BREAKING! Google+ Business Merge with Google Place Pages Starts Now!

Linda Buquet

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<a href="http://localsearchforum.catalystemarketing.com/showthread.php?323-BREAKING!-Google-Business-Merge-with-Google-Place-Pages-Starts-RIGHT-NOW!"><img src="http://marketing-blog.catalystemarketing.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/G+Local.jpg" alt="" title="GoogleLocal" width="150" align="left" hspace="10" /></a>This is just the 1st iteration and beginning step for merging your Google+ Local (Google Places page) with your Google+ Business Page.

THIS WILL WORK RIGHT NOW IF YOU HAVE ALREADY CREATED a GOOGLE+ BUSINESS PAGE with LOCAL set as the CATEGORY. (If you didn't set local as category or if you are a service area business with address hidden you can't merge yet - see below.)

See important updates and resources - bottom of this post.

I AM CALLING THIS PHASE ONE

PHASE ONE is for straight forward merges with existing G+ Business page (set as local) and Google Place page.

After you verify your G+ Business page, then it will merge with your Place Page and you'll have ONE page, with all the Places features like reviews AND all the social features combined.


From the Google and Your Business Forum
<a href="http://productforums.google.com/forum/#!category-topic/business/technical-issue/cLdShAg9xYs">Verification available for local pages created in Google+</a>

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.

Got questions? Reply here -- I’ll update this post with answers.

Thanks,
Jade
There are many scenarios that are not covered in this 1st phase. More will be revealed soon.

I am doing Q & A on a bunch of issues with Google via email. I know there will be a TON of questions. Google is working on help docs, FAQ and other integration options.
Like I said this is just the very 1st phase.

More coming, as I get news I can share publicly.

CHECK FOR UPDATES TO BE CONTINUALLY ADDED HERE:

NEW 11/29/12 - Link to Mike Blumenthals Local Train Wreck post. He, I and now even Jade from Google suggest waiting to merge. Just too buggy still.
http://localsearchforum.catalystema...le-local-really-broken-whos-charge-whats.html

NEW 11/29/12 -Jade just did a bunch of updates to the original G+merge/verify FAQ.
Verification available for local pages created in Google+

Update 8/16 - <a href="http://localsearchforum.catalystemarketing.com/showthread.php?444-Google-Local-Merge-FAQ-from-Google">Google+ Local Merge FAQ from Google</a>

NEW 8/14 - Should you Merge or WAIT? Some bugs and problems are being reported.
Google+ Business Update - Pros and Cons of Merging Google Places Now Vs Waiting

NEW 8/7 <a href="http://localsearchforum.catalystemarketing.com/showthread.php?359-Video-How-to-Merge-your-Google-Local-and-G-Business-Pages-Detailed-Instructions">Video - How to Merge your Google+ Local and G+ Business Pages - Detailed Instructions</a>

ADDED 8/4 <a href="http://localsearchforum.catalystemarketing.com/showthread.php?331-Service-Area-Businesses-with-Hidden-Address-Can-t-Merge-Your-G-Business-Page-Yet&p=1257#post1257">Service Area Businesses with Hidden Address - Can't Merge Your G+ Business Page Yet</a> Google forgot to mention you are not included in this initial update. See details in the post.

Official Google help docs Step-by-step instructions - Google+ Help
Note: waiting on confirmation from Google that these docs are updated and correct for this new update.

Mike Blumenthal's Step by Step instructions. Likely more detailed than Google's.
<a href="http://blumenthals.com/blog/2012/08/03/step-by-step-guide-to-the-google-businesslocal-merge-verification-process/">Step by Step Guide to the Google+ Business/Local Merge Verification Process</a>


Just got these help doc links from Jade:
<a href="https://support.google.com/plus/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=2609871" target="_blank">Step-by-step instructions</a>
<a href="https://support.google.com/plus/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=2623608&topic=2661706&ctx=topic" target="_blank">Verifying a local Google+ page</a>
<a href="http://support.google.com/plus/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=2693876" target="_blank">Edits to verified local Google+ pages appearing</a>


Jade added FAQ to original announcement this AM (8/4)
Upgrade/Merge FAQ (From Google Business Forum)

Q - Can a local Google+ page that I make in Google+ have multiple administrators? (ie, Can multiple Google+ profiles manage my page?)

A - Yes! There are two types of administrators -- owners, and managers. Read more about each role’s capabilities here.

Q - Can I have one social local Google+ page that links to my many locations?

A - No, at this time, we only support one social local Google+ page linking with one location.

Q - What if I made my social Google+ page in a category other than “local business/place?”

A - 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.

