*Update: As of April 2, 2019, Google+ will no longer exist. Learn more.
We’ve talked about the importance of businesses having a presence on Google Local for quite some time. When Google+ came on the scene, many people scrambled to set up their profiles, while waiting and wondering what it would mean for business. The next thing Google added was Google+ Business pages, similar to Facebook Fan Pages.
Last month Google announced a union between Google+ and local listings, leaving many people wondering what will happen with Google Places, the tool we’ve all used to create and update local listings for years.
We’ve fielded some questions that I’ll share with you and the answers I’ve found, so that I can hopefully save you some time, headache and worry.
Is Google Places going away?
According to WebProNews and a great article they wrote explaining the Google local changes, ““Google Places for Business remains the place business owners should go to manage their local listing. Over the coming months, we (Google) will enable easier management of a business’ presence across Google, whether a business owner is posting on his local Google+ page or updating his local listing. A single page through which businesses can manage their online presence is a top priority, and we’re committed to ensuring business owners have a clear voice in how their business is represented on Google, via Google+.”
Do I have to have a Google+ account?
While Google would love for you to create a Google+ account and/or start to conduct business using this new tool, you currently do not seem to be required to create an account. However, those who do not have a Google Local Listing in a Google Places account should set up their new listings using the newer tools and features, as it seems logical that Google is moving in that direction.
Can I opt to merge my Google Places with my Google+ account?
From what I can tell, those who had Google Local Listing via the well-known Google Places format, Google has started displaying many of those listings within a new Google+ Local format. However, your log-in to edit your listing can still be done via Google Places as before. You will be prompted to log-in via Google+, which you can do. However, if your email/accounts are different for Google+ and Google Places, there doesn’t appear to be a way to merge them right now. They’ll remain separate at this time.
Is a Google+ Local listing and a Google+ Business Page the same thing?
No, they are two different things. As of right now, you can have both. I suspect Google may eventually merge the two, but think of a Google+ Business Page as similar to a Facebook Fan page. A Google+ Local Listings page is the equivalent of what we’ve all known, and used as a Google Business Local Listings that pops up in Google maps and searches.