With our new Google+ integration, we’ve noticed that there’s a lot of struggle to understand the difference between Google+ Local Pages and Google’s Places for Business offering. While the two are related products, they have very different impacts on integration with Yext. It’s important to understand what each one is, how they differ, and what Yext can and cannot do with each one.
Google Places for Business was the way to submit a listing to Google Maps. First, you provided your local data: name, address, phone number. Once this information was in, you could go through a verification process and gain enhanced content, such as offers, photos, and videos.
In May 2013, these features were removed and Google Places for Business customers who wanted to include any social content (including photos, videos, posts, etc) had to upgrade their Places for Business listing into a Google+ Local Page.
Pictured above is a close-up of the dashboard for Places for Business. As you can see, the business is verified (marked by the checkmark) and has a primary function of listings management. The dashboard made it very easy to update one’s NAP information as well as monitor reviews and sign up for AdWords for your business.
Above is a close-up of an example Pages for Business listing. As you can see, there is no marker by the business name indicating if it is verified or not. In addition, there are only two “tabs” present below the NAP information: About and Photos. The main image on the page is a map with a pin locating the business. You have the option to “+1″ the page, but not to “Follow” it. Finally, the circular profile image is one of the images uploaded to the page, not one chosen by the business.
Finally, even if your business is verified in the Places dashboard, you will see a prompt to claim/verify your public Places listing on the page itself. Clicking on this will take you through a administration request walkthrough by Google.
Google+ Local Pages are a Google+ native way of listing businesses. Google+ Local Pages are search-indexed and appear in searches for locations on Google Maps. They include the name, address, and phone number of the business, as well as interactive content such as social posts, images, videos, and reviews.
These pages include extra features such as the ability to start hangouts with your followers, customizing your business’s blurb, and editing your listing information. Verifying your Google+ Local Page opens you up to receiving analytics and online traffic data, as allows you to be found in search and on maps.
The dashboard pictured above also includes a walkthrough to verify your Google+ Local Page. Just as with Google Places for Business, verification involves Google mailing you a postcard containing a PIN you have to input into your dashboard, or your business’s phone number receiving a call which will give you the PIN, confirming your business location. Note that Google+ Local Pages require an address, meaning that mobile businesses (e.g. maid services, handymen, food trucks, etc.) who opt to hide their addresses will likely not want to upgrade their Places for Business listing to a Google+ Local Page.
Above is a close-up of a Google+ Local Page. An arrow points out that there is a small check-mark to the bottom-right of the round user image for the page, indicating the account has been verified (and is search-discoverable) by the business. Furthermore, there are four tabs: About, Posts, Photos, and Videos. Posts include text-only and photo+text types. Users can +1 posts as well as comment on them. Users also have the option of marking a Local Page +1 or of opting to follow it in their “Circles”. The circular profile image was uploaded by the business itself, and the header image is customized as well. This pushes the map into the Contact Info bloc below the NAP information.
While the differences can seem minute and myriad, this chart from Google succinctly sums up what the main differences are between the two.
1 Note that the column “local listing” refers to a listing made/managed in Places for Business.
2 “Unverified Local Google+ page” is any local page made through the Google+ Dashboard that has not yet completed the verification (postcard/phonecall) PIN input.
If you follow the Social flow introduction, you will be prompted for your Google+ credentials. Sign in, match your business with the correct page, and you should be good to go! In doing so, you will be taking full advantage of our Google+ integration.
If you aren’t managing an extant Google+ Local page but your client is, you will need them to grant you administrative or managing access to the page. Once they have done so, follow the same steps as above and you should see Google+ show as “Listed” on your Dashboard, as well as have Google+ as an option in Review Monitoring.
If you choose not to upgrade your Google Places for Business page, it is possible you will still see Google Reviews in your Yext Review Monitoring tool. There maybe a delay of 7-10 business days for these to appear, but connecting your Places for Business account could prove useful long-term.
Below is a chart indicating what the two different types of listings management options at Google translate to in the Yext platform. The green indicates that the action is supported; yellow indicates that the action is partially supported.