How to change your Google+ email, and why it’s dangerous!

migrate-g+-profile

Despite Google+ being one of the top social networks, it’s still relatively new.

The standard functionality you would expect is working well and looks good, yet digging deeper into the network will uncover holes that haven’t yet been plugged.

This article is not a dig about Google+, it’s aim is first explain how to change your email address on your Google+ account, and then highlight some of the problems that could occur as a result.

 Changing your Google+ email address

Unfortunately you can’t directly change your main email address for Google+, but you can transfer all the circles over to a different account  - so a long winded change instead of a quick option.

Transferring your Google+ account will move all the people who have circled you, over to your existing account, but it will not transfer any content (including profile information).

#1 – Create a Google+ account with the email you would like to use

To be able to transfer your existing Google+ account, you need an account to transfer it into, so make sure one exists.

This account MUST have the same name otherwise it will not let you.

I’d suggest filling your profile details and picture before continuing as you might find users uncircling you if you don’t have a picture.

#2 – Sign into your original Google+ profile and go to Google Takeout

Google Takeout is a tool (provided by Google) that allows you to export all of your data, but you can also migrate your circles from within this tool.

#3 – Click ‘Create an archive’

Google Takeout create an archive link

#4 – Click the transfer icon next to Google+ Circles

Google Takeout migrate circles

#5 – Enter in the email address for the account you would like to migrate into and click ‘Sign in to this account’

Google takeout transfer to different email address

#6 – Sign into your new account

You may need to click the “manage accounts on this device” link, then add account before you can sign in.

#7 – Click ‘Transfer’

Once you’ve clicked transfer, there will be a notification on your Google+ account for 7 days saying the account will be transferred.

After those 7 days, it can take a further 3 for the transfer to complete. During which, you will have reduced functionality on Google+.

Problems with migrating a Google+ account

As if changing your email address, and migrating your circles to a new account wasn’t hard enough, there are some more hurdles you will have to cross.

Your content will not transfer

Throughout the transfer process, it does warn that your content will not transfer. It will remain on the old account, however your new account will be starting fresh.

This could be a bonus if you’re looking to move away from bad content, but a negative if all you wanted to do was change an email address.

Your vanity URL will not transfer

If (like me) you set the vanity URL for your old account, you will no longer be able to use this URL. It will not transfer and they do not currently provide a means of changing it.

If you set up a gplus.to link, then you can’t update that either as they do not provide that functionality.

You will lose your Google Authorship

Any websites that link to your profile to show your face in the search results will no longer work.

You will need to update any websites that should link to you with your new profile ID number and then wait a while before it starts to show your face again.

This is a pretty big negative if you have authorship. I lost approximately 20% of search engine traffic as a direct result of losing the face next to the search results.

The top and bottom of it

If you can avoid changing your email address, or migrating your circles in a new account, then do. If you HAVE to move your account, then good luck!

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Comments

  1. Hey Sam thanks for posting this up I’ve been hoping to find out how to do this for about a year now…

    I have two G+ accounts. One for personal and one for business. I almost exclusively use my business account but my authorship on all my websites are set up using my personal. What would be your recommendation for use with Google Authorship? Would you recommend I switch now rather than wait until later?

    • Hey Heath, Thanks for your comment.

      If you have to switch it, then the earlier you can do it the better because of the problems it causes.

      With Authorship, use the account that gets the most interaction as the rankings affected by Google is based on how many +1′s, comments and people circling you. So if your business profile is drawing better results, then use that.. <- note that a company page won't count as an author, I'm assuming your business profile is still "Heath Rost".

      -Sam

      • My question was more asking if I’m to that point where I have to switch it–or if it was your prescription to do that in the first place. Is it better for me in the long run to use my business gmail as my authorship profile?

  2. Hi Sam, thank you writing about this. I was looking specifically for the implications of switching your account on your Google Authorship, which is difficult to find. So just to be clear, all the posts that your old profile was the verified author for eventually migrated over to your new profile, is that correct? I’ve recently make the change (within the past week) and am anxiously awaiting the switch.

    • Hi James,

      Not quite, you need to update the author link on each of those posts. So the rel=”author” href=” [your new g+ url] ” part in those articles.

      Otherwise it will still use your old profile as the author.

      If it’s on your own website, you might have an option within the admin – maybe a SEO plugin – where you can set this?

      If it’s other peoples websites, you’d need to ask to update your Bio unless you have access to your account details.

      Make sure your new profile has a decent headshot otherwise it won’t go through.

      I hope that makes sense, and good luck!
      - Sam

      • Yep, I made those switches. Fortunately it’s only by WordPress blog that I’ve written for so far. I use the Yoast SEO plugin, which makes it easy to setup authorship. I double down with a little tagline at the end of each article too, just to be safe.

        I just checked again today and my name is beginning to show up for the older posts. However I don’t see my photo. Only the name. I understand, though, that the image showing up is based on the query and the user, so hopefully that’s all it is. Otherwise I’ll have to take another profile photo again soon!

        Thanks again -

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