The Shift from Google Places to Google My Business
Google Places Shifts Gears: Now Google My Business
What’s in a name?
For Google Places, or Google+ Local, which is now “Google My Business” – it would seem that the naming process is one that is never quite complete. In this case, the rebrand stems from news that Google has completely revamped the popular service for small business owners.
The new version – which Google touts as an easier alternative for the thousands of local SEOs trying to make sense of all of the different Google properties aimed at local SEO – takes on an integrated approach by merging the existing Google Places, +Local, and now Google My Business listings. The merge comes with a new feature set that Google has mostly remained quiet about, but we do know that there will be a very basic CRM (customer relationship management) attached to the program.
The idea behind the new offering was to: “make it easier than ever to update business information across Google Search, Maps and Google+.” If all goes to plan, it should provide the one thing that Google Places (or Google+ Local) desperately lacked when it came to small business owners or local SEOs… ease of use.
While few SEOs have actually seen enough of the service to form an opinion, Mike Blumenthal, a top commentator on the Google Groups Health Center was quoted by Search Engine Land this week as saying that: “ this move represents an impressive new commitment (or re-commitment) to local (search) and the SMB (small business) market by Google.”
In my opinion, this service was long overdue. After perusing the new user interface, I’m amazed at how much of an improvement this is over the existing product. Everything from finding your business, to optimizing the page is just simpler than it was in the previous version.
From a business perspective, this makes a ton of sense, as the vast majority of searches are now from mobile devices and with local intent. This being the case, it only makes sense to get businesses on Google, and in order to do that, the process had to become easier. This is something that Google My Business definitely accomplishes. In fact, Google recognizes this fact by calling the new service: “a free and easy way to find and connect with your people, wherever you are.”
Oddly enough, this integrated approach is almost exactly what a 2012 Wall Street Journal article spoke of when asserting that Google was trying to “consolidate and simplify” all of their local and small business product offerings under one single banner.
For existing Google Places (or Google+ My Business) users, have no fear, as there’s nothing to do on your end. As Google rolls out the program nationwide, your business will be switched to the new Google My Business program automatically.