If you have no idea what the difference between a Google+ Brand page and a Google+ Local page is, or what Google My Business is, you are not alone. In this blog post you will get an understanding of each of the Google products, why you should use them and how to set them up.
What is Google My Business?
Google My Business (previously known as Google Place Listing and Google Places for Business) is the information search engines use when listing your business. Having control of your listing allows you to determine which information to present to searchers about your business. This information can include your phone number, address, images, hours of operation and more. All of this information can be found whether users are using Google Search or Google Maps.
What Are Google+ Local & Google+ Brand Pages?
There are two types of Google+ pages that businesses can set up:
1.) Google+ Local pages (for physical stores or businesses that serve customers within a service area)
2.) Google+ Brand pages
Both the Local and Brand pages are about the social aspect of search. Similar to Facebook’s model where companies can have a profile page, companies can create a Google+ page. Users on Google+ can then connect with brands by adding them to their circle. If they have added you to their circle, they can see your company updates in addition to Zagat reviews.
Google+ Local is when a company (usually a local business) creates a profile on Google+. It has features that enable customers to engage with a business’s physical store (similar to Google My Business).
Side note: Coincidentally, a Google+ Local page will be automatically set up when you verify your business using Google My Business.
Google+ Brand pages are created for businesses that don’t need to include an address or other physical information. These can be created for a product or brand, sports team, artist, etc.
What the Similarities Between Local Google+ & Google My Business Listings?
You may be thinking that Google+ Local and Google My Business sound very similar and you are correct. They both allow for uploading images, allowing users to leave comments and reviews and add your general business information.
What are the Differences?
Besides the fact that their layouts are different, a Google My Business listing appears on maps or the search results page. You can also verify your business and utilize the Google My Business dashboard to manage your listings.
A Google+ Local page is mainly for social purposes. You can share articles on your feed, in addition to connecting with others in the industry and consumers.
What Does My Business Need?
It’s very important for businesses to get involved with Google My Business & Google+ (whether it’s a Local page or a Brand page). Utilizing both products helps you be in control of your brand. Whether you put it out there or not, your company is going to be mentioned on the internet. It’s up to you to make sure your brand is represented to the fullest extent. You can not only add images and contact information, but you can also connect with consumers by responding to reviews or answering their questions.
Being on both Google My Business & Google+ helps increase your visibility on search engines. What this means is that Google is factoring these listings into the SERPs and will continue to do so. This will allow for your business to OWN the results page. Imagine if you had a top position in organic search, a Google My Business listing in addition to a Google+ Local page featured! Take a look at the below for an example of Pizza Hut owning the search results page for their local franchises:
Click to enlarge
How Do I Set Up a Google+ Brand or Google+ Local Page?
Below you will find 4 easy steps to setting up your own Google+ page for your company:
1.) Choose a Gmail account that is accessible to multiple users.
2.) Visit https://plus.google.com/pages/create to begin the process of creating your Google+ page. Choose between a storefront, service area or brand as your business type.
3.) Once you have selected your business type, fill out the business information & customize your profile with your tagline, logo, etc.
4.) Now that you have your page set up (whether a Google+ Local page or a Google+ Brand page), you can begin to post content such as videos, updates and photos and engage with customers/people in the industry.
How Do I Set Up & Verify a Google My Business Listing?
Below you will find 5 easy steps to claim your listing on Google:
1.) If you have created a Google+ page for your business, you can find your business and verify it. This can be either by phone, postcard or the new instant verification via Webmaster Tools.
2.) If you have decided not to create a Google+ Local page, you will first need to choose a Gmail account that is accessible to multiple users that you can use on Google My Business.
3.) Once you do this you can search for your business and begin the claiming process.
4.) If your listing has not been claimed yet, you will get a notification that Google will need to create a Google+ page.
Our recommendation for local businesses: Create a Google+ Local Page first, before you try to claim your business on Google My Business. This way all of your business information is already inputted and the same across both Google products.
5.) Once you have access to your listing, like I mentioned in step one, verify your listing by phone, postcard or or instant verification via Webmaster Tools.
Why Should I Verify My Business?
Verifying your business allows for you as the company owner the ability to manage the listing to make updates, respond to messages, upload pictures, etc. It also gives customers the peace of mind that the location is managed by the verified owner, and prevents edits from unauthorized users.
Hopefully this helped clear up the confusion about Google+ Local, Google+ Brand and Google My Business similarities, differences, why you should use them and how to set them up. What did we forget or have any follow up questions? Let us know in the comments section below.