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Understanding Google My Business Services

Google local collage

Google Business vs Google Place vs Google Plus: Untangling Google’s Web of Local Pluses & Places

Confused about whether to have a Google Plus Local? Or a Google Plus for Business? Or maybe you just need a Google Place listing? You’re not alone. Since Google released its local strategy over 10 years ago, we have been taken on a (seemingly never-ending) journey of listings, maps, dashboards and verification codes.

In this article, we untangle the difference between each of the Google local products and discuss the local Google presence your business should have.

Google Local Listings: A Quick Recap on How Things Have Changed

Google Local has had a turbulent life since coming out of Beta in 2004 with name changes, spam attacks, countless dashboards, and more appearance changes than Lady Gaga.

Below is the rollercoaster journey that has shaped Google Local to what we find today.

March 2004 – Google Local Released in Beta
March 2005 – Google Local Business Centre Launches
April 2006 – ‘Local’ becomes ‘maps’
March 2007  Google Local Business Centre Gets Major Upgrade
June 2007 – User Reviews introduced to Google maps
Jan 2008  Introduction of /10-Pack / Local Listings in Blended Search (these become 7-packs by the end of the year)
March 2009 – Local Results Appear for Generic Queries
Sept 2009 – Place Pages formally launch
April 2010 – Local Business Centre’ becomes ‘Google Places’
June 2011 – Google Plus Launches
November 2011 – First appearance of Plus/Places integration
May 2012 – Google replaces Google Places pages with Google+ Local pages
August 2012 – Google releases Organic 7-pack
April 2013 – Google Upgrades Its Google Places Dashboard With Google+ Local Integration

We’ve picked out the most relevant Google Local updates, for a full round up of Google updates since 2000, we like Moz’s Google Algorithm Change History

Google Local For 2014

There are 2 principal types of local pages on Google+:

  1. Local Listing (previously Google Places)
  2. Local Google + Page

1. Local Listing (previously Google Places)

What is a Google Local Listing?

  • This is the original ‘place page’. But now it doesn’t have a specific page/URL
  • Local listings have scores, reviews and tabs for About and Photos beneath the cover photo
  • The information here is typically edited once and left – there’s no continuous update/social aspect to it (with the exception of customer reviews)

Where is the Information Shown?

  • The information is editable via a dashboard and the information is used to populate the following places in Google:
    • Google maps (For your edits to appear on Google Maps, you must verify your business)
    • Google search listings

Tip: to see your Google local listing, type in your business name and address to Google. This should bring up your listing. 

How Can I Get a Google Listing?

  • Even if you haven’t actively set up a Google local listing, Google automatically sets one up. It is then up to the business owner to claim, verify and populate it. You can do so by clicking on ‘Manage this page’ button on the listing.
  • You can edit place information via the dashboard here
  • Businesses with multiple offices/stores should submit each location as a separate listing

2. Local Google + Page

What is a Local Google+ Page?

  • The Local Google+ Page offers the social/engagement side of your traditional Google place page
google plus digirank bristol
  • You can identify these pages if there are tabs for Posts, About, Photos and Videos. (You can tell you’re on a G+ Local page because it has a tick that says ‘verified local business’ when you hover over it)
  • This is where your customers and clients can go to rate and review your business. Reviews from Zagatare also integrated into this site
  • The Local Google + pages are great for driving people to your store/office as it includes maps, contact details etc
  • If you’re looking to engage with local customers, this is a great platform to use

Where is the Information Shown?

  • This is your business presence on Google local search platforms.
  • Information shown on Google Maps is also pulled through from here (as it is synced with your Google local listing)

 How Can I Get a Local Google+ Page?

  • If you have a Google local listing, Google automatically gives you a Google+ Local page (see section above on setting up a local listing)

Note that you don’t have to wait to complete the verification process before you can see the Local Google+ page

  • You can access these pages by going to https://www.google.co.uk/business/placesforbusiness/ – ‘View Dashboard’ – ‘Visit your Google + page’ (don’t be fooled, here they are referring to your Local Google Plus Page  not your Google + for Business)
  • When a business owner verifies a local Google+ Page, any existing listing for the business is merged with the local Google+ Page to create a single page with a verified tick
  • Businesses with multiple offices/stores should set up a Local Google + Page for each of the locations

Google + Business/Brand page

Finally we come to the Google+ Business page. Although technically not a type of Local Listing, it is important to understand what it is and how it impacts your Local Listings.

What is a Google+ Business Page?

  • Google + Business page is Google’s equivalent to Facebook profile/Twitter etc
  • It is only linked with your local profile if you state that you are a local business
  • Google seems to be intent on merging Google local/places with the Google+ Business pages. Therefore, it will do its best to persuade you to set up a Google Local profile whilst on your way to setting up a Google+ Business page. If you are not a local business, there is an option to set up a Brand business pages non-local businesses. http://www.google.com/+/business/brands/
  • It should be updated and used as a social networking tool as normal

Where is the Information Shown?

  • Your page, along with your most recent posts, is eligible to show on the right-hand side of Google search results

TipGoogle states that “the more content you post, the stronger your presence can be on Google.com”

brand page for g+

How Can I Get a Google+ Business Page?

If you have any questions about getting up and running with Google Business, please feel free to get in touch with Digirank’s team of experts hello@loomdigital.co.uk or call us on 0117 923 2021.

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