This is a pretty exciting stuff. Google FINALLY rolled out the new Google My Business platform. From Internet marketing industry folks like myself, this update has been long speculated and very much appreciated. Several experts have provided excellent coverage already (thanks, DannySullivan and Mike Blumenthal).
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The greatest update for small business owners is the Business Information Progress Bar. Most of us in the Local SEO niche know exactly what to fill out, but the majority of business owners have no idea how to properly optimize their listing.
Google knew that this was a huge point of confusion, so they added the new Progress Bar and included detailed call-outs to help business owners complete their profiles. All you have to do is mouse over the progress bar, and your specific action items are displayed below in the graphic.
The Google My Business update is the biggest merchant-facing update Google has ever released for local businesses. It’s the first time we’ve had a single, forward-facing brand business owners in several years, and Google has worked hard to clear up the massive confusion that was felt in the past.
This is a big, huge change. Google is trying to streamline and make more coherent the process of managing local business data, reviews and social interactions across it’s many sites. Google calls it “a free and easy way to find and connect with your people, wherever you are” The company says that existing Google Places and Google+ Pages users will be “automatically upgraded to Google My Business.” Google offers FAQs about the new approach and its features, which all seem to have pre-existed. Simplification is the upgrade here. In many ways this is the integrated product suite anticipated by a 2012 Wall Street Journal article asserting that Google was trying to consolidate and simplify several local-SMB marketing products under a single banner.
Here’s a video from Google on the change: Google My Business: A Visual Tour Of Google’s New Tool For Local Businesses & Brands.
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