A while back it was known as Google Places then Google + pages and now the upgraded version - Google My Business. It's free to use and if a young company has yet to get a website this will serve them very well as it gets a business listed on Google's directory. It is advantageous as it gets one's company found easily, by the majority of people who search on Google for information, products and services. If a company completes its profile on Google My Business, and does it right, it can get its listing ranked higher in the searches.
Google My Business Benefits:
- It helps put your business info on Google Search, Google Maps and Google + so that prospective customers can find you, no matter what device they're using.
- Make it easy for customers to get in touch. Give customers the right info at the right time, whether that be driving directions to your business in Maps, hours of operations in Search or a phone number they can click to call you on mobile phones.
- Start a conversation with your clients. It helps you build a loyal fan base. Your customers can show their appreciation with ratings and reviews, use the +1 button to endorse your content, and re-share your Google+ posts across the web.
- Your customers should never miss an update. Keep your customers in the know by posting updates, news and special offers on your Google+ page. Your customers can +1 and comment on the content you post, giving you a direct connection to their feedback.
- Bring your Google + Page to life. Grab the attention of your customers by showcasing your products or services with beautiful pictures. You can also add a profile photo, set a cover image and post videos to help highlight the best of what you offer.
- The Power of +1. Customers trust recommendations from people they know. The +1 button lets customers show their support with just a click of a button. They can +1 your page as well as specific content that you share.
- Respond to Customer Feedback. More and more businesses cannot avoid online reviews and it can affect one's business significantly. Customer ratings and reviews help you stay on top of valuable feedback. You can also respond to reviews as the business owner.
- Stay on top of reviews. Manage your online reputation from a single location: see reviews of your business, respond to them as the owner, and track your ratings over time.
- Insights on your customers. Understand how people find your business and interact with your content, so you can reach more of the right customers.
- Connect face to face with customers on Google's Hangouts. Face-to-face video chat lets you connect with your customers, whether they’re nearby or miles away. From announcing a customer appreciation event to showing off your latest product, it’s easy to reach out and talk with customers around the world.
- Make the most of YouTube. Give a tour of your store, offer a product demo, or just help customers get to know you and your employees with videos on YouTube. Then make it easy for people to find all of your videos with a free custom YouTube channel.
- Below is an example of how a company YouTube Chanel can be easily set up.
- With the Google My Business mobile app, you manage your business on your time. You can check customer insights, update your business hours, and share photos with customers, all from your phone or tablet.
- Manage multiple locations in one place. With Google My Business Locations, you can manage multiple locations from one place with a simple bulk location management tool.
It is now much faster, easier and more inclusive to use based on Google's aim of giving better user experience:
- The new fully functional dashboard allows you to see new visits, unique visitors, and page view numbers associated with your website from the last 30 days;
- this integration is helpful to gauge how recent posts may play into the number of views your site received through Google Analytics;
- You can easily manage multiple businesses, reviews, Google Analytics and YouTube from a dashboard;
- Your customers will have easier access to leave posts, reviews or +1's for your business (it's similar to getting "LIKES" on Facebook);
- You can easily view important information such as performance through insights, visitor trends through Google Analytics, Adwords campaigns ( Easy access to setting up an online advert on Google) , and see important YouTube analytics;
- Setting up data is now more intuitive and getting information has never been easier or faster;
- Company reviews and +1's have now been combined into one search-powered page.
By listing your company as a Storefront business or determining a Service Area, you are allowing your business page to come up in local search results as part of Google's business directory.
By clicking on VIEW INSIGHTS will take you to a more detailed view. This view includes some great information such as how many views you've received over your age's lifetime and how many people have requested directions to your business.
Google+ integration with search is becoming more and more apparent. The possibilities are endless in how Google can utilize search algorithms and Google + content to filter through and determine the best content to match any search command. With this in mind your Google+ page now requires you to add " icon photos" to your page's profile in order for your profile to be considered complete.
When a user searches for your business on Google Maps or Google Search, these photos will appear alongside the rest of your business information. Therefore choose your photos wisely.
The newest and outstanding feature to your Google + page is the ability to provide a virtual tour of one's business. At the top of the page of the dashboard, where one's profile information appears, you will find an icon :
Whether your page is a Storefront, Service Area or Brand page, your dashboard has been renamed My Business and will include all the updated features as mentioned above.
Any company with a previous Google Places listing will find they have been automatically upgraded to a My Business page and no longer exist as a "Local" page within Google +. Existing Pages that have not yet logged in to accept their My Business upgrade will find that their page still says "Local"
Your previous Google Local pages will automatically be converted to Storefront or Services Area pages. Some of these pages may require more information and may require re-verification of your business address.
if you manage your own Google + account, when you first login to your upgraded page, you will need to review your profile information.
In marketing a business, especially online, first impressions count a lot. One cannot escape from it as that's the nature of the visitors to your website or searches who come across your information. Just like your website, any webpage found online that represents your business, acts as a cover story of who you are and what your business has to offer. That's why it's important that you provide all the information needed to fill out your new My Business profile.
Google+ pages with incomplete profiles rank lower than profiles that has been fully completed. Bear in mind, that people searching for your business online are not only searching on Google for information about your product or business, they will search within social media platforms to get a feel for how that business compares to others (your competitors).
To ensure that your business page ranks higher, make sure you complete your profile by verifying your address, adding business hours, including icon photos, adding a virtual tour and sharing new content regularly.