Google for long has been focussing on offering localized search results to its users in a bid to offer more personalized services. Thus Google Places has been one of the most used services among businesses such as real estate and hospitality. Interestingly Google has also hinted in pushing paid aspects of their places services quite similar to AdWords Express that will help businesses get highlighted in the results pages.
Coming back to the new dashboard, the new application has undergone considerable changes with a new ‘Places for Business’ dashboard making life easier for small and medium businesses. The new changes will make it easy for SMBs to manage data and promote their businesses with Google’s local products (Maps/Mobile/+Local). The new changes have made it very important for the marketing specialists to get acquainted with all the new features. Here are some of the things that SMBs must know about New Google Places.
It’s a Phased Rollout
In the initial rollout of the new dashboard Google has introduced many exciting new features that will make the job of the marketing specialist easy. Google has already announced that many changes would come up in the dashboard. So you can expect a lot from this tool in the coming months. For now the service has only been rolled out in the United States and it would soon be available to users in other parts of the world.
Improved User Interface
One of the most noteworthy changes in Google Places has been with its interface. The new user interface has incorporate inline tips across various fields in the form. This guides an amateur user on how to make the most out of the online application. In fact Google has also reduced the number of fields that you need to fill to make the process much simple. This might sound like less customization options, partly yes but the user experience has considerably improved.
New Listings Enjoy It First
The new Google Places service is currently only available to the new listings that have been created recently. The old businesses listings won’t get to enjoy this service as of now. The application is in the process of extending the new dashboard to its existing verified users.
Fast Integration With Google+
If you had tried to integrate Google Places with Google+ in the past you might have noticed how difficult it is. Any update made on Google Places would take long to appear on Google+ much to the disappointment of the marketers. In the new dashboard the feeds data is directly updated into Google’s knowledge graph data structure. Thus you can see the update appearing on Google+ within 48 hours considerably down from weeks that it would take in the past.
Google+ for Video and Social Elements
If you are planning to insert videos or manage your social stream on Google Places you need to make use of a Google+ account. You will come across a lot of customization options rather than merely posting a related video with your business listing. This improves your chances of creating a strong impact on the minds of the potential customers. Updating new photographs as a business owner still continues to be an issues and the team at Google is fast working in resolving this issue.
Categories Has Been Overhauled
The categories has undergone a complete overhaul and Google promises better search results for targeted keywords and key phrases. It has also created a long list of categories that you can list your business under. The number of categories that you can define your business offering has been increased from 5 to 10. However the downside is that it has done away with custom fields that many of us had been used to define a custom category. Also gone are synonyms and you needed to categorise your business under the strict parameters laid down by Google. That’s surely walking backwards.
Service Area Businesses
For long service area businesses had been denied the Google Places service. Google had been strict on catering to businesses that have a physical location denying its services to thousands of professionals who offer services at client’s doorstep without operating from a brick and mortar structure of their own. Now such professionals can list their businesses and hide their addresses if they wish. They can also specify the service area that they cater to.
We didn’t intend to end this write-up on a bad note but analytics on Google Places is still not up to the mark and a major disappointment for the search engine marketers. All that one gets is some estimated number of searches and their demography but noting close to offering you factual results.
If your business is making use of Google Places, these are things that you need to keep in your mind before creating the new listings or tweaking earlier ones.