How Do I Merge My Google + Pages? Usually You Can’t, Now What?

google-plus-240pxUPDATE June 3, 2014: Google has announced a feature that now allows a Brand Page to Become Google+ Local Page. Please read this newer article before reading the following.

The question of how to handle the existence of two (or more) G+ Pages for a given local business has become a frequent one. Over the past month, I have gotten 1-2 queries a week asking what should be done. For example, I recently received this email:

Ran into an issue with Google Places and Google+, curious if you know of any solutions.  One of my clients set up a Google+ page.  But since Google Places automatically created Google+ pages, I now have two Google+ accounts for one company. All three are under the same gmail email address.  The page my client created is more developed than the one Google Places created.  Do you know if there is a solution for this that you know of?

This has mostly resulted from location-based businesses having created a Google+ Page for a company or brand (as opposed to a Page for Local), perhaps when G+ was in its infancy. They then realized that they also have a G+ Page for local that was either auto created by Google or created in the old Places Dashboard that has now shown up in their Plus environment. I typically get one of several questions:

  • How do I merge these two pages?
  • Can I keep my Google+ Page for Business and delete the one that Google has auto-created?
  • Should I keep more than one?
  • What is the best path forward?

The answer to each is pretty much the same. Some givens of the Google Plus page environment:

  1. Google will automatically create a G+ Page for local for any business that has a bricks and mortar presence, as well as for individual doctors, lawyers and real estate agents at those locations.
  2. Typically there is no way to suppress or delete this G+ Page for local.
  3. It is not possible to merge two G+ Pages (unless they are both of the type: local and for the same business at the same address, in which case you should contact support). Nor is it possible to pass followers from one page to another.
  4. Google is much, much more likely to show a G+ Page for local in the search results than a company/brand page for a given local business.
  5. A business can have as many other G+ Page types as they desire for their brand, events or the parent company.

As to the best path going forward, it is really a matter of matching the above reality with your marketing goals, objectives and budget.

The G+ Page for local is going to exist no matter what and the real question becomes which of your pages will get the most exposure, which best fits the company’s marketing goals and where should the company put their efforts going forward.

Here are the possibilities. The company can:

  • Delete the G+ Page for business and repost the old content to the G+ Page for local. This has the benefit of only having one page going forward, and your work will be on the page most likely to show on the main Google search results.
  • Keep both pages and post actively to both. If your company has both a national and local presence this makes sense, but is much more work.
  • Keep both pages but only post actively to the local page. You would need to put a last post on the business page asking that folks follow their local page. This has the benefit of being relatively easy, and if the G+ Page for Business were ever to be important in Google’s scheme of things you wouldn’t have to start over.
  • Keep both pages. Make the primary post to the local page and repost it the company page. This is more work and it is not clear that there is any benefit to this.
  • Keep both pages and make the primary post to the company page and put a one-time post on the local page sending folks to the company page. This only makes sense if your brand is a national brand and local is not a big part of your strategy.

To make the decision as to which course to follow you really need to answer the following questions:

  • What is the goal of your social presence and who is the target audience?
  • Is the company national in scope or do most of its customers come from the immediate region?

If your clientele is mostly local or regional I would:

  • Delete the G+ Page for business and repost old content to the G+ Page for local, or
  • Keep both pages but only post actively to the local page and put a last post on the business page asking that folks follow their local page

If the company is mostly national in nature, I would typically recommend to add a decent cover photo to the G+ Page for local and make at least one post there referring to the G+ Page for business. The posts page tab on the G+ Page for local is the link that Google shows in local search results in the main SERPS. Thus it might get some visibility and shouldn’t be left completely empty.

Unfortunately, because of Google’s slooow merger of Places and Plus, there has been a great deal of confusion created in the marketplace. The lack of tools and mechanisms to convert one type of page to another has only added to that confusion. However, if you have a local business then you are going to have a G+ Page for local and that likely should be at the center of your marketing plan.

120 Responses to “How Do I Merge My Google + Pages? Usually You Can’t, Now What?”

  1. Thanks for this Mike. It sure was confusing and hard on our customers who do not understand what the G is doing.

    I tell ‘em Mike Blumenthal says to be stoic about it … it will all change again soon! =^)

    Mark Bossert
    • @Mark
      Stoicism is NOT my strong point… I love to complain too much but I do think that worrying does little good either. So perhaps a certain fatalism is the best way to think about my recommendations and attitudes towards Google. :)

    • Question if you are available. When I try to claim these extra g+ pages that have been created from Google Local, i click ” “Is this your business?
      Manage this page” but then it requires me to create ANOTHER google+ page? I’m confused

  2. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this matter Mike. Don’t you think that Google will come up with some sort of merging tool in time? They are the one to blame for a lot of this confusion.

  3. @Lars
    Google has most certainly created the problem and has done little in the way of communication to clear it up. That being said I doubt that is reason enough in and of itself to hold out hope for a process to merge disparate page types.

    It took them 7 years to put in place tools to allow for local listings to be fixed.

    So I suppose “in time” they might offer some ability to do the merge but I would NOT hold your breath.

  4. Hi Mike,

    I have a similar, but still very different question…

    My client already created a Google+ page for their business (though I don’t think in the “local” category). Then I recently claimed their Google Places listing which has the new dashboard, but there’s no “Google+ Page” section between the “Adwords Express” and “Offers” sections. A colleague said she’d never seen the new dashboard without it and I hadn’t either. Have you? (BTW, the same email address is used to access both the Places and G+ page)

    The other thing a little odd with this account was that when I first accessed G+, there was no personal account managing the business page. It was just a business page, but Google encouraged me to create an individual account every time I logged in (which I did hoping beyond all hope that somehow that was what was causing the glitch)

    Any thoughts?

    Thanks in advance for your time and wisdom,
    Randy

    • @Randy
      When a listing is now brought over to the new dashboard, Google is now auto upgrading listings to the G+ social status. They have been doing so for the past 3 months or so. Thus there is no need for the “Google+ Page” section which was there to allow the listing to be upgraded. You can confirm this by visiting the listing and seeing if there is a “posts” tab.

      Also Google is no longer requiring that a Page be associated with a persona. That is a relatively recent change but it should not impact the G+ Page for local one way or the other.

      • Thanks for the reply – Sadly after I posted my original message I had a highly unproductive call with Places support who basically said he’d never seen/heard of any of these issues but had me try a few things, one of which involved unverifying the listing, but then we couldn’t get it verified again…. Fiasco.

