Getting started with Google My Business
Google recently released a new online tool, "Google My Business", aimed at helping small businesses control their presence across Google; especially on Google+, Google Maps, and in Google's search results.
These services are some of the most common ways that new and existing customers will connect with your business, making it vitally important that you control this information. Google My Business also promises better analysis of how customers are finding your brand on Google, a clear swipe at the "Insights" function that has been available with Facebook pages for a long time.
Understanding how to use and leverage this new tool from Google is a must for any business that takes its search engine optimisation and social media seriously. So, here's how to get started...
Head over to https://www.google.com/business/ and sign in. Use your regular Google account and your existing pages will automatically appear. Click on the "Manage this page" option on any one of your pages.
The first thing that you will be prompted to do is to complete any missing profile information. When this is up to date, you'll have the opportunity to start sharing updates with your customers as Google+ posts. You may already be doing this, but the Google My Business environment enhances the functionality of this by prompting you with target audiences and integrating these posts with performance insights.
Your Google My Business dashboard should automatically integrate with your Google Analytics profile, giving you a simple "heads up" dashboard of your website performance alongside the insights into Google+ users who are connecting with your brand online.
Whilst some industry analysts still question how active a social network Google+ is, Google's constant investment in new features and functions is a clear indication that the search giant isn't giving up on this strategy. Each new application brings more convergence between the previously disparate Google services and with the ever increasing use of Google+ data in search results and the spread of Google+ via Android phones and the Google Now app, the size and importance of Google's social network will only grow.