Finally the moment we kept saying would come is here. Google+ and Google+ Local have tied the knot and are finally beginning to merge as one single account. And if I may say so myself, they make a beautiful couple.
Google+ started out as a social network much like Facebook where accounts could be set up as individual personal accounts. From those personal accounts one could create a business page. After that, Google decided to take Google Places (where company reviews were hosted) and re-name it Google+ Local and incorporate it within the Google+ framework. Ostensibly this was done to increase awareness of Google+ and encourage more people to “upgrade” their Google accounts by signing up for the social platform, but that is neither here nor there.
So this put a lovely, confusing and difficult-to-articulate mess on our hands: Google+ personal pages, Google+ business pages, and Google+ Local business listings (with reviews). It was hard to keep up, hard to explain, and hard to manage. All too convoluted, if you ask me.
If that wasn’t bad enough, Google+ business pages started to require verification, much like Google Places (now Google+ Local) used to with a call to your company or they could send a postcard.
Then… it happened. I logged in to a dealership Google+ business page and noticed the beautiful blue “Write a Review” button right there on the front profile page right above the “About” and “Photos” tabs. It was then that I knew that this day had finally come.
I clicked on “About” and there it was — the dealership’s Google+ Local listing. I couldn’t believe my eyes and because I thought it was too good to be true, I clicked on the “Google+ Local” tab on the left menu bar and did a search for the dealership’s listing to see what would happen. It popped up in the list, but when it clicked on it, it brought me right back to the “About” page on the dealership’s Google+ business page. Woo hoo! It finally happened! Finally both are merged as one, we no longer have to talk about them as separate entities, and they can be managed from one login. Heck yeah.
Front Page of the Google+ Profile for Weld County Garage GMC Buick
Notice the “write a review button” that wasn’t there before, and that this “Posts” page still shows up when “Local” is highlighted to the left.
About Page of the Google+ Profile for Weld County Garage GMC Buick
I got here by first accessing what you see in the first screenshot, then simply clicking the “About” tab. Notice that the +22 is the same on both, because they are now the same profile.
Wondering why your accounts don’t look like this? Here’s what you need to do:
- Make sure that your Google+ business page is, in fact, a business page and not set up as a “person.” The easiest way to tell is to click on “About” on your profile and see if it lists a place of employment. If it doesn’t, you’re good. If it does, you’re set up as a person and you need to change the information to a person’s name and create a “Page” – click here for instructions on creating a Google+ business page.
- Make sure that your Google+ business page is linked to a “places” account. When you first set up the business page it prompts you for a phone number and pulls up any places accounts that use that number and allow you to link the two.
- Check your Google+ Local listing to make sure that the information is correct and matches the information on your Google+ business page (company name, address, phone number, website).
- Verify your Google+ business page by clicking on the little box next to your name. See below screenshot.
Once the accounts are properly set up, optimized and verified, the rest should happen automatically.
So, what’s the deal now that they’re merged?
Reviews can be monitored and responded to from the same account that updates your Google+ social account. One less login to keep track of, one less Google account affected by Google updates to be concerned with. One less thing you need to keep track of.