        Anyway, thanks again.

    • Hi Randy,

      I had exactly the same problem. I had one old listing which was created way before the new local dashboard interface, and I had a regular old Brand Page. When the listing was moved over to the new dashboard, I couldn’t find a way to “make” it into a G+ Page. That button, like you said, was missing.

      At the same time, ON THE SAME dashboard, I added my new listings for our new locations and those automatically generated G+ Pages and the button was there. So now some of my listings had a G+ local page and the original listing did not.

      I struggled with this for a months, clicking everywhere I could when it asked me randomly to create a G+ account for the listing, but it always took me back to creating or claiming a new listing, NOT creating a G+ page for the existing one. It would tell me at the end, you already have this listing in your dashboard…. Duhhh.. frustrating.

      That was until today!!! I went to my listings dashboard and went into the reviews section for my first old listing. I clicked to read one of my reviews and under it there was a “Reply” (to the review) link. When I clicked there, it told me that I cannot reply unless my listing is a G+ Listing and it gave me a link to generate the page… AND IT FINALLY WORKED!

      Now of course, I have the same problem this article talks about. I have a relatively well developed Brand Page and a Local Page… Oh joy!

      I think it might be a question of waiting a little bit until old listings sync with new interfaces all the way, not sure. I hope this helps you though :)

  5. Hi Mike and thank you for the sharing! This defo clarifies a bunch of things!
    I would appreciate your thoughts on this new type of business pages that now show a map but they don’t show reviews or don’t show in GoogleMaps, i.e. https://plus.google.com/+Sheratonmilanmalpensa/about , they have some features in common with a Google+Local page but defo not the same functionalities…could you possibly give your oppinion on what they are and how would you proceed with them? Thanks a lot for the good info!

  6. thanks for sharing this info Mike. finally, I found an answer to my question :)

    but, as I chose to have two pages, shall I also change the URL of the “publisher” link in the header of my page?

    what do you suggest here?

    • @Leyva
      At this point publisher is not really functioning in local so I am not sure that it makes a huge difference. I guess that I would probably:
      1)Point your publisher link to the company page
      2)I would also be sure that your logo is in rich snippets.

  7. Hi Mike, thanks for a very helpful summary. I am having a number of issues with G+ page. One of which is, depending on the page, it shows different name:

    https://plus.google.com/u/0/+Farhoumanddentistry/
    has as its title Farhoumand Dental

    but all the posts are shown as posted by Farah Farhoumand, DDS (one of the dentists there).

    The G+ is verified yet it would not change to Farhoumand Dental.

    Any suggestion would be much appreciated!

    • @Mitko
      It would appear that two listings, one for the practitioner and one for the practice, have likely been merged into a single listing by Google. I would imagine that they are also probably claimed in several locations with several logins. I would suggest that you go here: https://support.google.com/places/?hl=en and click on the big red CONTACT US button and have a chat with Google support. They are really the only folks that can it squared away.

  8. Hi Mike,
    Thank you for the insights- Question, I was told some time ago by a respected source that Google only wants one Local Business
    listing per business, not counting the listing of different locations within the same business.
    Your reply above cast doubt on this, in looking thru Google support forums I can’t find anything one way or another on this.

    Do you have anything definitive for me please?

    • @Christopher
      I am not sure what I said above that would cast doubt on it. Google wants one listing per location. There are exceptions like when their are professional practioners or there are departments withing a large organization but as a general rule it is “one location, one listing”. If you are ever in doubt about the rules here is the current bible.

  9. Thanks Mike. This is a common problem, one which we suffer from and one which we see clients suffering from on a daily basis.

    Given that creation of company/brand pages was the only option for business on G+ when it was in its infancy I cannot believe Google still offer no method for merging brand pages with local; especially if both pages are verified within the same account so clearly belonging to the same organisation.

    It’s hugely frustrating. We’ve spent a long time building our G+ following on our company/brand page therefore it will be difficult and time consuming to pull this over to our local page, not to mention confusing for the follower base.

    I’m still hoping Google will eventually offer a solution but I’m not holding my breath…

    Chris

  10. @Chris
    While I wholeheartedly agree that Google has a great deal of responsibility in this issue, it isn’t because company/brand pages were the only choice.

    At the November 2011 introduction Google offered Local pages along with the other types. Shortly there after they offered up the ability to merge G+ Pages with your Places page.

    The issue has been the poor communication to local businesses and the even poorer transition from the old style dashboard to the new dashboard and full integration into G+. They are most certainly responsible for that. While a merge function would helpful it also presents numerous problems for their architecture, support and spam.

  11. Hi Mike,

    Are there any preferred strategies for listing a business on google places/maps (with a little red bubble)?

    I can use my home address and opt not to show the address
    I can rent an office space just to have the address listing (I won’t ever actually use the space)
    I can continue using my P.O. box and then list that I do not have a physical location

    Most of my business is done in people’s homes.

    What do you think the best solution would be with regards to local SEO with the little red bubble and which google social media to use?

    Thanks so much

    RJ

    • @RJ
      The first guideline is to religiously follow Google’s Places Guidelines. They prohibit the use of PO Boxes and effectively ban the use of virtual offices. They do support what they call service area businesses (SAB) using their home address but hiding it as their main address. This technique offers no penalties and is your best path.

      As far as ranking goes you need to make your business and its website more prominent on line to make it onto the front page of Google.

  12. Thank you Mike,

    I was concerned about doing this because:

    My top keyword searches (and areas I serve) are for the county and city that I live in, but not the town. I live outside of the main city and county area that I serve and I thought that by using my home address, it would put me at a disadvantage if I served clients in the county and city outside of where I lived. Is this a concern or am I overanalyzing?

    And if I understood your post correctly for a local business like mine, it would be best to use and communicate with customers via my G+ Page for local?
    Thank you very much,

    RJ

  13. @RJ
    With the SAB option in Google you can tell Google what the center of your service area is. So that should allow you to focus on at least your primary market area if not all of your market areas.

    And yes, you would be best off using your G+ Page for local instead of any of the other page types that Google provides.

    • Thank you Mike!

      Last question,
      If I close my google places account with the old wrong address (p.o. box) and then reopen it with the correct designation , as service area business (SAB), how will it affect my webmaster account (if at all) associated with the account. I want to make sure I do not lose any information or data in that account.

