Google has far more products and services now than anyone could have predicted in its search engine infancy. But with so many options available, it may start to become unclear what each one is for, or at the very least, how the services differ from one another. Between Google Plus and Google my Business, marketers may not realize that the services differ in value depending on the company that uses them.
This guide will help you understand not only how these two are different, but how you can use them to your advantage.
Google My Business
“Google My Business connects you directly with customers, whether they’re looking for you on Search, Maps or Google+” – Description found on the Official Google my Business Page.
Google My Business, formerly known as Google Places For Business, is about connecting your business to your visitors through Insights, Maps, Search, and Google+, and Analytics. Brent Carnduff described it as “as the interface between you and Google local search activity.” In short, Google my Business is your online dashboard for your business. It shows you different channels that define your business on Google.
The first thing you’ll notice after setting up your company on Google my Business is Google’s location feature. Usually, when you look up a business on their search engine, you’ll see a range of information in a neat card on the right-hand side. As you can see, for Arcalea, it includes the business name, photos, a map, reviews, contact details, and operating hours. This gives visitors more information, and assures them on the reputability of the business.
All of this can be managed in Google my Business. You can choose which details to share, and which photos visitors will see. Once you create a location, Google will send you a verification postcard in 4 days to confirm that the location is real. Once you input the code from that postcard, Google will list your location on their search engine.
In addition, Google My Business gives you key data with Insights and Reviews. Insights shows how many views, clicks, and followers your website may get, while reviews show a deeper form of engagement, the written testimonials of real customers accompanied with a star rating.
Lastly, Google my Business gives you the option of accessing your business’s Google Plus and Analytics account. Here you can manage your presence on Google’s social network, and yield important data on who your visitors are, and how they interact with your website.
“With Google+, you can share links, videos, pictures, and other content with people who share your interests. And you can see what other people have shared in your stream. You can always choose who you share with.” – Description found on Google+ Help.
On the other hand, there’s Google Plus, Google’s intended response to Facebook. Although the social network hasn’t caught on the way they intended, they nevertheless found a new opportunity through a redesign. Instead of focusing on individual profiles, Google decided to focus on their core strengths, which were Communities and Collections.
Communities are public or private groups for people with a common interest. For example, one community centers around photography, and has 2 million followers. Communities are a great way to build buzz around a certain topic and actively engage the audience, whether it’s through comments or hangouts.
Collections are posts grouped by content. This could be anything from Star Wars Memes to Time Management Tips. This works slightly like Pinterest, in that people find pages of their interest with different posts from different sources.
What’s the difference?
Due to the various changes both Google Plus and Google my Business have undergone, it’s perfectly normal to be confused with the purpose of each one. What is the difference between them, and what purpose does each one serve?
Dashboard v. Social
Try to look at it this way: think of your business as a fancy dinner or a birthday party. Google my Business is everything to do with how people find your party and how they get there. Google+ is about the actual party itself, and what kind of things people talk about when they’re there. Google my Business is a dashboard- it allows you to see different kinds of information that relates to how your business is found on Google. Google+ is a social network, that allows you to more closely connect with your visitors online.
Plus as Part of Business
In other words, Google+ is just one aspect of Google my Business, which contains a number of other features. While Google+ is its own thing, Google my Business allows you to link your accounts together, furthering the point that Business acts as a dashboard for your business online.
Getting Found Online
One last way to differentiate the two services is what comes up when you type in your business name on Google. If you only have Google+ set up, only your social network will show up, with your posts and number of followers associated with it. However, if you have Google my Business set up, you’ll have access to those additional business details on the side of the listings, from a full citation (Name, Address, Phone Number) to your business hours, to your website URL. Google my Business provides a far more detailed and comprehensive look into your business as a listing.
What Google Says
We tried reaching out to Google a couple times to hear what they have to say on the issue. “Google my Business is a dashboard that helps list your business on Search and Maps,” said one specialist, “It is specifically for business listings. It’s the information that comes up when customers search for your business.”
When I asked about Google Plus, I got a different answer: “Google Plus is one kind of element attached to Google My Business which represents your company on Google’s social media website. Every time you search for a person or a business, you can see their followers, photos, and videos. It’s your business on Google’s social network.”
Hopefully now you’re better equipped to understand the difference between Google Plus and Google my Business. While the two are very similar, it’s not a matter of which one is better, but how you use each service to your firm’s advantage. Remember to maintain an updated and accurate Google my Business listing, while posting new and relevant content on Google+. In just a matter of weeks, you can overtake your competition who may still be trying to figure out the difference!
Founder/CEO of Arcalea. Award-winning marketing and advertising veteran and entrepreneur. Previously co-founder and COO of LimeGreen with clients including Nike, Kia Motors, McDonald's, Jim Beam and Discover Financial with B2B agency experience. Focused for 12 years on agency innovation, direction and profitability (sold in 2015).
Having been the Communications Chair for Chicago’s Entrepreneur’s Organization (EO) for two years, Mike sits on the board of two other startups and advises on Omni-channel Marketing Strategies, Search Marketing, Inbound Marketing, Pay-Per-Click, Conversion Optimization, and Content Marketing Strategy and Activation.
Today Arcalea focuses on sharing that experience with brands from $5M to $300M in revenue, startups, and entrepreneurs.