What top ecommerce experts love about Magento 2

While some were intrigued by new tools and improved content structures, others seemed reluctant to join the bandwagon. After all, Magento 2 was a significant departure from the original version. Many weren’t prepared for such a big leap, which is why there are so many ecommerce websites still powered by an older version of this platform.

From today’s perspective, it’s safe to say that Magento 2 managed to push the entire ecommerce industry forward. This is one of the reasons why we wanted to engage the community of Magento experts and learn their opinions on this platform. If you continue reading, you will learn what top ecommerce experts have to say about Magento 2 when we asked them to tell us what they loved about Magento 2.

“More powerful than you think”

Many individuals believe that Magento 2 is overly complicated – at least until they try the platform themselves. Other ecommerce platforms are doing an excellent job of marketing their user-friendly features. As a result, inexperienced online store owners become overwhelmed once they decide to try one of those platforms. Magento seems to be doing the opposite. It appears overly complicated at first, especially since it involves working with highly-trained professionals, however anyone can master Magento 2 with a little bit of effort.

Here is what Ryan Street, a trainer at Magento Commerce, says:

Magento is a robust and complex platform. Many times, I receive questions about ‘Can Magento do this?’ More often than not, I am able to tell clients that Magento has their requested feature right out of the box. This usually comes as quite a surprise to many of them. Magento 2 is more powerful than you think.

“Magento has no competitors in the market”

Only a couple of years ago, there were a few powerful ecommerce platforms. However, the competition grew quickly and now there are currently more than a dozen heavily-marketed platforms battling over each and every online store owner. However, we often forget that Magento is one of the oldest platforms in the market.

The most significant limitation to ecommerce platforms is their flexibility. We believe that Magento is an example of freedom in design and development to other platforms. The truth is that you have unparalleled freedom with Magento 2 as you can design an online store of your own custom design and implement features found nowhere else.

Take a look at this quote from Miguel Balparda who is a senior Magento developer:

In my opinion, Magento has no competitors in the market. Shopify, for example, is a fine platform but it’s not as flexible as Magento. Other platforms are also easy to use, but the flexibility of Magento can’t be compared with any other platform at the moment.

“A Magento 2 website can grow with you”

When choosing between different ecommerce platforms, scalability is one of the most critical factors. This is easy to understand since every online store owner wants to know that their website can easily grow, but you might be surprised to know that scalability is one of the biggest strengths of Magento 2. The newest version of this platform brings dramatically improved performance while reducing server load. At any moment, online store owners can work within their website’s backend without affecting the performance. Powerful design features make this process as effortless as it can be.

Rebecca Brocton, a Magento 2 developer and project manager, recently spoke on this matter:

If you are serious about ecommerce, growing your business, and having a scalable website that can grow with you, then the first choice has always been Magento.

“Issues can be identified and fixed quickly”

Support is of the utmost importance when it comes to any ecommerce platform. Unlike traditional websites, technical difficulties can greatly impact any online store. Every second an online shop displays an error or becomes inaccessible means losing a potential customer, but this can be avoided by having a reliable support team or a dedicated community of users.

As you surely know, Magento 2 is drastically different from the original version. This change didn’t happen overnight. Instead, many developers all around the world have had prepared for this step. Today, there are armies of highly-skilled develops that can help you resolve technical issues in no time.

This is what Sean Breeden, a certified Magento developer, says:

So much effort has gone into the development of Magento 2 that I do recommend it for store owners. Magento 2 has a much larger community than Magento 1 in the beginning, which means that many of the problems that are encountered will be identified and fixed quickly.

“Great built-in functionalities of Magento 2”

Even though other ecommerce platforms can be a fantastic solution for small online stores, Magento is the only platform with incredibly capable functionalities that are built into the system. Different platforms offer premium-priced extensions to make up for this but Magento 2 brings it all at once, right out of the box.

Eugene Zubkov is a senior Magento develop with years of experience under his belt. Here is how he feels about built-in functionalities of Magento 2:

One of the most significant advantages of Magento are numerous helpful built-in functionalities of the platform. After installing the system, we get a fully-functional store with multi-currency, localization, a lot of store views, marketing, and reports.

