A Guide to Google Local Listing Page Identification

Google is in the midst of a massive migration of claimed business listings from the old Places Dashboard to the new Places for Business Dashboard. Simultaneously, they are apparently also in the midst of merging the new Places for Business Dashboard interface and functionality with the Google+ Page management interface … confusing on both a branding and functional level. Which environment do you or you client work in? How can you tell by looking at their local listing page?

These screen shots of both the management environment and the resulting pages offer you the ability to make heads or tails of where your listing was created and how to know by examining just the the listing itself.

New Google Places Dashboard

Upgraded to social using Google+ widget

Dashboard:

Screen Shot 2013-10-28 at 2.56.04 PM

Note that the Google+ widget says “Visit your Google+ page,” implying that Google+ is already activated.

Local Google+ page:

Screen Shot 2013-10-28 at 2.58.02 PM

How to spot: verification checkmark, can review this page, red Follow button

These listings appear in Maps and have social features. Users can access this Help Center: http://support.google.com/business.

Not upgraded to social using Google+ widget

Dashboard:

water-country-dash

Note that the Google+ widget is not yet activated, so the messaging invites me to start using it.

Google Business listing:

water-country-claim-not-social

How to spot: ability to write reviews for this page, no Follow button, no verification checkmark even though it’s verified in Places

These listings show up on Maps, no social features. Help Center for these users is http://support.google.com/business.

Old Google Places Dashboard (verified, no Google+ page)

Dashboard:

Screen Shot 2013-10-22 at 8.59.39 PM

Google Business listing:

Screen Shot 2013-10-22 at 9.02.05 PM

How to spot: can write reviews for this listing, no checkmark even though its Places verified (same appearance as a listing managed in the new Places Dashboard w/o social ugprade.)

These listings show up on Maps, no social features. Help Center for these users is http://support.google.com/places.

Google+ (local business/place category)

PIN verified

Dashboard (clicking on Edit business information):

Screen Shot 2013-10-28 at 3.19.24 PM

Note the Google+ in the top left corner.

Local Google+ page:

Screen Shot 2013-10-28 at 3.22.17 PM

How to spot: can write reviews for this page, red Follow button, verification checkmark (same appearance as a page managed in the new Places Dashboard that has been social upgraded)

These pages show up in Maps and have social features. Help Center is at http://support.google.com/business.

Not verified

Dashboard:

Screen Shot 2013-10-28 at 3.30.44 PM

Note the Google+ in the top left and the butter bar that asks user to verify.

Local Google+ page:

Screen Shot 2013-10-28 at 3.34.20 PM

How to spot: red Follow button, map on the About tab, no place to write a review

These pages don’t show up on Maps but do have social features. User support for unverified pages is either on http://support.google.com/business or the Google+ Help Community.

Google Places Bulk Tool (verified)

Dashboard:

image11

Note: It won’t usually say that you have no locations!

Google Business listing

image00

How to spot: can write a review, no Follow button (same appearance as a listing managed in old Places or new Places, no social features)

30 Responses to “A Guide to Google Local Listing Page Identification”

  1. Firstly, great post guys, very helpful.

    I’m sure I’m not alone when I say the current state of local and the multiple dashboards often causes a headache. I’d go as far as saying it’s a bloody nightmare!

    I’m hoping the midst of merging the dashboards Google will provide a better solution to managing duplicate locations which have been inadvertently created through the use of multiple dashboards. I am also hoping there will be a better system to handle/merge Google+ Business pages with Google+ Local business pages – again a massive headache for many users.

    Let’s hope Google get there heads around this and resolve it!

    Chris

    • @chris
      Google is moving albeit slowly towards a single, hopefully rational structure. Until such time their support team is an excellent resource to resolve duplicate issues in near real time.

      Multiple dashboard usual do not create multiple listings or if they do its very temporary. Google usually merges them into a single listing. That in and of itself caused problems under the old dashboards and bulk in that multiple people could control the data. That “feature” is going away.

      • The problem occurs Mike when you have an old Google Places listing, a Google+ Business page (prior to the introduction of local), and a Google +Local page. Let’s use High Position as an example.

        We have the older/original Google Places listing created back in the day through the Google Places dashboard – for example https://plus.google.com/118365081450789357030/. With the help of Google we’ve successfully removed all duplicate version of this which have appeared over the years – result! But it’s not over yet.

