Just to check my understanding of the current state of play for multiple locations...

Simon James

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Jul 19, 2012
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I have a US based organisation with about 120 locations, and all business takes place on the premises. They want to claim their Places listings for each location and point them back to one corporate website.

So that I can gauge the feasibility of this and what sort of workload am I looking at here:


  • Am I going to need to open a separate Google account with a separate email address for each location?
  • Is it even possible to set up 120 accounts/locations from a single computer without Google getting suspicious?
  • Realistically, how much should I be charging for this?
  • Any other comments?

Many thanks in advance
Simon
 

Linda Buquet

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Simon,

If they are all for the same company then I think you should do bulk upload, then you don't need to verify each listing individually which would be a nightmare. But even if you did them manually you don't need a separate account for each listing right? Why would you? (Unless these are each indiv franchises and you need them all separate.)

But I've never done bulk (because I won't work with multi-location companies) so I can't help you much. BUT I think it would make things a lot easier.

Although if this is a mature business don't most locations already have Place pages? If not set up by the company, Google would have set listings up based on scraping I would think?

They can link them all to the main web site but need separate location pages properly set up and the Place pages need to link to the location page not home. Should not have mixed NAP on any pages on the site.

Pricing, sorry I don't have a clue because like I said, I would not do a multi-location business. To be honest I would not touch one this big for 300,000. Would not even blink if I was offered. Instant answer - no! :p Too many headaches. But that's just me. :rolleyes:

Hopefully some other consultants that have experience with big accounts like this can weigh in with some ideas.
 

Simon James

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Thanks Linda, I've only just had the enquiry from an SEO consultant who doesn't do GP, but was talking to my mentor who pushed him in my direction.

I've never done more than 8 locations for a company, so I haven't done bulk upload. I knew how to do it in the old GP format, but I wasn't sure whether the current platform (bugger's muddle) supports that level of upload.
Is it optimal to have 1 G+ page and 120 separate GP pages?

A quick search shows that about 65% of the locations already have GP pages, but most of them are unclaimed.

Each site seems to have a separate locations page with a local NAP. But all the unclaimed listings point to the Home Page. Bizzarely, the half a dozen pages that are claimed don't point to any webpage at all!
I also noticed that they have a bit of a Rep Management problem.

I'll go back to the contact tomorrow for some further clairification. :rolleyes:
 

Linda Buquet

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I've never done more than 8 locations for a company, so I haven't done bulk upload. I knew how to do it in the old GP format, but I wasn't sure whether the current platform (bugger's muddle) supports that level of upload.
Is it optimal to have 1 G+ page and 120 separate GP pages?
Well no you should not merge with G+. G+ merge/verification is not ready for multi-location businesses.

However that brings up a good point. Businesses that you are certain DON'T have a Place page COULD be set up directly in G+ instead of Places. (Like if you just had a single listing that would be possible.) BUT I would think it would further complicate things to have some in Places some in G+, some in bulk. Seems you'd want consistency to be able to manage all this.
 
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There are two ways to go with this:

1) Bulk upload all locations (see here how).

2) Bulk upload only the locations for which there are no already existing listings on Google, and the ones that are already out there - just claim them the normal way (one by one).

What is the advantage of the first one? Much faster, and later it will also be much more flexible. Google should supposedly automatically merge the incoming data from the bulk upload with the listings that already exist out there.

What is the advantage of the second one? Much lower chances of duplicate listings (if you do the research well enough, of course).

Hope this helps!

Nyagoslav
 

Colan Nielsen

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Linda and Nyagoslov covered everything really well, I just wanted to mention one thing. If you do decide to claim a significant number of the listings manually, consider that if you have them all in one account and the account gets suspended you will have to re-claim everything in another account. Major bummer.

What we do to avoid this situation, is to use individual accounts for each listing we manage. We had to learn this the hard way.

Just a thought. :)
 

Linda Buquet

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Good point Colan.

I ALWAYS recommend separate accounts for agencies who have different clients - don't have them all in one account for that reason - 1 bad listing can get that whole account and all clients suspended. Especially since when you have a variety of different clients with different businesses you have to potential to run into more problems.

But when all listings are for the same company I've recommended the same account. Easier to manage and see everything at a glance. Plus if all same company and you know your guidelines and are sure all listings are clean with valid locations, etc. you should have no problem. Plus I think there's a problem with one IP setting up 120 different Google accounts. Think you'll hit a wall there and it would just be too much work to have each in a separate account. Unmanageable I would think.

