Over the summer, Google focused its attention on local businesses when it combined Google+ Pages and Google Places to form Google+ Local.

Since then, the company has done away with its grueling verification process and now you can verify your own Google+ Business Page with Google+ Local.

Before you get started, you’ll need to sign up for a personal Google+ account and create a local Google+ Page. After you’ve created your Page, you’ll need to verify it. Follow these steps to do just that.

1. Request Your Postcard

Google Plus Postcard

After logging in, hover over “Unverified” at the top of your Google+ Page and click the “Verify Now” button when it appears. Or, you can also click the “Verify Now” button in the “Is this your business?” section below the map.

You will be asked to confirm your address and request your postcard for verification. If you have multiple locations, you will have to choose one as you can only merge one Google+ Local Page with one location.

It’s also important to note that the new verification process doesn’t support businesses with hidden addresses, or Pages made in a category other than local business/place.

2. Enter Your PIN

While you’re waiting for your postcard, the “Unverified” icon at the top of your Page will be replaced with “In Progress” — which allows other admins to see that verification is underway.

Your postcard will arrive within a week or so and will be well-marked so it’s less likely to be thrown away. After you’ve received it, go to the website listed (http://www.google.com/local/verify) and enter the PIN also listed on the postcard.

If you requested postcards for multiple Google+ Pages, be sure to click on the name of the specific business that each postcard is for. Finally, click “Submit” and you’re all set. Your existing Google Maps information will be merged with your new Google+ Local listing.

3. Reap the Rewards

Merging your Google+ Business Page with your Google+ Local Page will help you keep all your company information consistent across the platform. It will also help you stay organized, as you no longer have to log in to Google Places for Business to manage your Page. Instead, all updates and edits can be made through your Google+ account.

More importantly, your customers will have access to all of your information and know that your Google+ Local Page is actually managed by you. Additionally, you’ll have access to all of Google+’s features, such as Circles, Hangouts, +1s, and so on.

[Image credits: laihui, Frankie Roberto, Ron Reiring, Rasmus Lerdorf]