Important changes are in the works for Google My Business. If you already have a Google Business Page, you will automatically be upgraded to the new dashboard. This is a game changer because Google is now giving you many more reasons to build your Google Business Page. In the past, many opted to focus on the Google Personal Profile because it had more bells and whistles. The personal profile is still very important in terms of engagement and creating your personal persona across the Google platform, but this update may find you giving your business page some well deserved attention.
Google’s description of the new Google My Business states:
“Google My Business is the fast and easy way for businesses, products, brands, artists, and organizations to manage their online presence with Google. Using the Google My Business dashboard, you’ll now be able to:
- Maintain up-to-date business information on Google.
- Build loyal customers using a Google+ page. Followers of the page for your business can show appreciation and give feedback with posts and reviews, and use the +1 button to endorse products and services on Google+, Google Search, Maps or on ads.
- Track engagement with insights for Google+ pages and posts.
- See information on your related Google Analytics account and YouTube channels.
- Seamlessly create and track performance of AdWords Express campaigns.
Businesses with a physical location or servicing local geographies get additional benefits. Once you verify your business on Google My Business, you’ll be able to:
- Help get your business found on Google. Google can use the business information you provide in local search results.
- Read and respond to reviews from your customers.
- Get insights on how customers searched for your business, and where they’re coming from.”
If you already have a Google Business Page, you will see a prompt stating “Welcome to Google My Business.” Clicking the prompt takes you to a dashboard that allows you to share updates, view insights, go to your YouTube channel, view analytics, or start a hangout. Insights are available when you have at least 200 followers. These insights are divided into three sections; visibility, engagement and audience.
One of the most exciting changes is that brand pages can now become local pages. This is very interesting because I recently realized that I had two business pages, one that I created and another that appeared, local verified, with a map. I was perplexed as to how this happened until I read this article, Google Now Allows Brand Pages to Become Google+ Local Pages by Mike Blumenthal. Mike explains and provides instruction on how to implement these new changes:
“All too many location-based businesses created Brand Pages at Google rather than Local Pages when they first started with Google Plus. The business attracted followers, posted at the Brand Page and then realized that Google had auto created a Google+ Local Page from their local data. This has led to untold confusion and desire to “merge” the two pages.This new feature, to a large extent solving this problem, allows location-based businesses that initially created a Brand Page instead of a Local Page, to move the local features from a verified Local Page to their current Brand Page. Reviews, verification, address information and the Map pin will be literally ‘transplanted’ to the Brand Page.”
For the most part, the instructions for updating to Google My Business are easy to follow and I like the way Google is tying everything together into a neat package. A real bonus is offering a seamless way to start a hangout. Since I have neglected my business page and focused only on my personal profile, it will take time to build momentum and following on a business page. But I think Google has given us more reasons, with a dash of motivation, to move forward and explore these new options.