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Google Places Has Been Renamed To Google My Business


Since the introduction of the new algorithm Google Hummingbird last year, many SEO experts have predicted that Google will combine Google Places services with Google+ Local. Guess what? Google actually did. 

Introducing Google My Business, a new upgrade that offers a more simple and easier-to-manage approach than the previous Places and Local, complete with a new dashboard. This big change shows that Google started to realise the importance for brick-and-mortar businesses to have online presence as well. With its latest catchphrase, “Finding Your People”, Google My Business essentially asked business owners to sign up and start listing their business on Google right away.

The most prominent feature of Google My Business is the ability to control all of your listings in one place. The dashboard will be split into several simple call-to-actions, which allowing businesses to customise what users find out about them on Google Search.

Google has stated that they want to help small businesses improve their online presence through SERP since the beginning of this year. Brands and businesses can now interact with their audiences, prospects and loyal customers on Google+, manage reviews and see their Analytics reports all from the same dashboard.

Here is the official Google statement about their new dashboard:

“Our focus is on providing a useful experience to businesses and to empower them to better manage their own information. Businesses that sign up for Google My Business are provided with a Google+ page, but there is always the option to engage with whichever part of the dashboard they choose.”

Google My Business will display your business info on Search, Maps and Google+. This way, customers can find you easily, no matter what device they’re using. You can access Google My Business either from the site or the Android / iOS app from a mobile device.

Here is the promotional video of Google My Business:

Google Introduces Reviews Feature in Google Places For Business

Recently, Google has announced that they had released its new service that might appears to be the “mother” of all review monitoring systems. The system itself, which is a new module for the updated Places for Business Dashboard, not only shows Google based reviews to dashboard owners and managers, it shows every review that Google has found from the thousands of review sites that it indexes. In addition Google is providing the review analytic reports for both the volume and rating stats of reviews from Google and across the web.

Google has also incorporated the owner review response option directly into the dashboard. They will now be showing those responses in the review panel on the front page of search results.

Some Interesting Facts Of This New Feature

  • The launching is global and will be available to all new Dashboard users
  • The reviews from around the web are presented in snippet form
  • Yelp reviews are not included in the reviews from around the web view
  • Reviews can be seen and responded to by both account owners and managers
  • The ability to respond in dashboard is limited to businesses with a fully social Plus page.

What’s Missing?

  • The functionality has not been added to the mobile version of the Places Dashboard for Android
  • There is no ability for business owners to flag a review as inappropriate from within the dashboard. They must still visit the About page for the business to flag reviews.
  • There is currently no active feedback alerting the business owners to new reviews
  • There is no ability to limit whether a manager has access to provide responses or not.
  • No enterprise abilities to create reports across locations

For the first time since the dashboard was created Google is providing small business owners and their managers a reason to return to the dashboard periodically. The ability to monitor reviews from both Google and around the web, easily respond to the those reviews and quickly access those on other sites are all features that leverages Google’s strengths and provides a basis for Google engaging with more businesses on a regular basis. Similar products have cost small and medium-sized businesses from $30 to $200 a month.

The release indicates that not only is Google able and committed to adding new functionality to the dashboard on an ongoing basis, it signals that they are prepared to provide significant ongoing value in doing so. The Places Dashboard has long been a once and done experience for many businesses. The analytics were the only reason for regular visits. They been less than inspiring and often didn’t function well, leaving business owners baffled and frustrated. The addition of social functionality, now provided automatically with every new claim, doesn’t occur from within the dashboard. It might increase engagement for some businesses, but not appropriate for all. Reviews are important to a much broader landscape of the market.

Google Releases Major Changes to Google Places

Google Releases Major Changes to Google Places

Google Releases Major Changes to Google Places

Recently, Google launched some major changes to Google Places, its local listing service, that allow local business owners to connect with their existing and potential customers in a unique and more human way. Google Places quite literally put local businesses on the map, and now, its replacement, Google+ Local, helps connect those businesses to consumers more directly. These Google+ Local listings are not only a part of search and maps but also have a new look and feel as part of Google+.

