More threads by Linda Buquet

Linda Buquet

Local Search Expert
Jun 28, 2012
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Conundrum: A paradoxical, insoluble, or difficult problem
Related Words: Brain-teaser, riddle, enigma

Google has created extreme Google+ Local branding confusion.
Even leading local search pros are confused and the poor SMBs are just totally bamboozled by it all!

By popular request I am going to attempt to clear the confusion, but before I get serious.... :D

<img src="" alt="" title="Brandingconfused" width="450" height="400" class="alignnone size-full wp-image-7587" />​

I know local SEOs who look like that. Google has us all beating our heads in!

OK but seriously, I can barely help anyone at the Google forum without having to clarify which type of page they are talking about. Which type of page are they trying to explain verification problems on. Or trying to sift through the confusion when they are referring to ONE page but calling it by a DIFFERENT name. NO ONE, not even consultants (or Google) can keep the names straight or figure out what to call them

Sometimes SMBs are so confused I have to say something like: "No I'm referring to your Google+ Local Page (which used to be called a Place page) NOT your Google+ Business page (the one with the social features). You have verified your Google+ Local (Place page) but NOT your Google+ Business page which means you have not merged your Google+ Local Page with your Google+ Business page so that's why you are having a problem with XYZ… (Kidding, but sometimes it's almost that bad!)

One of the BIG problems all this is that Google RE-BRANDED Google Places as Google+ Local. HOWEVER that page name was for the CONSUMER facing page. The branding inside the dashboard is still Google Places for Business. So a Place page and a Google+ Local page are 2 different names for the same page.

Then there is a Local Google+ page. Same name but flipped word order. That's a TOTALLY different type of page. That is a G+ Business page set up in the Local category. It won't rank and won't have review options if it's a stand alone Local G+ page. So a Google+ Local page and a Local Google+ page are 2 different animals and a Google+ Local page =s a Place page. (Is your head spinning yet?)

A common question I get asked all the time, even by PROS here at the forum is

Below I attempt to answer both Qs.
What is this type of page called?
AND How do you tell the different local pages apart?

<a href=""><img src="" alt="" title="GooglePages" width="575" height="1236" class="alignnone size-full wp-image-7583" /></a>​

So I hope that helped answer the question and provides an easy to reference guide.

If you are still confused, the simple easy answer is that a PURE Google+ Local page (the one that used to be called Place page) ONLY has a review button. The G+ Business page only has a Follow button, no review button. And a merge or verified G+ L page has BOTH!

So now in closing, I only have one more thing to say on the subject...

<img src="" alt="" title="brandingwhat-the-f" width="450" height="347" class="alignnone size-full wp-image-7588" />​

Image Credits: The middle serious educational image is by yours truly. (Feel free to copy and use as long as you link back directly to this post so folks can ask questions or join the discussion.)

The hysterical top and bottom images were created for me by Greg Gifford, the Director of Search and Social at AutoRevo, a software company that provides websites and online marketing to used car dealers all over the country. Greg also spends his time doing freelance website design and SEO for local businesses. He currently serves as a member of the Board of Directors for the <a href="">DFWSEM</a>. You can read his local search tips and tricks on AutoRevo’s blog at <a href="" target="_blank"></a>.

So did that help clear the confusion?
Or are you still stuck in a Google Local conundrum?

Ask away below! (Or tell Greg how much you can relate to his images!)
OK so what the F*?

Just realized, as hard as I tried to get it right, even I got confused on the 2nd name option I gave the merged listing. But I guess it could be called a Verified Local Google+ page (as I have in the image)
OR a Verified Google+ Local page, which is normally what I call it.

BUT HEY! Google has not even named it yet, so we are left to guess.

ON AND... before one of the eagle-eyed members here catches it. YES my address is hidden!
And YES I merged any way. And YES it's true I should not have!

Back story... I merged the day it was announced when they forgot to tell us or had not yet told us merges were not supported for service businesses with address hidden. In fact I was the one that told them it was problematic and did not work right.

Then later they announced if you already merged with hidden address you MUST delete your G+ business page. But I wanted to keep it, so I'd have a merged page for testing purposes so they let me.

BUT do as I say, NOT as I do! :p Don't merge if you have hidden address!
I've been seeing deletions and suspensions for doing it.
and then there are those of us that were forced to merge, even though we didn't ask for it... and now we're stuck in limbo...:confused:
Yes Greg... and then there is THAT!

(I re-escalated to Google a 2nd time and asked for insight. Will let you know if I get any.)

