Google Now Allows Brand Pages to Become Google+ Local Pages

google-plus-240pxToday, 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.

Final

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:

Reviews
Local Verification Pin
Map Information
Address information

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.

page-settingsHow to do it

  1. If you haven’t already done so it is necessary to verify your Local Page
  2. Go to the Page settings for the verified Local page and scroll to the Profile section
  3. 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
  4. Select that option and you will be given a choice to select a different page and then asked to confirm the choice.
  5. When the process is complete you will be offered the chance to delete the page that was the previous Local Page.

Analysis:

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.

The Google announcement can be found here and the help files can be found here.

62 Responses to “Google Now Allows Brand Pages to Become Google+ Local Pages”

  1. whoa! great, early write up on this huge announcement Mike! Definitely agree it would have been nice a LONG time ago, but we’ll take what we can get.

    I really hope folks read the whole thing and understand it is NOT A MERGE~! otherwise, could lead to more confusion for the average mom & pops doin’ it themselves.

  2. Mike Blumenthal June 3, 2014 at 5:08 pm Reply

    @josh
    Yes I am sure that the new feature will
    Cause some consternation along the way.

  3. Not seeing it as an option yet on a page that we have in this same situation. I’m guessing it’s still getting rolled out across accounts perhaps?

    Currently says “This page is connected to Google Maps. View | Learn more” with no button beneath it.

  4. I just made the Switch at one of our customers.
    The old brand page got a new title, too – see https://plus.google.com/103109908957821562801/posts – “Sicherungskopie von” (= Back-up Copy from). So beware to Change the Name afterwards if you don’t delete that page. To Show you the new title, I won’t Change the Name until tomorrow.

    • Mike Blumenthal June 4, 2014 at 4:26 am Reply

      @petra
      Good point that I neglected to mention as I wrote this without a real world example at my disposal.

  5. I am a local business without a storefront (videography) and am not using Google+ yet, but would like to… What us the best practice to start?

    I have a personal Google+, but haven’t used it too much yet. I have more than one business-related blog, too.

    I’d like to start out right for SEO and authorship purposes. Any suggestions?

    Thanks!

    • Mike Blumenthal June 4, 2014 at 4:31 am Reply

      Google Plus Pages for Local support businesses without a storefront. They are called SAB (service area business). The page created when you verify via google.com/places is the single most valuable and visible real estate you have on Google. So I would verify it straight away.

      This Plus Page for Local has no role in authorship. Authorship is a linking relationship between your blog articles and your personal profile. Also worth doing on any article that you write as there is the chance that Google will show your author photo next to the article in the main search results.

  6. Mike – excellent write up. It really is a shame that Google isn’t making efforts (yet) for multi-location business pages. Facebook has a location tabs on the brand’s main page with a map of pins for each location, each leading to a location’s unique page.

  7. Mike Blumenthal June 4, 2014 at 8:12 am Reply

    @Morry
    Local was such a mess in 2011 when Plus first hit the streets that Google has literally spent the last three years fixing, fixing, fixing…. fixing support, fixing cluster issues, fixing inputs (dashboards), outputs (Plus).

    We are just starting to see the fruits of those efforts now showing up in business facing products. I think you will see, over the coming weeks and months a veritable plethora of upgrades and changes.

  8. What has happened to me was I lost my “map pin listing” a couple of years ago in the general searches when I use to be at number one for years. Now I don’t show up at all because I only have one location instead of two. (Original is the same one had for years) I have lost a ton of business as a result.
    Then they said I had to make the change to “Places” to get the listing back (which I did) and it made it even worse
    Again, I made the change to plus.google.com like they wanted and went to local pages but still no “map pin listing” where all my competitors are. It has been such a nightmare I don’t know what to do now.
    So do I combine them like you say or what? Google has really screwed things up for me and it still has not been resolved.
    I’m not looking to be number one I just want a showing amongst my competitors.
    I am really confused now.

    • Mike Blumenthal June 4, 2014 at 5:30 pm Reply

      It’s hard to provide counsel with limited data. To take this route you need two pages – one a verified page for local and the other a brand page. In the end you will still have only one page. I am not sure this speaks to your needs

      I would recommend that you read google’s quality guidelines to be sure that Google local is the right channel. Then if you decide it is you need to learn about Local SEO. MOZ.com/local is a good place to start.

  9. Mike Blumenthal June 4, 2014 at 6:32 pm Reply

    Ok

  10. Can Google possibly make it anymore complicated? Thanks for laying out the steps. I got it to work, but really…. does it need to be this complicated!

