SMBs: What you need to know about Google Places & Google Plus Local

Posted By: on March 6th, 2013
Filed Under: SEO & Online Marketing

UPDATE: Google has recently added the option to contact them for Google Local support (even in Canada!). If you’ve gone through these steps and are still having problems, click here and then click the red contact us button in the top right. Then click call us, and follow the steps.


Google made some big changes to their local listings service back in May of 2012. Generally speaking, these changes were for the better, but they also left local business owners either completely unaware that they needed to take action, or utterly confused about how to do so.

google-places-google-plus

To this day, 9 out of 10 businesses that I look at still haven’t made the move to managing their Google listings on Google Plus. 

Unfortunately, most of the articles you’ll find when searching for help are from back when the changes first took place, when the process was unclear and convoluted. The good news is it’s bit more straightforward to take care of now. The bad news is, it can still be pretty confusing for the average user.

What happened to Google Places?

Google Places is basically swimming with the fishes.

godfather

You can still sign into the back end (which I’ll touch on later), but you no longer see Google Places listings in Google. The data from your old Google Places listing has been repurposed and now sits in a Google Plus Local page.

places-plus

Some notable things about the new platform:

  • It looks better
  • You can share links, videos, and anything else in a posts feed, much like Facebook
  • All the data and reviews from Places pages were migrated over to Plus
  • The review system got an overhaul (improved rating system, no more anonymous reviews, etc.)
  • You can assign multiple managers to manage a Google Plus Local Business page, and you can give another person ownership (this was a big shortcoming of Google Places)

No service interruption, a more modern interface, social network integration, and multi-user management… Sounds pretty good, right? It is. But in order to take advantage of any of it, you need to get control of your listing.

As I mentioned, you can still log into your crusty old Google Places account. You may also be also make certain changes to listings from the Places interface, but I wouldn’t expect that to go on working indefinitely.

You won’t be able to reply to reviews or take advantage of all the new features in Google Plus, though. You also might be missing out on the authority boost that goes along with a verified listing, which could potentially affect your search rankings. That would be sad.

sad

New features and pretty pages aside, the important thing to be aware of is this:

You are no longer the verified owner of your business listing in Google.

How to verify your listing on Google Plus

At this point we’re under the assumption that you had a Google Places listing (verified or not) and it now displays as a Google Plus page. (If you did not have a Google listing as all, these steps can get you started too.)

Get a Google Plus accounthttps://plus.google.com

You should only have one Google Plus account, and it’s best to use your real name. If you have a personal Gmail address, that’s the one you’ll want to use for Google Plus. If not, go ahead and sign up for one. You don’t need to start a new Gmail account to use for business listings because now you can transfer ownership and assign multiple managers (no more finding out the guy you fired has the keys to your business listing).

Make a duplicate page of your existing listing

This is the part that throws people off. You need to make a new Google Plus Local page and verify it. Then Google will merge your old Places listing data into it.

  1. In your Google Plus account, navigate to Pages (this will probably be under the More tab on the left).
  2. Click the Create New Page button (top right).
  3. Select Local Business or Place (very important).
  4. Enter your business phone number. This should be the same phone number used in your existing listing.
  5. A box will pop up asking you to select your business from the list. Select it. In most cases there should be only one business associated with your phone number.
  6. Confirm the map marker location, and press OK.
  7. Enter your business name and add a link to your website. NOTE: Take this opportunity to update your business name to your Doing Business As name, if it’s not already. (Ex. Top Draw Inc. NOT Top Draw Edmonton Web Design)
  8. Once you press continue, you’ll see a mostly empty Google Plus page. Click Finish. Now you’ve created your duplicate page, one that you own. It won’t do anything until you verify and merge it though.

Verify your new duplicate page

Right beside your business name, it will say Unverified. Click that. Then click the Verify now button. Verify that your address is correct and send the postcard. Then keep an eye out for it to arrive in the next week or two.

postcard

When you receive your postcard, log into your Google Plus account, visit the page, and enter the PIN. Now, hang tight and keep an eye on the page over the next week or so. It should merge with the data from your old listing and you can begin taking advantage of all the great new features of Google Plus. Awesome.

awesome-sauce

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Nick Pierno
I'm Top Draw's senior search engine strategist. I work to help websites rank and perform, and to generate measurable ROI for our clients. I'm Google Analytics certified and Google Adwords Certified. Follow me on Twitter @nickpierno and on Google Plus +Nick Pierno!

