—- Update Start —-
Google has clearly changed their strategy for the better with Google Plus Local. In this case, Google is looking to keep things authentic, so you’ll need to start by setting up a ‘real’ Google Plus account. Then create a Google Page for your business and then click the “verify” link in the bottom right to have a post card mailed to you with a verification code.
In my case, Google actually called to check on me. I could tell the agent was using Google street view to confirm my office location. Once your account is verified, your former local page information will be merged in. Once everything is merged its a good idea to add additional managers to the page.
—- Update End—-
The sky isn’t falling, but local businesses need to pay attention. Google is dropping Google Places in favor of Google Plus Local Pages. If you check, I’ll bet you’ll find your business is already listed in Google Plus Local. Google says these listing will be combined, but this make me nervous. In most cases my customers AdWords campaigns are linked to their Google Places account, displaying a map when some one local is looking for their services and many of my customers have good reviews that I would like to carry forward.
So based on lessons learned when Google AdWords started linking to Google places, I suggest you use the same Google account for all three (AdWords, places and pages). I feel this creates the best case for Google to get this right. I encourage customers not to use their personal accounts for these services, but to set up something like firstname.lastname@example.org, making it easier to share this log-in information with others, either in -house marketers or with or marketing/SEO firms like mine. So if you have used your personal email for any those these services, this might be a good time to alter that strategy.
Last piece of advise, be sure your address, phone number and contact information is consistent between the listings.