  11. Mike, thanks for reporting on this and providing a “play-by-play” of how this all works and the pros/cons of connecting a “Brand” non-local Google Page to a Verified Google Places Business Listing.

    I think it would be nice to create a graphical representation of how the Google Places Business/Map Listing and Google Plus Page ecosystem works.

    I had one client email me asking how to connect their Google Plus Page, only to find out they were actually trying to connect to their Google Plus PROFILE, which is the Google Plus personal account, NOT the Google Plus Page. I know it’s confusing a little for those of us in the biz, but I can only imagine how confusing and annoying for the regular business owner to decipher.

    The way I explain it:
    Google Plus PROFILE (your personal Google account) is a Manager of and/or Creates a Google Plus PAGE, which can be

    1) a standalone business page (non-local in nature) and has features not available in a Google Plus Local Page or
    2) it can be a Google Plus Local Page, with the linked to listing and reviews features, to name a couple, unique to a Google Plus Local Page.

    In either case, the Google Plus Page (non or local) is LINKED to the Google Places Listing (aka Maps Listing) and that’s how it exists to date.

    To access the Google Places Listing, one navigates to http://google.com/local/business/ and logs in using their PERSONAL GOOGLE ACCOUNT credentials.
    Once logged in, you are brought to your Google Places Local Listing management dashboard, can click on your listing to EDIT or VERIFY as well as access the Google Plus Page associated/linked to the Listing.

    Have I got this all correct and does that seem to help explain to the non-seo/digital marketing professional?

    • Mike Blumenthal June 5, 2014 at 1:32 pm Reply

      Ed
      You do have it correct with the exception of calling anything a Google Places Listing. There is no consumer facing product called that any longer. Also the only Google PLus page that is connected to Maps is the Local Page.

      So if I were editing it, it would read:
      2) it can be a Google Plus Local Page, which is connected to Google Maps and has the reviews features and the verification mark unique to a Google Plus Local Page.

      In either case, the Google Plus Local is LINKED to Google Maps and the other pages are not

      I would however warn you NOT to draw the schematic just yet as things are changing very quickly. :)

  12. Thanks for the instructions. I am glad Google is one step closer to solving the local vs. brand page confusion.

    I am going through the process of reconnecting my local page with my brand page. However, it looks like my brand page is not recognized as a brand page, but Google is identifying it as a local page. As a result, in the connect to a different page choice section, I get “you don’t have any non-local pages” instead of choice to select my brand page. Any suggestions on how to resolve this issue?

    • Mike Blumenthal June 6, 2014 at 1:16 pm Reply

      @Kalpana
      Can you share the URLS for the two pages? I think you may need to contact Google support.

      • Hi Mike,

        I think I have a similar issue to @Kalpana and @Chris.

        I have two Google+ pages verified and viewable in my dashboard:

        https://plus.google.com/+OverlandingAfrica/posts
        and
        https://plus.google.com/107061328359511561301/posts

        However, when I follow the steps described in your post (for either of the above Google pages), I get the message “You don’t have any non-local pages.” after clicking the [Connect a different page] button.

        Further input:
        - I am the owner for both pages.
        - Both pages had a verified address (the tiny shield icon was present) prior to me trying to “Connect a different page”.

        Can you offer some guidance please?

        • Mike Blumenthal June 18, 2014 at 10:42 am

          @Andre
          You can’t do this between two pages that are both G+ Local Pages. They already each have a connection to Maps and they are each already verified for local.

          It would appear that you have managed, against the Google rules, to have two pages for the same place. One of the pages has the address hidden and the other doesn’t. This violation has also led to duplicate listings. You really have no choice but to go to google.com/lbc (aka google.com/places, google.com/business, plus.google.com/dashboard) and delete one of them.

          However before you do you probably want to move the reviews to the more popular page. I would go here: https://support.google.com/business/#topic=4539639 and fill in an email request for help explaining that you have duplicates by mistake and that you want to 1)move the reviews from the one page to the other and 2) that you want to get rid of the duplicate.

          You may want to also set your main page that you want to keep to hide the address so that you don’t run afoul of other rules.

  13. I cannot find a way to add links to my Twitter and Facebook company accounts to Google+ Local listing. Is there any way to do that, please?

    Thank you!

  14. Hi Mike,

    I’m seeing the same problem as Kalpana. When I click “Connect a different page”, I get the error “You don’t have any non-local pages”. Here are the two pages I’m trying to switch:

    https://plus.google.com/105298842791242441541/about
    https://plus.google.com/+Cedarhouse-bbCoNz/about

    Any ideas?

    • Same problem as Chris and Kalpana here. I am in the process of transferring ownership of the brand page to myself though and am only a manager under my current account. I suspect this is the problem, and will try again in two weeks when I can transfer ownership, and then do the process again as owner of both pages. Does this reflect your situation Chris?