Google+ now has 400 million users. With all those potential eyes, local business owners on the site need to put a stronger emphasis on their customer reviews. In fact, 67% of consumers online read reviews of businesses before making a purchasing decision, and 70% of consumers trust a business with a minimum of 6-10 reviews. Here are ten things you need to know about the new Google+ Local reviews.

1. Reviews Lost Their Stars

Google certainly didn’t lose any “star quality,” it still averages 4.7 Billion search queries per day, but gone are the days when Google showcased a star-rating on listing pages and in search results. Now, Google is using a 30-point rating system adapted from Zagat. So now, in the place of stars, you’ll see a number rating in the format of “# / 30” displayed in local search results for a Google listing and on the page itself.

2. Google+ Local is Using Zagat’s Rating System

If you are a restaurant owner, you may be quite familiar with Zagat. For the rest of the business world, Zagat is a review site consumers can use to find restaurant reviews and recommendations in their city. The Zagat numerical system is based on a 30-point rating, which takes the average score each reviewer has left (on a scale from 0-3) and multiplies that number by ten. Google acquired Zagat in 2011 and has adopted their rating system for their new Google+ Local pages.

3. You Now Need 10 Reviews For Your Rating to Display

With Google Places, a business owner only needed five reviews in order for the star rating to appear on their listing. Now, with Google adopting the 30-point rating system, you need at least ten reviews for the number rating to display on your Google+ Local Page as well as in the search results.

4. There’s a New Sorting System for Reviews

Google+ Local reviews are now put through a sorting filter where the “Most Helpful” reviews are displayed first. This filter is based on the searcher’s connection to the reviewer, the text of the review, and how many votes that particular review has acquired from other users. The more relevant and popular the review, the higher it will be placed in this new sorting system.

5. Google+ Local Favors Reviews from Friends

As part of the new sorting system, when a user is logged in to their personal Google+ account, the reviews from their circle of friends will actually show up higher than any other reviews on a business page. In other words, reviews from other Google+ users in someone’s circles will display higher than reviews from people who aren’t in their circles.

6. Your Old Reviews Will Migrate to Your Verified Page

Once you have completed the PIN verification, your Google+ Local page will merge with your Google Places page. All of your reviews will merge over to the new format once you have completed this important step. Note that when you see a review from a “Google User,” this just means that particular reviewer has not created his or her own Google+ Profile Page quite yet and left the review prior to the switch to Google+ Local. Any new reviews added will require a user to log in before leaving a review, adding more transparency and authenticity to reviews.

8.  It’s Important to Respond to Positive and Negative Reviews

It is very important to your online reputation to respond to reviews on your Google Plus Local page. But, don’t just respond to negative reviews; you should also respond to customers who give you great reviews! When others see that you are not just responding to the negative reviews, but also to the positive ones, reviewers are more likely to think of you as genuine, and therefore trust you enough to check out your business.

9. To Generate Positive Reviews on Your Page, Ask for Them!

To gain more positive Google+ Local reviews, focus on asking happy customers to leave you a review on the site. More than likely, when you ask a happy customer face-to-face to leave your business a online, when they will take the time to share their experience with your business, they’ll have positive things to say!

10. You Can Integrate Your Listing with a Google+ Business Page

Now that Google’s local listings are integrated into Google+, a Google+ page is now an absolutely critical part of any local business’s online marketing plan. This part can get confusing, but stay with me. Think of Facebook, where you have both a personal profile and then you have your business page. The same is the case with Google+, but they have also taken that a step further by adding your local listing onto the site. Not only that, but you can actually merge your business Google+ page with your Google+ Local listing to manage it from one place. This will allow you to connect directly with fans and followers, helping spread word-of-mouth about your business online, and potentially serving as a dynamic hub for your business, encouraging your fans to leave you reviews. If you haven’t already claimed your page, here is what you need to do.

  • Step 1: Obtain a Google+ Profile Page. This is your personal profile.
  • Step 2: Create a Google+ Business Page.
  • Step 3: Claim Your Google+ Local Page. Once you have verified this page through PIN validation, the Google+ Business Page and the Google+ Local Page will merge.

Now that you have a better understanding about the new Google+Local reviews, what do you think of the change? How are you handling positive and negative review on your Google+ Local page?