But if you are not totally secure in your skills and knowing all the potential guidelines and other issues that could cause a suspension, maybe you could do a hybrid and separate in batches. Do 20 each in 6 accounts. That way if you have a prob w one listing it won't hurt them all? :confused: Not sure it's a good idea, just a suggestion to diversify a little.
 

Simon James

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Thanks everyone.
The ablility to set up 120 G+ accounts from one IP is certainly a concern.

I am still leaning towards separate accounts though for the following reasons:
  • Each site could be a discrete real estate based business entity.
  • The nature of the customers is such that the majority who post reviews do so to have a moan about things... therefore I don't want to see hundreds of moans all aggragated to one G+ "About" page. Better to be able to manage reputation at a local level.
  • If the page becomes a focus for the customers, they really ought to be seeing posts, pictures and videos about their own area rather than someone elses.

Any thoughts on that?
 

Pankaj Kumar

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Jul 26, 2012
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Hi All,

This is a nice concern here. I have worked with bulk upload for the business(15 locations).
In this case I would suggest that Simon should go with bulk upload process only as cleared by Nyagoslav.

This what I can suggest for this case. Rest all has been covered by all of you.

Thanks
Pankaj Kumar
 

Jo Shaer

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Interesting info here guys but I have another related question on franchises. So they're all on the same account and each location has the same main name but where does the postcard go? To the individual locations?
 

Linda Buquet

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Jo, if you are talking about bulk upload Google has ways to help verify that don't require manually verifying each location. (But again I've never done bulk so don't know specifics.)

However if you are talking about regular individual listings, each postcard goes to the location for that listing in the dashboard.
 

Jo Shaer

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Yup, to start with individual uploads. I was trying to work out the permutations of who owns what.
 

Simon James

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I suspect I'm guilty of muddled thinking here. According to Jack Erhart in this thread, one can register up to 50 separate Business+ pages in one Google account.
Also, 'SQL Performance' suggests here that where a business has multiple locations, "...each location has to have its own +Local business page under a +Profile".

So if I open a small number of Google+ accounts, and create a maximum of 50 Local G+ pages in each, then I get what I actually need, which is a fully merged separate social media enhanced Local G+ page for every location.
The exception to this rule, where necessary, is that after setting up the Local G+ page, I need to claim any existing unclaimed G+ Local pages, and try to get them merged. Is my assessment of this correct?

Also, Colan, were you suggesting here that I actually SHOULD try to open a separate Google+ account for each location?
...What we do to avoid this situation, is to use individual accounts for each listing we manage. We had to learn this the hard way.
Finally, since when setting up a Google+ account, the rules state that the account should be in the name of a private individual who, as the business owner, can then set up a Local G+ page. But what do you do when the business is a big corporation and there is no specific owner?
 

Colan Nielsen

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Also, Colan, were you suggesting here that I actually SHOULD try to open a separate Google+ account for each location?

Originally Posted by Colan Nielsen
...What we do to avoid this situation, is to use individual accounts for each listing we manage. We had to learn this the hard way.




Hi Simon,

If your referring to a Google+ Local(formerly Google Places) listing where you claim and edit through the places dashboard then yes that is what we do as a best practice.

However if you are referring to setting up a Google+ business page that is another matter and I don't have a ton of experience setting those up.

Cheers,
 

Linda Buquet

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Originally Posted by Colan Nielsen
...What we do to avoid this situation, is to use individual accounts for each listing we manage. We had to learn this the hard way.


Hi Simon,

If your referring to a Google+ Local(formerly Google Places) listing where you claim and edit through the places dashboard then yes that is what we do as a best practice.
Colan you do separate accounts for each listing even if it's ONE company with 3 different offices? But all the same client???
 

Simon James

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...If your referring to a Google+ Local(formerly Google Places) listing where you claim and edit through the places dashboard then yes that is what we do as a best practice.

However if you are referring to setting up a Google+ business page that is another matter and I don't have a ton of experience setting those up...
Thanks for your reply Colan.
Does that mean your agency only claims the Google+ Local pages and is waiting until Google resolves all the technical/design issues to enable an automatic mass update/conversion to Local G+ pages?
 

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