Further to our recent post announcing the inception of Google+ Local which has replaced Google Places and subsequent comments, Google has recently announced that it is now possible to merge your Google+ Local listing with your Google+ business page (if you have already set one up).
In their announcement on the Google Products Forum, Google explained as follows:-
"For those of you that have created local Google+ pages (with social features) -- good news! Today, you can become the verified business owner for that local Google+ page.
In essence, this will combine the page you created in Google+ with the page in Google+ Local (formerly Places listing). Your business’ presence across Google Search, Google Maps, and Google+ will be unified. You’ll be able to manage this page from Google+ Pages admin. Check out the Meatball Shop for an example of a combined page, with both social features and reviews.
If you’re ready, just click on Verify now on the right side of the page. You’ll need to verify that you’re representing your business by having a postcard sent, even if you’re a verified business owner on Google Places for Business. Also note that verification will only work for pages created in the "Local Business or Place" category in Google+.
The new upgraded pages aren’t yet available for those that just have local Google+ pages with reviews. We’re working on getting the upgraded experience to all business owners. If you’re curious, go ahead and create a Google+ page in the local category."
FAQs on Google+ Local
This is welcome news, although there are still some creases to be ironed out. Google's FAQs as at 15 August explain the position further:-
"Can a local Google+ page that I make in Google+ have multiple administrators? (ie, Can multiple Google+ profiles manage my page?)
Yes! There are two types of administrators -- owners, and managers. Read more about each role's capabilities here.
Can I have one social local Google+ page that links to my many locations?
No, at this time, we only support one social local Google+ page linking with one location.
What if I made my social Google+ page in a category other than "local business/place?"
Currently we only support verification of pages made in the local business/place category. You may make a new page in that category to access verification, but we cannot automatically move content or followers. There is currently not a way to change the category of a +page.
What about if I'm a service area business with hidden address?
The new verification process does not currently support service area businesses with hidden addresses.
What if I've just got a local Google+ page with reviews (in Google+ Local) but don't have a social +page?
You may create a +page in the "local business/place" category to have access to verification, if you would like. We hope to offer the upgraded experience to all local businesses, soon, but currently, verification of the social +page is the only way to get the combined/upgraded pages.
I manage many multiple locations using Location Manager. What should I do?
Right now, we can only verify social local Google+ pages with one specific address -- and we can only merge one social local Google+ page with one local Google+ page (with reviews). There isn't a bulk verification option right now.
What if my Places account and Google+ account are different?
Doesn't matter right now. All social Google+ pages going through local verifications will be going through postcard verification. So, upon postcard verification, you should manage your page through the Google+ account. (Don't edit your page using Google Places for Business. The only reason to log in to Google Places for Business would be to check analytics.)"
How will this affect your law firm or business?
There is a continued increasing trend in people searching for services locally, particularly for legal services. Google Places was previously one crucial aspect of this and, given the change to Google+ Local, that will now become a crucial factor in whether or not your services will be found locally.
Any queries? Please complete our online enquiry form to the right of this page or telephone us on 0845 620 5664.