Google’s Making Changes To Places and Maps
Google dropped some major news, via email, to some businesses last week, regarding their Google Places for Business Pages and Listings. Apparently, Google is making some changes and you have 3 weeks to update and save your Google Places Listing. This is good news for everyone including all businesses and all users of Google search.
It should be clear that not everyone is affected, although Google’s new changes relate to everyone. However, if your business is affected, it’s critical that you take Google’s recommended action as soon as possible. You only have 3 weeks!
For some background on Google Places Listings and Google+ Local Pages, I wrote an article last week on how you can destroy your competition in local search by properly optimizing your Google+ Local Page.
Google Offers 3 Weeks To Update Your Business Google Places Listing
The most important change for any affected business owners is that they must update and save their Google Place listing for their business. Google sent this notice to some businesses via email. Guess what happened? Yup, many people who received this email wondered if it was for real of if it was spam. Well Google answered and it’s for real.
Jade Wang, Google Business Community Manager clarified the concern by saying:
“We are making some changes to Google Places for Business and Google Maps so we can continue providing people with the best experience when they’re looking for local businesses. As part of this process, we’re asking business owners to review and confirm some of the information in their Google Places accounts so we can keep showing it to Google users. We know this will be a few extra steps for merchants, and we apologize for any inconvenience and thank you for your time.
We have sent business owners affected by these changes an email entitled “Action Required: You have 3 weeks to save your Google Places Listing”.
If you received this email – not to worry. All you need to do is:
1. Login into Places for Business
2. Check out your business information.
3. Make sure it’s correct, update it if need be.
4. Click “Submit”.
If you have more than one location or Google Places listing, repeat the steps for each one. Remember your deadline is February 21, 2014.
What Happens If I Don’t Update My Listing On Time?
In order for your business to stay on Google Maps, you’ll need to ensure you update and save your listings by Feb 21, or you’ll need to start all over. You’ll need to claim your business, add your business information, and undergo PIN verification using Google Places again.
Set Up Google+ Local Page
Google has initiated a second change which will now make it easier to set up a businesses local listing. If you’ve set up a Google+ Local page for your business or for a client, you’ll be very familiar with this process.
You’ll remember that when you create a Google+ Local page, your listing must be verified using PIN verification. In order to make things easier for businesses, Google is making a change to the PIN verification process that will now allow business owners to be able to view their Google+ listing before it’s verified and published live.
This doesn’t mean that PIN verification is going away. Business owners will still need to complete the PIN verification process before their page goes live to the public. The new thing now is that the business owner can preview the page’s features in private.
Here’s what Jade Wang had to say about the changes in PIN verification:
“If you’re creating a listing in the new Places for Business dashboard, now, you won’t have to wait to complete PIN verification before you can see the +page, for most businesses. Just follow the link from your dashboard to see the new page. You will be able to use Google+ social features on this unverified page, but please note — you still need to complete PIN verification before the page will start showing up in Google Maps and across other Google properties.
If you’ve got an unverified local Google+ page (made using Google+ in the local business/place category), then we still encourage you to PIN verify this page so that it can start appearing in Google Maps and across other Google properties.
If you’re creating a local Google+ page (using Google+ selecting the local business/place category) for a business that we think is already in Google Maps, then you may need to go through both PIN verification and our admin request flow before you can manage the page.”
I hope all affected business owners take head to update and save their Google Places listings in the coming days.
Remember to keep you NAP (name, address, phone) consistent everywhere. For example, if you use “avenue” on your website, use “avenue” everywhere else online – don’t short form to “ave” on some websites.
Same goes for your phone number, if you use a local number on your website, don’t use a 1-800 number elsewhere. Users, and therefore Google, will appreciate your consistency.
If you’re looking for tips on Local SEO and optimizing your Google+Local Page, please read this article: Destroy Your Competition With Your Google+ Local Page.
I’d love to hear from any business owner who received this email from Google. Did you think it was spam? Did you act on it immediately? Will you take action now?
Let us know in the comments below.
If you’d like help setting up and optimizing your Google+ Local Page and listings, please reach out and talk to me. I’d be happy to help you today.