  • Pingback: How to Create a New Google Plus Local Listing for your Business | Nick Pierno

  • ingrid

    I have done this but it is not working. When I choose local listing, add the phone number and pick the only listing/address that appears and finish all the verification process.. guess what? my listing didn’t merge, they duplicated. now I have 2 listings… one well ranked with reviews and another with my posts and videos… how can I make these 2 merge?

    • http://nickpierno.com/ Nick Pierno

      Once you’ve received your postcard and verified your Google Local listing it may take up to 2 weeks or more for it to merge with your places listing. At least that’s been my experience. Hope that helps!

  • weblogic

    I have same result with ingrid.. so now how can I make them merge?

    • http://nickpierno.com/ Nick Pierno

      Here’s my reply to Ingrid:

      Once you’ve received your postcard and verified your Google Local listing it may take up to 2 weeks or more for it to merge with your places listing. At least that’s been my experience. Hope that helps!

  • http://www.hikingmike.com/ hikingmike

    I appreciate the article and the update on how things are going currently a bit after the change. I believe I have made the switch since I am managing our listings which are on Google Plus now.

    I just wanted to share that I’m managing some listings and not with a Google Plus account, just a regular Google account. So I didn’t realize that Google Plus is required. Maybe I’m not seeing the whole picture, not sure. It says Google Places at the top of my management page, but that’s where it goes when I click on the button for “manage this page” on the Google Plus Local listing page. It doesn’t say anything there about Google Places going away or wanting me to make a Google Plus account.

    You brought up a good point about the multi-user management which has been sorely lacking in Google Places

    now you can transfer ownership and assign multiple managers (no more finding out the guy you fired has the keys to your business listing)

    That’s great but you didn’t say anything about what happens when you fire a guy… Can you revoke them from having management power over the listing? Can that guy do the same to you? Do all changes require confirmation from all managers or something to prevent malicious changes? What happens? How do you sort it so it matches real life?

    You should only have one Google Plus account, and it’s best to use your real name.

    Well I know some good arguments against that though so I haven’t yet done it myself. I prefer not being searchable right now. Can you set it so you’re not searchable by your real name, and your public Google Plus stuff isn’t linked to your real name? You can keep your Facebook relatively private it seems to me.

    • http://nickpierno.com/ Nick Pierno

      Thanks for your questions!

      All Google Places listings now show in the Google Plus interface on the front-end. That doesn’t actually make them a Google Plus page though. Basically, if you can add posts to your page, it’s a Google Plus page. If you want a true Google Plus page, you have to go through the steps (make a duplicate page, re-validate, etc.) Hope that answers your question!

      Regarding page management, there is one owner (usually the person who set it up) and up to 50 managers. The owner can remove managers, but managers can not remove other managers.

      Ownership can be transferred (by the current owner) to anyone who has been a manager for at least 2 weeks. So if you had someone else create the page (employee, agency, etc.) you might want to ask them to transfer ownership to you before you fire them…

      Regarding Google Plus accounts, I can think of some valid arguments too, but I understand why Google wants real people to be accountable for their local businesses (and reviews). It’s all about spam control (with a sprinkle of better ad targeting).

      I don’t know all the ins and outs of privacy on either social network, but I’m pretty sure Google Plus offers the same (or better) privacy control as Facebook. As far as I know everyone is searchable on Facebook, you just have control over what information is publicly available, I’m pretty sure it’s about the same with Google Plus.

      At least with Google you can leave and take all your data with you… you can’t do that with Facebook :)

      • http://www.hikingmike.com/ hikingmike

        Thanks for your response!

        Ok, I’m not sure what you mean by “adding posts to your page”. There is a button for reviews, and it has a plus.google.com URL. Making a duplicate page and revalidating is scary since the reviews we have are valuable. Is this a no brainer? I believe we never made the page in the first place, I just claimed it.

        So for page management, that doesn’t seem to totally solve the fired guy problem but at least if you allow more managers, the other managers will still be able to edit things while trying to get the fired guy to hand over the owner keys.