“New improvements and new functionalities every few months”

Security and implementation of advanced features are what concerns every online store owner. Upgrading to Magento 2 is a complex process that takes meticulous planning and execution. However, this is also a vital and rewarding process. One of the most important reasons to make this leap is the constant and rapid development of this platform. After upgrading to Magento 2, you can be sure that you have access to the latest security patches and newly introduced features. Luckily, upgrading to a new incremental update within Magento 2 is as easy as it gets.

Check out what Nestor Gonzales, a developer with 12+ years of experience, says about applying updates within Magento 2:

The main selling point of Magento 2 is that it’s easy to upgrade because the upgrades are extremely simple with the new releases every quarter. It’s going to be like a new store with improvements and new functionalities every few months.

“Sheer amount of customization possibilities”

Online shoppers don’t care about the technology that is powering ecommerce websites. Instead, they are focused on visual design and user-oriented features. Magento 2 is diverse as it gets when it comes to visual design as this platform thrives on customization.

You will hardly find two Magento 2-powered online stores that look and work the same way – even if they use the same template. With a bit of effort, inexperienced online store owners can experiment with different layouts without sacrificing functionality and performance. The truth is that Magento 2 can be used to create an optimized website for just about any purpose and business model.

Josh Cameron, who is a Magento developer and consultant, recently stated:

Personally, I think the sheer amount of customization possibilities is a huge factor. Businesses can fine-tune Magento to fit their business model, instead of the other way around.

Final thoughts

There isn’t a better way to learn about an ecommerce platform than to see what experts have to say. You can find thousands of Magento 2 experts in every corner of the world, which is the ultimate proof of this platform’s capabilities. Make sure to use their knowledge and to engage with the vibrant community of Magento developers and users.

 

Uwe Weinkauf is the CEO of MW2 Consulting, experts in Enterprise Application Development, eCommerce, IT Outsourcing, and IT Operations that delivers valuable solutions for global business needs. 

You can learn more about MW2, discover dotmailer’s Magento integration, or follow Uwe on LinkedIn.

The post What top ecommerce experts love about Magento 2 appeared first on The Marketing Automation Blog.

Reblogged 2 weeks ago from blog.dotmailer.com

The truth about purchased lists

Purchased lists: as email marketers, we all know we shouldn’t use them. But when you’re under pressure to get results, it can sometimes seem like a quick solution. You might have heard that a competitor got incredible results from buying X list, or perhaps your boss has used them before and wants to see a beefed-up database to maximise holiday revenue.

The truth is this: it makes no logical sense for marketers to take an interest in purchased lists. Aside from the legal implications on the horizon, there can be no benefit to stunting your highest performing channel with data that doesn’t convert.

Not convinced? Here’s 6 reasons to avoid bought data now and forever:

Bought data is cold

Recipients who’ve chosen to receive your marketing emails have shown an active and recent interest in your brand; they’re warm and ready for your team to work on them. Bought data’s a different story. The prospects are unengaged, and there’s often no way of telling how old it is; it’s cold data. Unengaged contacts take longer to warm and even longer to convert, putting greater pressure on your team while incurring greater cost to your business. There’s very little chance of achieving the ROI that you’re after.

Bought data is a drain on your resources

The costs associated with cold, bought data are manifold. Get charged per contact by your ESP? That’s money down the drain for every unengaged contact you’ve acquired. And the more cluttered your list gets, the less efficient you’ll find your strategy becomes. On a pay-per-email contract? The same applies. Every cold email address is a detriment to your ROI.

Purchasing lists cripples your email marketing

So you’ve invested your hard-earned budget into a top email marketing platform, you’ve taken the time to train up your team, and your emails are looking better than ever. You’re ready to hit send on a huge campaign and watch the returns rack up. But you bought your email list for this campaign and – unknown to you or the seller – some of those emails are spam traps.

A spam trap is a fraud management tool used by the big ISPs to catch out malicious senders and marketers with poor data hygiene and acquisition practices. Bought data lists are peppered with traps. How do they get there? Check out this comprehensive guide from Laura Atkins for Word to the Wise.

