Step by Step Guide to the Google+ Business/Local Merge Verification Process

Update July 2014: If you are looking to convert a Brand page to a Local page Google has recently released that functionality. Read about it here:  Google Now Allows Brand Pages to Become Google+ Local Pages

Updated Saturday, Aug 4th.

If you already have a Google+ Business page (or create one) then you can now merge that Google+ Business page with your existing G+ Local page by following the new verification procedure.

The process is initiated from the Google+ Business page. Any manager of the page can initiate the process which will require postcard verification even if the email addresses match between the G+ Business page and your Dashboard. Apparently, in several months, a more automatic merge will be available to those businesses that have only a Google+Local Page/Dashboard.

Here are the steps to the process:

1. Login in as the manager for the Google+ Business page and make sure that all necessary fields are public. I just ran through this process for Moses and Rooth Attorneys at Law in Orlando. Click on the unverified icon to the immediate right of your business name. A warning will show if you neglected to make any of the required fields available for public view. Fix the non public fields by changing the visibility of the specific fields noted. (Not sure what is happening with the message being blocked- Google has noted that message being blocked is a known bug that is being fixed):

(click to view the rest)

2. After you have made the appropriate field(s) public (or they already are) click on the unverified icon again and you will be presented with an opportunity to verify:

3. You are then offered likely choices for businesses to associate with your +Business Page (and no I do not yet know how an individual in a multipractioner firm is supposed to verify their +Local page although I suppose that it means creating an additional +Business Page):

4. You will be asked to agree to the terms and are given the option of entering a contact name and modifying your listing data at that point:

5. Google will send you an actual envelope that is surprisingly well marked (so that it is unlikely to be thrown away- yea!):

6. The card provides a pin and instructs you to goto google.com/local/verify/:

7. When you visit the google.com/local/verify/ page you are presented with the option to enter your PIN:

8. While waiting for the postcard the public view of the page the unverfied icon is no longer visible. To managers of the +Business page there is a note that the verification is pending.

9. Known gotchas…
– If you do not have a +Business page then you can’t start this process until you create one.
– If you have a +Business Page which doesn’t have a page category of Local can not be upgraded.
According to poster Dan Rippon of Australia there is a bug whereby the postcard is missing the street address for those listings with their address hidden.
Update: Google has confirmed that the postcard verification DOES NOT SUPPORT service area businesses:
What about if I’m a service area business with hidden address?
The new verification process does not currently support service area businesses with hidden addresses.

Update: google has added these help files to the Google+ Business page support area:

Edits to verified local Google+ pages appearing (where it notes that edits will be moderated and may not appear immediately. Most edits will appear immediate but you are left to guess if and why it doesn’t get published.)
Please consider leaving a comment as your input will help me (& everyone else) better understand and learn about local.
Step by Step Guide to the Google+ Business/Local Merge Verification Process by

167 thoughts on “Step by Step Guide to the Google+ Business/Local Merge Verification Process”

  1. Hi,

    The merge of a +Local Business page with the Places entry should only be attempted by a business with one Places entry.

    Before trying you need to search in google maps by phone no and (category in/near location) and make sure you have only one result, which is clearly from the Places entry. I would also check in Google+ search.

    If you do a merge with duplicates present whilst it may look OK when it pops up your business at merge time, it seems to then do the following action with one of the duplicates.
    So far I have not seen Jade sort one of these problems out.
    You will not see the verified icon in the resulting Google+ page in search.
    Also when a non-merged Places entry Google+ page shows in search it will not have the red Follow button.

    If you are a Service Area business with a hidden address it does/did work as the programming does not stop you doing it. The above caveat will apply.

    If you have more than one Places entry trying a merge of a +Local Business page will cause an error. You should certainly check in Google+ search as well for other professional pages with your business name in.
    And again I have not seen Jade sort any of these out.

    Unless you are sure you have a clean Places entry, no duplicates, no recent move with a Closed search result in google maps, then I would hold off doing a merge.

    Fortunately +es are not affecting search results and these merge mess ups do not appear to affect your search result.

    Cheers. Andrew.

  2. I have a client whose Google Places listing was put on pending, after he honestly reported his exact address. He’s in the category of people waiting for Google to come up with a fix to restore his account to the Google Places data base. I created a Google + page for him and we are waiting for verification. Google failed to recognize the phone number when I put it in the Google + application. The question is will the Google + page also be put on pending?

  3. Hi Mike,
    I made a small mistake in naming my +Business Local page. I wonder what happens if I change my business name (XYZ co.) to (XYZ inc.) after entering the PIN I received. Would it become unverified again?

  4. Mike,
    Wondering what your thoughts are regarding following: Have several clients whose business listings (places/ unverified local+) were set up under one corporate gmail acct. about 4 years ago.

    With the upcoming merge to google+ local, what do you advise?

    Should nothing be done and let the merge happen automatically ( which would leave all of these clients still under the one gmail acct- and what implications could that have with any google+ social capabilities)

    OR Should I try to set up individual business pages in google+ for each client… and can the existing places/local+ be verified under that new gmail acct?

