Google My Business has come a long way in recent years to provide users with as much information about a local business as possible. Long gone are the days of a business name, address, phone number, and website. Now you can learn almost anything about a business, from store hours to upcoming events to live gauges of how busy a location is.
There are a variety of new features to Google My Business that you need to take advantage of to enhance your listing and grab users’ attention. Recent changes may also increase how you rank in local search results.
The first step is always the most important: claim and verify your Google My Business Listing. Once you’ve done this, you have access to dozens of unique features that can help drive traffic to your website or directly to your business.
Complete Everything Google Asks For
Google will ask you for a few pieces of information in order to complete your listing in full. Fill these out! The more data your listing has, the easier it is for potential customers to find you and your business details. Adding your business address, phone number, website, and description are absolutely key for providing users with information about your business.
There are also other sections you can add information as well that provide a better experience for the user and may help improve your local listing. Adding your business hours, your price range, photos, and videos encourage users to interact with your business and trust it. You can also add menus, schedules, and the ability to book appointments straight through Google My Business. Neat, huh?
The more information you complete, the more trustworthy your business looks online. And with so many users searching for local businesses on the go, it’s imperative that you provide them with all the information necessary for them to choose to contact you or visit your business.
Create Google My Business Posts
Google My Business rolled out Google posts last year for small businesses. You can create these posts through your dashboard as a way to communicate events, promotions, announcements, or any company news to users. You can write up to 300 words, upload an image, add event times, and include call-to-action buttons to encourage conversions and clicks onto your site.
This new feature gives businesses the ability to promote events and offers, showcase top products, and give users a simple and fast option for things like booking appointments and making reservations. The posts will appear right in your Google My Business listing on the search engine results page.
It’s important to note that these posts are temporary, only lasting a week after posting. This is to keep your business news current and keep users informed of the latest happening at your company! Take advantage of these by posting weekly or a couple times per week
Google My Business has some additional features that help with user engagement and building trust in your company.
This is a new feature and still not widely used or understood in terms of SEO. However, using emojis in your Google Posts may contribute to your appearance in “emoji searches” growing in popularity. If you’re a hamburger restaurant and you create a post with a hamburger emoji, you may be more likely to appear in local results if someone searches for “hamburger restaurant”. Get ahead of the trends by using emojis in your Google My Business (if appropriate, of course).
Q & A
This has been a feature on Google My Business for a while now, but many business still aren’t taking advantage of it. Users can ask questions about a business, such as “Do they serve liquor?” or “Is there free parking?” Other users, or the business owner themselves, can respond to these questions to provide more information about the business. This is great for user engagement and seeing the company engagement on the page makes a difference in user opinion of your business.
Google offers a messaging platform so that users can ask you questions directly. You can set up a phone number to receive text message inquiries about. You’re also able to use Google’s Allo app if you don’t want customers texting your direct line.
This is still in its infancy, only being available through mobile web search on Chrome, but getting in on the ground floor here will keep you ahead of the SEO curve.
Respond to Reviews
It’s always been best SEO practice to respond to reviews left by customers on Google, or on any other business listing. However, as of May 11 2018, it has gone from “extra” to “expected” that a business owner replies to reviews.
As of this date, Google has begun sending notifications to users when a business owner responds to their review. This means a user will know which businesses did and did not reply to them – implying which businesses do and do not care about their review. Responding to reviews is now going to be key for a well-rounded Google My Business listing and to show customers that their business matters to you.
Monitor Your Page
Many people don’t know that anyone can suggest a change to your business listing. Google doesn’t have to notify you if it accepts changes or if someone has suggested them. Anyone has the option to ‘Suggest an edit’ on your listing. They are able to make some significant changes, including the address, the business hours, phone number, and website. While usually, users won’t want to purposefully mess with your listing and cause you problems, on the off chance it happens its best that you respond quickly.
You need to consistently monitor your page for any unwanted changes and ensure that these are corrected if you find any.
Stay Ahead of the Google Curve
It seems like Google’s goal right now is to create an engaged community, rather than just users seeking answers. The functions that are available on Google My Business provide business owners and business seekers with amazing opportunities to connect, discuss, and learn about each other.
Stay up to date on the latest Google My Business and local search news in order to stay ahead of the curve. The more you update your Google listing with new features, the more your listing will be rewarded as Google continues to change into a more engaged community.