The spam trap has no way of telling whether you’re a bad guy or an unsuspecting marketer, so you’ll be treated the same way as a spammer. Your sender reputation will start to deteriorate with every send and some of your best customers’ mail servers will block your emails from reaching them, causing those relationships to depreciate. You’re single-handedly shooting your ROI in the metaphorical foot

Bought data skews your reporting

If your contact list is riddled with cold or false data, it’s impossible to get an accurate measure of your email marketing’s performance; every campaign report you collect will be distorted by the non-opens, bounces and poor engagement rates associated with these addresses. This means that one of the most important features you’ve gained access to by investing in an ESP won’t work properly.

Purchased lists are a legal minefield

There’s no two ways about this point. Sending to bought data means you’re contacting people who haven’t opted in to receive your messages. In many jurisdictions, this is illegal practice – not to mention a poor introduction to your brand. And no one wants to be on the wrong side of the law when the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) comes into force on 25th May 2018. Check out this blog post from dotmailer’s Chief Privacy Officer, James Koons, for a deeper dive into the legal implications of using purchased lists.

You could impair your marketing stack

The majority of ESPs are unable to provide a service to businesses that use purchased lists, in order to protect their customers – and themselves – from poor deliverability scores. A marketing team looking to graduate to a more empowering and scalable automation solution will struggle to get the best fit for their business, purely because top providers are unable to accommodate their bought data. And at the other end of the scale, an ESP without a robust anti-spam policy isn’t a clever investment of your time or resource.

At dotmailer, our Terms & Conditions prohibit the use of purchased lists, because we know that’s how you’ll get the best out of your strategy. And because we’re only interested in empowering marketers (and not punishing them), we work hard to ensure that you always have access to the most cutting-edge list growth and nurture tactics, along with the latest in sending best practice. Check out this whitepaper on list acquisition, or download our comprehensive guide to Deliverability.

The post The truth about purchased lists appeared first on The Marketing Automation Blog.

Reblogged 4 weeks ago from blog.dotmailer.com

GDPR – 12 months to go, 12 things to think about (Part 4 of 4)

In Part 1 we covered raising awareness, data audits and privacy notices. While in Part 2 we covered how GDPR deals with individuals’ rights including subject access requests and legal basis. In the last instalment, we reviewed consent, marketing to children and data breaches. The last three things to think about are data protection impact assessments, data protection officers and international considerations.

10. Data Protection Impact Assessments

It has always been best practice to take a privacy-by-design approach when developing your data capture and processing strategies, as well as a key part of any technology implementation. Privacy impact assessments are fundamental to this approach by giving marketers a useful tool to consider properly the privacy risks that their data processing entails. All the GDPR does here is make privacy by design an express legal requirement and makes PIAs (renamed in the regulations as Data Protection Impact Assessment or DPIA) a requirement under certain circumstances where the data processing is likely to result in high risk to the data subjects such as:

  • where new technology is being deployed
  • where a processing activity is likely to significantly impact individuals
  • where there is large-scale processing on special categories of data

For most marketers, it will be the first two circumstances that will be most likely to trigger a DPIA but it is important to know the special categories of data if appropriate in the future.

In many if not most situations, the DPIA will indicate that the processing of the data is not high risk or if it is high risk, you will be able to address those risks. If you cannot mitigate the risk, you should contact the ICO for guidance on whether processing the data will comply with GDPR.

If you haven’t already, you should start to asses if any DPIAs are warranted within your organisation, who will lead them and who else needs to be involved. There is great guidance published by both the UK ICO and the Article 29 Working Party on DPIAs and privacy by design.

11. Data Protection Officers

US President Harry S. Truman had a sign on his desk that read “the buck stops here.” It was his assurance that he was ultimately responsible for how the government operated under his administration. Historically when it comes to data, the buck has not stopped anywhere due to the way that the collection and processing of data has grown organically within businesses and other organisations. I was speaking with one head of CRM recently who told me of the over 80 marketing databases that they currently have. It is going to come down to this CRM manager to get all of that data into a single place.