      Thanks so much!

      RJ

      • Generally speaking there is never a reason to close an existing places account. The only time would be if a listing was already claimed into multiple accounts.

        If I were you I would just modify the listing to accurately represent your business in the existing account.

        • Hmm, that brings up another dilemma because the google places representative (from the website requesting a call back) stated marking my business that was using a P.O. box as closed and then making a completely new one as a SAB. Why? I have no idea.

          I will try calling them back and getting a reason why and will let you know. thanks

  14. Hi Mike,

    I’m a bit confused about all of this. Perhaps you can help?

    Google+ for Local = standard, automatically created listing for businesses. We have claimed and verified these. Google+ for Business = more social listing which you can add people to circles, create posts, etc.

    The accounts which our standard listings are associated with already have Google+ accounts, but they’re personal ones. I am unsure how to create a Google+ for Business account for our actual businesses in the account when a personal account is already there.

    To put it simply: Our Places listing is under a gmail account which has a personal G+ account attached to it. How do I get a business G+ account for the listing already attached to the account?

    Thanks a lot,
    Stephen

    • @Stephen
      I am not quite sure that I understand.

      Firstly G+ for Local = standard auto created listing and if with the upgraded dashboard (soon coming to all) = more social listing which you can add people to circles, create posts, etc.

      G+ for Business isn’t an account its a page.

      G+ Page for Business and G+ Page for Local can be managed by either just a gmail/google account (no personal profile) or a G+ account (with a personal profile).

      If you are asking how to create a G+ Page for Business for those accounts with “standard” G+ Page for local, it is likely that you are in the old dashboard? Regardless you can create the G+ Page for Business by going over to G+ Pages and adding one. If you do it via Plus than you would need to remove the personal profile page if you didn’t want to have it.

  15. Thanks, Mike; this is extremely helpful.

    I have a small business client with a verified G+ local page that was set up before I started working with them. Their business model has changed, and they are not operating a store front. They have a home office and while they do business locally, the goal is to work with clients nationwide.

    If I read the article and comments above correctly, there’s not a way to remove the G+ local page but the client could be penalized for having one while not doing business with clients in person? Otherwise, are there any disadvantages to using the local page rather than setting up a business page? I suppose people might think the company only does business locally…

    I have been investigating this issue for over a week and haven’t been able to decide the best course of action!

    Thank you.

    • @Amy
      As long as the business does transact locally then they are eligible for a listing. There is a requirement that they provide face to face service whether by a storefront or on site. I can’t see any benefit to you in getting rid of the local page.

      Since they are a home office they should choose the option to hide their address to be in full compliance. At this point Google isn’t penalizing local businesses that don’t hide their address but reserves the right to hide the address if they determine that would be most appropriate. However I would think in your situation the business would want to hide their address to avoid having folks driving up to their house. And I would think that the local business obtained from showing in search results would be welcome even if a small percentage of their future growth.

      So you aren’t likely going to be able to get rid of the local page. Google will auto create it even if you abandon it.

      Given that your goals include a nationwide clientele you need to decide how that is best approached in the context of Google+. Would it be best to build out a strong business page presence or a strong personal presence? Or both. These would be in addition to the local page.

      Google+ had its origins in being a platform for real people. Pages for Business came later. As such it is easier, for many business types (consultants, trainers) to build trust on the network as an individual rather than as a business. In that case the personal page would be all that is needed as a platform for a national presence.

      On the other hand companies with more prominent brands and no one that is the face of the business are more likely to go the route of the G+ Page for company or brand. It is harder for a small company to pull that off effectively but it might be an option if that is the long term dream.

      I personally have followed the former approach and I am the personal face of my national presence (my G+ persona and page) and that my local business has a G+ Page for local. It has worked quite well.

      Obviously Coke and Ford have not done that.

      The decision is a resource driven one and to some extent matching your goals and interests against what Google has to offer more than a technical one.

  16. Thank you for this – I’ve been losing sleep over it, as I have a couple new clients for whom duplicate listings are an issue. However, I confess I’m still kinda confused about one thing:
    The names of the G Products (which keep changing/combining and confusing me further) really don’t make it any simpler. What is the difference between:
    Google+
    Google+ Places
    Google+ Local
    Google Maps

    The only one I really understand is Google+, the social property. If anyone could spell these out with exact definitions, including visual examples, and also explain how each ones comes into existence (either through Google dumping it there or through someone purposefully creating a page), I, and several of my colleagues and clients, would be forever in your debt. Until Google changes it up again.

  17. @Kristen
    You need to realize how Google views local…. it is data that they will show whereever it is relevant. It is not a product, it is not a page… it is granular information that can appear in the Knowledge panel (sidebar in search), in Google Maps, in Google Plus, in various mobile apps, in Glass, etc etc. This data gets reforrmated as necessary.

    You also need to understand that Google sees the input as distinct from the output. Google loves new data and they get it wherever they can:
    Old Google Places Dashboard
    New Google Places Dashboard (which shares an input screen with)
    Google Plus
    Mapmaker
    Report a Problem

    Here is an article that details the big picture: The Debranding of Google Local

    And here are some that details the various pages
    A Guide to Google Local Listing Page Identification

    What kind of page is it?

  18. Hi Mike,
    Thanks for this article. Google+/local/pages/places has been giving me untold grief!
    I read through all the comments to see if you already answered my question but I haven’t found it.

    Here’s my situation:
    I have a verified Google+ Local page and a Google+ Page page for that same business. The account associated with the Local page is a manager of the Page page.

    Question 1:
    The Page keeps telling me to ‘verify my business’ but when I click it it says “This business is already in your account.”
    So is there a way for me to verify it if I plan to keep both the pages? Does it matter if it’s not verified?

    Question 2:
    I’ve never clicked the ‘Google+ Business’ page on the dashboard of the Local page and as far as I can tell right now my Local page doesn’t have social capabilities.
    If I add the Business page, what happens? I add social capabilities to my Local page?
    Do I want to do this if I already have a Page page?
    If I do, I’m going to have the problem that you’re writing about in this article. But maybe if I do as you suggested, gain the social aspect, and point everyone to the Page page.

    Thank you!

  19. Hi Mike,
    My understanding (wild educated guess?) is the reason you can’t physically merge your G+ local page (the page a local business listing in the SERP will link to) with your G+ Business (profile) page (the one that can have a custom URL based on the business name) is because your G+ Business page is a special brand page for business (see: http://www.google.com/+/business/brands/), what Google calls “Google+ For Brands.”

