Google is all about change!  While Google has made a name for themselves in the search industry, they have also made a name for themselves in how often they discontinue or upgrade their products.  The latest upgrade?  Google My Business!

In the last two weeks, your Google+ page has been upgraded to the new and improved Google My Business Google My Business New Featuresplatform.  This new Google+ update will allow you to edit your local search information and Google Maps address, respond to reviews, and view important numbers on how customers are finding and engaging with your Google+ Page.  But that’s not all!

As part your upgrade to the My Business platform, you will find 5 new features that will leave you wondering, “How have I ever lived without this!?!”

1.  Insights

InsightsThe Insights bar will show your Google+ page metrics.  Here you’ll find the number of views you have had on your page in the last 30 days and a growth percentage comparison to your previous performance.  You will also be able to see the number of clicks your posts have received and how many new followers your page has had during this time period.

View Insights will take you to a more detailed view that displays how many views you’ve received over your page’s lifetime and how many people have requested directions to your business.

2. Adwords Express

Adwords ExpressAdwords Express is another section you’ll find in your Google menu or My Business dashboard.  This feature will allow you to view or start ad campaigns to gain momentum with your Google+ page and increase traffic to your website.

To use this feature, your Adwords account has to be the same Gmail address utilized to manage your Google+ page.  If you have two separate accounts, try adding your Google+ email address as an admin on your Adwords page or vice versa, try adding the address you utilize with Adwords as a Manager to your Google+ page.

3. Icon Images

Google+ integration with search is becoming more and more apparent.  The possibilities are endless in how Google can utilize search algorithms and Google+ content to filter through and determine the best content to match any search command.  With this in mind, your Google+ page now requires that you add “icon photos” to your page’s profile in order for your profile to be considered complete.

When a user searches for your business on Google Maps or Google Search, these photos will appear alongside the rest of your business information.  In other words, choose your photos wisely!

4. Virtual Tour

Google My Business Virtual Tour
Show off your restaurant, office space, lobby, and amenities with Google’s Virtual Tour

The newest and possibly even the coolest addition to your Google+ page is the Virtual Tour feature.  In your My Business dashboard, at the top of the page where your profile information appears, you’ll find an icon that says “Add Virtual Tour.”

Selecting the virtual tour icon will take you to the Google Maps Business View page where you can walk through setting up a virtual tour of your business that will be available on Google Maps as an addition to Google’s Street View technology.

5. Page Types

Storefront, Service Area, or BrandReviews, meet my Brand page; Brand page, meet my Reviews! Google My Business has combined features from previous Local pages and Google+ pages.  This means that Google Places no longer exists and what was once called a Local page within your Google+ account, has been combined to full Google+ functionality.  Features that were previously found on one versus the other can now be utilized from either page type, and linking your Google listing’s page to your Brand page is easier than ever before!

Now, when you set up a new page or edit your own, Google My Business has siphoned all pages into three different areas:

Store Front:

Restaurant, retail store, hotel, etc.

Service Area:

Plumber, pizza delivery, taxi service, lawyer, etc.

Brand:

Product, sports team, music band, cause, etc.

Your Local page has been auto-upgraded to one of these page types based on the information previously given.  However, you will be required to go through your verification process again if your business information needs to be changed in any way.

What Now?

In order for your Google My Business upgrade to go into effect, you will need to log in to your Google+ page where you will be prompted to review your information and make any necessary changes.

Google My Business CTAHere, you’ll also be encouraged to complete your profile based on new Google guidelines.  This is your opportunity to add your icon images and update your business description to be less “keywordy” and more helpful to your followers.

Above all, embrace change!  Google isn’t done collaborating, upgrading, and otherwise determining the way we use the Internet.  While many changes are top secret, held deep in the confines of Silicon Valley, the big picture is a little more obvious.  Google loves Google!  Google will continue to integrate their products to work together, and Google will continue to simplify the Internet as we know it today in order to offer the most relevant content to Internet searchers throughout the world.

Let’s discuss! If you have any questions, let us know in the comments below.

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