Google launched Google My Business in June 2014 as a unifying way for local businesses of every size to easily manage their online presence. Google My Business is a central platform that combines the social aspect of Google+, the local maps presence of Google Places, reviews from customers, YouTube videos and more. This blog is the first in a series covering Google My Business features, pitfalls, fixes, etc. We’ll laugh, we’ll cry, we’ll get angry. Thanks for coming on this beautiful journey with me.
On this episode of GMB with Chloe, we’ll cover bulk management of locations, best practices, and user updates.
Bulk Location Management
There are two screens where you can view your locations. On the Pages tab, you’ll see your properties’ Google+ pages. After your initial bulk upload, these Google+ pages will be set up with addresses, email, website, etc. However, the image field in the bulk upload spreadsheet only updates the photos tab on the Google+ page, which means you have to upload profile photos and cover photos individually. Unfortunately, there’s no way to bulk upload these right now.
The other screen where you’ll be able to see all of your information is the bulk management page. This is where you can manage all of the details of each location, individually and in bulk.
Best Practice Tip: Delphic finds it most effective to keep control of all location details and grant Community Manager access to each location. This access level allows the communities to control the Google+ portion of GMB including posting, uploading photos, responding to user comments, and general interactions with the customers, but does not allow them to make any significant page or location changes.
Because GMB is a free service and takes location update suggestions from users, management of several locations can get messy. Luckily, a new feature of GMB is the awesome status column on the bulk management page. This column lets you know whether your page is active, pending review from Google, disabled, has an owner conflict, or has user updates.
User updates can be made by anybody on the internet. If you search for a property and think it can be improved or is inaccurate, you can submit a change to be reviewed by Google. Clicking on a location with user updates will show your submitted information and the changes made. These are live updates, but can easily be changed back to your original submission if you think your original information was better.
Best Practice Tip: Delphic has run into issues where locations submit changes to their information, like changing their URL to a vanity URL, or changing categories. If possible, it’s best to send an email out to the locations stating your preferred information and ask that they follow the guidelines to avoid a back and forth information update battle.
- Keep categories to a minimum. Use the least amount of categories to accurately describe your business to avoid looking spammy. Only the first category you choose shows in Google search.
Avoid duplicates. Practitioners and business divisions are able to create their own locations. Practitioners should ideally create a personal profile unattached to the address of the location, except when they are the sole practitioner at the location. For instance, a private practice physician can create his/her own page “XYZ dentistry: Dr. Ima Dentist, DDS”, but this would not be accepted if there were several other dentists operating out of this facility. Business divisions should only create their own page if they operate as a distinct entity. Often times, there is a separate customer entrance, which will have a different category, and can have different operating hours than the main business. For instance, a daycare center within a gym can have it’s own page, but the groceries section of Target can not.
Avoid identifiers in the name. Identifiers can be seen as spammy. For instance, “McDonalds – Cheeseburgers, Big Mac, Chicken Nuggets.” An exception to this rule is a location identifier like “McDonalds – inside XYZ shopping plaza.”
Thanks for reading! Stay tuned for the next post in the series – Duplicate Locations. I’ll cover manager access in more detail, merging of pages and deletion of locations. Let me know in the comments if you have a Google My Business question or topic suggestion.