    Google+ For Brands is a way to promote brands w/in the overall Google+ superstructure of related G+ properties, e.g., Google Hangouts, Google+ communities.

    • @Christopher
      There are two types of “Thing” pages that a business might want to merge with their Goggle+ Local page: A brand page and a company page. Regardless of the role of a brand page, it would make total sense to be able to merge a Company Page with a Local Page in cases like this.

      I think that the issue is that there are no tools within or without of Google that allows the user to reach into the index and execute this type of merge. I would bet that at some point Google will offer such a tool.

  20. Hi Mike,

    What is the best way to set up a new Google+ Local page?
    This is for a new brick and mortar business.
    Do I create a business page from my personal gmail account?
    Or is it better to set up a new gmail account for the business?
    Such as CompanyName@gmail.com
    I want my webmaster and other managers to be able to get in and administer the account. Upload photos, etc.
    I am just confused on weather or not Google now requires it to be set up from a personal account or not.

    • @mark

      If your gmail account had never used Places before then the best set up option is via google.com/places.

      This allows you to use your gmail account and doesn’t require you to upgrade to a Google + account.

      In this dashboard (settings gear/upper right) you can add managers to the page but you will be the owner.

  21. Hi Mike,
    thank you so much for providing me the incredible information !!
    I need you input on Google+Local pages for small business.
    I need to create 377 Google+Local pages for small business for a retailer brand who own his business on many places. I claim the first 100 adresses and it works … but i discover that it is limited to 100 pages for 1 profile account.
    So i did create a new profile account to link the newt 100 pages and trouble start…
    1- Google ask me my phone number for each new page
    2- you can use the same phone number (to validate your Gmail account) only for 6 pages…

    Did you found the same pb already? Do you have any suggestions to help us please ?

    • @Mery
      Google has implemented these steps to prevent abuse at scale. Their recommended option for dealing with this many businesses is via Bulk Upload.

  22. Thank goodness I finally came across your article. I’ve had a horrid time googling my problem (exactly as you have detailed it) and getting any decent results. I have been trying to build my google+ for some time now and today when editing google places to have them create a new + account is really annoying. From what you have written this is obviously a common concern for people.
    I am unsure whether to use the transfer google+ circles and connections now available as I am concerned this will stuff up the custom url in the original page.
    Unfortunately no solution is perfect.

  23. Hey Mike,
    You stated at item #1 that “Google will automatically create a G+ Page for local for any business that has a bricks and mortar presence, as well as for individual doctors, lawyers and real estate agents at those locations.”

    Does this include manufacturing companies? In this case, I like to think of the manufacturing company as the parent company and the products they produce as the brands. The products are sold to the US and Canada. We don’t want to maintain separate pages/accounts for (5) brands on an ongoing basis.

    If I understand correctly, in this scenario, it is best to:
    1. Create a G+ for business page for the parent company
    2. Create a G+ local page (if it does not already exist) for the parent company. Have a single post on this page that points the user to the parent company G+ business page.
    3. Here is where I get a bit lost. I am not sure how to handle the brand pages.

    Can you clarify your statement that ” business can have as many other G+ Page types as they desire for their brand, events or the parent company?”

    How would I go about creating the brands under the same *umbrella* of the parent company?

    It sounds like I can create a business page (like a profile page) and then add brand pages to it. Is that correct? I thought you needed a personal profile page to which you would then add a biz page.

    I’m concerned about 5 brand pages floating around as local pages all with the same address. I don’t want to have to manage all of those. Is there a way to avoid having Google auto-create local pages for each brand?

    Our goal is to promote the product brands individually, but under the same G+ account , if possible.

    Thanks!

    • Does this include manufacturing companies?

      Yes

      We don’t want to maintain separate pages/accounts for (5) brands on an ongoing basis.

      Then don’t. There is no benefit in creating pages for the sake of creating pages. Either they are active, attract followers and have original, related content or they are not worth doing.

      Can you clarify your statement that ” business can have as many other G+ Page types as they desire for their brand, events or the parent company?”

      I am not sure how much more clear I can get here. You can create these page ad nauseum. But see above. If they are not active, lively places with conscious effort, they will sit as orphans in the plus.google.com subdirectory with no benefit to you or anyone else.

      How would I go about creating the brands under the same *umbrella* of the parent company?

      Google currently offers no way to relate or subjugate one page to another. They may at some point in the future but as of now there are no “parent-child” relationships. Each page stands on its own.

      It sounds like I can create a business page (like a profile page) and then add brand pages to it. Is that correct?
      I thought you needed a personal profile page to which you would then add a biz page.

      That is correct. A google account without a persona attached can create pages now. It is more obvious how to do so with a persona attached but it is possible to delete the persona.

      I’m concerned about 5 brand pages floating around as local pages all with the same address. I don’t want to have to manage all of those. Is there a way to avoid having Google auto-create local pages for each brand?

      You misunderstand the role of local pages and their relationship and the role of brand pages. Local pages are highly restricted and only exist for real locations and real businesses. You can only have one per location. Not per brand, per location. Google will only auto create Google + Pages for Local for businesses that it determines with trust to be at a location. It will not create them for a brand just because you add an address to a brand page.

      Bottom line
      Walk before you can run. Start with ONE page… perhaps two.

      The G+ Local Page can do everything that a company page can do in terms of content, videos, photos, followers, pluses… Why not use just that page for everything? You create brand oriented posts, videos and photos. If you circle folks that you think are interested in each brand you can then alert them to the new, brand specific content.

      Once you have that figured out then move on to a more ambition plan. But it will do everything you want.

  24. I think Google need to clear up all the mess and confusion related to Google Plus. There should be just two entities G+ profile and Page. G+ Places or G+ business page should be automatic choice depending upon information provided in about page eg: address, website, phone numbers, map marker etc.

    Even G+ custom URL and pre-approved URL are a problem. I have a G+ local page with a pre-approved url which I would like to have for my profile but there is no way I can do that or report about it.

  25. Hi Mike,

    Could you explain why there is a ‘reviews’ section in the Google+ business page and where these reviews come from? I’ve always thought that these would come from the Places page once merged. Thanks Xan

    • @Xan
      That is for reviews that have been made by the business that the page represents. If you are logged in as the business and make a review of another business they show in that tab.

