Anyone who has attempted to keep a pulse on Google's local product offering has probably noticed that it's been going through somewhat of an identity crisis over the last two or so years.
Google Places Google Places for Business Google Plus Local Google's local platform has been through so many updates recently that it's hard to keep track of what it's even called, let alone best practices on how to optimize for it! Google announced earlier today that they are shutting down Google+ Local as a platform and releasing a new product: Google My Business. The new GMB platform provides a much more seamless management system for individual location pages. The changes won't affect users' external experience with Google+ pages at all, but it's a major face lift for the backend management of Google+ listings, and certainly a much needed step in the right direction for a consistent brand message. Some big changes with the new interface include:
- A new integrated desktop dashboard that allows you manage both G+ Local and G+ business pages from one place, reviews, customer insights, AdWords Express, and your YouTube account from one place:
- Streamlined monitoring of reviews from Google and around the web + review analytics, which display: your business's reviews on Google+; reviews from around the web, broken out into top sites; your average rating on Google+ vs. the rest of the web: You also have the option to filter your review stats by time frame.
- Ability to post to your Google+ page and respond to Google+ reviews directly from the GMB dashboard
- Improved user insights for your business, including visibility (views and clicks), enagagement (posts and actions), and audience insights (lets you know who's engaging with you)
- A mobile app (currently Android only, but we're told it's coming to iOS soon!) so business owners can manage their pages on the go
- Clearer messaging during the new page setup process that distinguishes the different types of Google+ business pages available for business owners:
As of right now, the bulk upload tool doesn't seem to be getting anything new that hasn't already been announced (other than a new name- it's now "Google My Business Locations"), so unfortunately this update does nothing to address the difficulties brands with multiple locations face, but hopefully that's coming soon! But overall, the GMB dashboard provides a MUCH more cohesive brand and user experience for people who manage single (or only a few) locations from their Google accounts. Google has already started upgrading accounts, so keep your eyes out for the new interface!