Google My Business? Google Local? Google Places? What is it?

Google My Business is the brand name for the FREE platform that powers the extensive local business listings on Google. Google My Business was previously known as Google Places or Google Local. This platform is the engine behind other types of results such as knowledge panel and Google Maps. Most importantly the GMB interface allows business owners to manage their business information, including hours, contact information, menus, services, reviews, pictures, and more. The basics of this listing can easily be completed at no cost and a couple of hours of work by a person with basic technical skills. Using a professional consultant can be beneficial in further optimizing your listing and gaining more views over time. I charge $500 one time fee to create and optimize a Google My Business Listing, I also teach my clients ongoing listing management techniques so they can manage their listing ongoing and do not have to continue paying for services month after month.

The Googe My Business platform should be the first channel any new local business goes to get their information online. In fact, in my opinion, it is more important than a business website since it feeds three major local search results. The information powers the Knowledge panel, Google Local Pack (Three Pack), and Google Maps. Next, I will describe what these three main search results areas are and how Google My Business information appears within them.

Google Knowledge Panel

When a user searches for the name of a business in Google – or for more prominent brands a popular search term related to a business a prominent information box appears on the top right (desktop) or very top of the page (mobile). This is the Knowledge Panel. It gets this name because it displays important information that Google knows about the business. These bits of knowledge include photos, business name, address, phone number, reviews, hours, and other key information useful to the person searching.

By keeping information up-to-date using the Google My Business Platform a business can ensure that customers and potential customers get all the right information they need when they need it.

Google Knowledge Panel Example
Google Knowledge Panel Result

Google Local Pack

This set of results is likely familiar to frequent Google users. Among digital marketing circles, this result set is known as the “Local Pack” or sometimes the “Three Pack”. These are the results that appear at the top of the screen after ads in both mobile and desktop localized searches. This is where a business wants to appear for key search terms.

Google Local Pack Example
Google Local Pack Desktop Search Result

Google Maps

Google Maps is an indispensable tool for folks looking for directions, exploring a new area, or searching for businesses nearby. Up-to-date Google My Business information is reflected here as well.

Google Maps Desktop Result Example
Google Maps Desktop Result Example
Google Maps Mobile Result Example
Google Maps Mobile Result Example

Go for it

If you do not have a Google My Business listing – get one! If you have one make sure it is up to date and represents your business in the best possible way. Ask in a comment below or contact me if you have any questions or need help with your local business.