  26. Hi Mike,
    This is a great post and clarifies the situation a lot for me.
    I still find Google+, Google+ Business, Google+ Local, Google Analytics, YouTube, etc… to be the most confusing group of products ever released but at least I’m a little less confused now.
    It’s as if Google intentionally try to make things difficult to understand. I’ve got to persevere though as sorting it out is very important to me.
    All the best,
    Gary

  27. THANK YOU!!! Finally a concise and straight to the point explanation of the mess that this topic is. Even the help desk at google themselves cannot (why I don’t understand) explain this to people like you have.

    I am frustrated just like everyone else with these constant changes and total lack of easy to navigate instructions, and I come from the online marketing world. I CANNOT imagine what a mom and pop shop with “normal” computer knowledge can do if we, the people who live online, can barely figure it out.

    I usually love google products, but this G+ mess is totally ridiculous!

    Thank you again!!! Priceless information.

  28. While I appreciate the explanation, there needs to a better way to remedy this hot mess of a situation. I can’t get behind any of the suggestions you gave. I hope Google figures it out soon!

    • @Jenet
      While it is good to hope that google will change the reality that we face, we still face that reality. thus one has to wake up in the morning and deal with the world as it is. While you might not agree with my suggestions… you still need to cope with the fact that you have two pages. What are you going to do?

  29. Hi Mike,

    Thank you so much for being a resource for us as we try to deal with this problem.

    This is something I have also struggled with for a while now. It was even further complicated by my G+ local page and the G+ business page being attached to different Google accounts.

    Finally got them all on the one account this week and discovered that there must at least be some connection between the G+ and G+ local pages, as the plus count for my G+ business page is now also showing on my G+ local page.

    Could this be the start of a merger between the 2 different page types or is it just that Google has noticed the association between the 2 pages and amalgamated the statistics for them.

    https://plus.google.com/+BignotemarketingAust
    https://google.com/+BignotemarketingAulocal

    Graham Apolony
    Big Note Marketing
    Promotional Calendars

    • Graham
      From what I understand from Google that is as close as the two page types will ever get. They will not merge.

  30. Mike

    What did you mean when you state “…..A business can have as many other G+ Page types as they desire for their brand, events or the parent company.”

    I start with the proposition that one local pages page per physical location. I have a verified local business page page Anthony Castelli Attorney with the castellilaw website associated with it

    I have another web site I made to niche out the social security disability part of my law practice. It is run out of the same address , after all, its just a subset of areas of law I practice in.

    I would like to create a place page and associate it with socialsecuritydisabilityassist my new web site to hopefully get some more traction in seo . How would i do this ? Would it be a brand page?

    I did not want to put correct url because I thought that would kick fliter. Thanks

    • @anthony
      There are 5 Google Plus Page types; Local, Company, Brand, Event and Other.

      You can only have one Local Page per location. But you can have as many brand, company, event or other pages as you like.

  31. Great article! What I have learned is:

    1. If you create a Google+ Brand page, then when people search that brand name in Google, the Google+ page appears on the right side of the search results (under ads).

    2. If you create a Google+ Local page, then when people search the company name, IF the person searching is within your local area, (I often manually change my location in search to test different results.) a tiny link to that Google+ Local page appears under the description of the web page being returned.

    3. If you create a Google+ Local page, then when people search for a generic service + their city name – (example: “plumber dallas”) your Google+ Local page will return if you are in that area with that keyword in your description on the about tab.

  32. Mike

    Finally! This sounds like part of my problem but I still have a question. I have created a Google business page for my business because the Local page was verified by some unknown person and now I cannot edit it because I don’t have rights. How can I find out who verified my Local page so I can take admin rights to edit it? I would get rid of the Google Business page if I had rights to the Local. Also, Google doesn’t let me edit my business listing info because it says it is a duplicate of another. I know it is but I can’t edit the original so that is why I have gone after creating a Business page that I CAN edit.

    Thanks, I hope this makes sense

  33. 1. If you create a Google+ Brand page, then when people search that brand name in Google, the Google+ page appears on the right side of the search results (under ads).

    Either a brand or a local page will show on the right side of the branded search result IF the page is strong enough regardless of whether they are in the local area. Search on “Barbara Oliver & Co Jewelry” and let me know what you see.

    • Mike, it looks like she has used her G+ local page as her only G+ presence. It was a small link under her main business listing, large entry to the right side and 2 listings further down in the search listings. Do you think her reviews are counting for anything in the G+ world? They certainly highlight the listing.

      • I think the reviews play a role in local ranking. Whether they play a role the display of the knowledge panel is a great question. I have no idea. They certainly though add lots of credibility.

  34. @Spencer
    You need to contact Google support and ask their assistance in locating the other account that has claimed the listing. It is probably someone within your organization or it was done long ago on a forgotten email account.

    You can send them a form from this URL https://support.google.com/business/troubleshooter/3561373?p=marked_duplicate&id=16534315934689092935&rd=1#ts=3452765,3452770
    or you can have them call you back during US working hours.

    However before you do, you want to be sure that you can demonstrate that your current Google account controls the listing. The best ways to do that are 1)Register the website with webmaster tools using your current G+ Login email and 2)Place the current G+ login email on the website someplace.

    Depending on when the last time the other claimant touched the record support might either offer to email them, possibly give you a clue about their email address or if you are lucky allow you to claim the listing.

  35. Blimey Mike that’s a dedicated stream of responses! Fair play to you.

    I ran into this problem today and the answers you have supplied since the article was written are very very helpful. In particular your answer to Amy about the balance between local and national marketing put a cap on a quandary I’ve had for a few weeks now with one client!

    It’s above and beyond the call of duty this blog so thanks again!

    • @Ray
      I am beginning to revise my view on the brand page. If you have but one location and your current brand page has little to no visibility you can do everything you want with the local page both locally and nationally.

  36. Great article which helped me articulate the problems to a client, I’ve had no end of problems with G+ local pages, I’d be happy if I never saw one again.

  37. Hi Mike,

    First of all, brilliant article! But I’m so frustrated and confused as to what on earth Google was thinking about all these various pages!

    I have to create 3 listings for 3 different businesses which are local. So, here is what I’ve done so far:

    1) created a Google Log in
    2) created a Google+ page
    3) created a Google listing….
    4) And NOW there’s another Google+ page!

    Which do I delete because the first page is linked to the Business YouTube account/profile. So if I delete the first one, the YouTube link will break.

