Profile & Cover Photos, Logos, Preferred Photo Now in Bulk GMB Dashboards

GMB logo

Google has finally released functionality to allow bulk Google My Business dashboard users (users with 10+ bulk verified locations) to upload identity photos via bulk spreadsheet and to set their preferred photo. Identity photos include the cover photo, profile photo, and the business logo. The preferred photo is the photo that business owners recommend that Google display first for the listing on Google Maps and Search (though there are no guarantees that the preferred photo will actually be the first photo shown).

Previously, photos added via bulk spreadsheet upload were all bucketed into the “Additional photos” category in the GMB dashboard for that individual listing. Until now, identity photos could not be added/altered by a spreadsheet upload.

If a business wanted to add cover photos, profile photos, or logos to all locations, they were required to upload these images manually to all locations via the Google My Business dashboard one-by-one.

Below is a capture of the new functionality in the bulk interface. Photos are segmented by the various types that can now be uploaded:


You can select either the profile photo or cover photo as preferred:


Below is a screen capture of these new fields in the spreadsheet:


If a bulk user uploaded a logo prior to this shift, it was lumped together with any other photos and not segmented, like in the screenshot below.


In the last several months, logos uploaded via regular bulk feed have been causing photo upload errors the majority of the time. These errors were only resolved by removing the logo from the listings. Uploading the logo to the designated logo field should prevent these errors from happening as long as the images comply with Google’s recommended photo specs.

As of this writing, Google has not yet updated their New Google My Business features resource page, but once posted, details from Google should be found here.

A very welcome change for bulk dashboard users!

Announcing Google My Business Locations Bulk API (v2)

Today Google has released new API functionality for managing listings in bulk verified accounts. Previously, the API allowed businesses to edit only individually verified listings and those edits would be eligible to to go live on Google Search and Maps.

Companies interested in managing local listings in bulk must apply to use the API and go through a vetting process before being whitelisted to use the API.

There have been a slew of recent updates in GMBL in preparation for the new API release, including being able to mark “closed” listings as open and open listings as permanently closed in-dash, as well as being able to upload store code with only updated fields.

Through the API, whitelisted users can create new records, update existing records, and mark listings as closed. Below are some of the features of the API:

  • Use the account credentials of a bulk-verified GMB account you intend to manage via the API
  • Read and update location information using the API (store code, name, address, phone, category, website, hours, special hours, labels etc)
  • Add/Remove different types of photos
  • Invite and remove managers on a Business Account and on individual locations
  • Take action on locations that have “Google updates”
  • Filter for locations that are “closed”
  • Create a new location under this account

Through the API, users still cannot:

  • Access Insights
  • Access Reviews
  • Verify an account
  • Resolve suspended or duplicate listing issues
  • Resolve owner conflicts
  • Create Business Accounts

To view more details on GMB’s API v2, view the documentation here:

GMBL Improvement – Upload Only Updated Fields

Google has released a long-awaited and requested feature in the Google My Business Locations dashboard. The bulk dashboard interface now allows for an easier upload of updates to existing locations. Now, when uploading files to the dashboard, businesses are only required to upload those fields that have changes.

Previously, if a business tried to upload a file that was missing any required fields (business name, country, address 1, primary category), an error window would pop up informing the user that certain fields were missing, like so:

Required Fields

So for example, if a client or business only has updates to hours to process in GMBL, they can upload a file with only the store code and hours fields. If a file like this were uploaded prior to this change, the rest of the data in the account would have been wiped out completely.

This error screen will still appear if a user tries to upload a file with new locations, and any of the required fields are missing. As long as there are only updates to existing listings being uploaded, users will no longer run into this error.

The update comes as a welcome change, especially for accounts with a large volume of locations, where processing the full feed in Google takes significant time. The change is also beneficial in that it prevents the need to manually fix address or pin marker errors that incorrectly occur in the dashboard when having to regularly re-submit address data. Overall, the new process for updates should greatly streamline the bulk data upload process. Check it out!

GMB New Feature: Set Holiday Hours!

Google My Business has launched a new feature that allows bulk-verified users to quickly pre-set special hours for holidays and special events. When you enter special hours in Google My Business, Google will tell customers that they’re seeing holiday-specific opening hours. This should remove all of the guess work in having to push holiday hours updates to Google and hope that they go live within the appropriate time frame.

If you only update regular hours and don’t specify special hours, Google may add a disclaimer that “hours might differ” for certain holidays.

Special hours can only be entered if you’ve already uploaded regular hours. Add Special Hours up to a year in advance, or as soon as you have confirmed the hours for the given holiday.

Furthermore, rather than having to revert the hours after the holiday hour period has ended, Google will automatically revert to the regular hours in your account.

Google is also making it more straightforward to enter your regular business hours with an hours column for each day of the week!

