Google Starts Shutting Down Its City Pages, Shifts To Google+ Local

google-city-pagesGoogle is in the process of shutting down its collection of city pages — a change that follows the shift from Google Places to Google+ Local, and a change that may be reflective of a larger shift in direction for Google’s local efforts.

Mike Blumenthal noticed yesterday that the Portland city page had gone missing. The page used to be accessible at www.google.com/portland/ (which redirected to www.google.com/city/portland/), but that URL now produces a 404 error. The same thing happens with some other city page URLs, like google.com/sandiego and google.com/madison.

Those pages were launched in the summer of 2011 and served as a hub for the Google Places community efforts — which involved “feet on the street” outreach to local business owners and consumers. Here’s what the Portland city page looked like when we first covered the city page launch.

google-portland-page

The pages were a central spot for Google’s “recommended places,” upcoming events, current Google Offers and the latest tweets from Google’s staff in each city.

But at least one of the old URLs — google.com/city/austin — now redirects to a corresponding page on Google+ Local: plus.google.com/u/1/+GoogleLocalAustin/posts. And that seems to be the plan for all of the old city pages. We got this statement from Google when we asked about the old city pages being shut down:

Earlier this year we announced Google+ Local – a local search experience that makes it easier to discover and share your favorite places – like a great restaurant or museum. With Google+ Local, information for hundreds of cities around the world including Portland, Austin, San Diego and Madison is streamlined in one place.

Google is essentially saying that the old pages have been made redundant thanks to Google+ Local. But the new Google+ pages don’t have the same feature set as the old city pages. There are no local businesses getting the “recommended places” label, for example, and there’s no page that lists Google Offers. So it’s not an exact replacement that Google’s making, at least not at this point.

What’s unclear is the impact — if any — that the change is having on Google’s physical presence in each city. A Google spokesperson told Mike Blumenthal yesterday that “Community Managers are still working with local businesses in a variety of cities around the world,” but there are signs that not all cities are still active in this aspect of Google’s local efforts. For example, the Google+ Local team in Portland is still very active on Twitter and on its new Google+ Local Page, but the original San Diego community manager is now a former Google Places Community Manager. The Google San Diego Twitter account hasn’t posted in more than a year, and there’s no San Diego page that I can find in Google+ Local.

That may not be related at all to the shift to Google+ Local, but it does seem to show that Google’s approach to how and where it maintains a physical presence is also changing.

Related Topics: Channel: Social | Google: Google+ | Google: Maps & Local | Google: Place Pages | Top News

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About The Author: is Editor-In-Chief of Search Engine Land. His news career includes time spent in TV, radio, and print journalism. His web career continues to include a small number of SEO and social media consulting clients, as well as regular speaking engagements at marketing events around the U.S. He recently launched a site dedicated to Google Glass called Glass Almanac and also blogs at Small Business Search Marketing. Matt can be found on Twitter at @MattMcGee and/or on Google Plus. You can read Matt's disclosures on his personal blog.

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  • daveintheuk

    People care about as much about Google+ (Local) as Google does about businesses that don’t buy adwords… so good luck them with this move.

  • http://myyouthbrigade.com/main/ Amir Nasir

    who cares about Google+, i think Google needs to work on the loading speed of their Plus project.

  • http://www.ribbun.com/ Vikas Singal

    If Google Keeps on shutting down things , We will have more fear while using any new things coming from them. I heard Google’s Feedburner is about to go…that can hamper thousand of bloggers …So we all have to be more careful while using Google’s products, it they dont give profit to them they can wear off….Its bad really bad.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Arx-Ferrum/100001094401306 Arx Ferrum

    Google is also killing off the custom homepage backgrounds… which is really disappointing. It seems that as they get bigger, they care less and less about the individual user. I wish there was a good alternative. I’d drop them in a heartbeat.

  • http://www.facebook.com/ROMECITYAPARTMENTS Romecityapartments Snc

    There is a good alternative it’s:

    http://www.duckduckgo.com

  • robthespy

    Google local listings have been a cluster F since day one.

    I manage a Business w ten accounts across the country and I can’t tell you how much wasted time has been spent keeping up with this nonsense.

    People want to see business hours of operations, location data and some reviews…it,s not that difficult!

  • http://www.linkworxseo.com/ Link Worx Seo

    That seemed a tad contradictory,what you said. Agree, load time is a tad slow every once in a while but usually descent loading time for me.

