An Updated Step By Step Guide for the SMB to the Google + Local Page Transition

Updated 6/8 7:00 pm.
Updated 6/9 12:25 pm.
Updated 6/11 3:00 am

In the change over from Places to Google+Local (and then to Google+ Business pages), Google is upgrading a very complex system. Over the next few weeks and months changes will continue to roll out.

During this process issues are going to occur. It may be painful or fear inducing but these issues will be resolved and for the most part an SMB can just sit back and wait for the dust to settle. For a FAQ on the many changes that occurred last week see this post.

If you want to be more proactive in approaching your local listing at Google here is my advice and a course of action:

1- Be sure that you upgrade your Google account to a Google+ personal account. Life will be much easier if it has the same email as your dashboard account as it will make the coming merge go more smoothly. If your Google+ Business page is created under a different account than your Places listing, then add the email for the Places Dashboard as an additional manager of the G+Business Page. The Places email must be associated with an individual and that individual must have a G+ account. This will make it easier for Google to match the Google+Local page that was created to the Google+ Business page.

Note if the email is a business email and can not be associated with an individual you will need to wait for the implementation of Google’s manual merging process.

2-Go into your (Places) dashboard and view your Google+ Local listing to make sure that the Dashboard is connected to your listing correctly. Note that 1)the link will say “See your listing in Google Maps and 2) the local listing that the link takes you to in in Google+ will NOT show as verified. That badge is still coming and will show after the listings have been merged with the new + page.

3-I think it wise to not muck with your data in the dashboard or your listing too much during this transition. Let the dust settle if at all possible and move on to the next steps.

4-Give Google your email via this form to be alerted when they have merged your new Google+ Local listing with the Google+Business pages

You can stop here and all will be fine. Google will do the rest in the next 6 weeks or so. They will convert the Google+ local page into a full blown Google+ business page and you can move forward.

If you want to start experiencing more of what your page will become you can try any or all of these optional activities:

1- Consider creating a Google+ Business page from your Google+ account so that you can learn about how the pages work.

2- Particularly focus on adding attractive photos as this will become what was your Places Landing page

3- When someone clicks on reviews in the main search results they will be taken to your Google+ Business About page. Pay particular attention to this page. Effectively what was your very limited 200 character description will morph into a rich page of content about your business. You can add links and a fair bit of text to this page.

Note: That your photos and About page business description will become the first things that visitors see when they come over from the main search results. It is important to keep your description brief so that the user doesn’t need to scroll too far to see your reviews (unless of course they are bad).

To see an example of a “merged” page that I have worked on you can see Barbara Oliver & Co. Jewelry. I have already trimmed back the About content but not quite enough.

Last I checked the new “merged” page was working pretty well although I was unable to leave a review response. I have heard that this particular “bug” has been fixed but I am not positive and it will be rolling out very soon if not already.

4- Search Google+ for some folks in your industry that you would like to follow and add them to your circles to learn how that is done. Read their posts and see what they are sharing.

This will become a client communication tool going forward so getting comfortable with circles is useful (but not yet required).

5- If you are the early tester type and want to get your Google+ local page merged with your Google Plus Business sooner rather than later (with the risks of experiencing more bugs) you may request to do so via this form.

Obviously this is a rapidly evolving product. So particulary if you are going whole hog you will want to track the bugs and not stress over them. This Google for Business (Places) Forum wrap up covers the state of bugs in the change over so you know where the “gotcha’s” are:

400 Errors on links from Google+ Local should be mostly resolved
– Google Dashboard now linking to the new redirect to the Google+ Local Page
– A known Bug that is still unresolved is that there is no way to access Google+ Local pages or to leave a review from mobile
– Missing categories are not actually missing but are only showing the first few. You can see additional categories via pop up bubble. (Note we have seen listings will too many categories and inappropriate categories. This seems to be due to a data push from MapMaker. Report them via the new report a problem procedure by clicking on the edit this listing link.
– Google WILL be merging the Google+ Local Page with the Google+ Businesses page in the near future. The stand alone Google+ local page which is essentially the same page as your Place page, will be integrated into the full interface of Google+ Business Pages. If you would like to sign up to be a guinea pig for this merge process you may do so on this form (caveat emptor).