        Good info about the privacy in Google Plus. Of course I do understand the advantages too. I’ll need to do some experimenting in Facebook with another account. I thought you could remove yourself from showing up in search engines but I see my cover photo in Google along with my real name. I didn’t see anything when I searched earlier, doh. I guess I could remove my cover photo.

      • http://nickpierno.com/ Nick Pierno

        Hey Mike,

        Yep, all the Google Places listings now show on a plus.google url. The way to distinguish between them is that Google Plus Local pages are managed by a Google Plus user and they can be posted to. Here’s what the posts stream looks like: http://i.imgur.com/177hGQP.png

        I understand the concern about going through the process and having it affect your reviews, etc. All I can say is that I’ve done it several times without any problems – but that doesn’t mean the system is flawless! For me staying on top of the game is important and I suspect eventually Google will drop the places interface altogether.

        Regarding page management, you should just always make sure you’re the owner of your listing – then the fired guy scenario won’t ever be a problem. Like I said, in situations where someone else sets up the page (which is perfectly acceptable), just make sure they make you a manager – and then after two weeks give you ownership.

        I don’t have a ton of knowledge in privacy. I actually feel like a less anonymous internet discourages bad behaviour, IMO. Just like anything in the real world, you have to use your real name to vote, pay, etc. Of course, there are exceptions to this and I believe we do need a certain level of privacy bot online and off.

        :)

      • http://www.hikingmike.com/ hikingmike

        I appreciate your guidance Nick!

        I see, there is no “Posts” button there like the one on yours. I agree they will likely drop Places completely since they are obviously moving that way. I’ll have to try making a Google Plus page. I am not actually the owner of the company so I will be either changing ownership after I do this or I’ll use a secondary account that we use for this kind of thing. I know they frown on that for Google+ but it has been a savior doing it that way and I don’t really want to use my personal stuff (Google account) for work.

      • http://nickpierno.com/ Nick Pierno

        No problem at all! I’m glad if I was able to help you :)

        You shouldn’t have any problems with the neutral account approach, although I think the new manager system curbs the need for it somewhat (you pretty much HAD to do it that way with Places).

        Personally I create pages either under my own account and then give ownership to the owner right away, or I make a Google+ account for the owner (they often don’t have one yet) and create from there. But hey, there’s more than one way to bake a cake :)

        Best of luck man!

      • http://www.hikingmike.com/ hikingmike

        Hey Nick, it’s been a while now with our new Google+ Local page up (and showing verified), and I do see it in Google Maps results, but I also see our old Google Places page as well in slightly different searches. I’m not sure what to do now, do I just wait longer? I can administer the Google Places pages within the Google Places Dashboard, and the Google+ Local page from its own interface, and they are just separate entities at this point. I know this can take a while but I just want to check if there’s anything I’m missing.

      • http://nickpierno.com/ Nick Pierno

        Sorry Mike, it’s been awhile since I’ve had the time to reply. Have you noticed if they’ve fully merged yet? It can take time, but I’d imagine it would have happened by now…

      • http://www.hikingmike.com/ hikingmike

        No problem. It looks like no. I see our Places page in Google Maps results but not our Google+ Local page. I know since it’s not the one that I put a cover image and logo on, and when I hit “Is this your business? Manage this page” on the right, it goes to Google Places. When I go into Google+, and go to Pages on the left dropdown, I see the new page there. They both still exist but the Places page is dominating apparently. That one has all our reviews (a couple with names and faces now) and the new one has none.

      • http://nickpierno.com/ Nick Pierno

        Hmm, that’s frustrating since it should definitely have merged by now. The only thing I can think of is that there was an issue when you made the initial connection (choosing the Places listing when putting your phone number in to create the Plus page…) but I can’t say for sure.

        Unfortunately there’s a significant amount of weirdness to be expected with these Google services and it’s hard to get straight answers when something goes wrong.

      • http://www.hikingmike.com/ hikingmike

        Hi again Nick. I thought I’d report back here on what my status is now. I checked things out again, and the listing for our newest location that I created in Google+ Local looks fine, but of course the one review we had there never transferred from the original Google Places listing and I guess is lost in oblivion. I’m glad I only did this for the one listing as a test first. Our other locations have many reviews.

