Yesterday Google announced that Google + Local pages would now be called Google My Business. The Google + Local pages were kind of a hybrid between a Yellow Pages listing and a Facebook business page. If Google knew your business existed, you got a free Google + Local page. This is what people would see when you were found searching on Google for something locally. In that way it was like a super one line ad in the Yellow Pages. There was the map of your location, phone number, address, and possibly website link and hours of operation. That's about it. If customers reviewed you or posted photos of your business, this is where they would show up. When I create the Google Maps Business View virtual tour and POI (Point of Interest) still images, this is one of the places they would show up. Business owners can claim their page. After a verification process the owner can then edit business information (address, phone number, website, hours, etc), make social media posts, add videos, and photos.
So what's new about the Google My Business?
- The look of the page is pretty much the same. It's behind the scenes that matter here.
- Once you have claimed ownership of your page, it's now easier to change addresses, phone numbers, categories, hours etc. The best part about this is that it also updates your info on Google Maps, Search, and the local listing all from one place.
- More photos with more data can now be uploaded. This is big. The more photos you have the more content Google has to index. It's CRITICAL that you change the file name to relevant search terms, write a descriptive caption, and embed keywords into the meta data.
- New way of staying on top of reviews. Other review sits can be added and you can directly respond to reviews on Google.
- Way more information about how people are finding and interacting with your My Business page. From one place you can add posts, see reviews from across the web, view analytics, view data on your YouTube channel, and Insights. Insights go beyond the raw analytic data. You can see what genders in what areas are looking at your site. What posts are they looking at. How visible your business is. What kind of engagement are you having. This kinda of data has been difficult and often expensive to obtain in the past.
- A new feature that I love is the add a virtual tour button. If your business doesn't have a virtual tour, click that button and get the process going to get one!