So, Google. We need to talk. I appreciate everything you do for me – answering my stupid questions, giving me direction, helping me solve “who’s that actor” arguments…but changing things and not telling anyone? That has got to stop.
If you’ve dabbled in digital marketing, you’ve probably heard of Google+ or Google My Business. If not, you’ve certainly seen them in action:
But here comes the confusion: aren’t Google+ and Google my Business the same thing? If I have a Google+ page for my business, then why am I not showing up on that map in search results? The simple answer is that Google has been making updates behind the scenes. You now need both a Google My Business account and a Google+ page for your business to truly show up in search results. But while they’re separate, they’re also connected.
When you create a Google My Business listing, it automatically creates a Google+ business page for you. However, if you created a Google+ page, you may not have a Google My Business listing.
If your head is spinning, I’ll take a step back and answer: what is the difference between Google+ and Google My Business?
What is a Google+ Business Page?
A Google+ Business Page is simply a page on Google’s social network, Google+. Your page provides basic contact information. If you want to post content to Google+ for visitors to interact with, this is where you’ll do it. The websites we build interface with your Google+ page, so that every blog post you send out is automatically published to Google+. Think of this like your Facebook profile – it’s a public-facing page that just shows up to anyone who is browsing Google+.
Here’s the key: A Google+ page is NOT the same as a Local Listing, which is what shows up in search results. So…what is a Local Listing? Well, it’s a part of:
What is a Google My Business Account?
Google My Business is an overall interface for managing your business(es) on Google. It’s a hub for your Local Search Listing, Google+, Google Analytics and Adwords.
Your Local Listing is what shows up in search results when people are looking for your company or services.
Your Google+ page (as I talked about above) is your page on Google’s social network, Google+. Again, when you create a Google My Business listing, it automatically creates a Google+ business page for you. It’s a nice way to kill two birds with one stone. From the Google My Business interface, you can update your Google+ page here instead of logging into Google+ directly.
Connecting your Google My Business to your Google Analytics is optional, but saves you an extra click. Likewise, your Adwords Express account is tied to online advertising on Google and works into your larger digital marketing strategy.
What Do I Need to Do?
Your next steps will depend on if you already have set up either a Google+ Page or Google My Business page, or if you’re starting from scratch.
I Already Have a Google+ or Google My Business Page
If you created a Google My Business account, then you’ll automatically have a Google+ page. If you want to update your page, just log into Google My Business and click on “manage location.” You’ll be taken to a page that lets you edit your Google+ page.
If you created a Google+ page but aren’t sure if you set up Google My Business, there’s a simple way to check. Log into the Gmail account that you used to create your Google+ page. Then, go to the Google My Business page and click “Start Now.”
Type in your business name and click on the correct address. Then click “continue” at the bottom of the form. You should see this message:
Click “continue” to be taken to your Google My Business interface. If you don’t see that message, you’ll be walked through the steps to set up your Google My Business account.
I Need to Make One
Luckily, setting up Google My Business is fairly easy. First, you’ll need a Gmail email address. If we host your website, your email by default is run through Google. If not, you can create a simple “firstname.lastname@example.org” through Gmail. Log into your Gmail account and go to the Google My Business page and select “start now.”
Enter in your business info and you’ll be walked through the steps to create your Google My Business account.
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