If you haven’t already noticed, Google is trying very hard to improve the popularity of their social networking site Google+. So far, they have integrated Google+ into their already successful endeavours in Gmail and YouTube, so that new users automatically have a Google+ account that they will hopefully engage with.

Their next venture is into the world of online business. Having already made business profiles by sourcing Google Maps and online business directories like Yellow Pages and TrueLocal, Google have now taken the next step by allowing businesses to set up company pages with their new Google My Business interface. This gives small business owners the opportunity to give their brand an online presence that will appear in Google searches and give customers the information they are trying to find.

As with other Google sites, the sign up process is simple and well thought out. All relevant information (address, opening hours, contact details, website etc.) can be added easily, as well as including a cover photo and profile picture. Users can also set up their page based on what type of business they are. The three categories are:

  • Storefront (restaurants, hotels, retail stores, etc.)
  • Service Area (taxi service, delivery, food truck, etc.)
  • Brand (music groups, products, causes, etc.)

Google’s approach to the social networking side of Google My Business is similar to Facebook’s Pages tool. Once the page is set up, visitors can follow the page and receive updates via their Google+ feed. Customers can then ask questions, see new additions to the store’s inventory and share the business page with their friends. The Google My Business interface will work seamlessly with Google Maps, so people searching for the business can find it, get directions to the store and text those directions to others.

Put simply, Google My Business is another useful, practical tool businesses can use to build their customer base and create a more powerful online presence. It is free to use and simple to set up, so if you’re a small business owner, why not give it a go?