What Google's New My Business API Means for Your Small Business
Posted: Feb 16, 2016
On December 15th, Google announced its new My Business API, which creates a completely new way for businesses and platforms to get information about their locations into Google Search and Google Maps.
The API changes the game by allowing business owners more control over how their location information appears to customers in search and improves the customer experience by providing users more accurate, comprehensive information.
Google My Business
Google launched My Business in the summer of 2014 as a one-stop shop for small business owners looking to increase their visibility within Google search, Google Maps, and Google+.
The interface allows users to manage just one listing per location across all Google's services. It also provides business owners with a Dashboard, from which they can view and manage their Google reviews, use Insights to understand their visibility, audience, and engagement, directly access their Google Analytics dashboard, and post content to their Google+ pages.
It's an incredibly effective tool for business owners to manage and increase their visibility, and the new API update makes it even better.
The New API
The new API streamlines the process of creating and updating your My Business listing by removing the need for manual entry, which up until this point was done either directly through the Dashboard or in bulk via a specially formatted Google Docs spreadsheet.
Other improvements include the ability to post special holiday hours, manage business photos, and set the service area for a business. This all means it's easier for businesses to manage their listings themselves, not data aggregators, web crawlers, or search and map companies as has been the norm.
But APIs aren't easily accessible to small businesses. They require a developer to create an interface to access them, or integrate them into existing software.
You can, however, still take advantage of the update by doing what many enterprises will and access the API through a Location Management Platform.
The Shift to Location Management Platforms
Location Management Platforms serve as the authority on your business location on the web. They allow you to maintain and update all your listings across a host of services such as Yahoo, Bing, Yelp, and now Google.
A prime example of such a service is Yext. Their industry-leading software allows you to maintain listings across 100 partners, power your website with custom built location pages and a store locator, as well as access analytics to measure performance across all your locations.
While the new API might be targeted at enterprises, small businesses can still benefit from the update. Google's My Business interface empowers you to take more control of your business' presence on the internet. With the new API, you can grow your reach even further by managing your listings not just on Google, but across a host of location services by leveraging a Location Management Platform.
Charles Atkin is a blogger, He currently writes for a boutique search engine marketing company called Saba Seo, A trusted San Diego Seo Company.