    (Can you see how confused I am?)

    These are the accounts I keep reading about:
    1) Google+ Page
    2) Google+ for business
    3) Google+ for Local
    4) Google Local Listing

    Which ones do I need and which ones can I delete?

    Help would be more than appreciated! :)

    Thanks from a more than confused and flustered Sarina…

    • NEVER MIND! :) I’ve just read through all the comments…..I’m going to grab myself a cup of tea and still down and study Google……yay

  38. Dear Mike,
    First of all, thank you so much for this article. I ran into problems with G+ when I only found out recently that we had another “local” page and the Google support was of no help to clarify the issue, only to say that we should maintain our local page.

    I’ve “inherited” these company pages so i’ve no idea how these pages were created. But am I correct to say that:

    (A) https://plus.google.com/b/111564202657772145185/111564202657772145185/ is our Company Page?
    and
    (B) https://plus.google.com/b/112346811472866570677/112346811472866570677/ is our Local Business Page?

    And given that the nature of our business is online, not a brick and mortar, it would make sense in this case to focus on (A) and direct (B) visitors to (A) instead?

    Thanks!

    (FYI, I’ve done a search with our company name on google.com and google.com.sg and find that only in google.com.sg do our posts from (A) – the non-G+ local page appear, but no other listings show up in SERPS on google.com… which really doesn’t answer the question how a local page is advantageous in a localized search engine…)

    • Hi Mike

      Thanks for this. Truly appreciate your advice.

      When I type the company name without “pte ltd”, I get a different result with a recent post from the brand page showing in Google.com.sg

      Unfortunately, this doesn’t seem to make the decision any easier.

      • Are you searching logged out and using incognito mode? Otherwise you are seeing personalized results.

        • Hi Mike

          Yes, I was previously logged in, however I just tested (1) logged out, (2) incognito while logged out, (3) different browser while logged out. I still get the same results: Typing without pte ltd, shows me recent post from brand page on google.com.sg, and nothing on google.com

  39. @Let
    When starting at zero both the G+ page for Local and the G+ Page for Company are equal. They both have an equal chance of showing. However because you have been in business for a while Google knows more about you as Local entity and thus your G+Page for Local has accrued “strength” just by virtue of you having been in business and Google seeing that information around the web.

    When I do a brand search on Google.com I see your G+ Page for Local. See this screen shot.

    When I do a brand search at Google.com.sg. See this screen shot.

    So even though a company/brand page in theory can be equal, at this point in time your G+ Page for local shows on branded searches worldwide.

    Given that the two pages function the same, I see little value in your case to the brand page at this point in time as the local page is more visible.

    Also if you asked international or national clients for reviews they would show up on your brand searches on the front page of Google (which is where you are more likely to be seen).

    Obviously it is up to you and in the end you might be able to get the brand page to show on the front page of Google, but from where I sit, I would focus on your G+Page for Local because you will have higher visibility sooner.

  40. “Unfortunately, because of Google’s slooow merger of Places and Plus,” Let me add a few more “o’s” to your sloooooooooow merger. Thank you for this. I thought it was just me not being able to figure it out. Confusing is a mild understatement. Either it will get worked out with time, or just more confusing and less user friendly. Hopefully it will be the former and not the latter.

    • @Amy
      Once this transition and the next are out of the way, there should be (relatively) smooth sailing.

  41. Hi Mike

    Yes, I was previously logged in, however I just tested logged out, incognito, different browser while logged out. I still get the same results: Typing without pte ltd, shows me recent post from brand page on google.com.sg, and nothing on google.com

  42. Hi Mike,

    For several months I keep referring back here and checking the comments to see if there has been any breakthroughs, you’ve certainly become the authority on the subject!

    I’m thinking about taking some of your advise and deleting my Google+ Business and instead moving forward with my Google+ Local page, the question I have now though is like many others I created a vanity URL for the G+ Business page before the switch from Places to Local. If I delete my G+ Business page will that URL be released so I can reclaim it for my G+ Local page? I’ve searched a bit and can’t find a definitive answer.

    • @Rocket
      From what I understand, if you delete the original page the URL will return to the pool and might be offered to you again at some point in the future. But remember that it is an automated system and there is no guarantee.

      That being said I think you can rethink the role of the custom URL and come up with a better solution that is truly custom.

      What Google offers isn’t really a customer URL. Its an assigned URL with text as an alternative to a numeric URL.

      Well, with most hosts it is a trivial task to set up a vanity URL that redirects to your Plus page that will do the same thing and do it perhaps more elegantly and with more control.

      For example you could create a page like localu.org/plus that redirects to https://plus.google.com/101072835690372771891/posts and another localu.org/reviews that goes to https://plus.google.com/101072835690372771891/about?hl=en&gl=us&review=1

      This strategy would give you complete control over the URL and you could form it exactly the way that you want without waiting for the Google Gods to do something or not.

      Then when you hand these out you are reinforcing YOUR brand equity rather than Googles. They don’t need any more branding visibility. :)

      • Hi Mike, thanks for writing this post and sharing further details on comments. They are really helpful and I think keep 2 G+ Page would be a nice option for both Local page for Maps and brand page for international activities.

        • Mike Blumenthal April 22, 2014 at 6:31 am

          @Adnan
          Yes, assuming that you have enough resources to promote both. And can succeed at both. I don’t think most businesses do but some do. Certainly every business needs to make that assessment. There is nothing that keeps a local page from showing internationally.

  43. @Let
    There is no right, single answer here. If your brand page is more visible and that is the one that you want to highlight that is fine.

    I am suggesting that you need to pick whichever choices
    1)most highlights your visibility
    and
    2)Is manageable as an activity.

    I lean towards the local page in many situations but not all.

  44. Mike,
    Google has become an irrepressible and irresponsible giant. They created the problem and now send me threatening email that say I have two owners of my business and that is against the rules and in the future no one will be able to see my page. BUT, they don’t bother to tell me what to do about it. I do have two pages, but can’t tell which one is Google Business and which one is Google Local. The one I want to keep is the one that my customers have written reviews on … but my business is national, not local, so I want to be sure that it is visible nationally … with the reviews.

    What good is Google if they keep messing with us, changing the rules, dumping stuff onto the internet themselves, sending us threats, refuse to let us manage our own pages in a way that is helpful and continue to be so non-responsive.

    They’ve gotten too big and don’t give a rip. There has to be some way to fix this.