Other known bug: Google has been losing a number of legitimate listings to the “We do not currently support this location” bug.

Please consider leaving a comment as your input will help me (& everyone else) better understand and learn about local.
An Updated Step By Step Guide for the SMB to the Google + Local Page Transition by

52 thoughts on “An Updated Step By Step Guide for the SMB to the Google + Local Page Transition”

  1. Once again an extremely helpful set of guidelines. Thank you.

    Google really should pay you. You do so much of there work. If you feel that accepting payment would compromise your values and position…you can forward the payment to me!!! 😀

  2. Rick

    I am assume that you have reported the problem via the help forms and read my previous post. If not you should do both. If you are caught in limbo then your only choice is to wait.

  3. “You can stop here and all will be fine. Google will do the rest in the next 6 weeks or so.”

    While it matches my expectations/gut feeling, this is the first I’ve seen a timeline on the merge. Good to know! Thanks as always Mike.

  4. Thanks for reporting on what is coming on the About page. Are you able to add images (buttons, etc) into the About page interface?

  5. Mike, please do deposit the Google check (that you rightly earned) 😉 so we can get past this interim hurdle and maximize the G+ Local model. I’d be a lot more happy once these tech snafus are behind us.

  6. Thank you Mike. A step-by-step guide like this is exactly what business owners need to navigate this transition. It is happening whether they like it or not…

  7. Nicely done as usual Mike…however, NOW I’m confused.
    Re: Step #1- Since G+ won’t allow business names to be on personal accounts does the SMB using Google Apps now have to select a single person’s name for the catch-all email, such as “info@…” they use for the Dashboard, to be associated with a G+ personal account?
    Not sure if I know how proceed with step 1. Then again I’m easily confused….:)

    1. I am no Google Apps expert and I find that environment (when it comes to email conflicts) totally confusing. So I am not sure that I am the right person to answer the question as it really is a Google Apps – G+ question.

      But I assume that since G+ business pages can be managed by multiple people you could just go ahead and select a single person to create the first + Account, have them create the +business page. Since the Business page can be managed by multiple people, you could add all of the additional emails as managers including the one that matches the Dashboard claimant.

      Google has said that there are cases that will be more complicated and this is certainly one of them. They have noted that in those cases they will manually make the merge but it likely won’t happen in the first push.

      I just got this from a Googler: Google apps accounts can be difficult because administrators have the ability to turn off certain features. So any advice may not be true for certain subset of google apps account. However, for most accounts that have full access to all of Google’s tools they should be able to proceed as normal.


  8. Thanks Mike. I guess my real question boils down to how to add an info@ address as a personal account since it was used to claim the dashboard. My client already has the + Page with her personal account. We may have to wait for the manual migration.

  9. Very helpful tips Mike, what would we do without you? I may have to start a blog titled “What Would We Do Without Mike B”

  10. Mike: This is admittedly off topic. Though, this is such a well written relevant post, it should get a lot of readership, IMHO.

    Just reporting that despite my recent rant about doing google’s dirty work and being forced to ask people to join google+ in order to get new reviews…I noticed we added two last week for one of our smbs.

    I was concerned on 2 levels. I didn’t want to do google’s dirty work in getting people to sign up for G+. 2ndly I was worried we wouldn’t add any reviews going forward. It appears I was wrong on the 2nd issue.

    Frankly I don’t like people signed up to G+ It means my analytics gives worse and worse keyword data feedback–but that is a different story.

    Now though, this particular smb has absolutely tremendous incentive to dive head first into all the aspects of google+ We know with certainty we have 2 customers/possibly friends/ maybe circle participants for google+

    Whoop de doop!!!!! 😀

  11. Hi Mike,
    I’m wondering if you have any advice regarding the Manager update for people who have both personal accounts that have crated G+ pages and a business account where they are holding their G Places page.

    When we tried to become managers, they are asking for us to create a personal page for the existing business account, which we of course don’t want to do.


  12. @Duane

    I am not quite sure what you are saying, so I will take a stab and you can correct me if I am wrong.

