Google has launched a new portal catering to smaller, local businesses, designed to streamline the management of your Google presence. From this new single interface, you can now control your Google Search presence, Google+ and Google Maps, updating your business information across multiple platforms simultaneously. Beyond the obvious time savings, Google’s My Business portal holds more promising potential for SMBs.
Automatic Migration for Google+ and Google Places
If you’re already using Google+ or Google Places, you won’t have to do a thing – you’ll be automatically migrated to the new Google My Business dashboard. That means you’ll see some new features and have access to additional channels where you can gain visibility, without having to make sense of some complicated, manual migration process.
So, say you’ve used Google Places but haven’t made use of Google+ just yet. This move will expose businesses formerly using just one of the many Google properties to other beneficial outlets for gaining exposure.
Not using any Google property to promote your business? Go to Google My Business and click the blue “Get on Google” button in the upper-right area of the page. Fill in the information about your business, and you’ve just created a public persona on Google.
What Can You Do with Google My Business?
In addition to simply updating your business information across multiple platforms at once, there are other ways you can use the Google My Business dashboard:
• Foster follower growth on Google+. Google’s social network hasn’t reached the epic proportions of Facebook for everyday conversation, but given its tie-in to everything Google – including organic SEO – it’s an opportunity you don’t want to pass by. By sharing informative content, you can engage followers and even earn new business through Google+.
• Get +1s and positive reviews. Encourage your followers to write positive reviews and +1 your content for an SEO and reputation boost. Users can endorse products on Google Search, Maps, and even ads.
• Track user engagement. You won’t be flying blind when it comes to figuring out what’s working on Google+. Track user engagement for your Google+ Pages and posts for valuable insights. Once you identify the content that resonates most with your audience, create more of it to increase your exposure and boost your organic reach.
• Get information on other Google channels. In addition to Maps, Google+ and Search, the My Business dashboard includes information on your Google Analtyics and YouTube channels.
• Create and track AdWords Express campaigns. Yes, even paid search is present in Google My Business. You can not only create AdWords Express campaigns, but monitor performance as well, straight from your My Business dashboard.
Do you have a multi-location business? Not to worry: There’s a bulk-upload tool that will allow you to add them all at once, so that they can be managed from within a single My Business dashboard. Go to My Business Locations to access the bulk uploader.
Benefits to Google My Business
All of this absolutely provides time-saving benefits to business owners. But beyond that, there’s a lot to be gained from Google My Business:
• Put your company information at users’ fingertips. Google’s platforms, like Maps and Search, are already mobile-optimized. That means users searching for a business like yours using a smartphone or tablet can quickly locate your business, get directions, or call you directly from Google. For local businesses, this type of on-the-go visibility is increasingly important.
• Start conversations with people who matter. Google+ makes it easy to engage with your target audience. For instance, customers who review your business can make exceptional brand ambassadors – and when they post a review, they’re essentially giving you the opportunity to further engage them. Take advantage of it.
• Keep improving your Google presence. With Analytics built right in to your Google My Business Dashboard, you’ll have quick and easy access to key metrics. Organic visits took a nosedive this week? Seeing this in your dashboard will prompt you to investigate, allowing you to pinpoint problems before they wreak havoc on your profits. Ramp up your presence on Google by adding photos, responding to feedback, initiating conversation, following thought leaders and influencers, or starting a Google+ Hangout. The world of Google is at your fingertips.
• Easily add PPC to your other marketing efforts. With AdWords Express integrated with Google My Business, you can implement PPC campaigns that compliment your other marketing efforts – all with a complete overview of your current Google presence so that you can more closely integrate your marketing initiatives and achieve your goals.
• Manage it all on your mobile device. The Google My Business app lets you manage all of this from your smartphone or tablet, wherever you are.
• Gain valuable customer insights. Google My Business offers Insights, providing key data on how your customers are finding you. Easily see the number of clicks, how many users requested driving directions to your physical location, and more with Insights.