I love Google, I do! I have a Google phone, a Google tablet and I use at least 4 to 5 Google apps on a daily basis. However, I’m not afraid to say that when it comes to Google Local for busineses – it’s been a real mess. Until now!
In a previous blog I talked about the confusion that emerged when the Local section was added to Google+ that left owners of Google Places listings somewhat bemused.
On Wednesday the search giant launched ‘Google My Business’ which aims to finally bring an end to the complexity of managing your local presence on Google.
The purpose of ‘Google My Business’ is to allow you to manage your business information (appearing on Google Search, Maps and Google+) and your customer engagement all in dashboard.
Current Google+ users will also notice some changes to the drop down menu on the left hand side with the new ‘My Business’ and ‘Stream’ options.
There are 5 main sections to the new ‘My Business’ dashboard:
The purpose of ‘Google My Business’ is to allow you to manage your business information from one place. Information and images entered here are the details users will see, should your business appear in local search results, Google Maps or the Google+ local section.
Hit the red edit button to adjust your address, contact details, opening hours and business description.
If the appearance of your business premises is of particular importance to your customer, for instance a hotel or restaurant, you can also enter a 360o tour.
The share section will be something that current Google+ users will be very familiar with and is simply a go to place to share content to your business page and to other users.
This can also be done at any time on Google+ using the share button located at the top right of the interface.
In my Google+ workshops I always talk about the importance of reviewing and analysing the success of your posts. The insights section is not only a great tool to come and collect data about how much engagement your posts have had but also the visibility of your local listing in organic search results.
The views graph demonstrates how many times users have looked at your local search listing, your posts, your Google+ profile and your photos.
The clicks section allows you to see how many users have clicked on your website link from you local search listing. This gives you an immediate insight as to the effectiveness of this as a traffic source to your main website.
On the engagement tab you can understand the amount of overall actions (+1s, comments and shares) that have occurred on your posts as well as individual posts within the specified date range.
You can also understand the volume of activity on your posts by type such as image, video, links or text/other.
Lastly the ‘Audience’ tab shows you your total followers as well as their geographical location, age and gender.
This section really is a fantastic improvement to the previous interface. Not only does it show your Google reviews but also those from elsewhere on the web.
You can then go to the source of the third party reviews and respond if the platform allows it.
This really is a handy tool to help manage those all important customer reviews which can impact your organic search rankings.
Also you can take a look at the analytics section showing you the number of reviews you’ve received and your average star ratings.
Accounts that have linked their Youtube page with their Google+ page can see top level stats related to new subscribers, views and minutes watched. For the full breakdown of your Youtube stats you can hit the ‘Go to Channel’ button.
So its official, Google has finally merged Google Places for Business and Google+ successfully. You can manage your local listing and your social presence all from one convenient place.
Anybody who provides products or services within a geographical radius or at a specific location, absolutely NEEDS to have a Google My Business account. It’s your ticket to appear in locally orientated search results whether they are on Google search, maps or within Google+ itself.
We know setting up and optimising these accounts can be daunting for some. Don’t worry; we’re always here to help. We can also assist with online local optimisation as a whole. For more information just give the customer services team a call on 0845 456 1022.
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