Google recently announced the launch of My Business, a suite of tools that simplifies the management of company information in Google search, Maps, Places and Google Plus (for business).
Previously, managing content and company information for local listings required details such as phone numbers, addresses and operating hours to be edited separately for each of these products.
The new platform has integrated the management of business information that appears in Places, Search and Google Plus, so users need only update information once and the details will change for all of these products.
Managing information (and getting it to correspond correctly) between Maps, Places and Google Plus has certainly been an issue for some time and Google My Business provides a much needed solution.
My Business also brings an updated dashboard with some interesting new features - Users can now share Google updates, view insight data (visibility, engagement and audience), manage reviews and access Analytics directly.
A Google My Business mobile app has also been developed so that business owners/managers can share updates, monitor information and manage reviews on the go.
Businesses previously making use of Google+ (Business) or Places accounts will be upgraded to the My Business dashboard automatically.
Tying in with my previous Google Places post, I’m going to share some more tips/do and don’ts with regard to local listings:
1.) Enter your address correctly for new listings. When a new local listing is created, the only verification option available is via postcard. Be sure that you’ve entered your business address correctly before you send out the request or you’ll risk the postcard being lost in the wilderness.
2.) Verify by phone. When claiming an existing listing (if one was previously created that you were unaware of or if login details have been lost) you’ll get the option to verify via postcard or over the phone. The phone option is your best (fastest) bet, unless there’s an automated switchboard system in place (the phone is not answered by an actual person first) in which case verification over the phone will not work. SMS verification is no longer an option.
3.) Provide comprehensive information. Add operating hours, photos, specify payment options and add a short introduction about your business. Trust is an issue these days and searchers will be more likely to visit your site if they find more detailed information. Double check all info before you submit and watch your spelling.
4.) Categories. You can no longer specify custom categories and each one has to match up with pre-defined types. Select the most closely relevant category if an exact match doesn’t exist.
5.) Use one login for all platforms. On a related note: Don't create separate Google accounts for YouTube, Analytics and AdWords and so on. The platforms are designed to share data and work in unison. You'll have fewer passwords to worry about and have an easier time verifying your Webmaster Tools account or importing goals and location extensions for AdWords.