        We then have the Google Business page. This is the main social hub if you like but contains no local data – for example https://plus.google.com/100114515348974367512/. This was created close to the initial launch of G+ and if memory serves me correctly was the only route for business on G+ at the time.

        Correct me if I’m wrong but there is currently no way to merge these ‘profiles’?

        Using the new Google Places Dashboard we’re then prompted to create yet ANOTHER Google+ Local page acting as both a local and a social platform! I don’t have an example of this for High Position as we haven’t yet been upgraded to the new Google Places dashboard; but in my experience with another business this third G+ Local/Business page sits separately to the original Google Places listing and separate to the Google+ Business page. So essentially you end up with at least 3 listings!

        As I said it’s bloody confusing for me, an experienced marketer with a wealth of SEO related knowledge; so for the average Joe Local it must be an absolute brain ache!

        If I’m wrong and there are indeed ways to solve this I’m all ears! :-)

        Chris

        • Mike Blumenthal October 23, 2013 at 8:33 am

          @Chris
          Google has yet to implement a single brand with locations solution. It is something that they are aware of but as of yet there is no way to relate a + Brand Page with a single or multiple + Location Pages.

          For those businesses with a few locations, their Local Listing Pages should become the center of their social world and they should forgo + Brand pages. That is not really an option for larger brands with many, many locations as a location based social strategy quickly becomes untenable.

          If you have one, two or three locations then I would (as painful as this sounds) delete or perhaps ignore your + Brand Page and focus your social efforts around your local pages that you upgraded.

  2. i woud say you can also use mapmaker and no need for waiting ))

    • @Tong
      Mapmaker was the fastest way to make edits to a business listing because it was the first tool to get the new data pipelines.

      However the new Places for Business Dashboard and the G+ Page management interface both now use a similarly quick pipeline and because there is less moderation, the changes might happen more quickly.

  3. thx for this – i was able to get one of my clients transitioned over from a “simple” google maps listing to a FULL Google-Plus listing – been trying to do that for a couple months now actually…

    helpful guide though – thx! : )

  4. Hey Mike

    Really, truly useful and timely post. The ‘how to spot’ section on each type of listing along with the relevant support for each type of listing is really useful. Will be sitting down with my guys tomorrow and going over this.

    It also explains the confusing ‘verified in the back end’ but no verified shield on the front end issue and why that seemingly fixed itself for a few listings when they merged with the Google+ Local listings.

    As Chris said above, this is confusing for folks who do this for a living so it can only be more so for people trying (It may actually be more confusing for us having to view the multiple platforms).

    Well, thanks again, Google themselves should be addressing this and providing common sense guidance to people as the three platforms collide!

    Cheers
    Marcus

  5. Mike, so what do you recommend for a business that has not claimed a Local/Places listing and is not ready for the social side. Is it still start out in Local/Places and then use the social widget when they are ready or start with a Google+ Business Page?

    • @Owen
      Exactly. You can see a more detailed explanation here: Where Should a New Business Create a Listing: Google+ Page or Google Places for Business Dashboard?

      Although as you can see in my post, I think it is better to start using the Dashboard for any business whether they want social features or not.

      • Mike… To claim a local page Google does not require a Google Account. If a business owner claims a local page with a non google account and then opts in at later time to Google + Social… which requires a Google account. Is the non google account abandoned one the business is verified?

        Is it best to sign up with a Google Account for a Local/Places page in the first place – does it matter in the scheme of things?

        • Mike Blumenthal October 25, 2013 at 8:57 am

          Owen

          If a non google email account wants to upgrade their listing to Plus I believe that google will just drive that email through the Plus persona sign up process. I am testing now but have to wait for a post card.

          Also google is now auto upgrading many listings claimed via the new dashboard and not requiring a G+ persona at all.

  6. MIke, Thank You for the quick response… great post by the way

  7. Mike, wondering if you came across anything about linking YouTube channels to Google+ pages. Looks like the new Google+ local merged local listings do not link to YouTube.

