Today, Google is releasing a feature worldwide that allows a business to transfer the "heart" of its local data (verification, reviews, Map pin, location) from a verified Local Page to an existing Brand Page.
This allows a business to now "upgrade" their Brand page (or any non-local page) to a full local page where it will get more exposure. The feature essentially transfers the connection to Maps from one page to another.
All too many location-based businesses created Brand Pages at Google rather than Local Pages when they first started with Google Plus. The business attracted followers, posted at the Brand page and then realized that Google had auto created a Google+ Local Page from their local data. This has led to untold confusion and desire to "merge" the two pages .
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.
What this isn't:
This doesn't allow multi-location businesses to associate a single brand page with multiple locations. It also doesn't allow a non-verified Local Page to be converted. It is necessary to verify the Local page first.
What moves from the existing Local Plage:
Local Verification Pin
What it doesn't move:
Local Page custom URL
Local Cover photo
Local Page followers
Local Page circles
Local Page posts
Prior owner responses to local reviews(these will need to be re-entered so copy them first)
What stays the same:
Posts, custom URLs, followers and circles from the existing Brand page will stay intact as will those settings on the page that was the Local page.
What does the Brand Page lose?
Brand page features (Story, Tagline and links) will no longer exist on the page.
How to do it
- If you haven't already done so it is necessary to verify your Local Page
- Go to the Page settings for the verified Local page and scroll to the Profile section
- At the bottom of the profile section it will say "This page is connected to Google Maps and a new option button will appear: Connect to a different page
- Select that option and you will be given a choice to select a different page and then asked to confirm the choice.
- When the process is complete you will be offered the chance to delete the page that was the previous Local Page.
This will solve a very common problem for single location businesses that have already put significant effort into building out their followers and posting to a Brand page. While it must have been a nightmare on the backend to port this data between different knowledge graph entities, the end user feature, while buried, is easy to use and will hopefully be reliable. The feature would have been welcome at the beginning of the Places dashboard transition rather than the end but better late than never.
It will not in any sense merge the two pages and that might leave some users unhappy that they may need to leave some followers and posts behind. Google has noted in the past that there are user trust issues that prevent them from automatically reassigning followers to a new page. It is unlikely that ability will ever exist.
This solution, while needed, also doesn't address the very real need for multi-location businesses to be able to associate a single social stream with a set of Local pages.