Let’s say you’re considering renaming or re-branding your business. Part of that will involve renaming your online “local” listings – including Google My Business and Yelp. Easy enough, but what will happen to your reviews? Google’s form doesn’t inspire confidence, nor does Yelp’s handling of reviews in general make it feel like anything but Russian roulette.
Will Google or Yelp see the new name as a “new business,” and not let you keep your reviews on your renamed page(s)? Will you have to start over from zero? Will all your hard work not amount to a hill of beans?
The short answer is if the only thing that’s changing is your name, you should be able to keep your reviews post-renaming.
I recently asked both Google My Business and Yelp HQ. Here’s how I phrased it:
Let’s say I’ve got a business called “ABC Carpentry” and I rename it “ABC Bathrooms & Kitchens.” I also rename the business legally, and rename it on other sites, too. So totally new name, but nothing else changes (site, address, and phone number are the same). Would I be able to keep my reviews?
Here’s what Imran (who was very helpful) from Google support said:
Yes Google allows to keep the reviews. Reviews will be there. He can [use] the name of any business if he is verified.
For an example Abc@gmail.com has got a verified location, and it has got reviews. If he wants to change name, then he certainly can change name of the business without losing the reviews.
Here’s what Autumn at Yelp support said:
Some changes to businesses do not have a substantial enough effect to render the current listing obsolete. We evaluate business transitions on a case-by-case basis in order to determine if a new listing is necessary or not.
For more on how we handle business changes, check out our Support Center: http://www.yelp-support.com/article/What-are-the-guidelines-for-substantial-business-changes?l=en_US
Lest Yelp changes the rules later, here’s the relevant blurb on “Rebranding” (as of this writing):
Businesses that change names but retain the same customer experience, we’ll generally update the name of the business rather than create a new business page. As such, name changes can be submitted as a general business information update.
If the new name is accompanied by changes in the location, ambiance, or other fundamental elements of the customer experience, a new business page may be created to help customers differentiate between the old and new experiences (see the sections for Renovations and Moves).
I hope that info makes it feel like less of a cliff dive.
Any questions? First-hand experience? Leave a comment!