How Many Businesses Have Verified G+ Pages for Local?

While at SIINDA conference, Google was an obvious point of reference and conversation both in the formal sessions and the informal discussions afterwords.

One number that was bandied about was the total number of currently verified local business listings worldwide. While I have no way to independently verify the number of 20 million verified listings,  as Google has not confirmed it, the number noted seemed credible and reasonable. Roughly 20% of all of the world’s businesses as of last November.

Google has chosen to not publicly share this number since December of 2011 when the number of claimed listings was 8 million. 
number-verified-w-labels-est

 

How does this compare to Facebook?

It essentially would put Google on even footing as far as verified locations. In November Facebook noted that they has 25 million active pages but they included in the number 5 million non local businesses, what Google calls Brand pages.

For Google, the total number thus could be much larger at this point. However, verification does not engaged make. Facebook noted that the business must have a Page that’s been active in the past 28 days. That doesn’t speak to the accuracy  of Facebook’s listing, an area that Google has a significant advantage. 

Most of the verified business listings in Google’s court have been verified and then effectively not touched by the business. Historically, there has been little compelling reason for a business to return to the dashboard.  

My sense is that is slowly changing and that Google is well positioned to strongly increase engagement going forward. That  assumes they can finally get the technical and branding mishegas that is the Plus/Places fiasco behind them.

Please consider leaving a comment as your input will help me (& everyone else) better understand and learn about local.
How Many Businesses Have Verified G+ Pages for Local? by

10 thoughts on “How Many Businesses Have Verified G+ Pages for Local?”

  1. I’m surprised that 20 million businesses can even get verified. Many of my clients have difficulty in verifying their businesses and I often have to call Google to sort out their verifications. I am so happy they have this service. The call seems to expedite the process. One client has been trying to get on the local map listings for years, first with Google maps and then Google Places, and then with Google Plus. Finally I created a new Google Plus page for him and tried to verify it. Google Plus said it was verified but it never went through completely. When I tried to verify it again, Google Plus told me that someone else had verified it. I didn’t see how this could be, since I had created the page. This week I called Google about it and the Google rep verified it for me. Within 24 hours, the Plus page showed up in the local listings.

    Also I have noticed that many clients, when they first ask for help or come to me, have several Google plus pages and need help deleting the duplicates. Some have trouble uploading a photo and then are just stuck with the default photo.

    Small businesses don’t seem to have as much trouble creating a Facebook page. I often help them make the pages look nicer but there isn’t a complicated and problematic verification process like there is with Google Plus.

  2. Thanks for your comments. Verification has been hard but it is a process that dramatically increases overall local data quality. The merger of Places into Plus and the transition they have undergone has only made it harder so far. Google’s terrible communication has only added to the problem.

    That being said, I think they are positioning themselves well for the future.

  3. Mike: I question the numbers. On both cases. Is there a way to verify any of this? Can an independent source verify FB’s numbers. Is anyone verifying Google’s activities. Where in the world is there even an iota of evidence to substantiate any numbers at all.

    On an anecdotal basis I was looking at 2 smb’s/restaurants. One put up a website but the designer/web developer missed the boat. Organically you can’t find the business by name or by name/location. Not in Google. Not in Bing/yahoo. Bad optimization job by the web designer –no awareness or oversight by the owner.

    G + has the correct location/ address and it shows in G search. The G+ serp is below news references, Yelp, which got it right, and some other review sites. The G+ location is not owner verified. The business is FB verified with a description, hrs, etc. etc. Its easier for a business person to get the right info into an FB page.

    The other restaurant doesn’t have a website. Its in a community in a mostly rural area, coincidentally not dramatically far from Olean. Hey its centrally located in an isoldated town servicing a big rural area. Maybe it doesn’t need a website.
    G+ has the right address and contact info. The page isn’t verified.

    This smb had 2 fb entries. One was a mistake and merged into the 2nd which has scanty additional information, pictures description, an admin and posts.

    Its not that G+ or FB aren’t doing a good job or not. Many smbs and their owners aren’t all that web savvy or are giving their web work to web designers/developers who aren’t savvy about local, abt G+, about simple seo.

    Its such a shot in the dark about verified local listings, local pages, etc etc. Nobody verifies the numbers. There are no 3rd party checks. Its pure guesstimation.

    Our smb’s use G analytics. We also check log files and usually have a third party free analytics package.

    We are comfortable with reported traffic numbers. We verify them.

    The 2nd piece of info we tend to treat as pretty reliable is G adwords. But we have no verification for that. We know over the years it has provided us with some stupid info that cannot be correct. We’ve found glitches and issues, but there are no 3rd party methods for verification of items such as impressions.

    After that, I wouldn’t trust any of the data or estimates of numbers. Who can prove it?

