This article was originally posted on Inapub’s Trade News website on Tuesday 11th February 2014.
Last month, I wrote about the value of using Google+ to improve your business’s presence online. Google’s approach is to prioritise results based on your data within their Google+ and Places products.
Setting up is easy, but if you’ve already done it you may find you’ve got to go through the process again very soon in order to keep your place.
According to several reports on the web, Google are making changes to their Places for Business pages and, in some cases, e-mailing businesses to get them to confirm their information. E-mails are being sent to businesses to warn them that if they don’t log in to their Places for Business page on Google and confirm or update their information, they could lose access to this data after 21st February, resulting in these businesses having to reapply for their Place pages from scratch.
Searching around the web I’ve noted two things: first, the e-mails from Google are genuine; second, it looks like this is predominately affecting Google pages in Australia only at the moment, but this could be the start of a wider roll out.
On Google’s Product Forum pages, Jade Wang, Google Business Community Manager, confirms that they “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.”
Although, as I say, this appears to not be affecting UK businesses yet, it’s worth having a quick look at your Place page(s) and checking the data is correct. If you haven’t yet claimed the Place page, now is a good time to get your pub’s information on there and make sure the information is correct – again, it can only help with improving your business’s presence online and improve your search engine results.
To access Google’s Places for Business, go to http://www.google.co.uk/business/placesforbusiness/ and either login with your account details or click the Get Started For Free button.
If you have never gone through this process then you will need to claim the venue, which will result in Google wanting to verify you are the owner. They will do this through one of two options – either by calling your business immediately to verify you are the owner, or sending a postcard with a PIN number on it to your venue’s address. This is a lengthier process and can take up to two weeks to complete.
Once you’re logged in, your pub’s data will show up. If you are affected by the changes above, a warning will appear asking you to review your data; if not, you can still click on Edit to make any changes you want to make, or View Dashboard to see what information is already in place and view Google’s statistics as to how many times your venue has shown up in search results on Google Maps.
If you haven’t set your Google+ page for your business up yet, this is the perfect time to do so and the Places for Business dashboard will guide you through the process of setting this page up while you’re logged in.