It seems like Google is always changing its user interfaces, functionality, and search algorithm, which can be confusing for marketers and business owners.
If you're trying to market your business locally, Google's changes can be confusing, frustrating and time consuming. Do you need to use Google Places to list your business, or Google+ Local, or both? Let's clarify!
What is Google Places for Business?
Google Places for Business is an interface that Google uses to display the information about your business in its search results. Most likely, your business is already registered with Google, but you will probably want to make sure that all the information is accurate and up-to-date.
In order to edit your business listing, you will need to claim it first. This can be done by receiving an activation PIN via an automated phone call or by mail (click here for the walkthrough from Google). Once you receive activation PIN, simply enter it into the business listing status field in your Google Places Dashboard.
The Google Places Dashboard is a central hub for managing your business information, including description, images, hours of operation, and more. From here, you can also see how many people have seen and clicked on your listing. You can visit Google Places any time to edit the information as well as add/remove notifications.
What is a Google+ Local Business Page?
Your Google+Local business page represents the social aspect of Google search. Just like with Facebook business pages, having a Google+ Local business page will contribute to your brand's social media exposure. Here you can easily connect with your customers and others in your industry by adding them to various circles. Additionally, all the information that you've already entered in your Google Places Dashboard will appear on your Google+ page.
Another benefit of having a Google+ Local business page is the fact that Google now offers personalized search results based on your connections. For example, if Amy, who is in your circles, is searching for the information related to your business or industry, your company's Google+ posts are most likely to appear at the top of her search results. If John, who is not in your circles, inputs that exact same search query as Amy, he will also most likely see your company's posts in his search results.
As you can see, having both Google Places for Business and a Google+ local business page is important for getting your local business found online as well as connecting with your following on social media. If you are having issues claiming or editing your listing, don't hesitate to call Google customer support for assistance. Their new phone support feature is easy to use and saves tons of time!
For additional tips on getting your business website found online, read our post Local SEO Tips for Getting Your Business Website Found Online.
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