Google Announces New Help for Service Area Business Listings

It looks like Google is ready to give some love to service area businesses after all. For nearly 2 months now some service area businesses as well as the digital marketing agencies who manage Google listings for clients, have been having an issue when it comes to transferring ownership of service area businesses.

Google My Business customer support had no solution when business owners or local listings account managers called for help. To be honest, it was starting to feel like Google hates service area businesses.  Now, finally, Google has authorized a solution to workaround the issue and help service area businesses request a transfer of ownership of their Google My Business listings.

What was the Google My Business issue that affected some service area businesses?

If you’re a digital marketing company or a small service area business, you’ve probably become increasingly frustrated with all the hoops you must jump through with Google when you need to verify a Google My Business listing or transfer ownership of a listing.

When service area businesses attempted to initiate a transfer of ownership request of their GMB listing, they were running into a glitch in the Google My Business dashboard that had them stuck in a loop that went nowhere. All while following the procedure outlined by Google’s own guidelines:

  1. Create a duplicate listing of the one you wish to request.
  2. Verify the duplicate listing.
  3. The new listing gets marked as a duplicate.
  4. At this step, there’s a glitch that just keeps refreshing back to the same dashboard page.

When a person gets to the 4th step, instead of a listing, there’s a link that tells you to “request access.” That link does not work. It merely refreshes the page.

For close to 2 months Google and Google My Business Support had no answers or workaround for the issue.

When a business owner or local listings account manager either called Google My Business customer support or asked for help in the Google My Business forum, they were told there was nothing Google could do and that Google Support wasn’t authorized to work around the glitch manually. Google’s solution was to tell people to wait and to keep trying the process again. Appealing to Google My Business supervisors was also no help either. What’s worse, is the fact that customer posts for help in the Google My Business Support forums went unanswered by Google Top Contributors and Google Community Managers until today when some Google My Business Support supervisors were authorizing a manual workaround.

How to ask Google to manually transfer ownership for your service area business.

According to Google My Business Support, they are now able to work around the glitch using a manual verification and ownership transfer method that used to be allowed for service area businesses, but which has more recently only allowed for storefront businesses. The workaround is guaranteed to work. We’ve sometimes gotten a little bit of resistance from certain support representatives, but the vast majority are authorizing and performing the workaround. If you get push back, stand firm and ask them to check with another supervisor.

The procedure to contact and get Google My Business to authorize and perform a manual transfer of ownership are as follows:

  1. Contact Google My Business Help.
  2. Ask for help with a request of ownership.*
    • The customer support person might tell you they can’t help and there is no workaround.
    • Ask them to ask their supervisor to help with a request of ownership.
    • Only a supervisor can approve a manual workaround to transfer ownership of your listing.
    • * We have had some push back from a minority of Google Support representatives. But we can confirm that this is a verified, official workaround for the recent service area business Google My Business Dashboard glitch.
  3. Google will send an email asking you to reply with a message that includes the following 4 things:
    • Your name
    • Your email
    • An email where they can contact you – they prefer domain email addresses
    • The statement, ‘ I consent.”
  4. When you respond to the email, Google forwards the request to the current owner.
  5. Google will send you a confirmation email.
  6. You have to wait 8 days for the ownership of your listing to transfer and you must call Google back.

Again, following these steps is guaranteed to work. Although we’ve had problems at step 2 with both Google My Business Support techs and some of their supervisors, by being assertive and standing our ground, we have been able to get them to use this solution with all our service area business clients.

Final Thoughts

This morning, we were extremely excited that it seems Google is allowing a manual workaround for the frustrating GMB glitch that was getting some service area businesses requesting changes of their Google My Business listing ownership stuck in an indefinite loop. While we’re pleased that a workaround has been found, it’s hard to understand why this glitch wasn’t resolved sooner, especially considering that a Google My Business listing is such an important part of your web presence

In the meantime, if you’re a BizIQ service area business client who has been adversely affected by this issue, we thank you for your patience. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact your account manager. If you’re not a client, we’re happy to answer any questions you might have about Google My Business and this issue. Leave your questions in the comments below or fill out the contact form on our website and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.