Here is a link to the new help file online for how to set special hours.

Position Tech Featured in Catalyst’s Digital Tech Innovation Series

allLocal’s was featured in Catalyst’s Digital Tech Innovation Series. Read the full post here.

Position Technologies and Factual Partner for Business Listing Data

Position Technologies and Factual Partner for Business Listing Data

July 24th, 2014

Geneva, IL – Position Technologies announced the addition of Factual Inc. to the network of sites for which they manage and distribute local business listings for Fortune 500 brands.

Jim Stob, founder and CEO of Position Technologies said, “The ecosystem for local business listing information is constantly evolving. The complex network of web sites, services and data relationships that make up this ecosystem are very challenging to navigate. Position Technologies’ products and services enable brands to proactively manage their business listing information across the entire ecosystem.”

Jim Stob added, “We’re excited to add Factual to our network of top search engines, map services and data aggregators. Factual is an innovative company that has created a name for itself in a space that was traditionally owned by a handful of data aggregators.”

Tyler Bell, VP of Product at Factual said, “We are very pleased to launch today the Factual Trusted Data Contributor Program. These organizations work directly with business and brands, and in-turn ensure that their data is represented accurately in Factual. We have selected a limited number of partners who provide high-quality data to Factual and equally excellent service to their customers.”

“Whether you are a small business or a Fortune 500 company with 10,000 locations, managing business listing information is critical to driving customers through the door of their locations. Consumers are actively searching for local businesses and services. The intent to purchase locally is very high. It’s important that business listings be accurate, rich with content and create an overall positive experience for users. Adding Factual to our existing network of the top search engines, social media platforms, online maps, data aggregators and GPS navigation systems offers our customers a truly comprehensive solution.” said Jim Stob.

About Position Technologies:
Position Technologies provides a suite of products and services focused on local data management, feed building, business listings distribution and reputation monitoring. Their products are utilized by agencies and national brands to create, manage and distribute local business listings information across the Internet.

About Factual:
Factual is a data company that helps make sense of what’s happening in the physical world, enabling developers, publishers, and advertisers to build more relevant and personalized mobile experiences using the context of location. Factual’s real-time data stack builds and maintains data on a global scale, with Factual’s core Global Places data covering over 65 million local businesses and points of interest in 50 countries. Factual’s Geopulse products, built on top of its Global Places data, provide industry leading real-time location targeting and location-based audience capabilities. For more information, visit:

Position Technologies Contact:
Position Technologies Global Headquarters
2000 South Batavia Ave.
Suite 350
Geneva, IL 60134
P: 630.262.5300

allLocal Adds TomTom to the Listings Network

Saint Charles, IL – October 28, 2013 – allLocal, a Position Technologies product, announced the addition of TomTom navigation systems to the allLocal network of sites for which they manage and distribute local listings data on the behalf of brands.

Through a strategic partnership with NavAds, the global distributor of TomTom Places Premium Listing services, allLocal is now able to add local listings to the TomTom maps for its North American customers.

The new TomTom service will provide guaranteed inclusion of business location information into all TomTom maps, creating content rich business listings for users and provide performance reporting to business owners.

Jim Stob, founder and CEO of Position Technologies said “Fortune 500 Brands and their agencies leverage the allLocal platform to manage and distribute their local listings data across the web.  Our platform makes it very easy for brands to manage this from a single place.  TomTom has a rich history of providing quality navigation and location based products and services to users.  We’re excited to add TomTom to our network and offer this opportunity to the many national brands leveraging our service today. “

About Position Technologies & allLocal: Position Technologies provides a suite of products and services focused on data management, feed building and local listings management.  allLocal is the leading platform used by agencies and national brands to manage and distribute their local listings across the web.

About NavAds: Founded in 2006 and based out of Amsterdam, the Netherlands, NavAds is the global distributor of the TomTom Places Premium business listing services and a leading provider in business listing optimization in the GPS Channel.

allLocal Media Contact:

Position Technologies Global Headquarters

2325 Dean St., Suite 800

St. Charles, IL 60175

P: 630.262.5300

New Bing Places for Business Dashboard Accepts Google Feed Format

With the launch of Bing’s new Places Dashboard, Bing claims that they are making “claiming bulk listings quick and hassle-free.” Business owners now have two options for bulk uploading their data on Bing: they can either upload a file in Bing’s feed format (which has not changed significantly from the previous Bing Business Portal version), or upload in Google’s feed format (which is admittedly less comprehensive).

Google Places Sample

Bing gives users instructions on how to upload their Google listings in their new Help FAQ:

How can I import my listing information from Google Places for Business?

