Google+ Local is merging with Google+ Pages and this is a critical change for your business. Learn how to transition your prior pages to Google’s new Google+ Business Pages.
Yep – that was me today. Full blown face slam into my desk after spending an eternity trying to figure out how to merge my Business Page with my existing GSD Google+ page I set up 2 years ago. As I was doing this, I thought some of you might appreciate the information I trudged through.
Thankfully, there were a ton of good articles written by good folks who served as ice packs when I was about to kick Google+ in the screen.
The basic jist is that back in May 2012, Google Places listings, those listings that appear in search engine results pages (SERPs) with the orange bubbles, became Google+ Local. The move was a good one and a lot of nice features were added for local businesses.
In the meantime, good businesses everywhere were listening to Google and other folks and started setting up Google+ accounts (profiles) for themselves and Google+ pages for their businesses. Google+ Pages are almost always associated with the account.
Fast forward to now, for the US. Google has been slowly auto-upgrading users Google+ Local listings to what they call Google+ Business Pages. This article from the Google Forum details the rollouts and answers many questions.
Admittedly and honestly, I have ignored, as deeply as I could, having to deal with a Google+ business page. I have a blog. I have a FB business page. I have a Google+ account that I set up for the business, under an email address, nearly 5 years ago, and all my circles and contacts are there. I have many customers I need to service and I just didn’t want to have to deal with yet another page. Oh boo-hoo. Right? Yeah, I know. Suck it up buttercup, it’s the way things are now….and that became clearer this week.
In addition to the Google+ Page you might have for your business, Google Local+ is now automatically creating yet another Google+ Page for your business that is different (and probably empty and dark, like mine was). This new Google+ Business Page is what Google is now using when people search for you locally. Your business hopefully pops up with a little orange map balloon, but guess what? The Google+ page link takes the visitor to an echo-ey, empty, boring Google+ page – NOT the one you’ve been building up for the past few years.
Lovely, yes? Thanks Google.
So I immediately had questions for my own business. How do I transfer over my circles? I didn’t have any posts or anything (because I had so dutifully been pretending it didn’t exist), but many of you have reviews, posts, comments. What about those? What about my other pages? I don’t want 3 other Google+ pages running around (Google+ pages are worse than rabbits…)
I spent a number of hours digging and searching for answers to these questions and I came upon a few good resources. No need to reinvent the blog-writing wheel here, so I will gratefully share these with you in the hopes that it helps. Thank you to the many folks who took time to write these articles.
- Google Product Forums: More details about the improved look and feel of Google Places for Business
- A Step-By-Step Guide To Merging Your Google+ Page With Google+ Local
- How to Merge Google Places and Google Plus Accounts (for businesses who might not yet have a Google+ Local account yet
- Merging Google+ Local and Google+ Business Pages (with screenshots)
That’s probably enough to make your head spin.
Here is Google’s support document on how to transfer Google+ circles and connections between accounts.
Here is Google’s Takeout Tool, which will allow you to make data transfers pretty easily.
And lastly, here is a good Google Takeout Tutorial.
So there you have it my friends. Like it or not, if you had a Google Places account, which is now Google+ Local, you also have, by default, a Google+ Business Page that Google lovingly created for you.
It behooves you to use that account, as it is tied to your local business listing, and the number of connections that you have there, as well as your routine posting activity, and the reviews you receive will impact your Google+ Local rank in organic listings.
And you know, all this change can be painful. Usually (optimist that I am) the change is for the better. I don’t necessarily like being shoved in any direction like Google seems to like to do. But I have hope that all this screen-kicking and head-banging is worth it.