Jun 052012

A few days ago, after the new Google+ Pages were announced I wrote about what had changed, and what was going to change entirely based on what I was seeing in the example listings provided. Additionally, Google was hinting that “more is going to come”. Today, there is a clear evidence for this. The new “Local Google+ Pages” help files were added to the Google+ Help Center and are available for everyone. Here are some of the answers to questions many were asking about:

Creating a Local Google+ Page 

Note that this slightly differs from the process of creating a Google+ Business Page, but very similar to the process of creating/claiming a Google Places page.

Verification of a Local Google+ Page

Over the coming months, we’ll start rolling out the ability to verify the local Google+ page that has been upgraded from your Google Places for Business listing. Verifying this upgraded Google+ page gives your business a new home online, where you can connect with customers, engage your following, and develop your brand. And you’ll get access to all the great features of Google+, like Circles, Hangouts, and +1s.

Statistics for a Local Google+ Page

You’ll still be able to use Google Places for Business now that your local listing has been upgraded to Google+ local.

You may notice some changes in the statistics that appear in Google Places for Business.

While Google Places for Business will still display traffic statistics, these numbers will represent traffic to your new Google+ page. There may be an increase or decrease in the traffic statistics because of changes to how we’re collecting and reporting data. The actual amount of traffic to your Google+ page may not be changing, so you don’t have to worry about customers not finding your page.

Local Google+ Pages for Service-Based Businesses

If you’re a service area business and have hidden your address in Google Places for Business, your address is already hidden on the local Google+ page for your business as well. Once we roll out the ability to verify your upgraded local Google+ page, doing so will respect that selection to hide your address.

Responding to Reviews

You’ll still be able to publicly respond to reviews, and now you can respond directly from your local Google+ page. Just click Respond below the review you’d like to respond to.

Once you’re able to verify your upgraded local Google+ page, you can try out new features.

Additional Terms for Google+ Page Owners

…If we find in our discretion that you’ve violated any of these responsibilities, we reserve the right to take the appropriate action. This means that in addition to the actions listed in the Google+ Pages Additional Terms, we may also de-verify your page or switch the verification status to another page.

…we may not choose to display your content, may choose to show only an edited version of your content, or may choose to show content from an alternate source in place of your content.

Everything leads to the logical conclusion that the only thing left from Google Places in the near future will be the business data provided by the owner, plus the owner verification which will probably be “transferred” or “merged” with the owner verification of a Google+ Page. The Google Places dashboard is probably going to stay a little longer, but will eventually be replaced by a Google+ Local dashboard, which will allow for multiple owners/managers and multilevel ownership, getting notifications when someone adds the page to their circle, comment, +1, or even when someone writes a review, adding customers, your team, business partners, to different circles and sharing different content with them, link your page and website directly. All of these are functions that were unavailable with the Google Places pages and something a lot of people were asking for ever since the Local Business Center existed. What I am most interested in is how statistics will be improved. Currently, they are so bad that it is hard to get worse. Some Ripples and direct Analytics integration would be very valuable for every business owner, so let’s hope this is coming up.

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