Google+ Business Page versus Google+ Local

What’s the difference between these important Google properties?

Google properties for dentistsGoogle is constantly evolving the tools it makes available to businesses to help them advertise on the web – so-much-so that the ever-changing formats can get quite confusing and often frustrating!

This is particularly the case for the local business listings and the newer, Google+ business properties. In this article we will try to explain what these two important properties are and why a dental practice needs them. Oh and please bear with me – even for those who are web “savvy”, Google’s naming conventions can be a little weird….

Google+ Local (formerly Google Places)

The advantages of Google Plus Local for dentistsThis feature allows you to create a page which details all of the relevant information about your dental practice in a concise format – where you are located, a brief summary about what you do, a listing of your services, opening hours, photographs etc. This is essentially what Google uses to create your entry in Google Maps and for your entry in the local search results.

As with all Google properties, there is a right and wrong way to enter these details – get it right and it will significantly help your chances in the local search results; get it wrong or try to “spam” it and you can be penalised. I will cover how to optimise your page in a new blog soon; today I just want to clarify which element is which so you know where to start.

Google+ Business Page

This is similar to a Facebook business page but organised so that it offers tight integration with other Google properties.Using Google Plus Business Pages to promote a dental practice

A Google+ business page will show different buttons to an older-style Google+ local page – look out for the “follow”, “video” and “posts” tab to help you differentiate.

We’ve covered the increasing importance of using Google+ for business promotion in earlier articles but to recap, it’s extremely useful for building and engaging with a target audience as well as supporting search engine optimisation.

Why two different pages? It’s confusing….

This is a good question and one that is basically down to evolution of Google’s tools. Google is driving tighter integration with its social platform and we are seeing this emerge everywhere; in search results pages, maps etc. It’s no surprise that the “social” element is now appearing in the old “local” properties too. So we are in a transition period.

To make it easier to maintain, Google is starting to merge the two different pages and also allows you to manage them both from your Google account dashboard. However, this isn’t rolling out very quickly and there still appear to be quite a lot of inconsistencies, particularly for users who have been using both features for some time. For new users, the procedure is much more straightforward as the set-up follows Google’s new work-flow from the out-set.

We have also heard reports that critical information, such as client reviews, can be lost when a user tries to merge pages manually. Consequently the advice for legacy users is to wait for Google to merge accounts automatically. Hopefully this will result in a simpler, straightforward local business page with the social aspects fully integrated (and hopefully no loss of those critical reviews in the process).

Summary

The evolution of Google’s “Places” listing into Google+ Local and now the ongoing convergence with Google+ Business Pages has caused confusion for many small businesses. However, it is very well worthwhile understanding exactly what these accounts are and the benefits they can deliver. We understand that this is quite a detailed and specialist area so if you are still in need of help and further clarification, please call the Dental Media team on 01332 672548 and we’ll be pleased to assist.