Google is finally having an official launch for their new local business tools that used to be shared between Google Places & Google Plus. The new service, which is known as “Google My Business” is a new initiative to bring together the previous local business services that have been providing mixed results for SEO professionals and small business owners alike.
What Has Changed?
It used to be that local business listings could be created either within Google Places, or from the Google Plus Local Business area. Both of these programs provided a very similar, but different enough that they served their own purpose, experience for managing business listings. However, the two continued to converge until a Google Places listing was nearly indistinguishable from Google Plus page of a similar nature. This new “My Business” platform is a way to bring the two together once and for all, and finally stop the confusion for creating local listings through Google.
Is Google My Business Better?
There have been rumblings of updates to the local listing services offered by Google for months, and my first impression is that the new interface does provide a nice mix of the previous two services. I see a clean presentation of listing analytics, review management, site analytics (if they are connected), and YouTube data, all near a Google Plus posting box. A business really could manage their entire Google Plus presence from this single location.
However, the new program is still getting off the ground, and it definitely shows. I encountered many 404 errors and clicked links to nowhere as I tried to move between listings and different accounts. As this change moves across all existing listings I am sure there are going to be more kinks than an old garden hose.
The Future for Google Local
There are new features such as an improved bulk upload option for those who will be managing multiple locations. I have not had a change to use it yet, but if it works with the same process and clean approach as for individual listings, I will consider this update to be a welcome change. If you are managing listings for clients, or have a listing for your business, check out the shiny new options that is “Google My Business“.