Pre-2010, it was quite simple. You filled out 1 form with very basic information, described & tagged your business, and you were on your way. If you wanted to go back and make changes you simply logged into your dashboard, made the edits and saved them.
Today it is much different and much more complicated. Even for me, a semi-seasoned SEO that deals with these details almost every day this stuff can get very confusing particularly when you throw Google+ as a social network, the Knowledge Graph, and multiple listings into the mix. Very confusing.
Ok let me break this down as basic as I think I can. When a new business wants to add themselves to Google local listings, they start by adding a Google+ Page. The first set of options you are presented with are:
Immediately, it gets tricky starting with their naming conventions.
If you choose a brand page, your brand will not be given a local listing to manage or verify.
If you choose a local page (storefront or service area) its gonna make getting a Knowledge Graph (not a local Knowledge Graph) very difficult.
To illustrate, lets take a look at what Moz did. Although Moz is not really considered a local business they still want a local listing for their own reasons.
Moz has 2 Google+ pages, a local page and a brand page. The local page is strictly for their Google Maps listing, reviews, and other local stuff. The brand page represents their brand on Google+ the social network, and helps feed their “national” Knowledge Graph.
Again, they have a local Google+ Page:
As well as a (brand) Google+ page:
It starts making sense once you start thinking about things on an enterprise level with businesses that have 100’s of locations that still want to have a central brand message.
Now if you are a fan of Knowledge Graph Optimization (KGO) you’ll immediately see that each of these pages correspond with a group of SERPs.
The local page is responsible for feeding the data for any query similar to “Moz” while the user is in or around the service area of Moz in Seattle, WA. If they meet this criteria they will see a SERP that looks something like this:
If they are outside of Moz’s service area and query a Moz brand keyword they will see a SERP more along the lines of:
That little box at the top is a budding flower of what one day will most likely and hopefully be a great big brand Knowledge Graph like Microsoft has for example:
Please keep in mind that there are dozens if not hundreds of factors and data sources that could determine a Knowledge Graph for a brand. A Google+ page is only one of those factors.
In short, if you and your company are invested in having a local Knowledge Graph and a national Knowledge Graph, it would behoove you to have 2 Google+ Pages.
Unfortunately companies that have signed up with Google Places pre-2010 are much more likely to have issues with this. When “the big transfer” happened and all of Google Places switched to Google+ Pages it made a huge mess and left many webmasters not knowing where they stood.
A big shout out to Antonino Bologna, our senior in house SEO technician for cracking this case.
If you have any questions about this topic, or feel that I am dead wrong, feel free to give me a shout 🙂