To learn more about optimizing your Google+ and Google + Local pages, contact us today

Google has launched a new app utilising Google Maps that allows a business to track workers who are out in the field.

New Google Maps App

New Google Maps App

Google Maps Coordinate is a new application that has been developed by the Google Maps team in Sydney. It is a mobile and web app that will give organisations the ability to see real-time information on the location of workers who have the app installed on their Android smartphone, as well as update and track the progress of tasks that can be assigned to those workers.

The data in the app is fully encrypted, and Google will not have access to that location data to use itself. Employees in the field using the app will need to read and agree to the terms and conditions of the app before it begins tracking them. Employees can update their location as quickly as every five seconds, or at one-hour intervals.

As battery life is crucial when out in the field, Dan Chu, Google’s senior product manager for Google Maps Coordinate, told journalists yesterday that Google has managed to get the app to function so that even though it may access the GPS location every five seconds, the workers would still get a full work day’s worth of battery life.

“Battery life is something that has been a big investment of ours,” he said. “Five-second intervals will work across an entire work day.”

Employees who are assigned a task will receive an instant notification on their smartphone, and they can then check in when they are on the task that they have been assigned.

The Android app also has a function to allow the employee to schedule when they can be tracked. For example, the employee can set it up so that the company cannot track them outside of work hours. There is also a switch to go invisible to the company if the employee needs to go off the map for any reason.

“We’ve often heard feedback from our current users that sometimes they’re at work from 9am to 6pm, and when they go home they’re wanting to make sure they’re not sharing their location from homes,” he said.

Employees can update the jobs they are assigned to using text, and Chu said that Google will also look at including the ability to upload photos down the track.

Chu said that there will be a suite of APIs made available as part of Google Maps Coordinate to make it easier to integrate into existing systems.

“You actually get access to web services that allow you to create a job, update a job, as well as query a job, so that allows it to tie in with any current infrastructure or other systems they might have,” he said.

A number of customers are already interested, Chu said, and he predicts that it will be popular in the delivery, utility, mining, financial services and security industries.Google Maps Coordinate has launched at an introductory price of US$15 per month. This price is valid until September.

Chu said that Google has plans to release the mobile app on rival platforms such as iOS, but he declined to say when this might occur.

What Is Google Places?

Twenty percent of all searches now done on Google are local searches. By that I mean people are typing in “Mexican Restaurants Manhattan”, or “Bicycle Shops Boulder Colorado.” They are adding a local qualifier to their searches. Google, being quite smart, has realized this and has set up Google Places as a way to better help people find local businesses. 

In September 2009 Google launched Google Places. Google Places is a part of Google Maps. It is, according to Google a webpage for every place in the world. There are place pages for businesses, points of interest, neighborhoods, landmarks and cities all over the world. You can get to a Place Page by clicking on “more info” in search results, or by clicking “more info” in the mini-bubble. Now, instead of just getting a slightly bigger bubble, you’ll get an entire page of rich details, like photos, videos, a Street View preview, nearby transit, reviews and related websites. Google wants there to be a Google Place page for every “place” in the world. They recently aggregated data to create over 50 million place pages for businesses and points of interest. Only about 4 million business have actually “claimed” their Google Places Page. You can create or update your Google Places page here. Business owners can update their Google Places page with hours of operation, photos, videos, coupons and product offerings. Customers can also place reviews about the business on Google Places. Here are some recently added features: * Service areas: If you travel to serve customers, you can now show which geographic areas you serve. And if you run a business without a storefront or office location, you can now make your address private. * A new, simple way to advertise: For just $25 per month, businesses in select cities can make their listings stand out on and Google Maps with Tags. * Business photo shoots: In addition to uploading their own photos, businesses in select cities can now request a free photo shoot of the interior of their business which they will use to supplement existing photos of businesses on Place Pages. * Customized QR codes: From the dashboard page of Google Places, businesses in the U.S. can download a QR code that’s unique to their business, directly from their dashboard page. QR codes can be placed on business cards or other marketing materials, and customers can scan them with certain smartphones to be taken directly to the mobile version of the Place Page for that business. Read More…