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Updates to Google Places Dashboard: Integrating Google+ Local

Published on April 15, 2013
Tags: Internet Communication

Businesses of all shapes and sizes have come to rely on Google Places in order to manage the information that appears in search results concerning their company. Generally, it’s a great way of allowing local customers to find out more about your business before they visit you.

There were mixed reactions when Google started to replace their Google Places tool with Google+ Local; businesses – especially small ones – could now be easily found by potential clients, and they could promote their business while interacting with their existing clients. On the other hand, Google+ Local was found by some to be unreliable and just plain confusing. The whole process of updating the way listings are managed from Places to Google+ Local has been slow and frustrating, but there’s now a new step in the process that should help business owners to manage their existing listings.

So what updates have Google introduced in order to make Google+ Places a more viable application? Basically, a staged upgrade has begun in the Google Places Dashboard which offers some new functions and also keeps within the themes of the Google+ design in general. Here is a quick run-through:

Better Integration

The new dashboard shares several features with Google+, including the possibilities of using the social aspects such as sharing images and posts. This, of course, will only work if the business owner has already signed up for a Google+ account, but it is well worth getting an account for. This integration means that users will be able to smoothly navigate around the dashboard without getting stuck when they try to incorporate content from Google+.

New Layout

The new update means that the dashboard now resembles other Google layouts; for example, the navigation links are in the left-hand column, and the rest of the page is more consistent with the Google+ design. Separate tabs for AdWords, your Google+ Local page, and listing information management should also make the dashboard much easier to use.

Faster Data Updates

Speed was a big issue before – it could take far too long for simple edits to appear on a business’s Google+ Local page. The updates should help make this process quicker in general, but Google has also said that updates will be much faster, too; in fact, all updates should be completed in less than 48 hours. This could be the most important update to businesses who rely on getting customers through Google; before, even just a week of having the wrong phone number on their listings could damage their business and push away potential clients. Now, any changes should appear within just two days.

There are also other services that the new Places for Business dashboard will be incorporating: for the first time, businesses who don’t have their own location but who travel to their customers will be able to list their services, opening the door for many more small businesses and sole traders to start using Google+ Places.

Whether the dashboard will be a total success remains to be seen, but these updates could prove to be extremely useful for business owners of all types.

By Chelsey Evans

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