Share your automotive expertise

2 Write a Blog Post

Filed in: Marketing, Internet/BDC

What Dealers Need to Know About the New Google Places Dashboard

By CDK Global on Apr 25, 2013

Mary Kelly Gaebel Cobalt Reputation Management Specialist
by Mary Kelly Gaebel, Reputation Management Specialist

Google+ Local
This month, Google announced that the upgraded interface that will replace the Google Places Dashboard is now available for new users. This long-awaited update brings a new look and feel to Google Places for Business and is designed to make it easier to edit your business listing and track the status of those edits--- something that has been long overdue and eagerly anticipated.

As an automotive reputation management specialist, I work closely with my clients to monitor, manage and edit their listings, drive traffic to them, and keep them updated with fresh content.

I can tell you that I’ve seen it all; from merged listings, to deleted listings, to reviews disappearing and more! It's been a labyrinth of pain, frustration, escalations, hours spent in the Google forums, and hair pulling. So you can imagine that my initial reaction to the new update was one of relief and excitement.

The updated dashboard will be rolled out for existing businesses in phases. In the meantime, Google encourages current Google Places Business users to...

"Sit tight and continue to use Google Places for Business to update and edit your listing. The update currently affects new users only. Please do not make new accounts/pages for listings that already exist. Please know that the update will be gradually rolling out to existing Google Places for Business users like you in the coming weeks." - Google

While we wait, I've done some research on this topic and here are my takeaways. Overall, the change will be a good thing. However, be warned. It's not perfect. Not just yet. You still may find yourself in the Google product forums suffering through the occasional hair pull. Let's look at the not-so-good news first.

The Less Than Ideal News

No Custom Categories

Categories are a factor in Google's determination of the relevance of a business listing. With the new updates there is no longer the option to have custom categories--- instead Google will provide a fixed list of choices.

No More Enhanced Data

Often customers want to know if a business has a parking lot, carries multiple brands, has special accommodations, etc. The feature that once allowed us to add this information will no longer be available. However, it will help that a longer description field is now provided and can include some of this information that used to be found under "Additional Details." Google Enhanced Data

No More Videos... Kind of

Video uploading will only be available if your business has a Google+ Local page in ADDITION to a Google+ profile. If you want videos, start getting familiar with Google+.

Photo Publishing Still Delayed

There was hope that the new and improved dashboard would allow for photos to be uploaded much quicker. But it looks like it will still be weeks until your newly added photos will be published.

No Improvement to Hours Listings

It's been requested over and over to allow for split and seasonal hours, but this enhancement did not address this concern.

Now the GOOD News

Better Integration with Google Products

Several of the new features in the dashboard make it clear that Google intends to continue fighting for a larger chunk of the social medium, hoping to compete with the likes of Facebook, all while keeping Google products relevant and top of mind. That's good news for business owners as the new dashboard will offer a one button Google+ page set-up AND manager widget, a Google Adwords Express widget, and a Google offers widget--- all together in the same place!

Google Dashboard Integration

"The upgraded interface is simpler and more intuitive, so the process of updating your business information is quick and easy." - Google

Edits will go live faster

Most edits made via the upgraded user interface now appear within 48 hours! (with the exception of photos)

Status Updates for Edits Now Available

The updated dashboard will now notify you when edits need to be approved and/or are pending. I can't tell you how excited I am about this feature. It means I can now rest assured that my edits are not getting lost in the Google abyss and I can now communicate to my clients about more accurate timelines for when edits will be published.

Throughout the dashboard you will find several visual cues in various places that alert you to the status of your edits. If you've ever waited 6-8 weeks to simply update say, a business category, and wondered if Google ever really got the changes, now you'll have proof that you're not crazy--- you did make the edits and Google did receive them.

Google Notifications

A New Widget to Help You Optimize Your Listing

In the new dashboard, you'll get an "at a glance" view of how much more you need to add to your listing to have a fully optimized business profile. Having a complete online business profile is not only customer friendly, but SEO friendly as well.


Drag & Drop Functionality

While it will still take time for photos to upload, there is more ease now to adding photos.

Google Drag and Drop Functionality

No More 200 Character Limit

The 200 character limit in the description field has been removed and you can now add rich text. There is also the ability to add links to your description.

