Google recently took another step forward in helping business owners manage their free organic search listings with the introduction of Google My Business. Those of you who use Google+ Business and Google Places may have already seen the new Google My Business dashboard if you have logged in to manage your accounts recently. If you are not taking advantage of this free listing service, you may get started here.
Google My Business is the latest, and hopefully the best long-term solution to the challenges companies have faced in getting their listings for locations, contact phone numbers, hours, services, and more exactly right in Google search and Maps. Google has acknowledged it’s been a challenging process, and we have helped multiple clients through the maze. If you haven’t worked to manage your listings through the previous Google products, then consider Google My Business a great place for a fresh start, and a way to use some powerful new features.
Google My Business isn’t new in terms of the specific information about your business that is presented to searchers, or even the way the information is presented. It’s a new dashboard, and a way to simplify, clarify and to speed up the business profile management process. It is also a way to provide you with some basic free usage analytics about your business website(s). Google is also using the platform as an introduction to its advertising products, with access to a simplified pay-per-click AdWords interface.
Here are the highlights of Google My Business. The service:
- Presents a unified dashboard for managing multiple business pages that lets you more easily access and manage your information.
- Integrates the previous Places and Google+ pages.
- Lets you manage social features, such as seeing and responding to Google+ customer reviews.
- Provides a portal to other Google services, such as website Analytics, and your YouTube channel, if you have one.
- Provides a way for you to authenticate your business information, such as address, phone, and website URL.
- Lets you share business news and photos.
New Google My Business Apps
Google is rolling out new free smartphone / tablet apps including all of the management features. The app is available for Android devices via Google Play, and will be available for Apple iOS and the iPhone and iPad as soon as it’s approved by Apple for the app store.
In addition to the management features, the apps have a nice interface for managing your Google+ social interactions with customers, as well as analytics stats such as visibility, engagement and audience stats at your fingertips. The apps are definitely a nice addition to the suite for the on-the-go business owner.
Overall, Google My Business is a positive step forward on what has been a challenging path for Google and for business owners who want to manage their search information and look their best in free organic search.