  4. Mike,
    I agree. Verification is a process that improves local business data. It’ll be interesting to see where Google Plus is in a couple of years. I also agree with Dave that smb owners are often not that web savvy and often hire web designers that don’t understand the importance of Local Search or good SEO practices.

  5. Mike: Ignoring the claim, veracity, guesstimates, or believability of grand numbers, while looking at the anecdotal examples I through out, I think in the absolute absence of any effort by the smb operator and complete miss by the web designer, G + does a pretty darn good job of identifying the smb and placing it on a map, let alone giving it some ranking presence.

    One of the two anecdotal businesses is a new restaurant in an area called Ballston in Arlington Va. Its a restaurant heavy area.

    Despite the site not being claimed Google got the location, address and other info correct and gave the smb a category of American Restaurant. That seems correct.

    The smb has no search visibility except for name. It has no maps strength. Directories have listed this smb, so possibly over time its G + local serps will gain strength and credibility. Its only a few months old. It doesn’t have much visibility anywhere yet, and I am 99% sure there is no effort to get there.

    If you search w/ in Maps/ old version with rankings for the category “American Restaurant” It ranks–in the neighboring neighborhood.

    All in all, I think G+ has done a great job in this case where the smb owner, and his web developer completely missed the boat. G+ is telling the world abt this smb within Google.

    Of course, Yelp got it correct also.

  6. @Dave
    There is no way currently to verify the numbers that I put forth. I found them and the source credible so I am reproducing here. In the abscence of Google information or a grand scrape of the Plus pages we can not really know…. but that would be a great project: Scrape all of the plus.google.com pages and figure out how many are local, how many are claimed and how many have posted anything in the last 30, 60 or 90 days.

    Google’s goal first and foremost is to get their Maps data correct. As you point out, they do. Facebook’s geo data is crap regardless of whether the SMB more readily creates a page there or not. I assume that Facebook is figuring they will use the engagement to upsell.

    Google has a long way to go to
    1-Get businesses into their products
    2-Make them easy enough to fill out & verify
    3- Make them feature rich enough that the business returns
    4-And that the business is motivated to generate social content and take out ads.

    Tall order. But they do seem to be moving on that path.

  7. Here is an smb where Google plus isn’t up to snuff. Arlington Va again. Its called Four Sisters Grill. Opened in early April, not to different from the other Arlington one.

    There is a Google + listing in organic serps. But there is no Google + page yet. Two reviews, but no page.

    Yet the listing is there for a name search. I suppose that is sufficient.

    Meanwhile Yelp, Foursquare, SuperPages, and yellowpages all have separate pages. I’m sure the smb had nothing to do with any of it. No FB page yet but it has followers, likes, and pictures. There are what I consider an astonishing 40+ reviews in yelp in a relatively short period of time, for a place that isn’t all that fancy or compelling. Admittedly its located in yelp friendly country, in a neighborhood with an age demographic that skews yelp friendly.

    I’m mostly concerned from the smb perspective. What do you do to get your business operating? To me that is the early stage key. As an smb, I’m not concerned about google and google +. Hell they made $60 billion last year.

    Of the 3 anecdotal restaurants I’ve cited, one is in Meadville, Pa, an area you might know. Its well located enough in that regional focal location that maybe it doesn’t need a lot of web presence.

    Of the 2 in Arlington Va, they are restaurants in robust urbanized areas with young demographics that dine out a lot. Those neighborhoods have enormous competition. If the place operates well, it can thrive. If it doesn’t compete well, it will die. Both are in areas with enormous nearby potential walk around traffic and the type of neighborhoods that draw visitors from elsewhere.

    Maybe they need google and google plus. Maybe its not a hot priority.

    Maybe the question for them should be….what can google + do for me.

  8. I have had issues with Google assisting me with removing and re-verifying proper listings. Some of my clients had duplicate listings whereas I could not claim the correct listing, remove the old and migrate into the new dashboard. Even after calling and working with a representative the problem still existed and the client continued to get verification postcards. Another client just this morning claimed to have “clicked to verify” his business and when the postcard arrived it simply didn’t work and he wanted to give up. Perhaps the confusion and difficulty it takes to actually verify a business is the reason there are so few actually listed as “Verified”.

  9. Ed,
    Have you tried calling them lately? I used to find what you describe very much the case, and so frustrating, but lately they’ve helped me several times to remove duplicate listings or claim a listing. Maybe I was just lucky and got a better representative than you did. The last one did it so quickly and my client was on local listings that day. I was totally shocked. Good luck.

  10. I did. I think it may have taken some time for one to fall off and the other to switch to the new Dashboard but it did finally happen, however we were going in circles with them manually attempting to verify the business on their end. It was tedious, but it has finally resulted in a positive change!

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