Google is addressing confusion, complexity and the grumblings of many SMBs and local SEOs with its new simpler and more integrated toolset: Google My Business. GMB supersedes Google+ Pages and Google Places and is a kind of “one stop shop” for managing listings and exposure on Google and Google+ across device platforms.
I characterized it in my SEL post as a kind of rudimentary CRM platform for SMBs. The pitch is: be everywhere on Google and connect with customers across platforms.
There are also analytics, a mobile dashboard for SMBs (Android with iOS coming soon) and reputation monitoring. The basic elements of the product have been around for some time but are now being streamlined and made more coherent and user-friendly.
The part that jumped out at me was review monitoring (which has been present for awhile apparently):
- Read reviews for your business from around the web
- Respond to reviews from Google users
- Check analytics to get an overview on how and where your customers are evaluating your business
Google is crawling reviews from third party sites and will link SMBs back to the review source to learn more or respond. You can respond directly through the tools to Google reviews.
Even though the pieces of this have pre-existed, the new Google My Business should make life easier for most in the local world. However it won’t necessarily bring more SMBs into the self-service world of Google AdWords.