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Google’s complicated network scheme – with all kinds of linkable platforms such as Google Plus, Places and YouTube. At the moment it’s quite confusing to most businesses and even professionals trying to influence search rankings on Google.

With the intention of becoming the first and biggest social network, even over Facebook, Google has been imposing their Google Plus profiles to all their users, no matter what platform they use. Firstly, all Gmail users had an account opened for them on Google Plus, whether they were going to use it or not. That issue seemed not to bother Google. They just wanted a huge social network as soon as possible.

The most recent of Google’s victims are YouTube and Google Places. In order to comment on any video uploaded to YouTube, you must have a Google Plus profile. If you don’t, Google will just open one for you. Yeah. Despite of the fact that thousands of users have complained, Google kept the process as it is. And that’s why they have over 300 million “active users” today.

Now, Google Places is the next victim I’m most interested in, as it directly affects our Digital Marketing and Social Media strategy.

All digital marketing professionals and business owners with an online presence have the same problem: when you register an account on Google Places (in order to show your local business on Google Maps) Google will automatically open a Google Local Page on Google Plus for your company. OK, by now it’s the kind of behaviour Google has been showing over the last couple of years. But, what happens if you already have a Google Plus business page with a huge fan base? Your nightmare has just started…

What can I do now? You’ll wonder… Should I integrate my current Google Plus business page to my company’s profile on Google Places? Should I instead keep the new Google Plus Local Page that Google just opened for my business in order to have it linked to Google Places? What a pickle this is, isn’t it? Well, the answers are “No, you shouldn’t” and “Yes, you should”, respectively.

Wait… you’ll understand in a moment. The key is the names: Google Local Page and Google Business Page. Google Plus allows companies to have up to three types of business pages, all of them with different features. Let’s have a deeper look.

1. How to check the kind of Google Plus page you have

Most businesses have a Google Plus Business Page (not linkable to Google Places) instead of a Google Plus Local Page. It’s especially designed to cover the necessities of small businesses with a real address and location. These pages can receive reviews from clients and users. If this is your case, that’s the reason why Google opened a Google Plus Local Page: Just because you didn’t have one yet.

The following chart will help you getting to know what kind of page you have:

Google Plus Pages vs Google Plus Local

There’s a fact that will never fail: if you can have (and see) user’s reviews of your business on your Google Plus Page, you have the correct one to connect it to Google Places.

2. How to turn your Google Plus Business Page into a Google Plus Local Page

So you’ve just checked you don’t have a Google Plus Local Page. First of all, you should have chosen the option “Local business” when you created the profile. That step is crucial to keep going.

Google Plus vs Google Places

Then, you should have finished filling in all the information details and verifying the page. At this stage, most users just skip this option and jump to the next step. Bad call! That’s why you have a Business Page. You missed the verification procedure!

No worries, you can bring it back. Go to your Information page and look for “verify page”. You’ll have two ways to receive the code:

  • By post
  • By a text message

Once your page has been verified, you’ll be able to stick it to your Google Places profile.

3. How to combine Google Plus Local and Google Places

Easy. Just let Google do it. If you have followed the previous steps, this third stage will be done automatically. The moment Google finds out you have both profiles, they’ll be integrated. Just be patient!

You’ll know the process has been completed when, after looking up your company name on Google, you find all these features in a huge box by the right side of the screen:

  • A map with the exact address
  • The name of the company on Google Plus Local
  • Number of followers on Google Plus
  • “How to get there”
  • “Leave a review”
  • Full address and opening times
  • How many stars you have according to the reviews you’ve received
  • The most recent posts on Google Plus
  • Other features you had previously included on Google Places, like a picture gallery or other things of that nature.

Google Places once it has been unified with Google Plus

I’ve been fighting Google and hitting my head against the laptop for two weeks to find out all this information, so I really hope it will help you! We’d love to know your experience on the comments!!

Also, if you liked this post, have a look at my blog Social With It. I’ll be there looking forward to your visit!