      • @Michelle
        For sure. Only an owner of both pages can upgrade

        • Hey Mike!

          Just wanted to say thank you for your response here. I was just on the phone with Google for an hour and no one had any idea how to help me with the “You don’t have any non-local pages” issue. I was the Owner of one of the pages and a Manager of the other. I transferred ownership so that I was “Owner” on both pages and I was able to connect my Google Brand with Google Local. I think many people are going to have this problem and it might be worthwhile to add it to the original post.

          Cheers,
          Andrew

  15. Hi Mike,

    Finally! Thanks for this article. This is what I really needed to answer my confusion with the Local and Business page but I have this problem.

    I don’t have the “Change” link next to “This page is connected to Google Maps”. And below it says “Is currently linked to this page”.

    This is my Google plus Local Page verified:

    https://plus.google.com/b/110148537519121922891/110148537519121922891

    and want to change it with this one:

    https://plus.google.com/u/0/101240132458927910019

    Please help!

    Thanks!

  16. Hey Mike, I’ve been waiting so long for this! Thanks for explaining it in easy to understand language. One thing I am concerned about, you say…

    “Brand page features (Story, Tagline and links) will no longer exist on the page.”

    So do you think this merge (or whatever it is) is detrimental to SEO efforts?

    • @Fitz
      It is absolutely the best thing you can do for SEO. A page that was deeply buried in the bowels of Plus will now make it to the front page of the big dance. SEO doesn’t get much better than at.

  17. Thank you for answering this question, Mike. I am writing an article on all the new changes and I could not figure out why I had two business pages for my company. I am confused though by the URLs. My original brand page has the unique URL of my business but the new one created by Google local won’t let me use my original URL. How do you get around that issue?

    • @Lisa
      Custom URLs (that are not really custom) are assigned by Google to a specific page. You can not move a custom url from one page to another. You might be able to delete the custom URL and hope that they offer it to you again in the future but that is a real crap shoot.

      There is little to be done via Google. My suggestion would be to create a permanent redirect using your domain instead.

  18. Thank you for the quick reply!

  19. I have been searching for this all day, thank you Mike.

  20. Is there a way to verify the website for a page that has been merged? Before I deleted the backup page, I noticed that it did allow for a verification through webmaster tools. The business is a verified business, but I want the checkmark next to the URL as well.

    I see a box in the about section that says Link Your Website, but it does not do anything.

  21. Mike, will connecting a brand page and the local page created automatically by Google solve the problem of the local page info displaying being pulled from the knowledge graph and displayed to the right of the search results for a brand search?

    Currently when our brand is searched for this is the case, although there is an option below the current results to ‘See results about’ which when clicked displays the information I would expect to be displayed from the G+ brand page we have established and allows users to follow the brand on G+, displays latest posts, etc.

  22. @Tony
    The only thing this definitely solves is the issue of adding verified local data to a brand page.

    The Local Page is more likely to show in the branded search than a brand page for most business types. But whether this will increase the likelihood of it showing is anyone’s guess. There is a certain upredictability to the Knowledge Panel showing.

    • Thanks Mike, that’s what I imagined. Our branded searches had previously been showing our brand page details in the knowledge panel but not any longer, the local page seems to have taken precedence.

      Worth implementing anyway and if I discover this does update the knowledge panel info I will update here accordingly.

      Thanks again.

  23. this is great news! i only have one question: is it possible to port local business data to a product page if they exist under DIFFERENT google accounts (different emails)? i went into the page settings and, not surprisingly, didn’t see an option to choose my product page that i created under a different google account. any tips for resolving this would be much appreciated!

  24. Mike….. thank you, thank you, thank you so much.
    We were an early adopter of Google + and it’s caused such a headache for us. I’ve now just done what I wanted to do for over a year, in 3 minutes thanks to you post.

    We had a real issue with Youtube / Google + merge in which we couldn’t use a gmail email to own the youtube channel (which made no sense) so I’ve currently got 2 G+ profiles, one personal and one for work. One thing to make note, if you have it like me you have to be the owner of both the local and brand pages on Google+ so you can make the switch.

    It’s also worth noting that I had to go through My Business Places Listing to get the button to appear, going through the Google + settings it wasn’t appearing.

    Thanks once again. We’ve had over 20k views on the Local+ page in the past year, now we can start to grow our Lights4fun page properly!

    • @Matt
      It’s also worth noting that I had to go through My Business Places Listing to get the button to appear, going through the Google + settings it wasn’t appearing.

