Google+ Local: Important Updates to Changing Your Business Description

Although Google+ is pretty much dead as a social network, Google+ Local (or Google My Business as Google calls it) remains a) incredibly important for local businesses who rely on Google to get customers, and b) really confusing for the average business owner or small business marketer.

Just today, I learned that Google has – yet again – made some changes to how local businesses can update their Google+ listings. Previously, you’d log in to your Google+ account, and update your business description there. Now, however, you can NOT update your business description directly in the Google My Business area, but instead have to log in to Google+ and edit it “as if” your business were a person. Go figure.

What I have learned with Google+ is don’t ask questions, don’t look for a reason why, don’t look for any sort of logical plan or strategy on Google’s part. Google+ is pretty much a train wreck, but – to your local business – it’s a train wreck that is incredibly valuable to your business!

Getting to Your Business Listing on Google+

Assuming you’ve claimed your Google+ listing on Google My Business (https://www.google.com/business), here are the steps:

  1. Log into your Gmail / Google account (the one that controls your local listing).
  2. Go directly to Google my business at https://www.google.com/business OR click on your name / photo at the top left, while signed into your Google account and then hover down to the Google+ business listing you wish to edit.

Previously, you could then edit your business description, and with an eye to SEO include keywords and links to your website there. No one really knows if that helps your SEO, but it certainly didn’t hurt. To update your business description you need to follow the steps below.

Method #1 – The New System of Google+ Updates

Now, however, you can still use the above steps to edit your business name, categories, hours, pictures, etc., AND respond to customer reviews, but you can NOT edit your business description.

To edit your business description, however, you must now follow these new procedures –

  1. Log into your Gmail / Google account (the one that controls your local listing)
  2. Go to https://aboutme.google.com/ and then click on the top right to switch FROM your personal Google+ TO your business account. This is not very intuitive, but you have to switch INTO your Google+ business account for this to work!
  3. Find the “My Story” section and edit your “story” which is the new name for the business description.

 

Here’s a screenshot:

Changes to Google Local

Read the official announcement, here. Again, there’s no indication that this has any impact on your SEO as the link between the Google+ listing for your business and what consumers / searchers see on Google seems to be fading away. With Google+ all but dead outside of a few niches (e.g., photo sharing), Google still hasn’t figured out a simple way to let businesses claim their “listings” on Google, respond to reviews, and update their information outside of Google+.

Google+ local remains very difficult to use for the average small business owner or marketer, yet incredibly important. So you just have to “grin and bear it.”

Method #2 – The New New System of Google+ Updates?

Interestingly, I discovered if you are logged into the Gmail / Google account that controls your listing AND you just Google your company name, then a new edit feature seems to be popping up. Here are the steps for this procedure:

  1. Log into your Gmail / Google account (the one that controls your local listing)
  2. Google your company name plus some keywords, until your company listing shows up in the far right side of the screen / akin to the “Knowledge Graph” area.
  3. If you’re lucky, you’ll see an “Edit Information” box show up. Click on that and you can edit your company name, address phone, hours, website, and categories.

Here’s a screenshot from my own listing for the JASON MCDONALD SEO AGENCY in San Francisco, California:

Changes to Google+ Local

So, there you have it. New ways to update your business information on Google / Google Maps / Google+. My hunch is that, over time, we’ll see a complete disconnect and you’ll use Google maps to update your business information and respond to reviews. Indeed, for consumers to write reviews, I’m not even sure that they need a Google+ account any more; a simple Google account may work.

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Jason McDonald

About Jason McDonald

Jason McDonald is a top-rated San Francisco SEO Consultant. His consulting services include search engine optimization consulting, social media marketing consulting, and Google AdWords consulting. Jason's motto as a consultant is that he doesn't do SEO 'for you' but rather he does SEO 'with you.' That goes as well for his social media marketing consultant activities and Google AdWords consultant services. Besides serving clients in the San Francisco Bay Area, Jason consults with clients in Silicon Valley (San Jose), Oakland and other cities throughout the Bay Area. Beyond the Bay Area, Jason is available as an SEO consultant, Social Media Consultant, and as an expert witness in litigation involving social media marketing, search engine optimization and pay-per-click advertising.