Google Character Limit

10 Categories

Even though the option of custom categories has been removed, businesses will be allowed to select up to 10 categories with this new upgrade, as opposed to 5 in the old dashboard.

More Contact Options

Notice that chat, AIM and the option to add more contact info have been added.

Google Contact Info

Multi Business Management Interface

This is big. A business can no longer be claimed into multiple accounts. Once a second business has been entered, the user is shown a multi business management tool. This is amazing, as it appears you’ll be able to not only manage your business listings, but the Google+ pages for those businesses as well--- all in one place and with one log-in!

Google Multi Business Management

Have you ever experienced the "respond to review" feature missing from your listing, disappearing right when there's a negative review that needs a business comment stat? Often times the respond feature is removed when businesses have multiple log-ins and it's not clear to Google as to who the owner of the account is. The person who last logged in becomes the owner of the listing and is the only one who can respond to reviews, regardless of whether you also have access to the listing. This simple change will alleviate a big frustration. It also means no more multiple log-in screens and passwords to edit and manage all of your Google properties--- a big time saver.

For help & more information, visit the Google Forum to get your questions asked and answered! Also be sure to always check what Mike Blumenthal, local search and all things Google expert, is up to. Much appreciation to Mike for most of the images of this new roll out. For a complete visual walkthrough, check out Blumenthal’s visual guide blog post.

The Street Smart Guide to Automotive Reputation Management

This insight-packed eBook includes more do's and don'ts on the most popular review sites, the top myths in automotive reputation management, and compelling data on the proven impact of reviews in the car-buying process.
Download eBook

About the Author

Mary Kelly Gaebel Cobalt Reputation Management Specialist Mary Kelly Gaebel is a Reputation Management Specialist at Cobalt, proactively monitoring and managing dealerships' online reputations while working with dealers to increase dealership awareness and branding via social media outlets. She has a B.A. in Communications from the University of Washington. Feel free to reach out to Mary Kelly directly at


Thank you for an informative and timely post!

Apr 26, 2013

The key to this update is it is for "new users" only at the moment. Those of us with long ago verified Places listings and G+ Local business pages will have to wait awhile before we see it in our dashboard.

Apr 26, 2013

Comments 1 - 2 of 2

You must be logged in to comment

Login Create an account

Add your comments:


CDK Global's Recent Posts

Related Posts

  • Consumers Are Taking Their Complaints to Social Media. Are You Responding?

    In the past, consumers were limited in their options when they had any sort of complaint or service issue with a particular business. Those options, however, have progressed and today’s consumers have moved on from phone calls and e-mails to air their complaints. They now turn to review sites and social media in an effort to get businesses to rectify a perceived wrong. Yes, some of these complaints may escalate into a revenge-sort of rant by an unhappy customer. But, oftentimes a consumer is simply at their wits end after attempting to get the problem solved via traditional methods. Consumers are now getting wise to the fact that taking their unhappiness to social media may be the best way to get their problem solved.   A recent article on, described several situations in which consumers tried to get problems solved via traditional methods, to no avail. One story involved a man who purchased a refrigerator which did not work correctly. After more than four service visits ...Read post

  • Google Auto Says Mobile is the Place to Be

    In a study published this month by Google’s Automotive division titled, “The 5 Auto Shopping Moments Every Brand Must Own,” it’s crystal clear that dealers need to have a strong mobile strategy in order to stay in the game.   The study breaks the car buying experience down into five moments. Three of them are dominated by consumers using mobile devices to gain information. This information is key to what they buy and where they buy it.   According to Google, the five auto shopping moments every brand must own are:   1.     Which car is best? 2.     Is it right for me? 3.     Can I afford it? 4.     Where should I buy it? 5.     Am I getting a deal?   Once the consumer reaches the, “can I afford it?” moment, they turn to their smartphones. “Search interest for MSRP and list prices is at its highest level ever, growing 25% in the past year, driven in large part by mobile, which accounts for 70% of these searches,” the study stated. Fr...Read post

  • This Week in Social Media

    Keep your customers in mind when you’re posting updates to your social accounts, and you’ll be sure to keep them coming back for more. No one wants a social media feed that’s log-jammed with nothing but sales pitches and offers, so instead, provide quality content that offers information on relevant topics of interest. Check out some tips to get you started when it comes to posting information that keeps your followers interested and looking for your online content...Read post

