Google Removing All Non Verified Local Pages from Plus?

I have received a copy of a post made to Google Photographers’ forum. This was also recently posted at Linda’s forum:

Dear photographers and agencies,

In the past few months, you may have seen some changes in the look of Google+ pages that have been associated with Google My Business (GMB) accounts. These changes, including how we treat business pages without owners, are part of Google’s ongoing effort to simplify people’s experience with our tools. We are constantly working to provide only valuable and rich content to our users.

On July 28th, Google will begin shutting down those GMB–associated Google+ pages that have not been associated with user accounts and are also not verified. You may find that some of your Business View tours also sit on such pages, but note that after their removal of unverifiedGoogle+ pages, the Business View tours will still remain available on Google Maps and Google Search.

Essentially, it appears this means that if a page is verified it will also have a G+ Page and if it isn’t, its main presence will be through the Knowledge Graph in the main Serps or in Google Maps. It seems to me that this change was foreshadowed by the many recent minor changes we have seen with the inability to get to Plus from Maps, the removal of the Local search from Plus, the removal of the G+ Page link from search results that weren’t verified and the change of the name of the link on closed pages to Place.

Clearly this is a final step in separating local from Plus. Whether local will stay “debranded” or possibly take on a Local Finder essence beyond basic search and Map results isn’t clear. What is clear is that G+ and Google Local are no longer going to be bed partners.

As to what this means for G+, in my opinion not much. It appears to me that it is being lead down the path of sinking or swimming unaided by props from across Google.

Please consider leaving a comment as your input will help me (& everyone else) better understand and learn about local.
Google Removing All Non Verified Local Pages from Plus? by

21 thoughts on “Google Removing All Non Verified Local Pages from Plus?”

  1. Nice analysis, Mike. But to me this just seems to be more a long-overdue house cleaning than it is a sign of where Plus will fit into “local.”

  2. @Phil
    Its both. Plus is no longer going to get traffic from local that it doesn’t earn as a social network. It is also a house cleaning of unclaimed, previously claimed, no longer claimed listings.

    I am curious what will happen to any current links that are in the main SERPS now that go to Plus pages that haven’t been claimed.

  3. @Mike

    I wonder about that, too. Maybe there won’t even be a link, and only the KG will show. Unless there are reviews, in which case that annoying pop-up would still pop up.

  4. Google is making smart moves by pulling back the forcible usage of YouTuber’s, GMailers, business owners & their customers to use G+. Since Vic Gundotra left the company, they’ve systematically rolled back these creative ways of acquiring (forcing) G+ users.

    It’s also an admission in recognizing that Google isn’t positioning G+ to answer for how consumers / businesses interact online. Good news for Yelps and FB’s of the world for now.

  5. This explains why I have received a flurry of phone calls from Google asking me to verify my GMB account!

    I wonder if G+ will be phased out completely? G+ doesn’t seem to offer any kind of real online social utility and seems to be mainly used for SEO purposes.

    1. @Dallan
      Google has achieved some successes with Plus and its attendant apps. Plus has been strong in interest based pursuits and I think it is likely to stay in that groove for a while. Their new Collections feature is an indication of where they are succeeding and see their successes. It’s role as a communication platform for Local has not been well developed but given that those pages are remaining there is still hope on that front as well.

  6. sorry take it back 😉 I need more coffee… looked at the wrong date

    But I still would like more of a background info on this….
    This usually would be a big thing and not just dropped in like this, don’t you think?!

    1. @Yvonne Not really. If you follow this back it has been in the works and taking place over the past two years ….. The removal of links to Plus in Maps, the removal of the local search function in Plus, removal of links to Plus from some 7 pack results. It’s been going on for 18 months or more. So having watched it, we expected it.

      And in and of itself has little impact on businesses. If you are verifying then you have the benefits of that and a Plus page. And if you arn’t verifying then things don’t really change. The little populated page is gone but nobody was visiting it any ways.

  7. My immediate reaction to this change is that it is, in fact, an improvement. Two things come to mind:
    1) This may help avoid the problem of a business inadvertently creating a duplicate G+ Local Page.
    2) If creating the G+ Local Page requires intentional effort (a minor investment, but an investment nonetheless), business owners may value it more. (If it’s free – i.e., ready-made – it has not value.

    Thanks, Mike, for digging into this. These intricacies help me immensely.

    1. @Debi
      I too think it is an improvement in the specifics. It will for the most part be less confusing to businesses to not have a page created for them automatically. Although there will still be some confusion around brand vs local pages.

      The questions it raises are about the future of local and where it will reside within Google’s various products. It appears to me that local has, with this final step, been fully separated from Plus (other than those businesses that want to use Plus as social network). And that Local has, at least the temporarily, lost all specific branding and has effectively been merged into search, maps, reviews and plus with not identify of its own. IE it is just a data source that is syndicated within (and without via the API) Google to be used when it adds value to their other key products (like search, Maps, Hotel Finder).

  8. G+, MyBusiness, Places etc, have all been very disjointed from the start. Google need to streamline all this and make it easy for businesses to take advantage of the Google “network”

    1. @John G+ was the last of the kitchen sink approach to capturing users; Local search, Communities, Photos, Pages, Events, MyBusiness, hangouts. The list goes on.

      The strategy worked well in 2008 not so well in 2012.

  9. Mike , why do you think Google made nothing public about this yet? That looks like that was not for general public distribution but why is thing nothing out on it? Thanks for the post. We just made a video about it too.

  10. @Martin

    The reasons?
    1- It will only affect those that are not engaged with Google MyBusiness and they won’t notice
    2- Other than some interior photography and those were notified with the above
    3- July 28th is a ways off from a programming pov. Google doesn’t always hit these types of deadlines.
    4- Google has kept their whole recent transition in local quiet since it began in 2013. This is just one of many. And perhaps the last or near last.
    5- They merged Local into G+ (remember Goggle Local+ from Marissa) with great fanfare and to disappointing results so maybe they are “embarrassed”

    I don’t really know their thinking. I do however see this is as part and parcel of a larger functionality/app/local reorg that has been going on.

  11. Hey Mike!

    If the Doctor pages are popping up EVERYWHERE for all medical practices, should we claim them? I have some where there is only one doc but we have 2 pages, or there’s a page from an old practice location they no longer work at. Should I claim it then ask Google to remove it or merge? Thank you!

  12. Thanks, this is very helpful! I am currently dealing with a verified local business page that gets a lot of traffic that I am guessing was converted into a plus account automatically, as it has no content. We also have a separate plus account that we actually maintain with content but gets less traffic than the local page. Can I still use the “Connect a different page” feature to import my verified status onto the active plus account? Will it also import reviews from the local account to plus? (We have a spammy review on our local page). Would it make the most sense to kill the local page and eventually get verified status to the other account?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Comments links could be nofollow free.