        I have read up some more and posted in the Google Product forums. It seems that Google+ Local is available for everybody now but that’s for NEW users. For existing Places users, the migration continues. Here is the thread that Google is updating on progress – https://productforums.google.com/forum/#!category-topic/business/I0Royu8V9x8

        And here is the thread I created recently explaining my issue –
        https://productforums.google.com/forum/#!msg/business/pNSWjCODlgs/HhLMtop0Dh4J

        The guy replied:

        That procedure is the earlier cumbersome workaround that Google provided for earlier adopters. It worked for the most part but when it did not it was a pain in the neck to get the mess straighten up. One of the things that could go wrong was that the reviews might not migrate to the merged business listing page.

        It seems I am just best off waiting until my Places dashboard migrates to the new one, and then I can update listings to Google+ Local pages.

      • http://nickpierno.com/ Nick Pierno

        Just another thought.

        Have you tried contacting Google Plus help? It’s a bit tricky to get to, but if you go here: https://support.google.com/places/?rd=2 and click the red Contact Us button. Then click Call Us, give them your phone number, and they’ll call you (weird, I know).

        That might help you get things sorted!

      • http://www.hikingmike.com/ hikingmike

        Wow you can actually call the Google? … Thanks for the replies after all this time. Ok so I was on hold for over 15min yesterday when I hung up because I noticed the city name was different on the two listings, Tempe on the Google+ page and Phoenix on the Google Places page. I had set the Tempe one as Phoenix to match but it had never changed. They are often used interchangeably since Phoenix is the bigger city and they’re totally mushed together, like LA or something. But maybe Google was being a stickler on the official city here (but not on the Places page apparently). I tried changing it again yesterday and it’s still Tempe. So I can try changing the Places page listing to Tempe to match and hope that does it. I wish there was some feedback letting me know if they rejected the change or it’s still pending or something.

        Actually maybe I’ll just call again and make sure this is done right. They know more than I do.

      • http://www.hikingmike.com/ hikingmike

        Ok, I also notice that when I edit the business details in Google+ Local, it automatically changes the suite number from “Suite 444″ to “#444″ and it also changes “N. Blah Drive” to “North Blah Drive”. So I’m trying to get them to match and since the Google+ Local is more restrictive I’m trying to match that. Unfortunately that means I have to wait for another postcard.

      • http://www.hikingmike.com/ hikingmike

        Ok I have made the change to get them to match as closely as possible, waited for another postcard, verified the PIN, and waited another couple weeks… and now it appears they have merged! I see the listing in the Places dashboard still but when I click to “see your listing on Google” it takes me to the new Google+ Local listing. I only see the one listing during searches. That is great to see. However, the one review we just recently got on the Places page is gone now :/ I don’t think I’ll be doing this for the other locations that have lots of reviews then.

      • http://nickpierno.com/ Nick Pierno

        That’s awesome! Bummer you had so much trouble with that. I’ve done over 30 of these merges in the last few weeks, most of them with lots of reviews, and only had one hiccup (which got fixed fairly quickly after calling Google Support).

        I totally understand your hesitance though. Good luck either way!

      • http://www.hikingmike.com/ hikingmike

        Ok it is good to hear that you have done it so much and reviews have transferred ok. I may try it again then.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1114752415 Jeff Baum

    Hi Nick,

    If I follow the above steps for merging my Google Places account into Google Plus can I import in the reviews people have left regarding my business? In all my other research it seems as though all I can do is merge in reviews that I have left for other businesses.

    • http://nickpierno.com/ Nick Pierno

      Following these steps will create a new Google Plus page, which once verified will ultimately merge with your Google Places listing (reviews and all) to display a verified Google Plus Local page with all your reviews which you can manage through Google Plus.

      Some folks are concerned about the whole process (losing their accumulated authority or losing all their reviews, etc.) and frankly, I don’t blame them. These Google services have a long history of glitches and bummers…

      I can’t say that your success is guaranteed with this process. I can say I’ve done it numerous times without issue and that the benefits of the new system are pretty great.

      Good luck!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1114752415 Jeff Baum

    Thanks Nick. Very helpful!

