Google Plus UK
At the back end of last week, Google decided to merge its Google Places pages with Google Plus, its social media platform, although it seemed to take a few days before it became fully functional here in the UK.
When I say ‘fully functional’, I use the term loosely since, by their own admission, it is all still a bit up in the air.
Why Google Plus UK is the new method of Local Business Marketing
Basically, what has happened is that your Places page will eventually be managed through your Google Plus account with all its associated social media abilities. And anyone who wants to leave a review will also have to do it through a personal Google Plus account – meaning that those reviews can immediately be shared with everyone within their circles so giving much greater coverage.
This is not such a bad thing because there have been a lot of scammers who have been setting up gmail accounts purely to leave fake reviews on their own and other people’s Places pages. A whole industry of reputation management has grown up as a result – to help businesses to get more reviews but also to deal with negative comments left by unscrupulous competitors.
Google has tried to combat this by keeping a much shorter leash on the registration of gmail accounts – insisting on having a PIN verification process on many new registrations so they can see who it is that is setting up the account. But then they had a better idea. Why not make it so that to leave a review you have to have a Google Plus account where they can check your social interactions to verify that you are a real person.
And, in a double whammy, simultaneously force business owners to use the social media platform too by making their Places dashboard Google Plus dependent. Sounds like a lot more people will be using Google+ in the future.
What do I need to do about Google Places and Google Plus in the UK?
Well, at this moment at the beginning of June, nothing.
The Google Plus Local FAQ guide says “You do not have to do anything — we’ve migrated the Google Places listing for you. Keep managing that formerly-known-as Places listing via your Places dashboard, under the same account you were using before“.
What has happened is that your Places page has been linked to a new Google Plus account whether you originally set it up using a gmail or domain based email account.
I was originally rather concerned about what would happen here but I guess that it’s the same principle as having your primary Google account username as a domain based email rather than a gmail account. You can still use YouTube or any of their other properties so G+ will be no different. With thanks to my correspondent, Mark, who pointed me in the right direction.
However, I have not checked the implications yet for a domain based email with the mobile apps – if anyone has any further advice on this, I would be grateful for more info so that I can update this post.
If you do not have reviews, underneath your old listing, you will see a hyperlink to the ‘Google+ Page’ rather than ‘* Google Reviews’. Once there, you can check the button to ‘manage your account’ and this will take you through to the familiar dashboard. You are also given the option to have a Google+ account and ‘see more reviews from your friends’.
If you had already set up a Google Plus business page, this is currently a separate entity but the idea is that, eventually, you will have one Google Plus Local page with all the social media functionality rolled into it.
If you do not already have a Google Plus business page, you can create one to play with but my recommendation would be to leave well alone and not add any more factors into the mix. From previous experience with Google Places in the UK, it is bound to be simpler for them to create these for you than to have to merge existing pages together.
To find out more about using Google Plus to promote your business in the UK, give us a call on 01702 476517
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