We have exciting news to share – April 2, 2013 Google introduced an upgrade to the look and feel of Google Places for Business that will roll out to business owners over the coming weeks. The new upgrade includes a new Dashboard (thank you Google!) a component of Google+ Local that has been missing since it’s introduction at the end of May 2012 and some other pretty good features.
Google+ Local History
Last May Google made a big change to the look and feel of Google Places and renamed the page the public sees to Google+ Local. The new look and feel fits in perfectly with the look of Google+, but they took away some of Google Places features such as uploading 5 videos and the “Share an Update” feature. They also introduced the Zagat Review System. Refer to our post “Welcome Google+ Local” in which we include the details we knew at that time and a video with Vanessa Schneider and Jade Wang, Google+ Community Managers. Google kept the Places for Business name for the the dashboard, where the owner or manager of the page makes edits, changes, and monitors statistics. We call it the backend of Google+ Local. More about this in a minute – first Blumenthal’s blog with details about the new Google Places for Business upgrade.
If you haven’t been over to Blumenthal’s Blog the past couple of days, get over there. Mike Blumenthal, guru of local search and a Top Contributor on the Google and Your Business Forum, has four articles that give you a great overview not only the visual part of the Dashboard, but other changes such as Categories, the Business Description and more. Mike’s blog post on New Google Places for Businesses: Articles Around the Web includes articles from the experts in local search such as Linda Buquet at Catalyst Marketing and Matt McGee at Search Engine Land.
Qasar Younis, Senior Product Manager at Google, introduced the new upgrade in his post Improving the look and feel of Google Places for Business. In the post he states:[ba-quote]If you’re an existing user of Google Places for Business, this new interface is coming soon. You’ll receive an email notification once we’ve upgraded your account, and see the new interface once you sign in as usual. [/ba-quote]
Joel Headley from Google posted Q & A’s on Google and Your Business Forum The first question most of us are asking – What should I do if I’m an existing Google Places for Business user? His answer is:[ba-quote]Sit tight and continue to use Google Places for Business to update and edit your listing. The update currently affects new users only. Please do not make new accounts/pages for listings that already exist. Please know that the update will be gradually rolling out to existing Google Places for Business users like you in the coming weeks.Check back on this forum for announcements and updates.[/ba-quote]
Mike’s Articles from 4/2/13
A little confusing… you think!
The upgrade from Google Places to Google+ Local was confusing not only for business owners, but agencies and internet marketing companies like elSue. The new upgrade is to Google Places for Business. Linda from Catalyst marketing helped clarify my question about Google using the names Google Places for Business and Google+ Local.[ba-quote]Google Places for Business has continued to be the branding on the business owner side this entire time. G+ Local was just the branding/name change for the public facing page or the consumer page. [/ba-quote]
I responded to Linda with one last question.[ba-quote]Since they are keeping the Google Places name for the business owner or the manager of the dashboard, should we still be calling the consumer page (what they see) Google+ Local or Google Places? We want to be clear with our clients. Some manage their own page.[/ba-quote]
Mike Blumenthal helped clarify as well with his response.[ba-quote]Its hard to be clear with clients when Google themselves are unclear. Google+ Local was a name used by Marissa Mayer that stuck. Google currently doesn’t really want to use it and they are striving to rebrand a local listing as a Google+ Page. That being said, Google+ Page is not very descriptive and misses the many nuances of the pages themselves (brand, local, etc, social, not social)… So until Google clears up their branding confusion and comes out with a name that sticks I use Google+ Local to mean all of Google’s local efforts. I use Places for Business Dashboard (or just dashboard) to talk about the primary interface for business and call the actual listing Google+ Page for local . If necessary I qualify Google+ Page for local as social or not. Whew! Its a bit of a branding mess. [/ba-quote]
Be sure to checkout all of the comments and questions that people posted on Blumenthals Blog and Catalyst Marketing Blog. I find the comments are the most valuable part of blogs and articles, especially Blumenthal’s and Catalyst’s. They are experts that take the time to answer questions and give great advice.
We will keep you updated as to when our Google Places for Business dashboard upgrades. Since they are starting with new pages, we are not sure how long it will take your dashboard to update. As Joel from Google says “Sit Tight” – I have a hard time doing that! If you have any questions or comments please leave them. That’s how we all learn and stay updated on what’s going on. This is all good news!