What to Expect With the New Google Places Dashboard

Over the past week, Google has been rolling out some major changes to the Google Places Dashboard. Here are the 10 things you need to know about the new Google Places Dashboard.

1. The New Dashboard is Only Available to New or Newly Verified Profiles

If you haven’t noticed anything different about your Google Places Dashboard, its because the new dashboard is currently only available for new or newly verified profiles.  You may only see the new dashboard if you verify or create an account.

2. Verification Process

Google has kept much of the verification process the same, but have added a couple of helpful tweaks. First and foremost, when you verify your listing through the phone, you will now be greeted by a display message that shows you the status of the call. Once you put in the request, It displays message letting you know that they are currently calling the business phone number. When the call is completed, you receive another notification letting you know the call is over. This is a great addition to the verification process, and will let you know when your client has received their verification number.

Google has also changed the administrative access to the Google Places Pages. Now you are only allowed to have one user that claims access to the Google Places Page. If a listing has already been verified, you will receive this message.

This change solves the problem of having multiple people editing a Google Places profile, but may also make getting access to the profile a bit more difficult.

3. Faster Content Updating

The new dashboard promises much faster content updating on your Google Places page. With the old dashboard, you would sometimes have to wait 2-3 weeks to see your page update. With the new dashboard, we see an almost instantaneous update in the description field. The images however still take a little longer.

4. No More Custom Categories

Google no longer allows you to create custom categories for your Google Places listing. You now must choose the categories that match your business offerings based on the categories that Google has established. They had previously removed custom categories in Google + Business Profiles, now the same is true for Google Places Pages. You can now add up to 10 categories to your listing, provided they fit one of Google’s categories.

5. Photo Improvements

Google has also made a bunch of upgrades to the photos that will appear on your Google Listing. You are no longer limited to 10 images, and can upload your images in bulk. You can also select which photo you would like to use for your profile picture on your listing.

6. No Field for YouTube Videos

In the latest update, there is no field for placing YouTube videos. If a business owner wants to add video to their listing or manage their social stream, they need to have a personal Google + Profile.

7. Increased Support for Service Area Listings

Finally Google is acknowledging Service Area Businesses allowing them to have a Google + Local page and to hide their address if they want.  It allows business to map a service area radius from their location and place cities or zip code they serve.

8. New Insights Interface

Although Google hasn’t given you much more information in your analytics, they have updated the interface. All of the information is now in bar graph format vs. the line graph in the old dashboard. There are also different tabs for impressions, actions, search queries, and driving directions.  The information hasn’t changed much yet, but the look and feel is different.

9. Promotion for other Google Products

The new interface seems to encourage the use of Adwords Express and Google Offers, and acts as a dashboard for all three. Google is pushing these products to compete with other local marketing sites like Yelp, Bing Local, and Groupon.

10. Don’t Merge Your Google Listing with Google + Local…. Yet.

 Thinking about merging your Google Places Listing with a Google + Business Profile? Maybe you should wait a bit. Google advises business owners to hold off with the merge because this process is still a bit buggy.  Google plans on updating the dashboard with an “Upgrade” button that will make the process much smoother. To prevent a headache, you should hold off on upgrading for a bit.

 

Google has finally addressed many of the concerns Local Search Marketers have been facing with for quite a while, but expect the dashboard to change several times in the coming months.

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