    Any thoughts would very much be appreciated

  5. @k smith
    I would hands down NOT do anything and wait for Google to make clear their direction and product interfaces. I am not confident that the only choice will be a merged social page. I think that there will be other choices. Not every business listing needs a social presence and I think Google recognizes that.

    There are still a number of bugs in the merge process as well as use cases that are not well served.

    The only businesses that I would merge now are
    1)Those that have a clear and present need for a social presence
    2)Have only 1 or at most 2 location
    3)Have absolutely NO problems with duplicates or merges

    Even then though I would think twice about it.

  6. Mike,
    Thank you for your quick response. And something I had not considered is OTHER choices. I did have a concern that the merge would happen and I would not be able to make any choice at all. My initial thought was to be proactive and try to separate these clients from the single acct. before the merge. Your thoughts have echoed others in that I should wait.

    Thank you

  7. Hi Mike,

    Great post! Always appreciate your information and insights. It has helped me to really explode my business in the last 12 months by doing all of my own SEO.

    Now question time :)

    I jumped the gun and merged my Google+ page with my Google Local listing. The issue being there is a competitor with a very similar business name to me. Google is listing both my number AND theirs on my page. I’ve tried removing the incorrect number but it just keeps popping back up. Its a real pain not to mention frustrating. Any ideas on how to fix it?

    Thanks again for a great blog – its really an invaluable resource for me.

  8. The hardest part we found while transitioning from Google Places to Google+ Local listings was the fact that we have 15 brands and had to go through this process individually for each location. Google takes there sweet time to get back to you and doesn’t always allow the changes. It can be frustrating.

  9. Something strange about verification process. A few of my clients clicked on “Verify” button. In one week after receiving the verification code, there is no “enter the code” button anymore. There is “Verify” button again!
    Why is that? And this happened to at least 7 of my clients.
    Very frustrating.

  10. One more, 2 of my clients did the same process twice, and enter the code vanished the next day.

  11. @Greg

    There have been reports of both behaviors in the forums. On the latter issue of the listings vanishing, it could just need a rebuild of the index for the listing to come back. However there could be more serious issues at hand.

    As to the first issue, given the bugs and the fact that a new dashboard is likely on the way, I have been recommending that most businesses NOT merge their listings yet.

  12. I created Google Plus accounts for my clients, who never had places. Goolgle places had a wonderful thing like statistics with impressions and keyword searches. The Google plus doesn’t have it. Is it possible to have the dashboard stats like the places used to have?

    Thanks,

  13. Also I tried to do the verification Google places with some clients, and after receiving the code. its still pending, strange… :0(

  14. Hello,

    What do I do when I receive pin but Google says it’s incorrect?

    Thank you!

  15. Mike,

    Have there been any recent updates for merging pages w/o dropping your ranK? I’m guesssing because we’ve yet to see a new dashboard it’s probably smart to wait?

  16. Hi Mike,
    Back in August I merged my masonry Places listing with a Local G+ Page.

    I wasn’t aware that only storefront businesses should do this until today.

    Google hasn’t said anything but I’m guessing it’s just a matter of time before my Places/Page gets suspended.

    The business has 400+ followers so I’d prefer not to just delete the page as indicated on a Google support page I read.

    Do you know if it’s possible to unmerged the two?
    Any advice on what I should do?

    Thanks

  17. Hi All,

    I spotted a comment earlier in this feed stating that brand G+ pages cannot be merged with place G+ pages – does anyone know if this is still the case?

    Many thanks,
    Hannah

  18. Hannah

    Brand pages can still not be merged with local pages. In fact at a recent presentations at LocalU, Joel Headley said that users should not merge their G+Local pages even with a local G+ Business page at this point as Google will be rolling out an automated way to do so.

  19. Great article Mike.
    We’re doing great with our reviews, adding several each month, but we just lost our pin in the map??? We went from having the A pin to NO pin. We’re located just outside the city limits but still have a mailing address from the city.
    Does anyone know how to ask Google to restore our pin?
    Thanks
    Todd

  20. @Dan
    There are many possible combinations of having separate pages but for now Google is advising ALL listings with a Dashboard based listing to hold tight and NOT merge. But rather wait for G to upgrade the dashboard.

  21. Hi kids,

    Have spent what feels like weeks trolling through line after line of ‘help’ but have no answer so I’m turning to you marvelous fellows…

    Trying to verify business on Google+.
    Sent for postcard.
    Postcard Arrived.
    Tried to enter PIN.
    Got this note: You have no businesses pending verification for XXXXX

    How hard can it be to get this sorted?

  22. For creating a business page we get a pin number through post at our business address. So my question is that for how many days that Pin is valid to be entered in the verfy pin box. Do we have any time limit to enter in Eg. 48 hours or 72 hours ?

  23. Hi Mate,

    Thanks for helping me through the Google Minefield. I now use this article as a reference for each time i have to do this. Many thanks!

  24. Hi Mike, you may have answered this before, but I’m confused. D owe need only Google places or both Google places and G + Local?

    Thank you

  25. @Jason
    There is but one type of page these days. A G+ Page for local. It can be either with or without the social functionality. If the +Page was created via the old dashboard, then Google is counseling that you wait until they upgrade you to the new dashboard before you add the social functionality. So the answer is that you only need one page.

