Google is beginning to accept requests to have reviews moved from one business listing to another. Sound too good to be true? For most you it is. Currently this new feature is only available to users of the new Google Places for Business Dashboard.
The only way to be a user of this new Places for Business Dashboard is to open a Google account now. If you already verified your Google Places (at any point over the last several years) you are stuck with the old Google Places for now.
We have had many clients ask us if we can move reviews from one listing to another. The answer has always been no. This new feature may change all of that, but unless you’ve been under a rock for the past ten years and never verified your business on Google, this update is not going to help you yet. Google plans to make the feature available to all Google users soon.
It is not as cut and dry as it may sound. Google has specific criteria needed to qualify for the movement of reviews. The primary point is this: if your business is not changing its name or address, your reviews will probably not be moved. So if you have two listings for your business and split reviews between them, this new feature is unlikely to resolve that issue. You would be better off using the “Report a problem” feature that has been in place for a while now, and hope that Google merges your duplicates into one and combines the reviews (easier said than done).
The “move reviews” feature is available for businesses that undergo a complete rebrand or name change; partnerships or affiliations that disassociate; and businesses that change their products or services. As it pertains to orthodontic practices, this update will have minimal impact at this time. Once the new Places for Business Dashboard is rolled out nationally, more practices will have a chance to corral some stray reviews.
This update is encouraging because it shows Google addressing the reviews situation. Over the past 18 months, the reviews area on Google has been nothing but a messy headache for most businesses. Call it a step in the right direction (even if it’s a baby step). You can read more about this update on the Google Business Help Forum.