Google Places has been a confusing jumble of Google+, Google Local and everything else related to getting your small business listed in this almighty search engine. But, thankfully Google has now simplified the entire process with Google My Business.
The user-friendly layout puts everything at your fingertips with a dashboard that includes your local contact info, business photos, Adwords Express campaigns, reviews, and my favorite… Google Analytics.
Here’s a few questions you may be asking…
How do I switch over to Google My Business?
You don’t. Google has done it for you. You may have gotten an email from Google letting you know about the change and asking you to “unlock reviews and insights” but if you didn’t just head over to the Google My Business webpage to get started.
How is this different (or similar) to Google+?
Google+ pages are more for musicians, brands, and other businesses who want a presence on a larger scale and Google My Business local pages are designed to help you engage with and be found by your local community.
Example #1: You are a large clothing brand with multiple retail locations. You may want a Google+ brand page to share updates that are nationwide and a Google My Business local page for each retail location so that you can update your local listings for Google Maps and Google search while also posting location-specific updates such as unique products or sales events.
Example #2: You are a small mom & pop store who wants to be found online so you setup a Google My Business local page to make sure you are showing up in Google and that all of your location info is correct. You share photos and store updates directly with your audience to build trust and authenticity. At this point, you don’t really need a Google+ brand page.
What is Adwords Express?
You noticed that Adwords Express is listed in your Google My Business dashboard but you have no idea what it is. Google Adwords Express is a simplified version of Adwords specifically for local business. Instead of having to choose keywords and setup complex campaigns, Adwords Express lets you promote your search listing when someone is searching for local businesses within your industry category.
Example: Say I’m an architect in Boston, MA and I promote my business with Adwords Express. If someone searches for “Architects in Boston, MA” my listing will show up in a different color then all the rest both in search and on Google Maps. This is great for restaurants and location-specific businesses that feel overshadowed by the competition.
It’s super easy to setup after you input a few details about your business and set a maximum budget. You are only charged on a per click (or per call – if you add a phone number) basis so you only pay when someone clicks your local listing.
What if I don’t have Google Analytics?
You can view basic Analytics from your website right from your Google My Business dashboard without having to open the full Google Analytics in a new window. If you don’t have a GA account setup, that’s fine.
You don’t need to have everything in your Google My Business dashboard setup to be able to use some of the features. But… if you’re not using GA to track your website activity, you may want to start. It’s a fabulous free tool to help you see how well your website is performing.
Here’s an easy-to-follow guide to Google Analytics to help you get started.
How is Google My Business going to benefit me?
Whether you have multiple locations or just one, Google My Business makes it so easy to manage everything you need to promote your business with Google.
It puts all the tools you have at your disposal in one place so even if you’re not familiar with each and every one, Google can walk you through the setup process and let you optimize your profile to get the best results.
Check your “profile completeness” and make sure you’re fully optimized to be found by your targtet customer.
Any other Questions?
If you have any other questions, please don’t hesitate to ask in the comments… I’ll be sure to answer every one!