  • http://www.facebook.com/JonathanStrait Jonathan Strait

    I found this post after realizing a few new local business with Google+ had jumped ahead of me on the search results. Realizing they had brand new shiny Google+ business pages I said “Hey! I want that too!” :)

    However when trying your approach I got stuck attempting to ‘find’ my business (after entering the phone #) Nothing would show up, and I have a verified listing too. I then went back on my places listing to check something I noticed there was a yellow banner saying “Coming soon: An easier to use Google Places for Business” and basically that I “didn’t have to do anything” to get the new dashboard. The google help forums are now also saying just to wait. So I guess I’ve got to wait. :(

    • http://nickpierno.com/ Nick Pierno

      Hmm, I’d be curious to see what happens. I’m surprised it wouldn’t find your places listing… Obviously you were using an identical phone number to search, right?

      It isn’t just the dashboard that you can gain from the transition, the Google+ system gives you more options like posting to your feed and such so it still might be worth pursuing. Let me know how it went if you’re so inclined :)

      • JS

        Thanks. Looks like it completed the transition. I need to do more on there (posting some stuff for one.) ;) Adding people to my circles AS my business page is practically impossible though. It suggested a few but beyond that I have to manually type in info. As ‘myself’ it allows me to import vCards which is great (but I can’t simply add all of them, I have to click each and every one.) Even if I could do the same thing on my business page it would still be a royal pain in the ass. No wonder FB is still on top socially, no one wants to take 20 hours to reconnect with the same people they’re already connected to on FB.

      • http://nickpierno.com/ Nick Pierno

        Well, certainly building out your circles and posting, etc are a great way to build activity and authority to the Plus listings, but I totally understand the reluctance to do all the monotonous stuff.

        In lots of cases I consider it a win to just get the page verified and merged and worry about activity and community building as another endeavour entirely :P

      • JS

        Actually I discovered after posting that if I follow the link on any search results my listing is still not Google+ format. Bummer.

      • http://nickpierno.com/ Nick Pierno

        Well that’s annoying… If you’re so inclined, you can link me to your listing and I can have a look. I probably won’t see anything you haven’t already but I’m happy to try.

      • JS

        Thanks Nick. Here’s the link.
        https://plus.google.com/101977203934511764696

        When clicking the “manage this page” link it then still says this on the ‘dashboard’:

        “Coming soon: An easier to use Google Places for Business We’re making Google Places for Business easier to use. You don’t have to do anything to get the new Google Places for Business, it’ll be automatically updated when available.”

      • http://nickpierno.com/ Nick Pierno

        Have you tried contacting Google Plus help? It’s a bit tricky to get to, but if you go here: https://support.google.com/places/?rd=2 and click the red Contact Us button. Then click Call Us, give them your phone number, and they’ll call you (weird, I know).

        That might help you get things sorted!

  • http://bradmoorecoaching.com Brad Moore

    Nick… thanks for the article and your help. I have a question. Is there now a Google plus business page and a Google plus local? Or, is one of those for local businesses with a storefront—- and the other for online businesses? What if I want to make myself known locally (I do not have a storefront but I do meet clients here in New Orleans) and globally? Thanks so much. This is clear as mud to me.

    • http://www.hikingmike.com/ hikingmike

      I reply with what I’ve learned so far —
      You can have a regular Google+ page for your business in any case. For Google+ Local, that’s a little more tricky. I know that generally local service sites like this are trying to prevent online-only businesses from having listings (because you don’t have a location on the map, open-door business hours, things that are important for the Google+ Local). However, I noticed in Google Places you could hide your address, and in Google+ Local you can change a setting in the business information to “My business has service areas where I visit customers at their location” and if you set that, it won’t display your address. Here is info about that setting – https://support.google.com/business/answer/3038163?p=service_area&hl=en&rd=1

      You will need to enter a phone and address to get verified, but I guess you could hide your address that way. Maybe you can leave the phone number out later too, not sure. You have to have some kind of pin-marker on the map though. A Google guideline for that is “Do not create a listing or place your pin marker at a location where the business does not physically exist. P.O. Boxes are not considered accurate physical locations.” “Only businesses that make in-person contact with customers qualify for a Google Places listing.” Here are guidelines for Google Places which is the ancestor to Google+ Local and probably mostly apply – http://support.google.com/places/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=107528

      So I guess my final answer is you’re probably not supposed to make a Google+ Local page in that situation but you could give it a try and I have heard of others doing it. I couldn’t find guidelines for Google+ Local itself.

