
    Google Groups

    I have to say this is one of the hardest situations I've ever seen and I'm afraid it will be damned if you do and damned if you don't.

    If it was just trading addresses I'd say just edit in dash. But it will be complete rebranding/name change too. So I'd suggest opening new and closing old if it was a one way change.

    But since both old locations will still be open, since they are swapping - closing old does not seem like the best option either.

    On the other hand unless the old name at that address gets closed which will pull the old NAP out of the index, I'm afraid these are going to keep flip-flopping NAP and/or merging.

    WAIT I just re-read original post. They are swapping phone #s too? That's really weird! Why in the world would they do that? So all their hard earned clients will be calling the other guy now???

    So then if address AND phone are staying the same then it's only re-branding right?

    I'm afraid I don't have an answer and predict no matter how you do it it's going to be problematic. This one is just a brain twister!
    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".

  9. #9
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    Re: Swapping locations with a competitor

    OK just found out this is public now so I can at least share the listing URLs:

    Our current listing is:
    https://plus.google.com/100473337259...34/about?hl=en

    Competitor's current listing is:
    https://plus.google.com/107152601668...ut?gl=us&hl=en

    Linda, you're correct, we're swapping phone numbers too.

    So, I guess, to the outside world these locations are just changing names.

    I think we may just try to swap listings. Additionally, I'm going to try to get the other guys to send login info for any other listings they've claimed, and we'll do the same, so that those can be edited fairly easily.

    Finally, I was thinking maybe we should try and NOT change the names at first and, instead, update the info with the major data providers, wait a few months, then start changing names on Google/Yahoo/Bing/etc in the hopes that it might minimize any confusion and risk of merging and other problems. Any thoughts on that?

    I appreciate all the advice from everyone. I'll try to update this thread with progress for anyone wondering how this turns out.

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