Update: the move has now been completed.
Google rolled out the new Google + Local dashboard platform for Canadian business owners back in August 2013. Not all dashboard platforms are fully migrated and business owners have to wait until Google updates automatically in order to experience the new "Places for Business" dashboard.
Features & Benefits Of The New Google Places For Business Dashboard
1. Updates Go Live Faster
This is one of my favourite features of the dashboard upgrade. We no longer have to wait days for the changes to go live.
Important information, such as the description, hours, URL, pictures, and categories, are now put live immediately. In addition, editing the business name, address and phone number won't require PIN re-verification in most instances, unlike how it used to be in the old dashboard. However, if making a change will require re-verification, then a warning window will pop up, making you aware of it before you make the change.
It is not recommended to make too many changes to your listing, especially if you make all of these changes at once. Making too many changes may cause your account to become flagged. When your account is flagged, your edits will revert back and none of these changes will be successful.
For a flagged account, it is recommended to wait for one week before attempting to make changes again. Service area businesses (i.e. plumbers, locksmiths) and any businesses that go to customers' homes to perform a service are extremely sensitive to these changes. The title, address, phone number and category sections are considered highly sensitive fields.
2. Adding Managers To Pages
Owners can add up to 50 manager or communication manager access for 1 page. This feature provides a huge benefit, since business owners do not need to share access to the whole Google account, along with any other Google product associated with the account.
In addition, for businesses with multiple locations and managers, account owners will have the ability to provide access to the respective manager for only his or her branch listing.
3. Managing Reviews
Reviews are now managed directly from the backend of the account.
Google introduced the review monitoring system in November 2013. This feature shows reviews published under the Google+ Local Listing and any reviews that Google finds on the web.
It provides the owner with the ability to check customer reviews and ratings, including analytics reports on those reviews. In addition, owners have the ability to respond to reviews directly from the dashboard.
4. Insights (Impressions And Actions)
Insights provide data on the Impressions and Actions from the last 7, 30 and 90 days. By comparison, the old dashboard only provided stats for no longer than 30 days. The changes in the time range is the only visible difference in this area.
Below is an example, for the purpose of sharing and explaining Impressions and Actions, of a client that ranks within the local 7 pack.
Over the last 90 days, Impressions are 270, 759 while actions are 278.
The Impressions refer to: "Number of times this listing appeared in a local search result"
Actions refer to the clicks from the listing itself to the website and for "more info". To check the clicks that go from the 7 pack local search results to the website, Google Analytics should provide more insight.
Google still needs to improve the Insights section of the listing. Business owners should be able to have more accurate data such as how much traffic the site is receiving if showing in the 7 pack search results specially.
How To Solve Google Places For Business Dashboard Problems
1. How To Claim An Existing Profile
In the old dashboard: In order to claim an existing listing we needed an email address, corporate email address recommended, to open an account, add the business information, and verify it with a PIN. After verification, we had access to manage the listing.
In the new dashboard: Google doesn't allow two or more owners for one single Google+ Local page, so the process is slightly different now. If you try adding a listing under your account, but the listing had already been claimed, then the following message will appear: "This listing has already been verified by another user. If you want to add this listing to your account, you can make a request that will be sent to the current verified user."
Click on the "Request admin rights" button and fill out the online form to request ownership access to the listing. Google will contact the current owner of the profile and pass along the ownership request. It is recommended that you wait 7 business days for a reply. If there is no response in a week, business owners should follow up with Google via email or telephone.
2. Solve Verified Listing Showing Unverified And Duplicated Of Another
Scenario: Google sends a letter "Important changes to your Business_Name Google Places Account". In the letter, it indicates that the listing which was already verified by PIN is now showing as unverified and as a duplicate version of another listing.
In this situation, the account has just been migrated to the new dashboard, but Google found another verified listing elsewhere. With the new Google Places dashboard, a single page cannot have more than 1 owner; however, it can have up to 50 managers or communication managers.
– It is possible that the listing is under another account that you control. It is recommended that you check all of your accounts in order to find whether the listing has already been verified previously.
– You can request ownership access to the listing. The owner will receive an email from Google with your request.
– Another option will be to contact Google support: and request help to restore account access. In this case, Google will invalidate the other listing, thus allowing you to verify the current listing under your account.
3. How To Claim An Existing Listing
Scenario: A listing was claimed x months/years ago by someone I don't have contact with anymore. I am trying to add and verify the listing under my account, but the message: "Someone else has verified this listing" pops up, so I am unable to move forward.
Similar to the previous scenario, you can follow the 'Request admin rights' link and fill out the request form. In this scenario, Google might review the listing and identify that the existing page has not been updated or "touched" for a long period of time. As a result, the listing becomes unverified due to the inactivity. The owner will now have an opportunity to claim and verify the listing under the new account.
In our daily activities at work we have experienced many listings migrate from the old dashboard to the new one; and with that we found great features and at the same issues, fixable issues though. In short I've listed the most common circumstances encountered with the new Google Places dashboard and tips that I hope you find them helpful.