    • http://nickpierno.com/ Nick Pierno

      I think hikingmike has the jist here. There are local businesses without storefronts (photographers, web designers, etc.) which in my opinion is a valid use of a Google+ Local listing. So in those cases I’d do a local page, verify, then hide the address and use a service area.

      Hope that helps!

  • Mike Busby

    Thanks, Nick. I have a problem I can’t sort out. I look after a client’s Google+ Local Listing page and it has some photos of past staff on it. I can’t find any way of deleting these photos. I think these photos must have been lifted by Google from another directory at some point in the past when it was a Google Places page.

    • http://nickpierno.com/ Nick Pierno

      Hmm, I have seen that. You’re probably right about Google pulling it from elsewhere. Your best bet might be to navigate to the photo so you’re viewing it in the image viewer and then reporting it with a reason like “this photo is not relevant to this business”. The report option is under “more” in the image viewer.

      Example: http://i.imgur.com/k0pWnqd.png

  • http://www.mostpixels.com/ Steve Faber

    Nick,
    Great post, and very clarifying. To say this process has been frustrating for otherwise intelligent business owners is an understatement. Google’s documentation is as clear as mud on this. Maybe they should have hired you to write it!

    I have a client now that said the process “confused the sh*t out of me.” He has one page, complete with reviews, maps, store images and his logo. He indicated he had verified his listing and there is no “unverified” tag next to his business name, so it appears he has don so. That looks to be the page Google created automatically to move his Google Places listing to.

    He has another Plus Local page with room for posts and more info, which I believe is the one he created. It has his store address and other pictures there. I’m having him follow the process you indicated above if he has not already done so. He has done something, or the second page wouldn’t exist at all. Why they haven’t merged by now i’m guessing, may be a verification function.

    Thanks again!

    • http://nickpierno.com/ Nick Pierno

      I’m glad to hear I may have provided some sort of clarity on this stuff. Sadly it is a confusing mess is most cases regardless of how you organize the information. It still doesn’t behave the same for everyone, there are new buttons and links in the dashboard on the regular, and Google’s explanations usually leave a lot to interpretation… I’m just trying to help as much as I can :P

      To answer your question, merging should take place after verification (sometimes several weeks), assuming the connection was established when the new page was created (meaning the owner used the same phone number and selected their pre-existing listing when Google prompts to do so upon creating the new Plus Local page).

  • Fernando Perez Lago

    Hi Nick, interesting article!

    As I see it, you need a Google+ personal account to claim and verify your listing so you get the new enhancements. This is pretty clear.

    The thing is that now you can set up a Google+ business account as well, then my question is: could you make the same process and use this Google+ business account instead of using a Google+ personal account?

    In this new scenario, with your Google+ business account and your Google+ Local account with the enhancements, which role do you think that should play each one for let’s say a hotel? Do you think that would be redundant to have both or there would be any conflict?

    Thank you very much in advanced for any help on this!

    • http://nickpierno.com/ Nick Pierno

      Hi Fernando! Thanks!

      I’m not sure I fully understand. As far as I know everything must stem from a Google+ Personal account. I may have missed something, but as far as I can tell you can only create a Google+ Business Page, not an account (the account holder is still an individual with a personal account).

      Please let me know if I’m mistaken or I’ve misunderstood your question!

  • Jennifer

    Nick,

    I hope you are still checking and posting here. I read your article (thank you!) and followed your advice of creating the Google + page. Unfortunately, when I got to the part about “select your business or place” (after entering my phone number), I got a “No matches found – add your business to Google” or “try again with a different phone number”. The phone number I’m using is the one we have always used for our business. Our Google Places account shows the infamous “There is no data for your request” despite the dashboard showing our profile is 88% complete. We did the postcard verification process over 2 years ago and showed in Google Places and organic search results for several months, possibly even 1 or 2 years (after the verification process occurred and we were listed, I stopped checking it…..) Then one day in Feb 2013 I decided to look for our listing casually. Whoa – it was completely gone. Loggin into our Places dashboard, I noticed our listing said “Pending – under review” and were no longer searchable (in Places). the ONLY thing we had done differently was created a Google Adwords campaign (which we no longer do). In April, I checked the Places dashboard again, and it has changed from “Pending-under review” to “There is no data for your request”. Meanwhile, our profile still appears on the right hand side of the Google places dashboard while signed in, and says 88% complete. We are still not searchable with Places.