  • It is easy to import your listing information from Google through these simple steps.
  • Sign-in to your Google Places for Business page
  • Go to “Your businesses” page if not taken directly
  • Click the “Download your current data file” link
  • Download the file ( a “.csv” file) to your computer
  • Open the downloaded CSV file in Excel
  • Make the following changes
  • Ensure all listings have a store ID
  • Replace Google category names with Bing category names
  • You can obtain the Bing category names from the sample Excel file (“Bing Places Sample” from the “Add multiple businesses” section in the Bing Places for Business portal)
  • Save your changes and save the file in Excel format (run the “save as” command in Excel)
  • Go to the “Add multiple businesses” section in Bing Places for Business portal
  • Upload the saved Excel file
  • Specify the designated contact and click submit

Users just have to ensure that their data file is saved in excel format (not csv) and that they replace the Google categories with Bing’s approved categories.

Bing must have figured that many businesses have already bulk-claimed their listings on Google, and that using the existing feed format would reduce the number of necessary steps to get their data live on Bing.

Among the changes to the Bing feed format with the new platform, Bing is now allowing for 10 total categories (up from 6), which brings their feed format in line with Google’s (in the upgraded Google Places for Business dashboard).

It is also worth mentioning that according to the new feed format documentation, Bing is now requiring identical Business Names in a file, which was not stipulated in the feed format previously. This is likely intended to clean up the Name field and prevent spamming, e.g. “Majestic Pizza San Francisco” and “Majestic Pizza Orlando” should now both be simply “Majestic Pizza” on Bing.

Google Places Bulk Upload Revamp: Banishing Custom Attributes

Google has rolled out some improvements to the Places bulk upload tool. From Google’s Blog:

“We’ve made many improvements and now enable the following actions:

  • Edit one or more of your listings’ data at once
  • Search through your listings, filtering by specific information or for listings with errors
  • Upload new listings using a data file or by adding them individually within the interface
  • Tell us how we can improve this new interface by clicking the “Give Feedback” link”

While the new bulk upload tool does seem to work more seamlessly now, Google has also quietly removed more functionality from Google Places.

Specifically, business owners are no longer able to add custom attributes to their business listings on Google Places.

From Google:

“Custom attributes from old data files
“Custom attributes are no longer supported in the new bulk listing interface. You should remove any custom attribute columns from your file before importing it into the new interface.”

Google has removed this functionality and scrapped any existing custom attributes from all listings. This means that fields such as Products, Services, Facebook Pages, Brands etc., are no longer permitted.

In short, Google no longer allows the business owner to tell them what their business is about in the Places listing details (aside from standard fields like category selection and description).

Google’s move away from custom attributes comes as no surprise given that these fields were dropped from the visible Places listings back in July ’11. However, Google’s previous stance was that these fields should still be included in listings on the back end; “it helps our system ensure that your organic listing appears and ranks appropriately on Google and Google Maps when potential customers perform searches related to your service.”

Now, Google relies more on the business owner’s website and on organic ranking triggers to tell them what a business is all about.

The removal of custom attributes resonates with Google’s Venice update in late February ‘12, which localized traditional organic results on broad search queries and placed more importance on organic search results as a ranking factor for local listings:

“Improved local results. We launched a new system to find results from a user’s city more reliably. Now we’re better able to detect when both queries and documents are local to the user.

“Improvements to ranking for local search results. [launch codename “Venice”] This improvement improves the triggering of Local Universal results by relying more on the ranking of our main search results as a signal.”

With these changes to Google Places and localized organic results at a national level, it’s clear that all businesses need to focus on local.

So take advantage of the Venice update; create unique, location-specific landing pages & website content and localize your link portfolio. At the same time, you’ll be getting past the hurdle of removed custom attributes. And as always, keep your Places listings fresh and up-to-date.

With all of these updates in Google, one thing is for certain: local has never been more important.

Your Brand and Reputation Are First Page on Google

Google is rolling out some changes to the OneBox display for local results that continue to the push the integration of local listing with the main search results.  While this may just be another Google UI test, it is certainly consistent with their push to make local an integrated part of the main search experience.  For brands and small businesses, this just reiterates the importance of having a local listing and reputation strategy.  See a few examples below.

Photo from Places Now Included in the OneBox


Store With Optimized Places Listing vs Store Without

In the example below, you can see how the Sephora results compares to the Mac Cosmetics result.  Competing brands in the same city but Sephora is taking advantage of the Google push to bring local content to the forefront by getting their storefront, hours and reputation front and center.


Implicit Local Queries Impacted

Even in cases where the user is not including a local modifier in their query, Google is pushing local content if they think they know your location and their is a local store.  See the example below for Pottery Barn Kids.


These changes continue to demonstrate the importance of local content to Google and continue to demonstrate the opportunity both national brands and small businesses have to deliver a branded, rich and actionable experience directly on the first page.