Google recently rolled out an upgrade to the Google+ dashboard called Google My Business. Active Google+ users may have noticed this upgrade in the top right hand corner of their Google+ page next to the +Name and before the notifications bell. The icon appears as a small set of nine squares and when clicked, gives you an immediate view into popular Google products. While this icon isn’t new, Google My Business has a few new and noteworthy features. So, let’s take a click.
The Google My Business dashboard is an upgrade to the way Google+ functions. Google Places became Local Listings and now Local Listings have become what Google+ refers to as Storefront or Service Area pages—determined by whether a business runs from one, single brick and mortar location (i.e. retail space) or brings service to a specific area (i.e. plumber). Anyone who previously had a Google Places listing now has an auto-created Google+ My Business page. Company address and business hours are just some of the things you’re checking when logging in to the new Google My Business dashboard for the first time.
Now that you’ve clicked on the icon of squares and found your My Business icon, click again to be given a full view of your new Google My Business dashboard and how it functions. Here is a quick tour of five new Google My Business features:
We briefly went over different page types above—Storefront, Service Area, and Brand. If you’re not starting a new Google+ page, you won’t see these choices laid out for you anywhere. Instead, you determine your page type by editing your business information. Include an address and hours to automatically be considered a Storefront, allowing your Google+ page to show up in local search results.
In this same area, you’ll notice the ability to edit the category of your business. Before now, Google+ allowed you to determine your own category. As part of the overall Google+ house cleaning, businesses now have to choose from given categories.
Icon Images and Virtual Tours
Google+ now prompts you to add images to represent your business online. These photos will appear alongside the rest of your business information in Maps and Google searches.
Additionally, you’ll find a button for Virtual Tours. This is where you can give searchers an inside view of your business by representing your location with a 360-degree virtual tour. Think of it as an extension of Google Maps’ street view that allows users to explore inside buildings. Providing a virtual tour is a great way of showing off your place of business.
Regardless of what type of Google+ page you have, you can easily see and respond to reviews of your business left by your customers. Likewise, you can review other pages as your business and not just as an individual. Customers now see a button to review your business directly on your Google+ page as well as on Google Maps or within your Local Listing found via search. Customers have more opportunity than ever to share their experience, and Google now makes it easier than ever for you to interact with your reviewers.
When you visit your Google My Business dashboard, you’ll see a quick list of features directly under your business information starting with the ability to share a new update to your page. Just below that is another noteworthy change, Google Insights.
From your My Business dashboard, you’ll see a small snapshot of recent metrics involving your Google+ page—number of views, number of clicks, and number of new followers for the past 30 days. Click to view more insights to get a deeper understanding of how others are interacting with your Google+ page.
This feature is intended as a quick portal to your regular Adwords manager and allows you to launch new ad campaigns and track their progress. It’s important to note that not all pages types grant access to Adwords Express and those that do need to be activated. Be certain that your login credentials for Google+ and your regular Adwords account match so they can feed information back and forth freely.
Overall, Google My Business is an upgrade that will leave you wondering just how your Google+ page operated before now. The change is sleek, simple, and needed as a way of improving the user experience—both for page owners and for the customers searching online.
While Google+ isn’t everything when it comes to search engine ranking, complete and active profiles are favored over businesses that have never listed themselves on Google Maps or have neglected to complete their page profiles. As far as Google is concerned, every +1 counts, so get counting.
“Man With Tablet Computer In Modern Business Building” courtesy of adamr / www.freedigitalphotos.net
About the Author: Travis Thorpe is the CEO and co-founder of Boostability. He is an expert in Internet and marketing technology, and has led the development and expansion of scalable online marketing services to tens of thousands of customers.