    A person with a G+ account needs to create the a business page. That person can then add a second G+ user as a manager. If the email for the Dashboard does not have an individual G+ account associated with it, then you will need to wait to merge the two until Google explicitly creates their manual process for merging the G+ local page managed by the dashboard and the G+ business page created by the user.

  13. Hello Mike,

    Thank you for this great article. Could you please let us know how to link accounts in Google Places. I tried adding an alternate address /from Account-Email addresses-Edit-Add a new alternate address/, but since both accounts are, it cannot be done. This is the message that appears:
    “You can not associate a Google Mail address with your Google Account.”

    Probably I am doing this in the wrong way.
    Thank you in advance for your advice.


  14. Hi Mike,

    Ive often created the place pages accounts for my clients using an email address specifically created for this purpose. Now that these need to be converted into Google+ accounts, is there any problem that the client may later create, or already have a personal G+ account under the same person name?

    1. @Alex

      We do not yet fully know how Google will be resolving these discrepancies. I see no issue in your case assuming that Google can reconcile the differences manually.

  15. I’m still confused, and I feel Google owes you big-time Mike, for helping some of us through this.
    – to properly manage the new Google+ Local Page, does a Businesses need to have someone ‘sign up’ for a ‘personal’ Google+ profile page, allowing this Profile owner to “manage” the Local+ Page? (or per the Profile, ‘assigning’ someone the ability to manage a Google+ Local Page)?
    – If the Places account was set up with a Google Apps email… again, does a business need to have someone ‘sign up’ for a Profile in order to manage the Google+ Local Page?

    any clarification will help, thanks Mike 🙂

  16. @Andy

    As of today, the G+ local page is managed thru the dashboard and this page will be updated to a G+ business page at some point in the future.

    Ultimately that will require that someone have a G+ personal page so yes in both cases.

  17. @Andy and @Mike,

    This is another question that was raised just this morning. I have a new client that doesn’t yet have a G+ Page created, but manages their email etc through Google Apps and the account associated with the G Places page is completely separate from any of their personal G+ accounts.

    So, this, “Ultimately that will require that someone have a G+ personal page so yes in both cases.” will prove somewhat an issue moving forward.

  18. @Andy
    She did have a G+business page and I was able to get her page into the beta test for the merge of the two pages. Her Dashboard and G+ Business page were on the same email, they were merged and then I was added as a manager of her page.

    You have a choice. You can leave the G+local page as is and wait for it to be upgraded to a G+ business page or you can create a G+business page now, request that they be merged and wait for that to happen.

  19. So Barbara must have had (at one time) a Google+ Profile. Because to have a Business Page, one needs to first have a Profile.

    This is the part I don’t like, as many Corp clients won’t be keen on having a personal Google+ “Profile”. In those cases, I’m assuming that Google will allow the existing Places email (username/password) to be able to manage the new Google+ Local Pages? Or, perhaps Google may insist that all who want to (properly) manage a Google+ Local Page will need to have at least one person connected to the Local Page via a “profile”.

  20. As for the Google Apps aspect… I’ll just have to wait and see. In the past, if one wanted to have a Google+ Business Page using their Google Apps account, they would have to create a Google+ Profile first.

  21. Great bit of reading Mike! I wish my timing had been better. I noticed a variation between the address in my actual Place page and what appeared in the dashboard about a week ago. I edited the listing to make them sync and was told to wait for my stupid postcard. Got it today, entered my pin and thought things were good. Clicked on ‘view your listing’ and was taken to the + page which is now associated with a very old and obscure listing with old website and old phone number. Ahhhhh!!!

    I will attempt to take your advice and let the dust settle…which is difficult as I tend to have a rather obsessive personality when it comes to these sorts of details. Thanks again for a great post (I’ll read it another 6 or 8 times tomorrow).

  22. @Keith
    Hopefully your new dashboard info will push through to the G+ local page in the next few days.

    It might be worthwhile to look at MapMaker and see whats in the old listing.

  23. Thanks Mike. I checked mapmaker and everything coincides with the old ad/info. I suppose changing that would be a good place to start.