      Could you share with me screen shots and URLs of your path? that sounds like a bug.

  25. All I can say is – MEGA confusing. I’ll have to read this again as I got given another Google page today and and don’t want 2 pages.

  26. Help!!!! I have a Google+ Page for my business that I set up a few months ago. and just set up the business page…..is the business page a google+ page???? I seem to now have 3 accounts I am sooo confused!

  27. I think I have managed to link the 2 accounts now! This is all so, so confusing! Does anyone know how you make sure you get your logo and co description to come up on right hand side of google when searched?? I thought this would update automatically – but it hasn’t.

    Thanks in advance.

    Dawn

    • @Dawn
      Nobody knows for sure.

      Here are the things we think might make a difference:
      1-Get 100 followers
      2-Get a few followers who have lots of followers
      3-Set up rel=Publisher
      4-Get citations
      5-Have a good ranking website

      • Just seen the comment from dawn above.

        Haven’t they now stopped the logo or picture coming up in searches? or am I getting this confused with Goolge search results and the rel=author thingy…I think I read somewhere that the rel=author had been discontinued, maybe you could clarify this please.

        If this is correct…then what is rel=publisher? Is this something different?

        Sorry for being such a newbie, but I’m really trying to get my head round this all now.

        Thanks again.

        Simon.

        • Mike Blumenthal July 7, 2014 at 9:54 am

          @Simon
          Dawn is referring to a Knowledge Panel which shows on the side of the main search results on a branded search NOT an author photo. Author photos no longer are attached to your content but if you have done things correctly and google trusts your local listing, a knowledge panel will show on the main search page.

          Rel=publisher is a semantic mark up that defines which website is responsible for publishing information. It is different than either author or the KP. Author is a relationship between content and an individual Google profile. Publisher is a relationship between a website a Google + Page for business. A knoweldge panel is an enhanced search result that shows additional detail along the right side of the main search results.

  28. I have followed the method mentioned above to merge my plus business page and google plus page. Merging was done as explained.. But the problem now is, nobody is able to follow me. In place of follow button, its showing “Restricted” and is having a tooltip which is telling that “You are restricted from following FinaTel Technologies”. Please help!

  29. At last…someone that knows what they are doing, thanks Mike. I know that you’ve had many comments and this will pale into insignificance, but I do believe that I have managed to delete one of the duplicated pages by using your step by step instructions.

    It has been so confusing, but your instructions made it clear…although I have to say that I was still concerned whilst doing them…but it seems to have worked out OK…I just hope that my reviews now come over to my single page, it did say that reviews may take some hours to be transferred…I’m now just hoping they come over.

    Thanks again. Simon.

  30. Hi,

    Great article, it solved one of my problems. Now I have other question. I have 10 sites from 10 projects that belong to one company. I want to have Google Places to all of those projects. May I put all together in my BRand Page or should I have 10 G+ Local Pages?

    I hope someone can help me.
    Best Regards

  31. @Antenor

    It is not clear to me whether you actually have 10 physical locations that relate to the sites.

    Here is the relevant guideline from Google:

    Do not create a page or place your pin marker at a location where the business does not physically exist. P.O. Boxes are not considered accurate physical locations. Your business location should be staffed during its stated hours.

    If you have locations then by all means you should create G+ Pages for Local (aka Place pages). If not then you should create brand pages. If you attempt to create G+ Pages for local and do not have actual locations you run the rist of loosing your listings and your account.

  32. @Mike Blumenthal

    Hi,
    First of all thanks for your answer.
    The company only have 1 physicall adress. So The best option seems to be create 10 brand pages or add the 10 URL’s to the main brand page.

    One more time, thanks for your help and article.

  33. Thx a lot. Glad I found this tutorial!

  34. Hi Mike,

    A couple years ago we created a brand page. We have been updating and posting to this page ever since. We don’t have a brick and mortar office so I didn’t see the need to create a local page. As you suggested before, I did the search on plus.google.com for my company name and found there are 5 additional Google+ pages with the same company name. Only one of them is a verified local page.

    My questions are:
    Can I delete the other 4 pages? And if so will they affect the brand page?
    If I merge our original brand page with the verified page, will we loose all the updates?

    • @Mary
      I saw six pages, not five. I see that you converted the brand page to a local page. And now have 2 active local pages. It is hard to get rid of local pages but if you truly are not a local business you can contact Google support and they can help you get rid of it. Although at this point, since it became your main page I am not sure I would.

  35. Mike, big thanks for this post. Lots of help and enabled to us to quickly sort a problem we’ve been trying to fix for a few months. Heres hoping the single G+ stream for multiple localities is in the pipe line!

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