This story was originally published on February 7, 2014, and comes in at number eight on our countdown of the 10 most popular Search Engine Watch stories of 2014. As we look back over the past year, we're celebrating the best of 2014, as determined by you, our readers. Enjoy!
If you have your business set up on Google local pages, there are a couple changes that you should be aware of when it comes to verifying and updating your Google+ business listing.
You Have 3 Weeks to Save Your Google Places Listing
The most important change is that some business owners are being required to update and save their Google Place listings. Some business owners were confused about whether this email notification was spam, however it is coming from Google.
Affected users will have three weeks to save and confirm their Google Place listings. Jade Wang, Google Business Community Manager, explained:
We are making some changes to Google Places for Business and Google Maps so we can continue providing people with the best experience when they're looking for local businesses. As part of this process, we're asking business owners to review and confirm some of the information in their Google Places accounts so we can keep showing it to Google users. We know this will be a few extra steps for merchants, and we apologize for any inconvenience and thank you for your time.
We have sent business owners affected by these changes an email entitled "Action Required: You have 3 weeks to save your Google Places Listing".
If you received this email, don't worry. You simply need to login to Places for Business, review your business information, update it if necessary, and click Submit.
You'll need to do this for all listings in your account by February 21 to stay on Google Maps. Otherwise, you'll need to add your business information and undergo PIN verification using Google Places again.
Change to Google+ Local Page Setup
The second change is designed to make it a bit easier for new business owners when setting up their local listing.
When a business owner first creates or Google+ local page, they are required to verify their listing using PIN verification. Google is now making a change were business owner will now be able to see their Google+ listing features prior to verification .
Important: business owners will still be required to complete the PIN verification before the listing will show up to all users, but it will make it easier to access some of the features while they wait. Business owners must remember that even though they can see the listing, that doesn't mean anybody else can see it.
Verification can be completed by entering the PIN received either via a postcard and sent to the business address or via phone at your business number. If someone else has already verified, such as an employee who may no longer be with the company, you can simply do the verification process again.
If the listing has been created previously, you'll still need to use the PIN verification in order to update and take admin control posting.
If you're creating a listing in the new Places for Business dashboard, now, you won't have to wait to complete PIN verification before you can see the +page, for most businesses. Just follow the link from your dashboard to see the new page. You will be able to use Google+ social features on this unverified page, but please note -- you still need to complete PIN verification before the page will start showing up in Google Maps and across other Google properties.
If you've got an unverified local Google+ page (made using Google+ in the local business/place category), then we still encourage you to PIN verify this page so that it can start appearing in Google Maps and across other Google properties.
If you're creating a local Google+ page (using Google+ selecting the local business/place category) for a business that we think is already in Google Maps, then you may need to go through both PIN verification and our admin request flow before you can manage the page.