Every organisation should designate someone to “take the data buck” – to be ultimately responsible for data privacy and compliance. You should also have a think about where this role of Data Protection Officer (DPO) sits within the organisation and overall governance structures so that the person in this role has the freedom to act, should the need arise. In many instances, the GDPR has overcome this by specifying situations where a DPO is required such as:

  • public authorities
  • organisations that carry out large scale, regular and systematic monitoring of individuals
  • organisations that carry out large scale processing of special categories of data

Whomever the designated DPO, it is important that they have the knowledge, support and authority to carry out their role effectively. The article 29 working party has some good guidance on roles and responsibilities of a DPO.

12. International Considerations

The first thing to remember here is that Brexit will have little to no impact on GDPR. The government has confirmed on multiple occasions including as recently as the Queen’s Speech on 21st of June 2017, that GDPR will be the data protection law in the UK going forward. Moreover, the UK will still be an EU member when the law goes into effect on the 25th of May 2018.

If you operate in multiple EU member states, then you should determine which would be your lead data regulator. This is not meant to be a way to be under the auspices of the most favourable regulator. Your lead regulator should be the state where your central administration in the EU is based or the location where decisions about your data processing are taken. You can do this by mapping out where you take your data processing decisions and the country with the preponderance of those decisions is the one you should choose. If on the other hand you are not engaged in any cross border data processing, then your decision here is quite straightforward. Once again, the Article 29 Working Party has produced some guidance that will help you make the correct decision.

Conclusion

As I said at the beginning of part 1, data recently released by the DMA indicates that marketers are feeling less prepared for GDPR than they did in February. Marketers are also feeling less knowledgeable about GDPR in general and their four big concerns are:

  1. Consent
  2. Legacy Data
  3. Implementing a compliant system
  4. Profiling

I hope that this blog series has gone a little way to making you feel more prepared or at least has given you some things to think about and some things to start discussing internally. Over the coming weeks and months, dotmailer will be publishing useful guidance from recognised sources geared towards email marketers. Our approach is to keep our readers up to speed based on facts directly from this reputable guidance or vetted by the UK or other data regulators around Europe. In addition, our teams will be ready to help you implement the advice you receive from your professional advisors within the dotmailer environment.

The post GDPR – 12 months to go, 12 things to think about (Part 4 of 4) appeared first on The Email Marketing Blog.

Reblogged 4 months ago from blog.dotmailer.com

GDPR – 12 months to go, 12 things to think about (Part 3 of 4)

In Part 1 we covered raising awareness, data audits and privacy notices. While in Part 2 we covered how GDPR deals with individuals’ rights including subject access requests and legal basis. In this week’s installment, we will be reviewing consent, marketing to children and data breaches.

7. Consent

Under the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations, email marketing is consent-based. GDPR however, more fully defines how to get consent with the following stipulations:

  • Must be freely given – giving people genuine choice and control over how you use their data and “unbundling” consent from other terms and conditions; in other words, consent cannot be a precondition for a service unless it necessary to deliver the service.
  • Specific – clearly explain exactly what people are consenting to in a way they can easily understand (i.e. not with a load of legal mumbo jumbo) and in a way that does not disrupt the user experience.
  • Informed – clearly identify yourself as the data controller, identify each processing operation you will be performing, collect separate consent for each unless this would be “unduly disruptive or confusing”, describe the reason behind each data processing operation, and notify people of their right to withdraw consent at any time.
  • Unambiguous – it must be clear that the person has consented and what they have consented to with an affirmative action (i.e. no pre-checked boxes). Therefore, silence would not be a valid form of consent.

In the last instalment, we talked about deciding on the legal basis you will use to process your marketing data. Consent is not your only option. That said, it is always a good idea to know the source of all of your data, how that data flows through your various systems and what consent you have for the processing of that data. The ICO has published detailed guidance on consent and has produced a consent checklist to help you review your current practices.

8. Children

For the first time, the GDPR specifically calls out the rights of children and offers special protection for their personal data in the digital world. If you offer what the GDPR calls “information society services” to children and you rely on consent to process their data, you may have to get the permission of the parent or guardian before processing that child’s data. The GDPR set the age at which a child can consent for themselves at 16 but the UK may lower this to 13. One interesting thing to note is that the parent or guardian’s consent expires when the child reaches the age at which they can give consent, so you will have to refresh their consent at that milestone.