Q - What about if I’m a service area business with hidden address?

A - The new verification process does not currently support service area businesses with hidden addresses.

Q - What if I’ve just got a local Google+ page with reviews (in Google+ Local) but don’t have a social +page?

A- 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.
 

Colan Nielsen

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Re: BREAKING! Google+ Business Merge with Google Place Pages Starts RIGHT NOW!

Hi Linda,

Any news regarding businesses that only have a G+ Local page? Continue to sit tight I imagine
 

Linda Buquet

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Re: BREAKING! Google+ Business Merge with Google Place Pages Starts RIGHT NOW!

Yep sit tight. No way to upgrade if you only have a Place page currently.

BUT in past Google told me to advise folks if you only have GP and no G+ Biz, just wait for upgrade. In this announcement Jade says "If you’re curious, go ahead and create a Google+ page in the local category."
 

Keenan Glass

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Re: BREAKING! Google+ Business Merge with Google Place Pages Starts RIGHT NOW!

Way cool. Where would be be without Linda?

Step by step instructions on how to verify here...

Step-by-step instructions - Google+ Help

Apparently the link at the top of the page is referred to there, but there's an obvious Verify button on the right side of the Google+ Business page.

Also looks like photos that have been in purgatory suddenly got a swift kick to the front of the page.
 

Linda Buquet

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Re: BREAKING! Google+ Business Merge with Google Place Pages Starts RIGHT NOW!

Thanks Keenan,

I was waiting to get word from Jade about the correct help docs. As you know sometimes the current/correct info is mislabeled or is for a different page/process than it appears to be. She hasn't gotten back to us to confirm the correct help doc links yet.

But that looks like the correct info as far as I know.

Also looks like photos that have been in purgatory suddenly got a swift kick to the front of the page.
Great news! I had a feeling images uploads was just broken until the upgrade in spite of Google saying it was just a delay in the update cycle.
 

Linda Buquet

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Re: BREAKING! Google+ Business Merge with Google Place Pages Starts RIGHT NOW!

Mike Blumenthal's Step by Step instructions. Likely more detailed than Google's.

<a href="http://blumenthals.com/blog/2012/08/03/step-by-step-guide-to-the-google-businesslocal-merge-verification-process/">Step by Step Guide to the Google+ Business/Local Merge Verification Process</a>
 

Linda Buquet

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Re: BREAKING! Google+ Business Merge with Google Place Pages Starts RIGHT NOW!

Just got these help doc links from Jade:

<a href="https://support.google.com/plus/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=2609871" target="_blank">Step-by-step instructions</a>

<a href="https://support.google.com/plus/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=2623608&topic=2661706&ctx=topic" target="_blank">Verifying a local Google+ page</a>

<a href="http://support.google.com/plus/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=2693876" target="_blank">Edits to verified local Google+ pages appearing</a>
 

Linda Buquet

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NEW 8/4 <a href="http://localsearchforum.catalystemarketing.com/showthread.php?331-Service-Area-Businesses-with-Hidden-Address-Can-t-Merge-Your-G-Business-Page-Yet&p=1257#post1257">Service Area Businesses with Hidden Address - Can't Merge Your G+ Business Page Yet</a>

Google forgot to mention that if you have a service area or home business with address hidden, you are not included in this initial update. See details in the post. (Then pour more salt in the wounds as Mike said.)
 

Linda Buquet

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Jade added FAQ to original announcement this AM (8/4)

Upgrade/Merge FAQ (From the Google and your Business Forum)

Q - Can a local Google+ page that I make in Google+ have multiple administrators? (ie, Can multiple Google+ profiles manage my page?)

A - Yes! There are two types of administrators -- owners, and managers. Read more about each role’s capabilities here.

Q - Can I have one social local Google+ page that links to my many locations?

A - No, at this time, we only support one social local Google+ page linking with one location.

Q - What if I made my social Google+ page in a category other than “local business/place?”

A - 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.

Q - What about if I’m a service area business with hidden address?

A - The new verification process does not currently support service area businesses with hidden addresses.
(More info here)

Q - What if I’ve just got a local Google+ page with reviews (in Google+ Local) but don’t have a social +page?

A- 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 added this to bottom of the 1st post as well. That's were I posting new updates as they become available. So be sure to scroll up to post 1 as there are several other new updates you may have missed, since I made the original announcement yesterday.
 
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Re: BREAKING! Google+ Business Merge with Google Place Pages Starts RIGHT NOW!

Linda:

So according to this comment (and the comment that Blumenthal left on his blog) you can create a Google+ page in the local category to merge it with the Google Places page. None of my clients have Google+ business pages so should I start creating pages for them or wait this out a while?

