Google+ Local: What You Need To Know
The introduction of Google+ Business pages has seen many users and businesses utterly confused as to what they need to do to ensure their business is prepared for the shift to Google+ Local.
In this guide we will run through the different types of pages you can choose from, how to migrate your information to the new Google+ Local pages and the benefits of doing so.
Google+ Business pages
There are five types of Google+ Business pages to choose from:
- Local Business or Place
- Product or Brand
- Company, Institution or Organisation
- Arts, Entertainment or Sports
If you already have a Google+ Business page and want to use the new Google+ Local facilities, you must ensure that your Google+ Business page was set up as a Local Business or Place.
Google’s help files advise you to determine whether you have a Google+ Local page by checking if your Google+ page has the following headings:
If your page is missing these headings, you will have to create a brand-new Google+ Local Business category page.
Migrating from Google Places for Business to a Google+ Local Business page
This is where the news is not rosy for current users of Google Places for Business. At this time, Google does not make the migration between Google Places for Business to Google+ Local easy or convenient.
You will need to create individual Google+ Local page for each location, enter your telephone number to claim your existing location, update your details, and then, verify your business using an automated telephone or postcard verification system.
To add to the challenge of creating a new page for each location, you will have to do this manually as there is no bulk upload facility available. Furthermore, each location will need to be verified individually.
If you’re like many of our clients, who can be found in over 30 locations across a single country or operate in a similar way to our international clients, who are active in several countries, you will understand how this can get workload heavy very quickly!
The Benefits of a Verified Google+ Local page
While setting up and migration can be a gloomy process for businesses, there is a multitude of benefits for users who set up and verify their listings, and local set up is something we rather enjoy here at Mediaworks HQ.
This allows users to fully manage their Google+ Business pages and benefit from the integration in Google Knowledge Graph.
As a verified user, you also have the ability to see Insights for your page, which provides important information regarding visibility and interaction.
Managing a Verified Google+ Local page
Currently, all users will continue to manage their local listing information – such as opening times, address, telephone number etc – in the Google Places for Business account. This is because the majority of accounts have not yet migrated to the new dashboard, which was first announced in April 2013.
Google+ Local Support
One thing that Google has provided is telephone support for businesses having problems with Google+ Local pages. This is unprecedented, as Google only offers telephone support for AdWords users and would normally direct users to their support forums.
How did this process get so complicated?
Only six months after the launch of Google+ Business pages for businesses, brands and places, Google introduced Google+ Local pages. It promised a fantastic way to discover local information that would be backed up by a new review scoring system.
In April 2013, Google released a confusing statement announcing that the Google Places for Business dashboard was being automatically upgraded for some users to the new Google+ inspired Places for Business dashboard, but this was a random and gradual move.
Furthermore, Google ramped up the importance of Google+ by incorporating its use into core services – by September 2013, YouTube commenting required users to have a Google+ account.
This finally brought home to many businesses the realisation that Google+ is here to stay!
If you’re still none the wiser with regards to what stage your local listing is at, feel free to contact us and we’d be happy to provide some help and advice on what you need to do to ensure you’re ready for the shift to Google+ Local pages.
Posted by Kev Strong on 6th January, 2014