A few weeks ago, my manager Shauna Heryford asked me to create a Google Places listing for Bluetrain and merge it with our Google+ page. As I began researching how to do this, I quickly realized that it was not actually possible at the moment despite the plethora of “how-to” articles on the subject. I actually wrote a blog post about it entitled Read This Before Trying to Merge Your Google Places and Google+ in an effort to help people understand that merging the two products was not yet possible.

However, I have recently come across new information which renders that previous post slightly inaccurate. In layman’s terms: I effed up. But honestly, there is a heap of misinformation out there right now on this topic and Google hasn’t been helping clarify things much either so please forgive a lowly SEO apprentice. I am just trying to learn from the other SEO masters that work at Bluetrain and keep up with our ever-changing industry! 

But anyways, moving on… The following snippet of advice is from the original post that I wrote. I have since removed it in order to avoid adding to the vortex of confusion that is Google+ and Google Places.

What I recommended to people

“If you already have a Google+ page and want to get your Google Places listing up and running right now, get your Places listing verified, ignore the auto-created Google+ page and continue to post to your old Google+ (where you have all your followers and activity.) This auto-created Google+ page should go away after the upgrade, however, if it doesn’t and your active Google+ page has not been linked to your Google Places listing, just call Google Places Support.”

This information is inaccurate, but to be fair I was

A) Quoting what a Google Places Support rep told me and
B) How was I to know that that dumb auto created Google+ page would start ranking in Google?!?

To get the right information I had to go higher than Google. That’s right. I consulted Mike Blumenthal, an authority on Local Search and Google Maps.

Mike’s post helped me realize that we really don’t know if Google will delete this auto created Google+ page (even though random Google rep told me they would) and if they are planning to help clean things up, we have no idea how long they will take to do this.

What Mike Blumenthal Suggests

In his post, Mike addresses why people are struggling with duplicate Google+ Pages; he says that if your company has a bricks and mortar presence and only has a Google+ Page for the company’s brand, Google will automatically create a Google+ Page for Local when the company verifies their Places for Business Listing. He goes on to add that there is no way to delete or suppress this new Google+ Page for Local so Businesses are forced to consider the following possibilities.

1. Delete the Google+ Page for business (where you have most of your content and followers right now) and repost old content to the new Google+ Page for Local. The benefit of this option is that you will only have one page to worry about moving forward and all your work will appear on the Google+ page that will most likely appear in Google search results.

Mike says this method makes sense for: Companies with a largely local focus.

2. K
eep both pages and post activity to both.

Mike says this method makes sense for: Companies that have both a national and a local focus, but obviously it requires double the amount of social posting and commenting.

Keep both pages and only post activity to the Google+ Local page. If you go with this option, Mike suggests putting a last post on the Google+ Business Page asking people to follow the G+ Local Page. This method is attractive because it’s easy and because if G+ for Business ever became important to Google again, you wouldn’t have to create a brand new page, you could just revive the old one.

4. Keep both pages and make the G+ Local Page the primary place to post content and repost the content to the company page after. Again, it is more work and there doesn’t seem to be a clear benefit to doing this.

5. Keep both pages and make the primary post to the G+ for Business page and put a one-time post on the G+ Local Page that would send people to the business page.

Mike says this method makes sense for: Companies with national brands that don’t consider local a big part of their strategy.

What Bluetrain has Decided to Do

We’ve decided to keep weird G+ Page for Local and continue posting to both our G+ Page for business and our new G+ Page for local.  We’re like that parent who has to grudgingly adopt the new puppy because the soft parent has decided to “surprise” the kids with another pet. Although, by that analogy we would be married to Google so maybe just forget that.

Until next time, friends! Leave a comment when you’ve decided what to do with your G+ Page for Local and we can console each other.

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