Thanks again for the great images! YOU ROCK!
And don't forget that if you start today and create a verified Google+ Business page, that equals a merged page, even though you never merged anything. So we're putting things into our vocabulary that really don't belong there and we'll have a hard time dropping afterward.
Great point. There are NEW businesses that will start directly with a G+ Business page and verify it. That's another version. No merging required...
It's not like a merge is a new thing. Having the listing twice on the map creates a duplicate. The duplicates must be merged. This is just special because it is the one situation where you are allowed to have both claimed without being in violation.

But I think that Google shouldn't have referred to "merged listings"; but simply should have said you can now verify Business pages, and once you do the duplicates should merge like any other duplicates. That's how I try to express it both so that I think about it right and so I don't get it stuck in my vocabulary.
True, and good point. In addition to the confusing names there are confusing terms that mean totally different things.

When you use the word merge now, you need to be clear because there are 2 different types of merges, each with totally different issues.

Same with verification, 2 different types.

Where's that hammer... my head hurts more now!
Awesome job in clarifying all of that, Linda--thanks! I know that this will be a big help to a lot of people. But just one question...what's Google+? I'm kidding, I'm kidding! lol Thanks. Great work by you and Greg.
That is a great article and love the images Linda. I spend a good chunk of yesterday working with clients Google+ local, Google Business pages, Google authorship, Google publisher, linking, cross checking, double google google.

Man, talk about confusing. Seriously, how is the average business owner supposed to get their head around this.

Good old google....their workers must have really big brains, because they really like making things difficult.
But just one question...what's Google+? I'm kidding, I'm kidding! lol

OH WAIT I didn't even harp about the fact the public facing page was rebranded as Google+ Local and all the backend stuff, the dashboard, help docs and yes even the sign up page is sill branded as Google Places.

So most of the time I still call it Places, just less confusing and at least then most folks understand what you mean. 1/2 the SMBs don't even know about the rebranding and still call it Places too.

Oh and then they rebranded the Google Places forum that supports all the above mentioned products as... wait for it? NONE of the above. It's now the Google and Your Business forum.

Whole thing makes my head seriously hurt!
Please hurry up and quit using the name Places. The name comes from the map... the map is made up of lines and points. The points are all called places. Then you could claim Google Places for Business (so just the places that are businesses). But over on the other side we've had to start calling place POIs (Points of Interest) just so that no one gets confused as to whether you are talking about places on the map, or Google Places for Business. But POI is no where in the documentation, it all says places.

My head hurts more than your's :p
Well then there is also all the confusion both you and I have to deal with because Places is from Venus and Google Maps is from Mars so not only do they describe things with different names - they don't even speak the same language or know how to communicate with either other half the time!

I think we all just need a big group therapy session to work out all the kinks in these terribly dysfunctional, yet oh so co-dependent Google product relationships! :p

Wait, we have a resident Psychologist on staff. David can you help???
OH WAIT I didn't even harp about the fact the public facing page was rebranded as Google+ Local and all the backend stuff, the dashboard, help docs and yes even the sign up page is sill branded as Google Places.

I hear ya, Linda! It just seems like it would be such a simple fix to change the Google Places sign-up page to say "Google Places has now become Google+ Local. Learn more here." It would at least start acclimating the average business owner to G+ Local so it wouldn't confuse them when they signed up or tried to do something on G+. Heck, Google, send me the work and I'll do it, because everything is dead around here today and I sure as heck am not heading down to Bourbon Street! lol
Well if the good Doctor can't help us then no one can! :p
This is a great post Linda! Thank you.

Who has seen the Movie "The Devils Advocate" with Keanu Reeves and Pacino?

Well, there is this one scene that is so funny because it's as if Pacino (The Devil) is Google and Keanu Reeves represents the SMB. Some twisted imagination on your part is required to enjoy this.

The reason I wanted to share it on this thread is because there is a line at the end of the scene that goes like this:

Kevin Lomax: What are you?
John Milton: Oh, I have so many names...
Kevin Lomax: Satan.
John Milton: Call me Dad.

The part about "Oh, I have so many names..." just kills me.

***Warning - There are a few naughty words spoken in this scene.

LOL can't wait to watch it Colan. Sounds like it's right on the money!

Search Engine People have asked me to do my post this month on this exact topic. I plan to use the image with the breakdown of different listings in the post and link back to this thread, but I was wondering if I might have your permission to use the image toward the end with the cross eyed girl that says WTF are we supposed to call it again? as well. Let me know! I LOVE this resource you put together and I think the SEP readers are really going to love it.

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