Things at Google are on the change again – but this time, if you own a local business, these changes will impact your business and if you know what to do you can take advantage before other local companies realise.
What is Google+?
Google+ (also known as Google Plus) is Google's social networking site which builds off your Gmail account. The platform offers similar features to other social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter - posts, image sharing, connecting and joining groups. However, where Google+ tries to differentiate itself is in how you interact and share content with people. For example, instead of lists you create circles and instead of sharing all your content publicly or with all your friends or everyone who’s in a group, you can share it to specific circles (containing only people you’ve added). Google also integrates its services (for example: Hangouts) into Google+.
What is Google My Business?
Google My Business is a free tool from Google which allows you to manage how your business information appears on the Google Search Results and on Google Maps (this could be compared to an online business directory). You can add your business name, address/es, working hours, description, logos and photos. You can also collect and reply to customer reviews.
It’s Easy to Confuse the Two
With the various changes, both platforms have gone through over the years. It’s easy to get confused about their main purposes:
- Information Vs. Chit Chat
Think of it as an event...
Google My Business is the invitation, it tells you the location, time and attire. Where Google+ is the event itself, it has the conversation and the photos.
Now in marketing terms...
Google My Business gives you the stats, by providing information on how your business is found on Google and how your page compares to competitors. Where Google+ is the social network, that allows you to connect and build relationships with your target audience.
2. Getting Found Online
Which platform you'd use would depend on your industry, are you a worldwide software company, a UK based fashion brand or a small local business?
In the past when you type your business name into Google's search engine if you have Google+ set-up your social network will be listed with your posts, number of followers, etc. However, if you have Google My Business set-up your business listing will show on the right-hand side of the search results pages, detailing useful information about your business.
Google+ Shuts Down While Google My Business Thrives
On the 8th of October 2018 Google announced that they’d be shutting down the Google+ Platform for consumers over a 10-month period, scheduled for completion by the end of next August. This was down to lack of consumer and developer adoption and an undisclosed bug in one of the Google+ People APIs (which was patched in March 2018).
Why You Have to Use Google My Business if You Own a Local Business
With 56% of local retailers still needing to claim their Google My Business listing, you need to get ahead of the crowd and jump on the following benefits of listing your business on the Google Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) and Google Maps.
Benefits of Google My Business
- Reputation - According to Google, businesses that verify their information with Google My Business are twice as likely to be considered reputable by consumers
- Info on Demand - Allow customers to get the information they need about your business (opening hours, address, phone number) quickly
- Local SEO - By imputing large amounts of key information about your business directly into Google, you'll find your company ranks better in the Google Search Results
- Update - Add offers, new products and events directly into the search results by posting to your Google My Business listing
- Interact - Collect reviews from your customers and respond. 84% of people trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations, compared to 80% in 2015. (Source: BrightLocal, 2016)
- Gain Insight - Learn what your customers searched to find your business, where are they located, and did they perform an action for example, calling or getting directions for your business once they found you
Top 3 Google My Business Listings
Who do you think gets more clicks, the companies in the top 3 listings or the companies hidden behind the ‘More places’ button? Start optimising your Google My Business listing now.
Find Out More with Our Marketing Series for Local Businesses:
Digital Marketing Assistant / PPC Specialist (Google Certified)
For over 4 years, Jess has been Talkativeonline’s digital marketing assistant and PPC specialist. She can often be found in her natural habitat (the production office) writing content (you can see some of her work on Talkativeonline’s blog), creating graphics, analysing data, creating targeted PPC campaigns and training clients.
Outside her role at Talkativeonline, Jess is a great lover of food, board games, comic books and Dungeons and Dragons. If you look up ‘nerd’ in the dictionary, you’ll find her picture there.