  24. Hello again Mike,

    I am talking about adding the Google+ account to the Google Places account as you advised here:

    “1- Be sure that you upgrade your Google account to a Google+ personal account. Life will be much easier if it has the same email as your dashboard account as it will make the coming merge go more smoothly. If your Google+ Business page is created under a different account than your Places listing, then add the email for the Places Dashboard as an additional manager of the G+Business Page. The Places email must be associated with an individual and that individual must have a G+ account. This will make it easier for Google to match the Google+Local page that was created to the Google+ Business page.”

    Can you give more advises from where to add it and whether it is possible to add an additional gmail to a gmail account.

    Thanks in advance.

  25. There is no way to add a G+ account to a Places account.

    You can add an email of the Places account as a manager of the G+ business page to give Google a signal that the accounts are for the same business and managed by a trusted individual.

    To add the email from the dashboard to a G+ Business page requires:
    1)That you have created a G+Business page (instructions here).

    2)Then you must make sure that you have created a G+ personal page for the person that uses the email used for the Dashboard. That can be done here.

    3)The final step is to add the G+ user created in step two as a manager to the business page. Instructions are here.

  26. Hey team

    i have changed the categories in my places dashboard and fix the location marker, it has taken days and still has not updated.

    has anyone else faced issues with the +page not updating information?

  27. Hi Mike

    I wondered if you had any advice for some if us who manage multiple Place pages……I manage over 200 Place pages spread over three Google accounts.
    I have created the personal Google+ page for me in each account and one seperate business page for our main business head office. We are a franchise with locations all over the UK each with their own website e.g etc.
    Should I sit tight and wait for all the changes to roll out or should I be creating a business page for each Place page I manage in the each Google account?
    I hope that makes sense!
    Thanks in advance

  28. Another day, another adventure. We currently do not support this location has reared its ugly head, but Place page is still showing. Mike, have you found that this is increasing or decreasing lately with the transition? Just curious.

  29. Mike I am a little new to the local search game so have a very simple question to ask? What do I now need to do if I have a client who has not verified a places page. Is this something that should still be done through the places dashboard that still appears to be available, despite the changes. Or should I create a google plus business page instead or do both or wait till the transition is complete and do a google plus local page then?
    Totally confused??
    Thank you for your great work!

    1. Simone
      Add a step zero (0) to the above:
      0- Find the G+ local Page for the business and click on the link “Manage this page” and claim the page into the Places Dashboard using the same email that you will use to set up your G+ personal account and business page.

      Then proceed with the rest of the items on the list.

  30. Thank you so much Mike for this update. I successfully merged my client’s Google+ local page into the full interface of Google+ Business Page. Your guide helped me a lot to go on the process. By the way i love reading your blog updates keep up the great work. You inspire me a lot 🙂

  31. Mike, great details and steps, all very helpful. Do you know what the best way to deal with the following issue would be? I manage nearly 1000 retail location Places pages seperated over 12 individual dashboards. None of those logins match the login that was used to create our Google+ Business page. Is there any way (easy or not) that this mess can be corrected so that all of our locations will eventually be married under the Google+ Business page? Thanks!

  32. Any new news on this? I manage several GooglePlaces listings, and when I click the “See your listing on Google” link from the dashboard (it doesn’t say “See your listing on Google Maps…?), it takes me to a Google+ Local page, but photos & details are different from the GooglePlaces page, and I can’t find a way to edit them. Clicking the “Is this your business” button just takes me back to the dashboard, and Google of course is NO HELP. Any assistance would be greatly appreciated!

    1. @Rustan
      Either the images are from a community upload or from a dashboard that had the listing previously. It will take up to a month for the images from your new dashboard to show on the + Local page. You can report the images to Google and request that they be removed by clicking on and into the given photo and reporting it via the options link at the bottom of the screen.

  33. Mike,

    I have a company that we have over 90 locations for and they were all claimed under the old places format. Do you think we should go through the whole verifying process and send pins again for google+ or should we wait for google to sort everything else out? What would be better for us to optimize, go through our places account or reverify for google+? It’s a lot of annoying work if we have to reverify with a pin. Shouldn’t google have an automatic way to do this?

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