Travis Van Slooten


In this announcement Jade says "If you’re curious, go ahead and create a Google+ page in the local category."
 

Linda Buquet

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Hi Travis, depends.

In past Google said wait and let G upgrade the Place page if you don't already have a G+ page and that was my advice as well.

But in this annoucement Jade said go ahead and create one if you want to get started early.

So it depends on your time IMO. If you are being paid enough to go the extra mile for clients and manage their whole Internet presence then go for it. If a budget client, wait for Google to offer the next step which I think will be less work for you.

Now you need to create the G+ page, verify, enter PIN, etc. Later I believe (but don't know for sure - no one does yet) but I think it will be more of an automatic upgrade sort of like the upgrade from GP to G+L was.

Again keep in mind service area businesses with address hidden can't merge yet so don't bother for that type of business. It will LOOK like you can do it and you'll waste time going through all the steps like I did - but it doesn't work yet.
 

Nick.SEOSpark

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Thanks for all the information. It's certainly changing times! Is the next phase likely to be quite soon? Or, is it completely unknown and in the lap of the gods? (aka, Google) ;)

It seems like most of us would just like it to happen tomorrow!
 

Linda Buquet

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Nick next phase should not be too far off, but Google never announces ETAs.

I got a head's up on Phase 1 from Google the morning it launched. But of course since under NDA could not release details until after public launch.
 

Linda Buquet

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The launch of what I call "Phase 1" of the merge/upgrade from Google Place Pages and Google+ Business pages was announced a few days ago.

(SEE 1st post in this thread for a growing list of important updates and resources I am adding
as I discover them.
)

It was announced too on the OFFICIAL Google + Your Business Google+ Stream.
Lots of questions/comments have been building up there. Not one single reply or answer from Google yet.

Since this is THEIR product AND it's about social AND it's posted on their own G+ social page, you'd think someone would be interacting and helping folks out? :confused:

Same thing on the Google Business Forum. No answers from Google, just from me and a couple other TCs trying to help out with whatever info we can share.

The majority of PR, support and answers to questions has been provided by Mike Blumenthal and I.

It's so odd that Google makes these big announcements with so little fan fair and then sort of leaves it up to the community to figure it out and support each other.

I'm sure Jade is buried with all the changes, and I know they've been trying to find a replacement for Vanessa, which would add another person to the team. But you'd think a big company like Google, who is trying to make it's mark in social, would have a social marketing manager running their G+ stream on an announcement like this??? :confused:
 

Linda Buquet

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Couple of examples of pages that have already been merged (during the early merge request period).

Leo’s Pet Care (a member of this forum) https://plus.google.com/b/108081775666322932523/108081775666322932523/about

Barbara Oliver & Company (Mike Blumenthal's client Barbara Oliver Co Jewelry - About - Google+) https://plus.google.com/b/108081775666322932523/108081775666322932523/about

So above you can see the review and social features all working together on the page, however I guess some of the info is missing and Google is investigating. But they still look fine.

Greg posted at Mike's yesterday:

Dagnabbit!

I was one of those guys who volunteered for an early merge of my Google+ Local and Google+ Business pages, and I don’t know if you saw this or not, but all the fancy formatting you and I did for our pages is now gone.
Both listings have been stripped back to bare bones.

Doesn’t even have hours of operation or nuthin’.

Even my website isn’t linked anymore. Complete reset.

Thoughts? Suggestions? Start over? Wait for stars to realign? Pull out hair?
Mike reported to Google and they are working on it. So if you opted for the early merge be aware some, but not all listings may be having a couple issues.

Here are a couple more of Mike's clients that did the early merge and pages are OK.

<a href="https://plus.google.com/106554499697730814866/about?hl=en">PBM Elder Law</a> and <a href="https://plus.google.com/b/113101674542238066585/113101674542238066585/about">Cut Loose Hair Salon</a>
 

Nick.SEOSpark

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Thanks a lot for this. It's good to get a feel for what the pages are looking like.

In time, I think this change is going to be very healthy - having one place where businesses can engage with their local customers.:D

At the moment, it's just a case of getting through all these complications! :confused:
 

Linda Buquet

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Just added to the resource list in post #1.

<a href="http://localsearchforum.catalystemarketing.com/showthread.php?359-Video-How-to-Merge-your-Google-Local-and-G-Business-Pages-Detailed-Instructions">Video - How to Merge your Google+ Local and G+ Business Pages - Detailed Instructions</a>
 
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These pages are really cool. Unfortunately, all of my clients are service-based clients with hidden addresses so we'll have to sit this one out:(

Travis Van Slooten
 

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