Google My Business Updates and Features For Local SEO
Over 80 percent online searchers are on mobile devices seeking information about local companies. Many are using voice search.
GMB can help you reach and attract new potential clients.
People who do not have a particular company in mind search for types of products or services, looking for providers who show up at the top of the list.
Optimize your small business for this type of local search; customers will see what you offer before they look at your competitors. Only 44% of businesses have claimed their Google My Business listing.
Google offers a free listing to almost any business owner. It opens the door for you to increase your Google search results before someone else does.
An updated GMB account is an integral part of your local search strategy. Google has recently released new features that benefit your opportunity for local SEO rankings.
Appointment URLS Function
The expanded options for adding appointment URLs allows appointment-based or reservation businesses to include an opportunity to schedule an appointment.
By clicking the appointment URL, customers can directly select an open time from their mobile device for convenience.
This feature allows you to integrate your calendar and display open availability. It saves you time on the phone scheduling appointments. You can set up appointment URLs for:
Booking an appointment
Placing an order
Reserving a table
Searching for items
Viewing a menu
A restaurant menu online helps your patrons plan their visit ahead of time and enjoy camaraderie during their meal instead of figuring out what they want to eat.
After they reserve their table, all they need to do is arrive at the allotted time. You improved their experience in such a way that keeps them coming back.
Law offices can use the appointment feature to set up client meetings. Scheduling an appointment online creates a barrier between people, making it a more comfortable experience.
The breadth of options here make this a convenient feature for others as well. The list may include physicians, insurance agencies, computer repair shops, plumbing and electrical companies, and many more.
Menu Editor Added
For a few months, only local restaurant businesses were permitted to add a “menu” on their Google My Business listing. Of course, on the outside, that initial decision surely seemed reasonable; however, the term “menu” is really more indicative of items in general, which could pertain to services rather than food items.
Fortunately, Google came to the same conclusion over the matter and expanded the Google My Business menu to include non-restaurant services.
To utilize this function, you start by clicking the info tab inside of your Google My Business listing. Next, click on the Services (add or edit) button.
At this point, a Page will pop up that allows you to add the services you wish to add.
According to Google, the feature will be available to all businesses which aren’t currently utilizing a third-party app inside their Google My Business listing.
“Same as the food establishment menu editor, this feature will only be available if the listing is not currently connected to a third-party provider and for listings in English speaking locals. If your listing is currently displaying an incorrect menu, please see this help center link for more information on how to correct or remove the link.”
This new layer of versatility is certain to have some beneficial effects on a number of local businesses which otherwise wouldn’t have been able to display their services-diversity to potential new customers.
Direct Messaging With Your Customers
Messaging within the Google My Business console allows for increased communication with your customers.
When they have questions, they can message you directly from their device, and the message will come to you via Google Allo or your native messaging system.
You can set up auto-replies or turn chat off anytime you are unavailable. It is connected to your mobile phone via the number you provide, making it easy for you to manage.
It is a useful account enhancement. The messaging icon appears next to all of your other contact information and gives customers another way to contact you.
This GMB tool allows you to engage with your customers more often using their preferred method of communication.
Many customers find instant messaging much more comfortable than talking on the phone. Now small businesses have simple, seamless chat implementation without any of the hassles or extra costs.
Google Question and Answers for Local Business
Business owners can now directly answer commonly asked questions from within their Google My Business dashboard.
This new function enables you to keep in touch with your customers and learn from their frustrations. It saves you time responding to questions individually. You can post an answer to a question that people ask often.
If you find people asking about the same things regularly, you can improve your listing to address these concerns. Further optimization of your site results from understanding how your customers interact with it.
Any clients who view your Google Maps listing or your GMB listing can see these answers. Improve your response time by setting it up to receive push notifications. Anytime someone asks a new question; you get notified right away.
You and your visitors can thumbs up a question or answers from other people to indicate authenticity. If someone provides an answer on a forum that you like, give it a thumbs up. Verifying that you approve of the response helps earn your customer’s trust.
People online often use forums to research local companies before using their service.
This is an amenity that helps to educate your potential customer.
Small Thanks Initiative
Small Thanks with enables you to make your customers advocates for your business. Give them the tools they need to review your products and services easily for others to see.
Small thanks uses existing Google reviews to highlight your best reviews and automatically create posters. Print these posters for your business, send email marketing campaigns and feature them on your website.
These posters are free, and you can create as many as you want. Encourage your patrons to review your business to generate more poster content. You can also export them for design campaigns or share them on social media.
Use these on social media wisely. It tends to turn people off when a business only talks about themselves. However, they are a useful tool for local search marketing or internet promotional campaigns.
You can also display reminders throughout your store or online reminding customers to review their experience.
Prompt them with a Small Thanks notecard containing the appropriate URL so they always know how they can post their experience
Google Website Builder
Google Website Builder is one of the free GMB tools added in 2017.
Many small businesses struggle with keeping a website up-to-date.
It enables you to build a website quickly.
For an additional charge, you can use a custom domain.
These sites are mobile friendly and automatically update. You can manage them simply and post updated information on the site.
This initiative provides an easy and intuitive way to build a website and manage it without a significant time commitment.