9. Data Breaches

The GDPR makes it the responsibility of all organisations to issue notifications for certain types of data breaches. You will have to notify the ICO if the breach is likely to impinge on the rights and freedoms of individuals such as financial loss, loss of confidentiality or significant economic or social harm. If this risk is high you may also have to notify the individual directly. Now is the time to think about your policies and procedures for identifying and managing data breaches.

So far, we have given you a lot to think about and we hope you have gotten started. Check back next soon for our last instalment where we will look at privacy by design, data protection officers and international considerations.

The post GDPR – 12 months to go, 12 things to think about (Part 3 of 4) appeared first on The Email Marketing Blog.

Reblogged 5 months ago from blog.dotmailer.com

GDPR – 12 months to go, 12 things to think about (Part 2 of 4)

In Part 1, we covered raising awareness, data audits and privacy notices.

4.    Individuals’ Rights

Just ‘getting ready’ for GDPR is not going to be good enough because you may also have to prove to the regulator that you are ready for GDPR. One critical proof point will be the decisions you make in getting ready for GDPR, as well as what you will do going forward after its implementation. Get in the habit now of documenting all of your decisions and the deliberations that went into them (more on this under the Protection by Design section). You will also have clearly defined and documented policies and procedures to comply with GDPR. These cannot be the kind of documents that are written and then live in a cupboard just in case something goes wrong, but rather they need to be distributed to staff in a useful format with comparable training so that the processes become habit within your organisation.

One area that is very well suited to this is protecting individuals’ rights. Most of the rights under GDPR are not that different than under the DPA, but now is a good time to ensure that you have your documentation in order. It is also a good time to ensure that your procedures will be compliant around things like correcting data and subject access requests.

5.    Subject Access Requests

While we are on the topic of Subject Access requests, these are changing under GDPR. First, the down side; you will no longer be able to charge for these and you will have to reply within 30 rather than 40 days. You will also have to provide some metadata along with the data subject’s own data, such as your data retention periods and many of the other things covered under the notices provision.

The good news is that you can charge for or refuse excessive requests (too frequent) and you can ask the data subject to specify the data they are looking for if you process large amounts of data. You will also be able to provide the data electronically in many cases.

6.    Legal Basis

Under the GDPR, the legal basis for processing data is all-important because individuals’ rights can change depending on the legal basis you determine for processing the data. It will be important for businesses to balance the requirements of consent and the legitimate interests that the GDPR provides for. The other legal basis that many email marketers will rely on is processing the data with the subject’s consent.

That puts us half way through the twelve things you should be thinking about to prepare for GDPR. Check back soon for the next two installments.

Editor’s note: The materials and information above is not intended to convey or constitute legal advice. You should seek your own advice specific to your business’ requirements.

The post GDPR – 12 months to go, 12 things to think about (Part 2 of 4) appeared first on The Email Marketing Blog.

Reblogged 6 months ago from blog.dotmailer.com

How to stop worrying about Google updates

Google is providing less information about algorithm updates these days, leaving SEOs scrambling for answers every time they experience a huge drop in traffic. But columnist Kristine Schachinger believes that all this panic is unnecessary. Read on to learn why.

The post How to stop worrying about…

Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.

Reblogged 6 months ago from feeds.searchengineland.com

GDPR – 12 months to go, 12 things to think about (Part 1 of 4)

So, here we are. There are less than 12 months to go to the implementation date of the new General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) on 25th May 2018.

It would be great to say that all UK businesses are well on their way to being ready, but data from the DMA released at an event this morning tells a different story.

Marketers are feeling less confident about GDPR than they did in February when 68% of businesses said they were ‘on course’ or ‘ahead’ of plans to be GDPR compliant by May 2018. Since that survey, the ICO and the Article 29 Working Party have issued both guidance and discussion documents bringing businesses greater clarity around what GDPR compliance will entail. This greater clarity has caused respondents to reassess their positions:

  • Only 55% of companies feel they are now ‘on course’ or ‘ahead’ of plans to meet the May 2018 deadline.
  • Marketers perception of their knowledge as ‘good’ rather than ‘basic’ has slipped from 66% to 59%.
  • Marketers sense of being ‘extremely’ or ‘somewhat’ prepared has fallen from 71% to 61%.