  • Don’t Creep Out Your Shoppers

    Many consumers don’t know why, but they do know that every time they reach out, their phone blows up with sales calls or they start receiving emails containing information about exactly the products they’ve been looking for—even though they haven’t communicated that information directly to you. Since your dealership may be able to gain insight into the consumer journey without individual shoppers handing the specifics to you, it’s important to approach the situation correctly and delicately in order to bring potential customers to your dealership instead of sending them running in the opposite direction. In order to approach your target consumers in a strategic manner, here are some tips to keep in mind...Read post

  • In this Age of Extreme Political Correctness, Should Businesses Care?

    If you’re on any social media platform, there’s no doubt that you’ve seen or heard of a multitude of topics where someone somewhere was offended. Not counting obvious religious, political or other volatile topics - there are many that seem, well, baffling. Take for example, the University of Ottawa’s decision to cancel its yoga class over concerns that cultural issues could offend students. Another recent example involved Starbucks decision to remove Holiday words and symbols from its traditional red cup which quickly went viral with detractors claiming that Starbucks hated Christmas. Target got into a mess recently with a Christmas sweater they sell that has the words “Obsessive Christmas Disorder” on it. People called them insensitive to those with mental health conditions. There are far too many examples of this recent phenomenon of unintentionally causing offense infiltrating and dominating social media conversations.   It’s a given that you can’t make everyone...Read post

  • Recall Masters Launches New Website: A One-Stop Source of Automotive Recall News, Data, Training and Communications

    Recall Masters, Inc., a leading provider of automotive recall news, data, training and communications, today announced the launch of a brand new website for the automotive industry. The company recently expanded its solution to multiple automotive businesses, including automakers, factory authorized dealers, pre-owned car dealers, fleet operators, rental car agencies, auto auctions, marketing agencies and other potential vendor partners. The website has been redesigned and expanded for more efficient navigation and to better explain all of the company’s solutions and product offerings. The site has also been built to fill a void as far as information and resources concerning automotive recalls. It is designed as a one-stop source of automotive recall news, information, marketing, training and other resources. Automotive businesses can visit the site to leverage the industry’s most comprehensive source or recall owner information for most every major auto make, get updated on all the latest news, and even request a free open recall report, tailored for their market area. Other educational resources include a recall communication sample, recall estimate by distance, recall summary report, Recall Masters Academy best practices curriculum, and company’s may request a free trial of the software services including API access and Inventory VIN Check. Read post

  • Want to Know Why Consumers Don’t Trust Us?

    The reason that consumers don’t trust us is simple… the messages we send them aren’t believable.   Point in case: Doug Demiro, a former manager of Porsche Cars North America, and now author of a popular column on automotive website Jalopnik, answered a reader’s question in his column that illustrates this point very clearly.   The question essentially boiled down to this: “Do those letters and e-mails from dealers saying they really want your trade-in actually mean anything? Do dealers really want your trade-in? Are they going to pay top dollar for your vehicle because they have some customer who desperately wants it?”   His answer: NO   Go ahead and read the article. It’s pretty much how consumers perceive these offers. The comments are also rather entertaining. It’s all consumers sharing experiences in which they received a similar offer and actually wanted to take the dealership up on it -- until they found out the dealer couldn’t deliver, or that the...Read post

  • Personalize Onsite Content for Users

    While marketing messages may fluctuate, most websites stay fairly static in terms of their offerings.  Different things may go on sale and different promotions may be featured on a site's home page or specials page, but rarely are those messages tuned for specific visitors.  However, it can pay to create custom onsite content intended specifically for each potential customer. Personalising onsite content amounts to having a site's images and copy change dynamically based on a user's cookies and browser history.  If a user has been searching for "cheap" items, showing a special discount to them might be more helpful, while someone that's been to a site already might want to be shown the last thing they were looking at.  Right now, this can be achieved with software.  In marketing, personalized content can be indirectly achieved via SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and directly via SEM (Search Engine Marketing/Pay Per Click). If a site isn't set up effectively to allow installing ...Read post