Google My Business, Google Places—What’s the Difference?

There are more places to get your business found by Google than just organic search results. You can invest in paid ads to get your business to appear above organic search results. You can also provide Google My Business—formerly Google Places—information so that you appear in Google Maps and local business listings—formerly called Google Places. Confused? With all the name changing Google does on its properties, it’s not surprising. We’ll simplify…

Google Places of Yesteryear

Google occasionally makes changes to its search results layout, but the general page organization has remained largely the same for years. From top to bottom, you see:

• Paid ads—usually two or three listings with a little green “Ad” box denoting it is a paid listing
• Business listings—up to five local Yellow-page-style listings, often pinned on an interactive map immediately above the listings
• Organic search results—thousands of links to websites relevant to your search terms

The business listings used to be called “Google Places.” You managed the information from your Google Places account dashboard.

But that was then…

Google Places is Now Google My Business

Google My Business is now where you create an account to manage the listing information about your business, such as:

• Name
• Location
• Phone number
• Website
• Hours

Your listing information is used in more than search listings. Google My Business information is also used to put your business into Google Maps. In other words, Google My Business is one location where you input and manage your business information to show up on (at least) two Google properties.

But Google Places Still Exists

Although “Google Places” no longer names the section of the search results page where Google lists local businesses relevant to search terms, the phrase “Google Places” is still out there…mostly in the world of mobile apps. Google Places API is code that developers can embed in their app to integrate the Google Maps/Google+ database so that their app shows Google results.

The Short Story

Navigating the ever-changing Google landscape can get a bit technical. Here’s the short version:

You can no longer be listed in “Google Places” (because it doesn’t exist). However, you can appear in mobile searches that use Google Places API IF your business is listed in Google My Business because Google My Business puts you on Google Maps and Google Places API pulls from Google Maps.

Here’s the real takeaway:

To appear in Google-owned search properties, you need have a Google My Business account and make sure that the information about your business is up-to-date. Unless you’re a client—then you don’t have to do anything because we’ve already taken care of it for you.