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Understanding Google My Business & Local Search

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

7. When you visit the 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.)