Google recently did a major overhaul of their Google+, Google Places, and Google Maps services – combining them all into one platform called Google My Business. Google has tried to combine these services before. A few years back they merged Google+ and Google Places into Google+ Local, but never forced businesses to completely stop using Google Places.
This time they are forcing the conversion, as logging into your Google Places or Google Maps account brings you directly to your Google My Business dashboard.
At first glance, it’s seems like an awful lot of changes went on to create Google My Business but in reality the only aspect that seriously changed in the design. If you are worried that you’ll have to learn another Google system—don’t be. Almost everything is laid out in the same fashion, it is just all combined in one place now, in contrast to being split over a few sites.
You can now view all of Google for Business’s most important features in one place – your Google+ page, insights into the page, reviews that you’ve received from customers, and analytics. It’s definitely easier to control this way, and will be especially convenient if you don’t have a ton of time to spend on Google My Business.
The new design just looks like an updated version of Google+, so you if always accessed your Google+ Local page via Google+, then you will get the hang of Google My Business pretty quickly.
How Do I Access it?
There are a few different ways you can access Google My Business but the most direct way is to visit the URL directly: http://www.google.com/business/. This will allow you to sign into Google, and will bring you straight to your Google My Business page to manager. You will also be able to access it by signing into Google Places, you will just be redirected to the new platform.
Getting the Most Out of Google My Business
With the combination of all these services into one place, now more than ever it is important to have all of your Google services stem from the same email address. If, for instance, your Google+ page is claimed with one email address, you signed up for a Google Maps account with another, and you have a Google Places account on a third email address, you are not going to be able to get the most out of Google My Business.
One of the best features of this change is that everything is now in the same place, but this only works if you have everything in the same email address. If it’s split, Google has no idea that it is you controlling all of the accounts, and keeps them separated.
If you are a marketer, or a business owner that likes to check out the keywords people use to find your business or pays attention to the Google Analytics this takes an extra step. If you are running AdWords Express, you’ll not only be able to access it through Google My Business but you’ll be able to see the keywords that people are using right on your dash. This is also the case for Google Analytics, if your email address has access to the Analytics account than the statistics will show up on the Google My Business dashboard, and you can access your account by clicking through there.
Google Local Section
Out of all the recent changes that Google has made related to it’s local services, this one seems to be the most useful change that we’ve seen. This section is on top of the Google My Business page (see red box). By putting virtually everything that is important to brands & businesses on Google, they have made a serious step in the right direction. It simplifyeswhat has always been a complicated mission of controlling your business’s appearance on Google Local.
This section functions as the “old” Google+ page ad is where you want to be when you want to make an update on your social page. Right from this dashboard you can make a text post, upload photos, share a link, a video, or post about an event (see green box). Once you click on the type of post you want to make, a box will pop up where you can make it right there – without ever leaving this dashboard.
From here you can see a quick snapshot of what Google deems to be the most important statistics from your business’s Google My Business page. Straight away you’ll be able to see the total views your page gets and the percentage difference between the last week, the number of clicks you’ve received and the change from the previous week, and lastly the number of new followers you’ve gained and the contrast from the previous week. Clicking on the blue “View Insights” tab will send you to a more detailed page with more statistics.
All the reviews that are on your Google My Business can be accessed and managed through this section. At first, you will see your business’s current rating on Google (an average of the amount of stars you’ve gotten from people who have reviewed your business), the number of reviews you have on Google, and the number of reviews you have from other places around the web. Clicking on “Manage Reviews” will let you view & respond to the reviews that you received on Google, and it gives you the ability to see the reviews from around the web.