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Google Places becomes Google My Business, and that’s a good thing.

We’ve mentioned once or 1,000 times that Google loves to change things. Those regular changes can lead to a lot of confusion about how to manage everything related to your business through Google.

Well, the search engine leader has made another change, but this one looks really good, because it’s addressed those earlier changes by consolidating its local assets into one simplified platform.

It’s called Google My Business, and presuming Google doesn’t change it sometime in the next year (you never know, but let’s hope), this should make things much easier.

This new interface is designed to let you manage your entire presence on Google, ranging from Google Plus business profile, and Google Reviews to Google Insights, Analytics and Hangouts.

It’s available on your desktop, smartphone and tablet, and Google is switching its business users over automatically.

Features include the ability to:

 Update your business info on Search, Maps and Google Plus all in one place
 Add photos and a virtual tour of your business interior
 Connect directly with fans and customers by sharing news and events from your Google Plus page
 Review and respond to Google reviews

Google is promoting Google My Business as a type  of all-in-one solution for small businesses to improve their traffic from local search. Of course, as a reader of this newsletter, you know that having a fully completed Google profile — while certainly important — is just the foundation for driving site

traffic. But this remains a good development on Google’s part.

One very useful aspect of Google My Business is the  Business Information Progress Bar. It provides extremely clear directions to the layperson about how to optimize your business profile. Simply mouse over the progress bar to see specific action items to complete.

If you’re setting up a listing for the first time, the interface lets you know that you need to claim your business and add the pertinent information. If you’re not sure what you’re missing to completely optimize your listing, Google makes it clear. It’s a pretty impressive platform.

 

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