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Google Plus Local Pages vs. Google Plus Business Pages

Google Plus Local Pages vs. Google Plus Business Pages image google places plus local mapsThe 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.

Comments on this Article: 20

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  1. Bill P says:

    Finally, clarity and a meaningful explanation from someone who seems to be in the know. Very helpful and thanks for shedding light on this problem.

  2. Brian L says:

    Hi Steve, I am creating a Google+ Business page for one of my clients and am wondering if I should create a seperate Google+ profile using a the businesses email address instead of my own personal Google+ account. Thoughts?

  3. Hi Brian, good question. I would not use your private Google log in to create the page. Use the client’s, or one that you set up for the client. When I set up these pages for clients I either ask for access to an account or set one up for them, which then becomes their company login for Google services and doesn’t breach the privacy or open them up to password abuse.

    If you put it in your name, Google will link you to them and that could cause confusion down the line in terms of relationships.

  4. Jeff says:

    Hey Steve, thanks for the great insight. My question is this… I have been actively recruiting reviews from my customers to my local google listing. For future reviews, should I be doing anything different? Thanks in advance!

    • Hi Jeff, I have advised clients to actively ask customers to go and write reviews. This is legitimate as long as customers are able to write what they want. Some customers are doing this by slowly inviting customers in batches, to avoid a load of reviews appearing at the same time and appearing unnatural. Also, don’t offer any kind of incentive – there’s no harm in telling people they can write reviews, but incentivising them is cheating the reader. The main difference now is the scoring system included in the G+ Local pages.

  5. UPDATE:

    Regarding ‘combining’ a G+ Local Page and a G+ Business Page, your blog post says: “If you’re ready to be on the cutting edge, you can sign up to be considered for an early upgrade.”

    However, when one clicks on the link provided, Google’s page now says:

    “Thanks for your interest in the early upgrade, unfortunately we are no longer accepting volunteers. If you would like to know when the upgrade is available for everyone, sign up for an email notification here.”

  6. Chelsea says:

    Hi Steve, I understand that if you have an existing Google Places page, you can continue to manage it through the Google Places listing. What if I have a new business looking to create a listing, should I still direct them to http://www.google.com/places?

    Lastly, we create videos for clients and assist them with posting their video to their Google Places page (via a YouTube link). Do you have any insight into how videos will function with Google+ Local? I noticed for Google+ Business pages, you have to upload the video file in order to have it linked to your profile.

  7. Kurt Rein says:

    Thanks for this well written article. Unfortunately, it didn’t say what I wanted it to say, as I’m annoyed by having a pages and local listing. But nice work anyway!

  8. Sid says:

    Steve – Try to clear up some nomenclature for me and the switch between Google Places and Google+. I made a Places Page many moons ago. About 3 weeks ago, I set up a personal profile on Google+ and what I thought was a “Google+ Local” listing for my business. My understanding is Google is to merge my Google Places info. to my “Google+ Local” listing. The only way I am able to find my Google+ business listing (which now has bits and pieces of what was on Google Places)is to go to Maps and go through Places. I cannot find my business listing through the Google+ search bar. Am I just caught in the change over and be patient or should I just start over again? Should I be setting up a Google+ “Page” for my business also?

  9. Lenny says:

    Thank you for this article. Finaly it clarifies things for me.

  10. Janic Evin says:

    How do I claim ownership of a business page we did not create? there are errors on it

    • Janic, if it’s a Places listing that no one created (where Google auto-created it), you can claim and verify it. If another person already created and verified it, you will need to log in through their account to manage the page.

      If the page is a Google Plus Business Profile page, the creator can give you management rights over the page but the creator needs to be involved.

  11. nicole says:

    I have searched and searched, can I put a phone number on my business profile picture?

    Great article, really helps!

  12. simone says:

    Hi Steve , thankyou for this article. Just a question. I have just verifies a Google Plus Local Page for a client through the google places dashboard and am still confused a to whether I also need to create a Google Plus Business PAge as well or will Google just do that automatically when it all merges,

    Thankyou

    • Hi Simone, you don’t have to create a Google Plus Business page but neither will Google create one automatically. What will happen (if I haven’t misread things from Google) is that Google will start to introduce some of the social functions of the pages into the Places page, so you will then not need to create a page as well.

      In theory, if people can add your Local page to Circles and interact with you, and if you can add status updates to it, you won’t need a separate business profile page. You may choose to set one up though.

  13. kathrine says:

    Hi Steve,
    First of all ,I would like to appriciate you for this.Your are doing a great job.
    I have no idea about “Google map blueprint” & Google place listing.Kindly tell me in detail about that.

  14. Julie Gardner says:

    Hi Steve,

    Are there any updates to your article from Google? I have searched and can’t find any!

    Would be very interested to know the latest thoughts from Google on nation-wide businesses with local presences. Is it advisable to link both a national Google+ business page and Google+ Local pages to the same website? I can’t think that this is a good idea (too confusing for Google) unless the link to the Google+Local pages can go on a relevant inside page and the national Google+ business page could go on the home page? But all the documentation I’ve seen about linking your website to your Google+ Local pages talks about adding it to your home page. This is nonsensical when you have multiple stores or hotels etc.

    Is it better to create a Google + business account (not a local one) and just add this one to the website. Would this have a detrimental effect on the Google + Local pages. Any thoughts?

    Many thanks.

  15. Tracey says:

    I am so confused between the two! I try to update the Google Plus business page, and the next thing I find myself on the Local listing and vice versa. I wish they would merge them so I can get it figured out..

  16. Kris says:

    Having already several listings/locations in Google Places, do we have to create the equivalent locations in Google Plus Local Pages? Editing the info in Google Places doesn’t update the Local Pages.

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