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Google has launched its new tool designed for small business – Google My Business – a one-stop shop that brings together Search, Maps and Google+ in one place.

The free platform allows businesses to add a ‘virtual tour’ function for customers to see the interior of their business, as well as a space to share news, events and other important updates from your Google+ page.

Rich Flanagan, Google’s Head of SMB Marketing, told Dynamic Business that the platform is the result of collating feedback from small business owners around the world.

“Business owners around the world told us they want a very simple way to make their presence known online, and essentially to be found. Whether that’s across search, maps or desktop or on phones – they want an easy way to be located and to let the world know about their product or services,” Flanagan said.

“We also heard that they wanted it to be free – so we took the best of Google+ for businesses, and bring the best of what other products had to offer, but enhance it and increase the ability to manage it when you’re on-the-go from your phone.”

Signing up to Google My Business also means businesses can be located with a red ‘drop pin’, which is useful in sharing a business’ location.

“These days, most small business owners realise that a strong online presence can be rocket fuel for their business, and to take advantage of it. You don’t need to know anything about technology, or work with an agency to use Google My Business, and entails spending less than 10 minutes filling out a pretty basic form about your business and Google does the rest,” Flanagan says.

When it comes to ensuring websites rate well in search results, there are a number of things businesses should be doing.

The content you’re putting online is representing your business in the same way as in a shop front. “You want to have your products displayed in a visually pleasing way, you want to have a clear description of your services that’s very transparent – and the same principals that make for good business in the real world translate into the online world,” Flanagan said.

“Small businesses that make the most of the internet grow twice as fast as those that don’t. It’s like not being listed in the phonebook a couple of decades ago,” Flanagan said.