If you are already using Google+ for your business you may well have noticed the recent change to your Google Places account. Announced on Jun 11, Google My Business has replaced Places to offer businesses a central hub to manage their online presence. The tech giant's latest endeavour to unify tools and platforms, this integration will affect business owners who have been using Google Places for business.
What Is Google My Business?
Over the past few years Google has been attempting to combine Google+ and Google Places. Launching continuous updates and new platforms with very similar names, their planned migration had not been very successful.
In their latest attempt to resolve the issues and create one seamless platform for SMEs looking to increase their online profile, Google has launched My Business. Grouping all the platforms and tools together for Local SEO, it will enable users to gain local search results, visibility on Google Maps and on Google+.
What Has Changed?
In truth, not a lot has changed, but this isn't necessarily a bad thing. The tools and properties remain the same which means that if you have got to know the layout, you won't be too baffled.
The core ideas behind this migration are to make it "easier than ever to update business information across Google Search, Maps and Google+", and that it does do. Previously, with the separate platforms, you would need to access tools such as insights and hangouts from separate pages. Now, from the new My Business dashboard you can easily manage all aspects of your page including:
- Google Analytics
- Start a Hangout
How To Set Up A Google My Business Page
It is easy to set up a Google My Business page. If you don't already have an account you will need to go to the My Business site and click "Get on Google". If you already have an account, sign in and it will take you to the Google Maps page to register your business location.
The next step is to create a page for your business. Select "Create new page" and you will have the choice between the following options. Brand pages are for people who want to create non-local Google+ pages. Storefront and Service Area will send you to a map to find an existing local business. It's quite important to get this step right otherwise you might not be able to edit all the details you want too - trust us, we have learnt from experience!
If you want to set up a local business, you will need to find an existing address listing in order to claim it. You can just enter your address if there is not listing available. You will be asked to confirm the details and agree that you are authorised to manage the business. Google will then send a verification code.
One this is all complete you will be able to manage your pages and build your profile.
Is Google My Business Worth It?
Yes. Offering increased functionality and a one-stop service for managing you Google presence, My Business will help SMEs to become more visible and vocal. Google has also launched an Android app for My Business enabling you to manage your business on the go. The iOS app will be launching soon.
Once you have created a Google My Business page you can use this to promote blogs, events and news on the Google+ homepage. Great for visibility, Google will also recognise that you are talking about industry topics and potential promote your site. Free to use and sign up to, every business should have a page to network both locally, nationally and globally.
Image credits: google.co.uk