What has not changed is marketers’ four big GDPR-related concerns:

  1. Consent
  2. Legacy Data
  3. Implementing a compliant system
  4. Profiling

So what should you be thinking about? Here are 12 things to get you started.

  • Awareness

If you are the only person in your organization that is thinking about GDPR, you could be in big, big trouble. This is a major change to the legislative regime in which your business operates, so not only do key people need to be made aware of the revisions your business will need to make, they also need to be made to care.

As one of the speakers at this morning’s DMA event pointed out, good data practitioners already have the proper use of data on their radar; much of what the GDPR contains could therefore be considered business as usual. By stressing that this data attention is now in favor of helping the business comply with the new GDPR regulations, you may be able to obtain more budget for your undertaking.

While I am sure this is true in some cases, I know that for many companies, GDPR will represent a radical change in how they do business. It is critical that senior management is made of the impact sooner rather than later and that all members of staff are trained and brought up to speed on the changes over the next twelve months.

  1. Data Audit

While you are running your internal PR campaign, you can also be talking to all of the people that have data bases squirrelled away here, there and everywhere; these will need to be examined. Among other things, you need to fully document:

  • What data you hold
  • Where you obtained it
  • When it was acquired
  • How often it is updated
  • All of the places it is stored within your organization
  • How the data flows from one place to another
  • Who has access to the data throughout its journey
  • How it is stored
  • Where it is stored
  • The retention policy for each datum

  1. Privacy Notices

One of the things that will most likely have to change for most UK businesses under GDPR is their privacy notices. Being open, honest and transparent with consumers about what data you are collecting, why, how you will be using it, and how you will take care of it has been a core principle of data protection law since the original Data Protection Act of 1998. What has changed, however, is that the legislators feel that data owners have not always done this to the best of their ability. They have therefore given us more detailed instructions as to what openness, honesty and transparency entails in practice. The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has released a great code of practice on privacy notices.

 

Check back next week to read 4-12 of 12 things to think about before GDPR 2018.

The post GDPR – 12 months to go, 12 things to think about (Part 1 of 4) appeared first on The Email Marketing Blog.

Reblogged 6 months ago from blog.dotmailer.com

What You Need to Know About Duplicate GMB Listings [Excerpt from the Expert’s Guide to Local SEO]

Posted by JoyHawkins

Recently, I’ve had a lot of people ask me how to deal with duplicate listings in Google My Business now that MapMaker is dead. Having written detailed instructions outlining different scenarios for the advanced local SEO training manual I started selling over at LocalU, I thought it’d be great to give Moz readers a sample of 5 pages from the manual outlining some best practices.


What you need to know about duplicate GMB listings

Before you start, you need to find out if the listing is verified. If the listing has an “own this business” or “claim this business” option, it is not currently verified. If missing that label, it means it is verified — there is nothing you can do until you get ownership or have it unverified (if you’re the one who owns it in GMB). This should be your first step before you proceed with anything below.

Storefronts

  • Do the addresses on the two listings match? If the unverified duplicate has the same address as the verified listing, you should contact Google My Business support and ask them to merge the two listings.
  • If the addresses do not match, find out if the business used to be at that address at some point in time.
    • If the business has never existed there:
      • Pull up the listing on Maps
      • Press “Suggest an edit”
      • Switch the toggle beside “Place is permanently closed” to Yes
      • Select “Never existed” as the reason and press submit. *Note: If there are reviews on the listing, you should get them transferred before doing this.

  • If the duplicate lists an address that is an old address (they were there at some point but have moved), you will want to have the duplicate marked as moved.

Service area businesses

  • Is the duplicate listing verified? If it is, you will first have to get it unverified or gain access to it. Once you’ve done that, contact Google My Business and ask them to merge the two listings.
  • If the duplicate is not verified, you can have it removed from Maps since service area businesses are not permitted on Google Maps. Google My Business allows them, but any unverified listing would follow Google Maps rules, not Google My Business. To remove it:
    • Pull up the listing on Maps
    • Press “Suggest an edit”
    • Switch the toggle beside “Place is permanently closed” to Yes
    • Select “Private” as the reason and press submit. *Note: If there are reviews on the listing, you should get them transferred before doing this.

