[This is one of a series of articles originally published on Local Guides Connect
When you come across two (or sometimes even more, but for the sake of simplicity I will refer to 2 in the rest of this post) mentions of the same point of interest (POI), you should report one of them as duplicate. You do this by going to ‘Suggest an edit’ and then indicate ‘Place is permanently closed’, whereby you select as reason ‘Duplicate of another place’. So far, so good. But this can still be a tricky thing to do, because you need to decide which of the two is the one you want to report as duplicate.
In some cases this is quite easy to decide: one of them has no reviews, no photos, and the pin is located 50 meter away from the actual location, while the other has 12 reviews, 6 photos and is located correctly. But in other cases, both POIs have reviews and photos, so which one should you pick then?
Fortunately the good news is: it doesn’t really matter. Unlike most of the edits that local guides suggest, the process to deal with reported duplicates always involves human intervention. Someone at Google will have a look at the duplicate you reported (at some point – it can take a while, as the list is rumoured to be quite long), and instead of simply keeping one of them and deleting the other, the 2 POIs are merged to make sure all relevant information is preserved. So the one that eventually remains, will e.g. ‘inherit’ the reviews the other one had.
Keeping this in mind, the best practice for duplicate POIs is to make sure that the person who will eventually have a look at the reported duplicate has an easy job when looking at the 2 POIs. So, for both of them: check that the name is correct (and adapt if needed), move incorrect pins to the correct location, make sure both have the most appropriate category, etc. Depending on the information that the algorithms can detect when you report the duplicate, you might see a screen that lets you choose which POI is the correct one for the duplicate you are reporting (including a ‘none of the above’ option). Obviously this information is also very helpful to the Google team processing duplicates.
An additional benefit of doing this is that those edits will bring you some points (especially if you report them one by one) – as reporting duplicates as such does not bring points.
The original article can be found here
Disclaimer: the practices described here as best practice are my personal interpretation, and I don’t claim any level of official endorsement.