Google My Business is a symbolic renovation for managing your local business on Google Maps and Google+. This online marketing tool directs to consolidate the features of Google+ and Places for Business into one easily accessible dashboard.

Business owners will notice the new dashboard interface is more beneficial and more organized which allows you to access key business features on one single page. On your main dashboard, you can now edit your Google Maps information, share social updates, respond to customer reviews, and track web analytics.

I have put together a helpful step-by-step guide that details the key features for Google My Business in order to help you understand the interface.

Determining Your Business

The first step to using Google My Business is determining which type of page that you want to create for your services. There are two types of pages available: Local Pages and Brand Pages.

Local Pages are the business listings that will appear in Google Maps, which is beneficial and effective for running your local marketing campaign. You can optimize the local pages if you have a local physical address or if your business serves customers in a local area.

Brand Pages are equivalent to Local Pages, but they are a separate entity. The main difference is that Brand Pages do not appear in Google Maps. You do not need a physical address for the business. You do online-only operations or if your business does not target customers directly, Brand pages type is where you will be eligible. However, you can still manage a Brand Page to compliment the social features of Google My Business.

Produce A New Listing

For new users, you may add your local business listing for free. You will be asked to search Google Maps to determine whether you have an existing listing. You can fill out an online registration form to create your business, if your business is not found and manage the listing under your account.

If your business serves customers at their locations, such as plumbers or deliveries, this is classified as a Service Area Business. You will be asked to indicate “I deliver goods and services to my customers at their location”. You must also input the serviceable area for your local services.

Google requires mail or phone verification to confirm that your account is authorised to manage this business listing after submitting the registration form.

Declaring An Existing Listing

If your business already exists in Google, you will be given the option to claim the business listing after due verification.

On occasions, you may find thatanother user with a different account has already claimed your business listing. In this instance, you will have the opportunity to submit a troubleshooting ticket to Google Support. You must also send a personal message to the verified account holder by requesting administrative rights.

On disputes and such instances, the Google specialists will investigate the disputed listing, review the account activity, and contact each party for additional information. This could take at least 1-2 weeks to reach a resolution. Once Google has ascertained that you are the authorized owner of the business listing, your dispute request for ownership will be granted and you can gain access to the business listing.

Promote To The New cool Dashboard

You will be automatically upgraded to the new Google My Business dashboard, if you are an existing user on Google Places or Google+ Pages prior to June 2014. The promotion does not lose your data but calibrate the data between your dashboard and Google Maps.The information in your new dashboard gets updated to the information found on Google Maps if, at all, there are any discrepancies. These changes may include your address, website, or categories.

After the upgrade, Google My Business may ask you to review the information for your business, which allows business owners to double check and ensure the accuracy of the information in your dashboard.

Crucial Features

You can view/update several main features available within the Google My Business dashboard once your business listing is active.

Business Information: Businesses may use the Google My Business dashboard to manage the information that will be displayed in their listing. This includes the Business Name, Address, Phone Number, Categories, Hours of Operations, Photos, and Business Description.

Please be advised that the address field is particularly sensitive for Service Area Businesses. Making recurrent changes to the business address will need to be verified even when the account has been authorized.

Web Analytics

Business owners are able to view analytical and demographic information about their profile. The web analytics helps viewing the data for impressions, clicks and new followers. Additionally, the tool also provides information for Visibility (‘n’ times your photos were viewed), Engagement (‘n’ times your posts are shared and/or commented on), and Audience (demographics of your new followers).These enhanced web analytics will give businesses more knowledge about the visitors that viewed their page.

Social Features

Business owners are able to access a suite of Google+ social features on their dashboard. These features include sharing posts, photos, links, videos, and events. You are able to share your business content with the general public or just your core audience in your Google+ circles.

Mobile App

There is a mobile app developed for Google My Business, allowing you to connect with your data on your mobile device. The app contains the same features as the web service. Here is the download link for the spiffy new app!