Practitioner listings

Public-facing professionals (doctors, lawyers, dentists, realtors, etc.) are allowed their own listings separate from the office they work for, unless they’re the only public-facing professional at that office. In that case, they are considered a solo practitioner and there should only be one listing, formatted as “Business Name: Professional Name.”

Solo practitioner with two listings

This is probably one of the easiest scenarios to fix because solo practitioners are only supposed to have one listing. If you have a scenario where there’s a listing for both the practice and the practitioner, you can ask Google My Business to merge the two and it will combine the ranking strength of both. It will also give you one listing with more reviews (if each individual listing had reviews on it). The only scenario where I don’t advise combining the two is if your two listings both rank together and are monopolizing two of the three spots in the 3-pack. This is extremely rare.

Multi-practitioner listings

If the business has multiple practitioners, you are not able to get these listings removed or merged provided the practitioner still works there. While I don’t generally suggest creating listings for practitioners, they often exist already, leaving people to wonder what to do with them to keep them from competing with the listing for the practice.

A good strategy is to work on having multiple listings rank if you have practitioners that specialize in different things. Let’s say you have a chiropractor who also has a massage therapist at his office. The massage therapist’s listing could link to a page on the site that ranks highly for “massage therapy” and the chiropractor could link to the page that ranks highest organically for chiropractic terms. This is a great way to make the pages more visible instead of competing.

Another example would be a law firm. You could have the main listing for the law firm optimized for things like “law firm,” then have one lawyer who specializes in personal injury law and another lawyer who specializes in criminal law. This would allow you to take advantage of the organic ranking for several different keywords.

Keep in mind that if your goal is to have three of your listings all rank for the exact same keyword on Google, thus monopolizing the entire 3-pack, this is an unrealistic strategy. Google has filters that keep the same website from appearing too many times in the results and unless you’re in a really niche industry or market, it’s almost impossible to accomplish this.

Practitioners who no longer work there

It’s common to find listings for practitioners who no longer work for your business but did at some point. If you run across a listing for a former practitioner, you’ll want to contact Google My Business and ask them to mark the listing as moved to your practice listing. It’s extremely important that you get them to move it to your office listing, not the business the practitioner now works for (if they have been employed elsewhere). Here is a good case study that shows you why.

If the practitioner listing is verified, things can get tricky since Google My Business won’t be able to move it until it’s unverified. If the listing is verified by the practitioner and they refuse to give you access or remove it, the second-best thing would be to get them to update the listing to have their current employer’s information on it. This isn’t ideal and should be a last resort.

Listings for employees (not public-facing)

If you find a listing for a non-public-facing employee, it shouldn’t exist on Maps. For example: an office manager of a law firm, a paralegal, a hygienist, or a nurse. You can get the listing removed:

  • Pull up the listing on Maps
  • Press “Suggest an edit”
  • Switch the toggle beside “Place is permanently closed..” to Yes
  • Select “Never existed” as the reason and press submit.

Listings for deceased practitioners

This is always a terrible scenario to have to deal with, but I’ve run into lots of cases where people don’t know how to get rid of listings for deceased practitioners. The solution is similar to what you would do for someone who has left the practice, except you want to add an additional step. Since the listings are often verified and people usually don’t have access to the deceased person’s Google account, you want to make sure you tell Google My Business support that the person is deceased and include a link to their obituary online so the support worker can confirm you’re telling the truth. I strongly recommend using either Facebook or Twitter to do this, since you can easily include the link (it’s much harder to do on a phone call).

Creating practitioner listings

If you’re creating a practitioner listing from scratch, you might run into issues if you’re trying to do it from the Google My Business dashboard and you already have a verified listing for the practice. The error you would get is shown below.

There are two ways around this:

  1. Create the listing via Google Maps. Do this by searching the address and then clicking “Add a missing place.” Do not include the firm/practice name in the title of the listing or your edit most likely won’t go through, since it will be too similar to the listing that already exists for the practice. Once you get an email from Google Maps stating the listing has been successfully added, you will be able to claim it via GMB.
  2. Contact GMB support and ask them for help.

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