How to Combine Your Google Places Listing With Your Google+ Page
There is no doubt that Google is aggressively pursing the growth of Google+ one of the most recent changes that will literally force hundreds of thousands of businesses globally onto Google+, is the unification of the old style Google Local / places pages with the business pages on Google+.
Now if you want to retain control over your Place/ Local listing you will have no option other than creating a Google+ account to administer it.
The new pages combine the following features into one entity
Posts – Once you have created an account you can create a business page which can have it’s own unique circles. Posts which are shared on the business page automatically become part of the new combined page.
This is potentially a powerful tool allowing business owners to share a unique narrative away from their main website. But of course this requires a plan and time to execute.
About – This is the tab where all the reviews from Zagat which are available are displayed, users can also find links to other review resources and right at the bottom of the screen can find suggestions for similar places in the same area.
Photos – On this tab are displayed images from the business owner, from the profile and any posts. Users also have the ability to upload images.
Video – This tab gives page owners the ability to display shared video.
The verification process is simple and a post card will be sent to you by return from Google to confirm your ownership. Though having created a listing once many users may be annoyed at having to reclaim a listing.
Currently in this first evolution only local business pages are supported in the new system.
There can be no doubt that supplying users with so much information on a business has the potential for higher engagement. But the aggressive move might confuse and make life more difficult for lots of business owners.
The flip side to this is the implication for SEO, despite what Google tells us about the equality of other web properties in their ranking algorithms Studies have started to emerge on the the impact of +1′s and shares on Google+ being more effective then a re tweet or a Facebook share & like.
Business owners may face an awkward choice between which social networks they choose to maintain, not every business can hire an SEO company or social media consultancy to do the work.
If you are faced with a resource choice of deciding between running a great Facebook page or Google+ our advice is to look at your analytics data and work out where the strongest user engagement is coming from.
You will need both eventually as Google has the maps listings tied down for now. But whilst we wait in the U.K for the full roll out of combined Google + / Google Places, and while we wait to see how users find the new Zagat review system. Keep your focus on what you know is working.