A change came quietly to Google Plus this week that may impact the visibility and content of Google Plus pages for local businesses.
Late last summer, we wrote about merging or verifying Google Plus pages with Google Local listings. Now, verification is required on all local business pages on Google Plus. If you set up a Google Plus page as a local business (meaning you business has a local address where you conduct business) and you haven’t yet verified your page and merged it with your Google local listing, this change will affect your page. Fruition recommends that you complete the verification process immediately to avoid the consequences, which range from missing profile information to removal of your Google Plus page from visibility on Google.
At Fruition, we help many of our clients set up and maintain Google Plus pages for their local businesses. When the option became available, we completed the page verification process for many of our clients, but waited to verify and merge some of them with their local listings. This was often the case for businesses that had multiple locations or were planning to change locations in the near future. As part of our maintenance process for Google Plus (and other social media accounts), we check on each profile daily, monitoring the accounts for interactions and conversation – but this week we noticed that something was a little off on a few of our clients’ Google Plus business pages.
In some cases, information was missing or incorrect. Phone numbers had mysteriously disappeared, and business addresses had vanished from where they are usually listed under the map location on the profiles. Yikes!
We also noticed a blue bar that informed us that we would not be able to change any business information on the profile until we had verified the page and confirmed that it was created by a business representative at the listed address. A new blue button had appeared in place of the “Edit Profile” option on the page urging us to “Edit Business Information.”
When clicked, we were able to visit a page to edit information for the company, but were informed that none of our edits would be published to the page until the page was verified. This includes edits to the business name, phone numbers and other contact information, the business address, and links to outside sites, such as blogs or other social profiles. Unverified pages are still allowed to create updates and interact with followers, but profile edits are essentially disabled.
In one case, the unverified Google Plus page listing was removed from Google due to invalid or missing information. The verification process could not be completed until we had submitted an appeal to Google and reinstated the page.
To avoid a similar situation, we recommend verifying your Google Plus business page as soon as possible – in addition to maintaining editing rights on your profile, you’ll be assured that all your company’s valuable information remains intact and accurate. Plus, verifying your business page and merging it with your local listing allows visitors to easily view and read your reviews, and will provide more detailed and thorough information for users who find your business on Google Local listings.
Luckily, it’s a simple process:
- Log in to your Google Plus account and access your business page.
- At the top of the page, next to the page title, there will be an “Unverified” link. If you hover over this link, a “Verify Now” button will pop up. You can also get to the “Verify Now” button directly under the profile picture and map listing under the “Is This Your Business?” heading. Or click the “Edit Business Information” button – there will be a link to verify your business at the top f this page.
- Click the button/link. It will bring up the Google Places listings that match your page. If you have not claimed your Local listing, it may not show up.
- Select the Places listing you want to merge with your business page. You can also select “None of the above” if the Places listing is not showing up, and you can verify your page, thereby adding Places functions to the business page for the business.
- Click “Continue”.
- Enter the your name in the available form field.
- You will receive a postcard in the mail with a PIN number in approximately one week.
- Follow the link on the post card. Enter the PIN number and the business page will be verified: merged with the Google Places listing.
- Or, you may finish the verification process by clicking the “Enter PIN” button where the “Verify Now” button used to display.
Once your page is verified, you’ll be the proud owner of a little checkmark icon to the right of your business’ name. Plus, all your business information will be displayed accurately – which, for any business trying to get found online, is a pretty big deal.
Need help verifying your business page, or setting up your local business’ page on Google Plus? Fruition’s social media team is here to help! Contact us today.
Post By Sara Villegas