This post is designed to help you sort confusion caused by recent actions from Google and improve using new Google+ Local profile.
To achieve that we'll go through two important steps: 1) creating and maintaining a proper Google+ Local profile, AND 2) gaining and facilitating customer reviews on Google+ Local profile. But before we go into it, let's discuss the confusion element
Resolving The Confusion
Recently Google has turned all Google Places into Google+ Local properties. Here's a good post detailing the move. The move was a strategic way of moving things under the Google+ umbrella. However, this automatic action has created a problem for Google Places holders. Right now we look at two different properties for a single business: Google+ Local (formerly known as Google Places) AND Google+ Business Page.
In short, at this point there are two completely separate page types: Google+ Business Page AND Google+ Local. The issue is that they serve a very similar purpose but are two different Google products. Google+ Local (formerly known as Google Places) is the only page type that allows reviews. Now Google is working on a way to combine the two page types due to their similar purposes. They will eventually get it but there's no estimate as of when.
Here's a good post on clarifying the confusion between the two pages. Please note that the solution the author offers here (link to form to merge the two is no longer working) no longer works. However what you can do is to submit your email on Google's list. This will ensure that once Google finds a proper solution to the issue of having two listings for a single business you will be the first to know.
Creating A Google+ Local Profile
If you've already had Google Plus listing, check how it looks now by:
- Going to Maps.google.com
- Search for your business
- Click on "more info" for your listing
- Google brings you to your new Google+ Local page
You can edit this listing by logging into your Google Places profile here: http://www.google.com/places/. Changes will take effect in your Google+ Local listing.
If you haven't had a Google Places listing before, then it's recommended you create one here. Make sure you complete all required information. Here's another way of creating the Google+ Local page from Google+ Business page interface provided by Google themselves. After you've done that, use these instructions from Google to edit your Google+ Local listing.
Here's a few good posts on how to ensure your Google+ Local listing performs well:
- Great guide on how to ensure your Google+ Local listing performs well by Local SEO expert David Mihm
- Great read on 9 ways to improve your Google+ Local by Tabita Green here at SEP blog.
- A very similar post in nature to this post, which is also a great accompanying read by Susan Walsh here at SEP blog.
Simplifying "Getting The Reviews" Step
One of the most significant things you can do to improve your listing and rankings is getting native (true) customer reviews. Once your listing is created and verified make sure you ask your most raving fans to create a short review of your business on Google+ Local.
Based on my experience, it can be sometimes tricky for customers to leave a review. So, I created a short deck helping them do just that. Feel free to use and repurpose it for your business.
If you liked this, you'll love 9 Easy Ways to Improve Local Search Rankings