    Dave

    • Dave
      I can’t defend Google’s lack of proper communication but what they are saying is that the local listing has been verified twice, perhaps in the same account and perhaps in different accounts. They are attempting to resolve a listing management issued caused by having verified the listing twice.

      If they both show up in your Places dashboard (google.com/places), one verified and one not, then you should be able to easily delete one of the local listings from there.

      If they are in different dashboards then you need to figure out where the other one is so that you can continue to manage it.

      Your G+ Page for a company or brand is irrelevant to this discussion.

      What is relevant though is whether you actually do business locally. If you do no business locally then you are not eligible under their guidelines for a local page.

  45. Hi Mike

    Thanks for the great information. Based on it, I decided it makes sense for our school to use our local Google+ page.

    However there is one complication. Our YouTube channel is linked to our original Google+ company page. From what I read here “Connected to wrong Google+ profile or page” (https://support.google.com/youtube/answer/3056283?hl=en&ref_topic=4628105), I can’t change the link myself and I have to submit a form form to Google to change the link. Also if it seems that if I delete the Google+ page it will delete the YouTube channel. Its this all correct?

  46. I live in brazil and I’m having a very annoying problem, since the Google Plus Local lets me verify my adress, all done. And the Google Plus Business lets me verify my website. I cant do both in any of them. Bottom line is that I have to maintain both pages and spread my viewer as they found me on Google, since I have 2 places with the same information, basically. I wish this was a no brainer, but its not.

    • Mike Blumenthal May 7, 2014 at 9:08 am Reply

      You can do both with your verified local listing. If you do rel=publ to your local
      Page it will verify both.

  47. Hi Mike,

    Thanks for posting this thread, it’s very informative.

    I’m in the same position as many of the people who have already posted, in that my company has a Google Places page as well as a Google Plus page, and I’m finding it impossible to merge the two as they are both verified.

    I was wondering if you knew of any process whatsoever that the two can be merged at the moment, or if not, is there definitely anything forthcoming from Google that might resolve the issue?

    • Mike Blumenthal May 9, 2014 at 10:53 pm Reply

      @Matt
      If they are both the same type (IE verified local) then contact support and they will create a single listing. If they are different types then they can’t be merged.

  48. Hey Mike. I have a fun client issue I’m struggling to make a call on. Maybe you can help. The client is a physician, and has an active, verified Google+ Local listing. However, the custom URL contains the name of her former practice. I spent a half hour on the phone with Google+ Local help, and sadly they don’t seem to have a way to change the URL so it’s just the physician’s name (so it won’t matter WHAT practice she’s with going forward). They offered a few potential options, all less than stellar.

    1. Deal with it – confuse potential customers with the incorrect business name.
    2. Delete it and create a new one – losing time/visibility in the interim.
    3. Create a new one and attempt to merge them – no guarantee that the correct, untainted URL will become the default.

    Thoughts?

    • Mike Blumenthal May 14, 2014 at 1:29 pm Reply

      @Heather
      Google asked if you can send me the link to the page/doctor that’s in this predicament?

  49. I’ve gotta say, Mike, this is the MOST informative and helpful info on this issue I’ve come across… having spent the whoooooooole day trying to make sense of WHY I have 2 pages in the first place!!

    I recently verified a local places registration with Google Maps (for Breede River Hospice in Robertson – where I work)… having (partly) set-up a G+ page for them a few months previously. Only yesterday, I suddenly discovered there were 2… while setting up our YouTube channel, to boot! (Boy, did that make it all the more puzzling!)

    I’ve been racking my brains all day to try and work out how it came about… and which one’s best to keep and develop.

    Your recommendation to keep them both, while focussing on the local places one is absolutely the answer and confirmation I was looking for.

    Thank you so much!!

  50. Thanks so much for clarifying this oh so confusing issue. I’ve been researching and researching, trying to figure this out and finally stumbled upon your post. Thanks again!

  51. Hi Mike!
    Thank you so much for this article. This local+ page has really frustrated me and I almost deleted it today. I am glad I read your article though and will now do one post on my “new” local Google+ page and send people to my already established Google+ page.

  52. Hey Mike,

    Thanks for sharing these tips. You have no idea how much this means to me. No seriously! I recently joined a tech company and they have a weird issue with google products. Let me give you a brief background first:

    Let’s say there are 3 Emails for the company – ContactEmail, OwnerEmail, CompanyEmail

    With the OwnerEmail – the owner created a Google+ Page1 (not Local)
    With the ContactEmail – the administrator created a duplicate Google+ Page2 (not Local). Then created a Youtube account linked with this page.
    With the CompanyEmail – another administrator created a Google+ Local Place & a Google+ Local Page

    Some more points to note : The company did a clean up activity

    1. Google+ Page1 from the OwnerEmail is the primary page with most of the activity. It has max. number of followers and all the updates. This was not deleted but Ownership transferred between the OwnerEmail & ContactEmail.

    2. Google+ Page2 from the ContactEmail was not deleted since the primary Youtube account was linked to it. Under the Pages section of this account, you can see 2 Pages – Page1 & Page2.

    3. Google+ Local Page & the Google Local Listing with the third CompanyEmail account was deleted.

    As a result, the knowledge graph that used to display Google Local Listing & probably the Google+ Local Page disappeared from the search results.

    Business Goals :

    1. We want to keep using the ContactEmail as the only profile since it is the manager of our Google+ Page1 (with followers) and its the owner of Google+Page2 (with the Youtube account).

    2. We want to revive the knowledge graph with the Google+Page1 details.

    Questions:

    1. When I try to create a Local Place listing with ContactEmail, it’s creating another Google+PageLOCAL. Is there a way to have a Local Listing created with an existing page?

    2. Is there a way to link the YouTube account’s ownership to Google+Page1 ?

    3. What do you recommend to be done in the scenario above?

    In my opinion I think what business is trying to achieve here is not possible with the current features we have. I think will only have to create a Local Listing and live with the 3rd Google+PageLOCAL on the ContactEmail. And still keep posting on the Google+Page1 for our followers & Google+Page2 for youtube.

    But I still want to confirm if I am going wrong somewhere. All help appreciated.

    Apologies for such a long message.

    – MC

  53. Mike Blumenthal May 29, 2014 at 5:19 am Reply

    1- There is no way to turn an existing page into a Local Page. When you verify the local listing it will auto create a G+ Page for local and there is nothing that can be done about that.

