The other day, I wrote about how Google Places listings have now become Google Plus Local pages. This has caused confusion for business owners who have already created a page on Google Plus for their business.
The two are not the same, which is confusing for business owners and users. When you search Google for a business, you will see links to that businesses’ Google Plus page, but that will actually be a link to what was originally called Google Places. The Google Plus business page, if there is one, will be elsewhere. The difference is that Google Plus Local pages are a new face for Google Places, with maps and scoring integrated, to create a directory listing for a business to help customers find and evaluate the business. The actual Google Plus business page includes all the social features of Google Plus – hangouts, posting, sharing, commenting, photos etc.
How to merge your Google Plus local and business pages
You cannot currently merge the two. Google is working on a solution for this. They can’t just flick a switch to make them work together because they are essentially two products. What’s confusing the issue is Google’s desire to use the Google Plus brand on everything. While this is understandable, because they want to use G+ profiles as the virtual pass by which we gain access to the tools, it is raising more questions than it answers at the moment. One issue to solve is where a G+Local page and a G+ business page may have been created using two different email addresses. How can you manage both if both are verified as being owned by different people?
We have to be patient on this. I believe Google will fix it, and the company has provided two useful forms to enable us to stay informed.
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Google has said here: “We will we be combining these two pages, so that you will only have to manage one listing — basic information, social features and all — across Google. Please give us time to get there … If you’re ready to be on the cutting edge, you can sign up to be considered for an early upgrade. Please note that this is a test and isn’t for the faint of heart! Sign up using this form.”
Elsewhere in the same help file, Google says, “Go to this form — http://goo.gl/8apbo — give us your email address, and we’ll let you know when we merge your pages in to a single page — like the ones we feature on the Google and Your Business blog post (http://goo.gl/lhF6S).”
How to manage your Google Plus Local and business pages
Until the merge happens, to manage your new Google Plus Local page, the management is going through the Google Places interface. Use the account you used to verify and edit your Places listing. If you find your business has a Google Plus Local page and you never created it, claim ownership of it and go through the verification process.
To manage your original G+ business page, if you created one, go into Google Plus in the normal way and log into your own G+ profile, then switch to the page profile to manage the page and its content.