Google Plus LocalIf you run a local business and have a Google Places account, there’s a pretty good chance you’re aware of what a mess it can be for many. Inability to verify, wrong information that you can’t seem to get changed, duplicate accounts–these are just a few of the issues encountered by frustrated Places users.

Unfortunately, the recent migration of Google Places pages to inclusion in Google Plus as Google+ Local pages, and the subsequent opening of the ability to merge a Google+ Local Page with your Google+ Business Page, have not lessened the confusion. If anything, they seem to have exacerbated it for many business owners.

In an attempt to untangle that web some, Community Manager for Google+ Local Jade Wang published the following FAQ in the Google Groups Google Product Forum.  I get so many questions about this feature, that I though it would be useful to publish her FAQ in its entirety here. Not all the answers are what business owners want to hear, but at least we have some more clarity.

What you should do during the upgrade to local Google+ pages?


Should I verify?

  • Storefront business with a page in Google+ (under the local business/place category) who are using it regularly: request verification. You will need to get a postcard sent to your business address and enter the PIN. Then, manage this page using the Google+ pages admin. Do not use the Google Places for Business to edit after verifying in Google+.
  • Verified owner in the Google Places for Business: continue to manage your information from the Google Places for Business dashboard and please wait for further instructions. We are working on a smooth upgrade process for everyone.
  • New storefront businesses: (not verified on Google Places for Business) you may create a page in Google+ (under the local business/place category) and go through the verification process. Then, manage your page through the Google+ pages admin.

What if I’m a …

  • Service area business with address correctly hidden: the upgraded (merged) local Google+ pages are not currently supporting service area businesses. Please continue to manage it via Google Places for Business and hide your address as necessary, detailed in the quality guidelines.
  • Big brand or business with multiple locations: There is no way to link a single brand page to multiple local Google+ pages. Continue to manage your brand page in Google+, if you already have on. To manage your locations, continue to use use the Google Places for Business dashboard.

I have a sticky situation…

  • Created a page in Google+ in a category other than local business/place? Only +pages in the local business/place category can be verified and merged with a Google-generated local Google+ page. There is no way to change the category of +pages. You may create a page in the local business/place category and verify that if you’re not currently verified in Google Places for Business. We will not be able to move your followers or content.
  • Data issues? continue to use Edit business details to resolve these issues. Please do not attempt to merge or verify a page with data issues.
  • Someone else verified your social local Google+ page? Please make sure it isn’t a Google-generated page. If you’re sure it’s a social page, you can learn more about admin rights here.
  • Someone else verified your Google-generated page? You can also request verification. Any Google-generated pages can be verified by any account in Google Places for Business. If you suspect that someone else is adding incorrect information to your Google-generated page, use this troubleshooter.

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