    Now that I’m trying to follow your advice and link to Google+, what do you think this all means with the Google+ not pulling up our business phone number? Do I delete the Google Places listing and start all over? If so, which order, Google+ first? We do not have any reviews on our Google Places site, so I am not concerned about losing them, it would just be a pain to start completely over.

    Please advise if you can. Much thanks.

    • http://nickpierno.com/ Nick Pierno

      Hi Jennifer,

      Sounds like you’re encountering some textbook Google weirdness. Unfortunately I don’t have a clear answer for quickly remedying your issues, but it is a positive thing that you don’t have a whole bunch of reviews and “authority” built up on your old places listing.

      I’d start fresh with Google+ Local. Create a new listing, ignore the fact that it doesn’t pull anything for your phone number, fill in everything you can on your page, and then verify that sucker. It shouldn’t be any more labour intensive than the merging process would be, and you get a nice fresh start. That’s what I’d do :)

      Good luck, and let me know how it works out!

  • Janet Lingel Aldrich

    Google Plus looks BETTER?! Are we looking at the same system? I HATE Google Plus and I very much resent having the decision taken out of my hands.

    • http://nickpierno.com/ Nick Pierno

      I have lots to say about the Google+ interface, most of it not very nice… but G+ Local business pages definitely look better than Google Places pages did as far as I’m concerned :)

  • http://makethemclick.com.au/library Mark @ Make Them Click

    Sorry but your info is wrong, at least in other parts of the world.

    IE: “You can still sign into the back end (which I’ll touch on later), but you
    no longer see Google Places listings in Google. The data from your old
    Google Places listing has been repurposed and now sits in a Google Plus
    Local page. ”

    Totally incorrect. Places listings still appear in Google.
    Creating a G+ Business page does not give you a Places listing.
    And vice versa a Places listing is not repurposed into a local listing.

    Maybe it’s different where you are, and maybe Google has different practices in various countries.

    Whatever, the whole Places/Local thing has been a total balls up right from the start.Google obviously doesn’t care about small business and seems hell bent on making any small business owner’s dealings with Google totally impossible.

    • http://nickpierno.com/ Nick Pierno

      Thanks for your reply Mark, but I’m pretty confident in my statements.

      I think for your first point the issue is semantic. Places listings kind of appear in Google.. but they now appear at plus.google.com, and are presented in the Google Plus interface. This is your Places page data, but it is indeed contained in a page on Google Plus.

      I don’t claim that creating a G+ Local page also gives you a Places page, nor vice versa. Though as I said, creating a Places page right now will not show up in Google as it used to. It will show up on plus.google.com.

      We can both certainly agree that the new system (although it makes a number of things much easier) is a royal pain to transition to.

      • http://makethemclick.com.au/library Mark @ Make Them Click

        Thanks,

        but gawd that’s confusing.

        All I know is that if you create either, neither of them will show up in the search results in the places or map listings.

        What’s even more bizarre is the local maps listings will only show up if you do an international search.

        If you select a country to do a local search all the maps/places/local listings (whatever they are called now) all disappear.

        WTF?

        I don’t think anyone can be confident of anything with Google right now.

        Not even Google seems to know what it’s doing.

  • http://www.binarydrive.co.uk/ Tristan Haskins

    Hi Nick. Great article – THANK YOU.

    If you Google “google+ binarydrive” from google.co.uk I get a G+ listing with two different ID numbers… 13282899538198865552 and 107336885889726067727

    The latter is the ID of my own created G+ page from within my G+ personal account

    The 5552 ID is a Google autogenerated ID

    I have requested my postcard and I am hoping / expecting Google to merge the two in to one… I guess from an SEO perspective it doesn’t really matter.. I almost get two bites at the same cherry.. however, I’d prefer maintaining just ONE page… we’ll see.

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