  26. Do you have recommendations if you change your business or brand name as well as your URL? What do i do with my current business page? Looks like i can change the name of the page but cant change the URL. Should i create a brand new business page?
    THank you.

  27. Hey guys. I am seeing a potential issue. Google Plus is allowing people to verify their ofiicial profile pages and the prompts reference you as an organization once verification is complete. So if you have an Google Plus and Places attorney listing, like me, and also verify your Google Plus personal page, do you not now have a duplicate practioner listing? Does anyone understand what I am driving at?

  28. @Michael Elhine – the personal +profile even when verified won’t be included in the local eco-system so there will be no duplicate listing as far as the Map is concerned.

  29. My question is Google + business center not provide pin code through the mobile no or land line no, only give post card.

  30. Hi,

    I have two pages one is Business Page and second have google plus local page both have similar name than how to marge it was.

  31. Hi Mike,

    It would be very helpful if you could help me with this issue.

    I created a Google Place for my business (Natural Scent Flowers), with about 5 reviews. I liked how it generated the map location as the cover image. I then accidentally merged/opened a Page for this place/listing (so now I have icons for both review and follow). I really want to reverse this. I don’t want to manage a Page. Also the map on the cover is gone with the Page- relplaced by random images- I really want the map back.

    I did a bit of research online. I want to “delete page” and hope that I can go back to just the business listing (removing the following icon). But I am scared that delete the page will delete the listing as well (include my reviews). I see some discussion saying “once you merge, deleting a page would delete the whole listing”. Would be great if you could comment on that.

    According to Google Local help: ( https://support.google.com/plus/answer/1713811?hl=en ) It says “When you delete a page, everything is deleted: all content, photos, videos, the page’s profile, and any record of who followed or managed the page. If your page WAS CREATED from an EXISTING local listing, any EDITS you made to that listing will be lost. If you created the local listing, the listing information will be deleted.” According the this statement and if my understanding is correct, deleting my Page should not delete my listing and reviews- because the Page “WAS CREATED from an EXISTING local listing” and the reivews were not part of the “EDITS” as they were created before the page…..

    It would be very helpful to have your opinions. I don’t mind that the information or the photos are gone by deleting the Page. But I don’t want to lose the reviews as they were done by my customers.

    Alternative, I would be happy to stay with google Page if it is possible to generate local map as my cover image! Hope it’s do-able!

    Thank you,

    Kind Regarsd,
    Tina

  32. @Tina

    If the listing is in the new Dashboard, then there is no way to verify the listing and NOT have social. If you delete the page then the listing will be unverified. The map would show but as soon as you re-verify you would lose it.

    If it is in the old dashboard then deleting the social page would allow you to manage the listing without any of the social add ons and with the map image.

    It sounds like it is in the new dashboard.

    Essentially Google is adding social functionality to ALL listings that are verified in the new dashboard. There is really no way to avoid it.

    My suggestion is accept the social features and use them only as appropriate. For example if you do not want to have to post then just add one post to the posts page, directing any users that come there to your website. And you can modify the profile photo with something you like… a map if you want. And just leave it at that.

  33. Hi Mike,

    Thanks you very much for your reply. I won’t try delete the page in this case and will upload a snapshot of the map as the cover (they become quite pixelated though), hopefully google will add the map cover to the page in the near feature.

    When we verified the listing, it didnt have social page for it. There was a button in the “manage your listing” that asked me if I wanted to “open page”, as soon as I clicked on it turned my listing into a page with dashboard. In this case do you think it is the new dashboars or old?

    Thanks again for your help.

    Kind Regards,
    Tina

  34. It is the new dashboard. When you did it, the choice was optional. It is no longer that way and all dashboards are getting the social features.

    If the image is too pixelated then you have loaded too small of an image as your profile image. The source image should be 2120 by 1192 pixels. That is quite large.

  35. Mike, it seams that when We try to create a G+page For a Local Business of which we already have a Places Page the First location works fine but Subsequent franchise locations appear to give us the #500 error. Is this an issue we need to be patient on? Will it work later or in a day ? or will we have to just wait on Google to do it?
    Thank you!

  36. @CC
    If you legitimately have additional locations (each with distinctive NAP) then you should be able to create additional listings.

    Have you tried creating them in the Google.com/places dashboard? Are they service area businesses?

    If problems persist and they are legitimate listings than get in touch with the Google Places support folks to assist you.

  37. Hi Mike

    thanks for the article.

    I have two listings in a Places account that are managed via the Places / Google Business Dashboard, however when I “view” them they are Google+ Local listings (not complete pages as there are no posts etc and I cannot add any)

    any thoughts how to get these Local listings to be full Google+ Pages?

    Thanks

  38. @Christopher

    You do not say whether they are in the old or the new dashboard.

    If they are in the old dashboard, then the best thing to do is to wait for Google to update your dashboard at which time you will have an option to add social functionality with one click.

    If they are in the new dashboard then that option is already there.

    If you are so anxious for social functionality you can follow the above instructions and reverify your listing. That works but can occasionally leads to problems particularly with service area businesses.

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