Google+ Business Update - Pros and Cons of Merging Google Places Now Vs Waiting

Linda Buquet

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I've been getting tons of questions about the merge/upgrade and lots of folks are super confused. Many are asking if they should upgrade/merge now or wait. I've been giving lots of advice in different places. Here at the forum, via email and at the Google and your Business forum. So I wanted to share some of it here.

But 1st Mike Blumenthal just did a really good post that summarized many of the issues. So go read that 1st. Then come back to see my thoughts and some of the advice I've been sharing.

<a href="http://blumenthals.com/blog/2012/08/10/google-business-pages-to-merge-or-not-to-merge-that-is-the-question/">Google+ Business Pages: To Merge Or Not to Merge, That is the Question</a>

Was the rollout a signal that your business or clients should make the merge now or was its limited function a tell that you should wait?

Obviously as Google moves towards social local search it is clear that there will be moment when, for most local businesses, it will make sense to commit to fully Google Plus in one way or another.

It is important though to understand this latest move in the context of Google’s longer term plan for integrating listings into the Plus environment and know some of the pitfalls before deciding whether to go ahead with the re-verification process now or to wait.
Agree with Mike plus some other considerations to think about... Here is some advice I've given in here in forum or via email to all the folks that have questions about how or if they should upgrade.

1) Bottom line is if your client is either A) an early adopter or B) into social media, then they already HAVE a G+ Business page. SO THEREFORE, if they don't yet, that says to me they are neither an early adoptor OR into social media. So in that case I would not (IF I were still working on clients personally, which I am not) jump through hoops to integrate an early merge that may not be quite ready for prime time OR could be buggy OR could required extra work.

2) As Mike explained, there is only ONE straight forward use case that's even ready, so you need to be sure you fit into that situation. (No service area businesses with address hidden or multi-location scenarios are supported yet.)

3) If you merge now I would still consider this a little bit beta. You need to realize it's uncharted territory and help docs are lacking, so good chance you'll hit some roadblocks or unknowingly take some missteps that could be hard to unravel later. Tons of questions are coming up in the Google forum that the Places TCs don't know the answers to and even the G+ TCs don't know. Heck even Google does not know how to answer some of the complicated use case questions yet I don't think.

4) When consultants ask me if they should upgrade clients now, I also tell them...

It depends on your time and how you are being compensated 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 you are prepared for possible bumps in the road and growing pains as everything shakes out. 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.

5) For all the "other" use case questions I'm getting about more complicated scenarios and what if's and should I try this yet or that yet??? :confused: Here is the general advice I'm giving in most cases.

"I’m really not giving advice on things like this until G puts the answers in writing because too often if you do it the way it logically makes sense, then when it comes out, the rules or best practices are different than what anyone thought and you end up with everything tied up in knots you can’t unravel.

Plus while I’m a Places expert, I don’t consider myself a + expert yet and your Q is more on the + side."

(I just had a consultant reply via email, "YES that's exactly where we are now - tied up in knots we can’t unravel with G+ profiles and pages.")

So there you have it. Clear as mud...

As Mike said: "Google’s tactic of “develop early and iterate often” means that we will be living with a more half baked product than usual as these parts are ripped out and rebuilt. The pieces to the pie are becoming visible very slowly and a great deal of functionality is still missing."

I totally agree and can't stress enough if you go for this early merge option, you just need to understand this is pretty BETA - documentation is lacking and there could be some frustration and wasted time.

HOWEVER on the PLUS side... (pun intended) ;) if you want to upgrade a client or 2 OR your own listing to get a head start on what's coming and get your hands in and start working with the new toy - it's VERY EXCITING and I love where this is all heading. So I'm not being negative about +. I Love +! Just warning it could be a bumpy ride. But if you are prepared for that - go for it!

What do you think?
Did you start the merge?
Are you going to? Or are you going to wait?
 

Linda Buquet

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Folks are starting to get their PINS to verify/merge. And as expected some bugs and problems are cropping up. Including sort of a weird 1/2 merge duplicate type of an issue and 500 errors. I've reported the 1/2 merge issue to Google and they are aware and working on the 500 errors. Here is more info and one of our user's problem reports, in case anyone else is having similar challenges:

Merging Google+ Business Page and Google+ Local Listing (via separate accounts)
 
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Hi Linda,

Just found your forum. Great post, and glad to see my reservations were not baseless... I have not merged any listings, nor have I recommended the merge. I like to keep things as separate as possible. I just hate getting myself into a position where I can't UNDO something.

Linking websites via authorship and publisher markup is easy to undo... this type of merge feels way too one-way to me :)

At least for now.
 

Linda Buquet

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Welcome to the forum. Yes I hear you on waiting. (Got your email too, but swamped. Will reply as soon as I can.)
 

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