    2- Yes You should be able to contact YouTube Support and ask that they assist with disconnecting the Google+ Page from the YouTube Channel, and connecting it with either the Google+ Local Page or the Google Plus Brand page.

    Get help with your Google Identity on YouTube
    https://support.google.com/youtube/contact/ytgplus

    A- I would verify the G+ Page for local using which email address you decide is primary.
    B- I would add the other emails to each page as a manager
    C – Once the YouTube channel is transferred to your preferred page I would delete Page2.
    D- Going forward you would then have two pages – Page1 and the Local Page each with the approrpriate owner and the other emails as managers. You could then always decide to transfer ownership to one of the other emails if needed

    As to how you continue to manage these two pages is up to you and your market and your desire for exposure.

  54. Hey Mike, great article.
    I was curious if you could help me simplify my personal scenario. I am joining a oral surgery practice next month. I have been assigned to update the social network presence.

    The oral surgery practice is merging with another practice. One doc has two office locations. The other doctor has one location.

    We have not done anything on google + (pages,local, etc.)
    Wer mainly market to the local region, we will be having one website and three phone numbers.

    Would it be best to manage the google local page that has already been made by google ?
    Does this mean I have to manage three seperate local pages per office location? Can I do all three pages under my personal email account and switch easily between them?

    From our one website which google+ page do we link to? There is not one ‘main’ office.
    Thanks, I don’t want to do anything that would confuse the search engines or patients before making sure my moves are acceptable.

    • @Ben

      The various pages can exist under one login. And can be managed from that email. I would suggest though that you think about using a more permanent email than your personal email. Pick an email associated with the practice and add yourself as a manager. Then they will always be able to access the account whether you are there or not.

      No matter how you cut it, it will be complicated. Google will create auotmatically one local listing per location and probably one per practitioner. Your first step needs to see what currently exists in their local index.

      Then you need to report any dupes and you should verify those that are relevant (I prefer doing so from Google.com/places as the interface is more efficient and it goes to the same place). They will each create a Plus page.

      I would associate either the homepage or the local landing page to each of the local pages verified.

      Because you will have multiple locations and practitioner pages it may make sense to create one brand page as well for your social presence.

  55. Same thing happened for our business.

    Originally I created a Google+ Page
    Then when I added Google Places, it created another Page
    Now Google My Business may have auto created a third Page? Very confusing.

    Now I feel like I’ve lost track. Is there any way to find out how many Google+ pages there are set up for our business?

  56. One of the most useful ‘explainer’ pages I’ve read in a long while. Many thanks, Mike!

  57. Hi Mike

    To start off, I am pretty new at all this and am still trying to get a hang of a number of terms beings used here.
    My questions might be pretty simple for you but they have been bothering me for quite some time now.
    1. I have certain clients who have a number of different physical locations for their business but a single website. Should I make separate local pages for all those addresses or do brand pages allow a business to have multiple addresses and one website. Do brand pages show up in local business searches or not
    2. A number of my clients had old local pages which I have claimed. However, before claiming those pages, my clients had already had their Google business pages made. Now two pages exist for the same client with different address details (one being invalid address, but both have their own pros and cons) Can I merge these two pages or do I have to select which one to manage and which one to delete.
    3. Can the reviews of one Google business listing be transferred to another listing, managed from the same account (ie have access to both listings from same account)
    4. A number of my clients have a single business location but different websites. Can more than one website be added to a Google business page and is vice versa possible?

    Thanks in advance for your help

    • 1- google will create on the businesses behalf and expects you to manage on Page per location. A brand page will NOT show up in local searches.
      2- the hard and fast google rule is one page per real location. You have to manage one and delete any dupes or fake addresses. You can merge pages.
      3- reviews can only be moved for a business that has relocated.
      4-only 1 website per local page is supported.

      • Mike,

        Thanks for all your help! I do want to ask how to merge pages as i have tried but its not happening
        I tried merging a brand page with a local page and vice versa, and a local page with another local page. It would only allow me to merge a verified local page with a youtube created profile. In another scenario, i have a client and i tried merging his brand page with his google location. In the settings tab, it wasn’t showing me the option at all.

        • Mike Blumenthal August 27, 2014 at 12:55 am

          @sarah
          Merging only works when the account holder is the owner of both pages. If they are the manager of one or the other it will not work.

  58. @Mike
    the variable you defined of being an owner is controlled, but its not happening for that either. I am extremely obliged to you for all your help that you are giving.

  59. Help! I don’t know how I did this but I have about 5 different Google plus accts and /or google plus pages. It seems that I can only start a hangout on air from my one google plus page and not my google plus acct. Then when I searched my name, I discovered another page that I had created some time ago. What can I do to clean this all up?? I have two gmail accounts as well. I am a mess! Plz help!

  60. Hi Mike,

    So, to be clear, if we delete a Google Plus page, the local page will stay in tact? We’re a little afraid of deleting a Plus page and having both removed.

    Thank you in advance.

    Cheers,
    Adam

    • Adam

      I am not totally sure what your situation is.

      You have a brand page and a local page? Just a local page?

      Some other combo?

  61. Hi Mike

    I have a small company,I added my company location to Google maps in my country and A page was automatically created I manage that page .
    My company also started an office at another country, I filled out the new location details using this Google my business locations

    https://www.google.com/local/manage/#/list

    But I can’t get verified because

    “You currently have fewer than 10 locations. My Business Locations is designed for managing 10 or more locations. If you manage fewer, use My Business.”

    So i went there now it say i have to start a new page .

    My question is How to show my same company at 2 location/places ie My country and the other country on Google Maps when me/people/others Search for my company

    My Company location is shown only at one place How to fix this ?
    Should I start a new page for second company location ?

    Thanks in Avance
    Cheers
    Amruth

  62. Google requires that you have one page per each location.

    Thus they are asking you to goto google.com/mybusiness and create a new page to be verified for the additional location.

    Currently there is no ability for a page to represent more than one location.

  63. Good morning Mike great post. I am helping a friend with their local seo and it is to my understanding that even an unclaimed google + places for business is considered a duplicate?

    • @emmanuel
      A duplicate is a duplicate. Yes. It is not that Google might punish you but that if the Google machine that assembles listings creates two listings for one location then it means that there is a problem, probably upstream, that leads to a dilution of strength of the listing thus minimizing the chances of ranking.

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