Written for the Occupancy Marketing blog

The past year or so has been a busy time for Google, who have been refocusing their business strategy to move into the lucrative social space. As part of this change, Google has created their own social network (Google Plus), part of which allows businesses to create business pages through Business Google+. Another aspect of the launch was to merge the old Google Places product with Google Plus, renaming it Local Google+, which now appears in search results (containing all existing user reviews and a new rating system).

Key Differences Explained

– Business Google+ – This is Google’s version of Facebook pages which allows posting of news items and allows users to follow the business via their Google+ account.
– Local Google+ – This is the new version of the old Google Places, containing contact information, photos, videos, map, user reviews.

The key here is it brings customer engagement into one place. Google Places had a relatively low take up in terms of reviews, but it’s likely Google+ will have much more, but importantly it’s in the same place as your news posts, so customers are more likely to engage with your business by interacting with your content or following your page.

Merging the pages

Google has announced this week that it is possible to merge Business Google+ and Local Google+ pages into a single page, via a relatively simple verification process. This will ensure that both pages are kept under the same profile.

Why is this important?

Google Places listings have been important for a while now, as these allow us to promote your business for relevant search terms and as +local will be replacing Google Places, we should merge to the new system as soon as possible. Doing so brings several benefits:

– Continued exposure for key search terms.
– A new channel to engage with your customers.
– Google can use this system to identify fake reviews and reward genuine reviews.
– Google+ is a significant step into social media marketing for Google and as such it’s important to embrace this change as it may factor into search rankings at a later date.

The next step

Right now you may have separate Business Google+ and Local Google+ accounts – Occupancy Marketing can carry out the merger verification process for you to ensure that all of your user reviews and latest news are in the one place.

– If Occupancy Marketing manage your existing Google Places and Google Plus accounts, then you don’t need to do anything – we can handle it all for you!
– If you use a staff member or another agency to manage your Google Plus account (for social media activities), then your account manager can discuss the options with you.