Local Business May Need to Adjust Online Marketing to Deal with Recent and Upcoming Changes to Google Places

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Maine marketing firm, My Local Leads, provides suggestions for dealing with recent changes to Google Maps for local businesses.

Businesses making use of Google Maps for local search marketing should have noticed some changes to both the end user view and administrative control panel of Google Maps over the past week. The most recent updates launched today, although more are on the way over the coming months.

Local business owners who have not yet signed up for their free Google Maps listing should do so as soon as they can. Google is still the most widely used search engine in the world. Making use of the free tools provided for businesses can help turn the tide when trying to be found online. Even businesses that do not have the standard brick and mortar location—businesses like landscaping, plumbing contractors, home improvement companies, etc.—can make use of Google Maps by listing an office location. By making use of the updated Google Maps, local businesses can benefit from increased search engine rank from positive online reviews and free Google places citations.

The new Google Places dashboard has done away with the custom categories some business owners were using. The new updates require that owners utilize pre-configured categories set by Google. While some have raised complaints at this new change, it is important to remember that Google seldom stays the same for too long and they do have a good record of making changes based on consumer feedback.

Google has also pushed the need for local businesses to sign up for a Google Plus account. Google Places will no longer provide areas for payment options, additional details, or videos. Instead, the videos have been moved to the linked YouTube account. Google recommends signing up for a Google Plus account if they want a place to showcase both their business and online video.

Local business owners that have already combined their Google Plus and Google Places pages will continue to use G+ for updates to their map listings. There will be more instructions once those pages with existing social media features are ready to be migrated.

For those business owners that do not yet see these changes to the Google Places dashboard, do not be concerned. The accounts are being rolled out. Not everyone has been updated yet, although they will be. For local businesses looking to get a sneak peek at the upcoming changes to Google Maps, a request to be included in the preview can be made here: http://maps.google.com/help/maps/helloworld/desktop/preview/.

My Local Leads is a marketing firm in Maine specializing in local search marketing for US-based companies. For years, they have helped clients keep the doors open and the phones ringing. By keeping updated with the latest in technologies and techniques, My Local Leads continues to make a success of local businesses throughout the country.

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Chris Moreno

Cameron Corniuk
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