Google Places for Business Dashboard Update

If you’ve created a new Google account recently, you have noticed that the Google Places system has received an overhaul!  From what we gather, it’s currently only affecting newly created Google accounts, but it’s likely only a matter of time before Google rolls out the update to all existing accounts, as the interface is much more reminiscent of Google+ and the new direction they’re taking things aesthetically.  There are some other differences too, though…

New Search Method

Now, rather than simply searching by phone number, the process of adding a new listing sees us filling out the information much more comprehensively.

Once filling out the info, the usual steps are taken to check on whether or not there are existing citations for what you’re trying to claim.  Next we choose our verification options, which are still either Postcard or Phone.  After this, it takes us to the dashboard where we can make edits to the description, add photos, and more.  Notice the emphasis on AdWords express and Offers… doesn’t seem too difficult to catch on to Google’s angle here.  Express adds can be a decent solution for one-off ads, but we find that running full AdWords campaigns with a customized approach offers better results in the long run.

Editing Information in the New Google Places Dashboard

A few things have changed in the profile building process.  Gone are the options to include “Payment Options” and links to YouTube videos.  The Website URL and Email fields have been merged into one box under “Contact Info.”  Adding Photos is a much more organic process, and allows us to easily choose which image will be our “Profile” picture.  The overall process for filling out these listings is really streamlined, and feels much more like building a Google+ Profile.

Google Business Listings and Google+ – Moving Forward

The largest change in the new Google Places Dashboard is certainly its refocus on integration with other Google products.  It’s pretty clear that Google is making a larger push towards AdWords Express ads to appeal to smaller business owners, as well as moving towards a more integrated experience between Google Plus and Google Map Listings.

The links on the left sidebar are also in line with the navigation layout in Google+.  We wouldn’t be surprised to see the two services become even more intertwined in the days to come, with additions such as Google Places listings showing Google+ Status updates, offers, a follow button, and more.  With this heavy of a focus on local, proper optimization of your website is going to be more important than ever.  Good thing we’re experts at location-based marketing!