Earlier this summer we introduced you to Google+ Local Pages , a new way for users to share and discover local businesses using Google’s social network. These new profile pages were created to replace existing Google Place Pages and added a host of new features by integrating directly into Google+.
However, many business owners also had a Google+ Business page . With no way to merge them, it meant they now had two different Google+ profiles to monitor and update. When your day is busy enough, adding another mouth to feed doesn’t always feel like a welcomed change. If often feels like a headache.
Well, today you get to merge those two profiles. Rejoice!
Mike Blumenthal points us  to the announcement that the process for integrating your Google+ Local page with the social Google+ Business page is officially live . Now business owners can take advantage of all the available features while creating a unified presence.
From Googler Jade W:
For those of you that have created local Google+ pages (with social features) — good news! Today, you can become the verified business owner for that local Google+ page.
In essence, this will combine the page you created in Google+ with the page in Google+ Local (formerly Places listing). Your business’ presence across Google Search, Google Maps, and Google+ will be unified. You’ll be able to manage this page from Google+ Pages admin. Check out the Meatball Shop for an example of a combined page, with both social features and reviews.
As Jade explains, once merged, small business owners will have one place (and one dashboard) to manage their verified brand presence. To merge your pages, simply click the Verify Now button on the right side of your Google+ Local page. It’s that simple. Sort of.
A few things to know about the merge:
- This is the beginning of what (I assume) will become a much larger rollout, so the process right now seems a bit cumbersome in parts. For example, even if you’re currently a verified business owner on Google Places for Business, you’ll still have to go through the postcard verification process again when you merge your two profiles.
- In order to merge your Google+ Business page the page has to be listed in the local business/place category. If you set yourself up as a brand page, you can’t merge it. In her post, Jade suggests creating a new page and putting it in the right category, however, I’m not sure I’d recommend creating a duplicate Business page for your brand.
- If you only have a Google+ Local Page (previously a Google Place Page) you won’t be able to take advantage of the upgraded experience. You need to have both a Local page and a Google+ Business page. So if you want to upgrade to take advantage of the new features, you’ll need to create a Business page first.
So, assuming you set up your Google+ Business page properly and you also have a Local page, the option to merge and verify is now available. If you didn’t set it up that way, you may want to wait unless the next stages of Google’s rollout are available. Hopefully it won’t be too long.
And hopefully Google will find a way to make all of this seem less complicated for SMBs in the future.
Merge  Photo via Shutterstock