Google+ acts as a directory of all the businesses on the Internet, and every business should claim their free listing in order to maximise visibility in the search results.
However, over the years the Google+ directory has grown topsy turvy. There is a real lack of clarity of where businesses need to be listed, and how they appear on the various Google properties over the years known variously as Google Places, Google Maps, Google Local, and Google Plus.
As a result, businesses may have discovered over time that they created a listing on one service, like Google Maps, only to find they now have a completely separate but nearly duplicate listing also over on Google Plus.
Google have recently announced (at long last, and thank goodness) the ability to take elements from your Google Local page and combine them onto your Google+ Brand page.
Also, I had originally described this process as “merging”, and many thanks to Mark Traphagen and Mike Blumenthal for correcting my use of language; the pages don’t merge. A better description from Mike:
This new feature, to a large extent solving this problem, allows location-based businesses that initially created a Brand page instead of a Local page, to move the local features from a verified local page to their current brand page. Reviews, verification, address information and the Map pin will be literally “transplanted” to the Brand page.
It needs to be clear that this isn’t a merge of the two pages but rather a way to transfer the canonical local data from an existing verified local page to a Brand page that then becomes the verified Local Page.
Step by Step Guide to Merging Google+ Page with Google Local Page
We started by having a problem: two different Google business listings: our main Google+ Brand Page on which we do all our social sharing and which appears in the organic Google search results when you search for our company name. And a completely separate Google Local page which appears on the Google Maps search and contains our reviews, which is not updated with any social content, and which does not have any followers to speak of.
When logged into Google+ on the Manage Pages section, I have 2 properties, one of which is the Verified local page (in this example on the right with the little check mark) and our main Google+ page on the left:
To initiate the merge, login to your Google+ account, select Pages from the navigation on the left, choose your local page (be sure to choose the one with the verified tick) and click Manage this page.
Now choose Settings and scroll down to Link a different page to this location and then choose your main Brand Page that you would like to now connect to Google Maps.
You will get a confirmation dialogue box like this:
And then you will receive another confirmation detailing what making this change results in:
A rather reassuring message will appear confirming the pages are actually being connected…
And once the merge was successful I was prompted with a yellow dialogue box to remove the former page which is now called a “Backup”
The old Local page is now clearly labelled as a backup:
And most importantly of all, the Google+ Brand Page now has the Verified Local Badge (tick mark)
And not to put too fine a point on it, here is what we now see in our Google+ account: our Brand Page and a backup of our former local page:
Having completed the process, a half an hour later I’m still not seeing the newly merged Brand page appearing in the search results, but I will update you when things look good.