Following a recent survey, it has been found that around 20 percent of Google searches are performed when looking for local services. One year ago SEO software firm SEOmoz did some eye-tracking case studies on Google’s SERP (search engine results page). The results show that users heavily gravitate toward any of the Places’ listings. The heat map above shows the activity around a Google search for “pizza.”
Great News for the Local side of SEO
Earlier this summer we were all introduced to Google+ Local Pages, a new way for users to share and discover local businesses using Google’s social network. These new profile pages were created to replace existing Google Place Pages and added a host of new features by integrating directly into Google+.
However, many business owners also had a Google+ Business Page. With no way to merge them, it meant they now had two different Google+ profiles to monitor and update. But fortunately, now we can merge the two profiles. On August 3, 2012 it was announced that the process for integrating your Google+ Local page with the social Google+ Business page is officially live.
How to Merge Your Google+ Local and Google+ Business Pages
When you combine the page you created in Google+ with the page in Google+ Local (formerly Places listing), your business’ presence across Google Search, Google Maps, and Google+ will be unified. You will be able to manage this page from Google+ Pages admin.
To merge your pages, simply click the Verify Now button on the right side of your Google+ Local page. Hmm . . . sounds easy, huh? Well, I’m here to tell you that there are a few things you need to know about the merge:
- Even if you are currently a verified business owner on Google Places for Business, you will still have to go through the postcard verification process again when you merge your two profiles.
- In order to merge your Google+ Business page, the page has to be listed in the local business/place category. If you set yourself up as a brand page, you can’t merge it.
- If you only have a Google+ Local Page (previously a Google Place Page) you won’t be able to take advantage of the upgraded experience. You need to have both a Local page and a Google+ Business page. So if you want to upgrade to take advantage of the new features, you’ll need to create a Business page first.
So, assuming you set up your Google+ Business page properly and you also have a Local page, the option to merge and verify is now available. Happy merging!