google my business local listingGoogle has continuously been improving and modifying Google Places, Google+ Pages and Google Local listings, and recently has released another large update. 

This new platform, Google My Business, makes it easier than ever for local business information to be updated and found easily across all Google products – Google Maps, Google Search, and Google+. This update is a welcome change for small business owners to large companies alike who may have struggled to build a consistent local presence online.

If you previously managed your business’ Google presence through the latest installment of Places for Business, the dashboard of Google My Business will look familiar. Many of the features of Google My Business are the same, but the process is improved. Here are some of the new features of Google My Business you should have a look at, and a few ways you can optimize your Google My Business listing.

New Google My Business Dashboard Features

The Google My Business dashboard makes it very easy to update your business information regularly to help ensure that Google users find the most up-to-date business data. In addition, the platform allows you to:

  • Share updates with your Google+ followers
  • See insight data on your Google+ page user engagement
  • See data on your related Google Analytics and YouTube channels in one place

After you’ve verified your Google My Business page you have access all the features of the new dashboard, including:

  • Insight data on how users found your Google business information
  • Customer feedback about your company from across the web in one place
  • View and Respond to Google customers’ reviews
  • Start and monitor Adwords Express campaign performance

If you had a Places for Business listing, Google will automatically upgrade your listing to the new dashboard. You’ll notice if you’ve been updated by logging into your dashboard area to manage your business data and page.

If you used Google Places for Business to manage 10 or more locations, read this article for more information on the switch to Google My Business Locations.

Optimization Tips for your Google My Business Listing

To get the best results for your Google My Business listing, follow these three tips.

1) Make Sure Your Listing As Complete and Accurate

  • Make sure your business location is entered correctly (business name, physical address, and phone number(s), and that the pin marker in maps is your exact business location. You can view your listing and drag the marker to the correct place.
  • List your official business website on the local listing. Google integrates information from your website to help improve their local search results.
  • Fill out the profile as fully as possible. This includes the text areas, but also the visual elements. Include images and videos to help your listing stand out from the rest, and Google will reward your page with more visibility.
  • Closely follow the Google My Business listing quality guidelines.

2) Choose Your Correct Business Category

Google My Business pages can be set-up within three main categories, and offer different features and functionalities. Make the most of your listing by correctly utilizing the right page type.

  1. Storefront businesses:  Choose this Local Page option if customers come to you at your location, and must be able to locate you in Google Maps. This is for businesses like restaurants, hotels, and retail stores. Have multiple locations? Click here for Google’s guide for setting up businesses with multiple locations.
  2. Service area businesses: Choose this Local Page option if you go to your customers’ location and you work within a specific service area. You service area can show within Google maps. This is for businesses like plumbers, food delivery, house painters, etc.
  3. Brand Pages: Brand pages are slightly different than local listing pages (1 and 2). Brand pages help Brands, Organizations, musicians, and other groups or persons to reach out to followers, fans, and customers on google. These pages don’t include addresses or other physical location information for Google Maps.

3) Establish a strong, accurate presence on the web.

Keep in mind that Google looks at all of your web properties, back links, mentions and the like to establish your credibility and authority. They improve search results by combining your business information from all over the web. You should consistently be growing your web presence using your business blog, social media, engagement on other sites, and listings on other local sites.