Last week, Google started rolling out the new Google My Business platform to much applause from the industry. Several experts have provided excellent coverage already (thanks, Danny Sullivan and Mike Blumenthal)… but that’s not what I’m here for today.
I originally planned on sharing the fact that businesses could FINALLY change their Local Carousel photo, but the new GMB dashboard broke that functionality. Before the rollout, if you chose a user image that wasn’t a logo, it would become your Carousel photo. SO – let’s all keep an eye out and see if this starts working again…
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 for business owners in several years, and Google has worked hard to clear up the massive confusion felt in the past.
One Dashboard To Rule Them All…
It took a few years, but Google finally listened to the masses.
Business owners now have a single location to log into to claim locations, edit info, and upload photos.
Just go to Google My Business and you’ve got access to everything you need for your local business listing.
The card-based interface is much cleaner, and provides a visual guide to the various areas that’s easy to understand for even a novice user.
Exact Instructions For 100% Completion
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 on the right.
Just setting up a listing? Google will tell you that you need to claim it and add your business info. Almost complete but can’t figure out what you’re missing? BOOM! Google tells you that you need to add a few more photos.
With the new clean layout, it’s likely that most businesses won’t need the action callouts anyway. There’s a very clear path to follow, with each important element isolated in its own area. Obviously, if there’s an area on the screen that’s asking for information, you should fill it out completely.
Google has made a big push to clean up the Places/Plus Local mess, and they’re clearly trying to make things easier for business owners. The new platform makes it much easier for Google to roll out updates moving forward, so it will be exciting to see what they come up with. Maybe we’ll finally see a definitive answer to the Local Carousel Thumbnail issue?
Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.