  • http://www.linkworxseo.com/ Link Worx Seo

    Yep, FeedBurner is going away. Had a discussion on this topic a little while ago on Google+. Have already started to change over anything that is associated with the FeedBurner feeds. I know Google posted something on their blog about it about a month or so ago notifying people and businesses of it.

    To many AdSense spammers for the drop off and Google has not put any resources into the FeedBurner for some time now. You can still use paid subscription FeedBurners though. There are also some free one’s still.

  • http://www.linkworxseo.com/ Link Worx Seo

    Yeah, that is disappointing. I really like my custom background. That plain white screen gets old quick. Think that is a crappy thing to do by Google. The reason I came up with is that it requires a lot of drive space to hold the images or the fact it has to load the images and increases load times.

  • http://www.linkworxseo.com/ Link Worx Seo

    They do take some time to complete. The process is at least a tad quicker now that you can call your phone and get it verified. Have done all kinds of local listing’s on Google for businesses.

  • http://www.linkworxseo.com/ Link Worx Seo

    Actually, now that I have been thinking about this topic for a few hours. What is going to happen for businesses that have multiple local listings, one Google+ profile or no Google+ local page? For example, a business has multiple local listing from Google Places and if Google Places goes away, what is going to happen to those listings? Will they all be created on separate Google+ local pages or combined into one Google+ local page? Any thoughts on this one?

  • robthespy

    Right now you can manage multiple local plus pages under one account.

  • http://www.linkworxseo.com/ Link Worx Seo

    I currently am doing so, but what are the effects going to be on one business with multiple listings once they remove Google Places and convert to just Google+ Local Business Pages? Wait, are you saying that no matter how many addresses one business has that you can still place them all on separate Google+ local business pages. A separate one for each local address under one Google+ profile?

  • robthespy

    Your guess is as good as mine.

    The reason I think that’s most likely is because the dashboard is already set up for it and the places listings are seen by users as plus pages.

    Re phone confirmation- it’s tough when each location has ten people answering phones. So I’ve had to do postcard verification. That can take one week or several. Nerve racking To say the least.

    Anyway, back to city pages…. ;)

  • http://www.webspecia.com/ Amir Nasir

    it may be good for you but as compared to facebook, the loading time for every google project/website is slow (except http://www.Google.com).
    They are ignoring the fact that still a huge number of users are not having a 3G connection even and if they want to become popular, they need to think about every single people.

  • http://www.linkworxseo.com/ Link Worx Seo

    I am also very sure it would have something to do with what is going on at your computer. If you computer can not handle the processing for tons of application and browsers all at once this will also decrease your load times. Page speed load time is a SEO factor of course which you can very well check with GA, but your computer processing has a lot to do with it. You could also be running applications in the background and do not realize it. Try allocating some of your cache and processor resources to better handle some of your processing. This will help.

  • http://www.webspecia.com/ Amir Nasir

    you are not getting me buddy. i dont have any kind of problem and my device is working perfectly well. i am just telling my personal experience when i were using 2G internet connection, it was almost impossible to open Google + on that connection weather facebook opens fine for the same connection. We can not ignore the fact that more than 70% population of India still uses 2G.

  • http://www.tylerherrick.com Tyler Herrick

    A majority of Places data was brought over to Google+ Local Pages 6 months ago. There is no change in the relationship of local businesses to Places/Plus. A single person’s Google+ profile can manage up to 50(I believe) Pages from their profile. Which is essentially the same as logging into your Places dashboard, for the most part.
    A chain with 50 stores will create 50 Google+ Local Pages, and most likely an additional corporate Google+ Page. Places will go away and you will never even notice.

  • http://www.linkworxseo.com/ Link Worx Seo

    Was just a suggestion, you seem to have taken that wrong. For your sake I hope your connection speeds get faster. Your country needs an upgrade. Furthermore, I had no clue that you were at India and the fact you are on a 2G network.

  • http://www.cobwebseo.com/ Ajay Jhunjhunwala

    We know that what is done by Google is done for good. But i don’t support this shift. Earlier there is a good pattern – like google.com/city/austin to know about any
    city and had googel recommendations (which we trust), but present G+ pages is
    not very impressive according to the purpose. Facing problem in filtering the
    information.

  • 4u2discuss

    You knew the change was coming, what preparations did you make? were you pro active in your marketing efforts for your city, and have you created your preferred landing page in the new envisaged GOOGLE + arena?

  • http://steveplunkett.com @steveplunkett

    they seem to be very active on Twitter and it seems they are publishing content to Google + in the form of Google Local + Events – make sense to me.

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