    • @James
      I haven’t but I will check

    • James,
      I have had success in linking Google+ Local pages with YouTube. Its important to understand that there is a 1 to 1 relationship between a G+ local page and a YouTube channel. A YouTube account can have several channels. Let me know if I can help explain part of the process you are having difficulties with. It is possible! Thanks

  8. Hola Mike,

    This is Begona writing from Spain! Thank you so much for your posts and knowledge. I would like to ask you about the following situation.

    On Google Plus, I look for a business typing the business name and what I find is a profile (business?? personal??) containing the business name, people on circles and follow botton whereas if I look for this business in my Local seccion on my Google Plus, I find location information, contact information, url domain, icons for verified site, comments, photo uploading, marking place, sharing place, etc.

    Perhaps the owner himself created a first profile on Google Plus and Google Maps?Can it be the case that this business has a duplicate profile on Google Plus? How can we merge both profiles?

    Thank you so much for your time!!
    B. Amoros

    • @Begonia
      It sounds as if the business does have two pages. Without looking at both I can not say with assurance what you are looking at.

      IF the duplicate + Page is of the type: local AND verified then the two can be merged. If the type of +Page created was some other type than local (Brand, Event, etc) then they can no be merged. In that case the business needs to decide which is the more prominent page from which to market. Usually it is the +Page for local that Google created and he would need to delete the other type of +Page.

  9. This is Begona writing from Spain! Thank you so much for your posts and knowledge. I would like to ask you about the following situation.

    On Google Plus, I look for a business typing the business name and what I find is a profile (business?? personal??) containing the business name, people on circles and follow botton whereas if I look for this business in my Local seccion on my Google Plus, I find location information, contact information, url domain, icons for verified site, comments, photo uploading, marking place, sharing place, etc.

    Perhaps the owner himself created a first profile on Google Plus and Google Maps?Can it be the case that this business has a duplicate profile on Google Plus? How can we merge both profiles?

    Thank you so much for your time!!
    B. Amoros

  10. @Begona

    PLease send along the links for each page that you have found so that I can give you better advice.

  11. Hi Mike,
    Thanks for the post, G+ Local is really an headache.
    There is something I see since about the middle of September and I’m trying to understand without success. Maybe you can have an explanation.
    On google.co.uk when searching for Faro Car Hire we see a bunch of local listings about car hire in … Virsby, Sweeden
    Faro is in the Algarve, Portugal. Is this an error or what? How can google mix things at this level? I can’t undertand.

    • @Jay
      Your Faro is in Portugal but there is also a Faro, Sweeden. Google is unable to distinguish between the two and defaults to thinking you want car rental near there.

      I live 10 miles from Bradford, PA in the US. But if I ask for a Bradford Car Rental I am inevitably taken to Bradford England. Why Google is unable to handle these queries correctly is not clear but once they have “made up their mind” there is little you can do.

      If you, as a searcher, give Google more clues “Car Hire Faro Portugal” it will return accurate results. One assumes that if a searcher was looking for results from Faro Portugal they would figure that out.

      • Thank you for your answer, MIke.
        In fact my Faro is Faro and the Sweeden Faro is writen with umlaut (two dots ..) over the a. So it is not the same word if we want to be precise. Besides I wonder why google mixes the two Faros just in the part of the local listing, on the rest of the listing google knows that we are talking about Faro, Portugal, I could admit your point is all the listing until the end show only sites in Sweeden.

  12. Mapping and the local algo to a large extent function independent of the organic algo. Thus one can make a mistake that the other does not. For whatever reason the mapping side can not resolve the ambiguity.

  13. Hi Mike,

    I’m guessing that this has already been done, somewhere… but if not, would it be possible to summarize the “How to spot” info in a neat and tidy (and simple) table?

    Something like this:

    TYPE OF LISTING Can write a review? Follow Button? Verif checkmark? Etc. Etc.

    Thanks

    Ken

    • @Ken
      It’s a constantly moving target. But that sounds like a good post. When do you want to send it along for publication?

  14. @ Mike. I sent you the (incomplete) table about 10 days ago (directly to your email address): did you receive it?

  15. Hello Mike,

    Can you suggest to get the verification code. I listed my business over the Google Local. And Google said me that you will receive a code with in next 10-15 business days. And now 25 days passed but I didn’t got any code. I already tried previously also but no luck to get the verification code.

    Do you have any suggestion?

    Regards
    Vikas

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