New Features in Google My Business To Help Your Business Reach More Customers on Local Search
Google has added several new features to Google My Business this year including photo carousels, logos and welcome offers to help businesses reach more customers. For a local business, a complete and optimized Google My Business profile is essential to reach local customers and stand out in local search or SEO rankings.
What is Google My Business?
Google My Business is a free online business listing provided by Google. It allows you to enter information about your business and manage how your business information appears online on Google Search and Google Maps. It helps customers find your business when they perform an online search on Google.
You can fill out your Google My Business profile with your business name, location, hours, services, phone, website URL and business photos. Your Google My Business profile allows you to view and reply to customer reviews, post special events and view insights on how customers find your business. For more information, go to Google My Business
How Can A Google My Business Listing Help Your Business?
An optimized and up-to-date Google My Business profile can help your business
- improve local search or SEO (search engine optimization) rankings on Google search results so that it is easily found when customers search online.
- reach more customers through Google Search and Google Maps.
- connect with customers with calls, messaging, special offers, reviews, FAQ, and estimates.
- show what makes your business unique with photos, posts, special events and links to your website.
- stand out on Google Search and Google Maps with photos, logos and special offers.
How Important is Local Search or SEO?
For a local business, performing well in local search is important so that customers can find your business when they search online for products or services in their area.
3.5 billion searches are made on Google every day (Internet Live Stats).
Google is the largest search engine with the most online searches. Having an optimized Google My Business profile, as well as other factors such as online directory listings and SEO-optimization of your website will help you improve your local search (SEO) rankings on Google. It can also help you get listed in the local pack of businesses shown at the top of search results for a relevant search.
According to a Google Study on Local Search Behavior,
- 4 out of 5 customers use search engines to search for local information including store address, hours, directions and product availability.
- 50% of people who did a local search on a smartphone, and 34% of those who searched on a computer, visited a store in one day.
- 18% of local searches led to a purchase within 1 day.
Having a complete business listing on Google My Business is essential for your business to reach customers on Google Search and Maps.
New Google My Business Features You Should Use To Connect With Customers in 2019
Google announced they were adding several new features to Google My Business this year.
You should be using these features to fully optimize your Google My Business profile so that your business can rank well in the search results, stand out and be easily found when customers search online.
1. Reward New Followers with Welcome Offers
Google added Welcome Offers to Google My Business in June. You can now set up welcome offers to reward new followers who follow your business online. Most people searching online are looking for offers or discounts. By setting up welcome offers and offering specials and discounts, you can gain some loyal followers. Only new followers will see the welcome offers.
To set up a welcome offer, you have to use the Google My Business app.
- Go to the Google My Business App
- Select your business
- Select Profile in the bottom menu
- Select Overview in the top menu
- Select “Set up your welcome offer” and set up your offer with photos and descriptions.
An image of the screen to setup a welcome offer is shown below.
2. Create a Short Name and URL for Your Business to Share with Customers
A new feature announced in June allows verified businesses to claim a short name and URL for their Google My Business profile.
The new short name looks like @customname
and the short URL will be g.page/[customname]
The short name should be your business name. You can also include your business location.
To claim your short name,
- Go to the Google My Business App
- Select Profile >Add profile short name
- Enter your short name, up to 32 characters
Once your short name is approved, customers can enter the short name URL in their browsers to go directly to your Google My Business profile. The short URL is also easy to share with customers to request reviews. It is much easier to share than the previous Google Place ID links which were long and awkward with a large number of symbols and characters.
Note: There have been some issues reported with claiming the short name. Some businesses have reported problems with their Google My Business listings being suspended or reviews disappearing after claiming their short names. The fix was to remove the short name. Other businesses have successfully claimed their short names with no problems. In July, Google said it’s a technical bug that they are working on and a resolution is coming soon.
3. Set Your Preferred Google My Business Profile Cover Photo
Cover photos have been available in Google My Business for some time however you could not select to show a preferred photo. A new feature announced in June allows businesses to select the preferred cover photo for their Google My Business profile.
4. Display Prominent Logos To Help With Branding
Businesses that have completed their Google My Business profiles with their business information can now have their logos displayed on the top right of their profiles to help with branding.
5. New Display carousel to Showcase Photos in Google My Business
A new photo display carousel has been added to the top of the Google My Business profile page. It showcases all the photos uploaded to your profile. You should keep adding new business pictures to your profile to make it interesting to customers. There are no photo captions as yet but Google says they are coming soon.
6. New Google Marketing Kit website to download stickers, posters and more
Google has launched a new website to download offline marketing materials at https://marketingkit.withgoogle.com
Here you can download stickers, posters, social posts and promotions from your Google My Business profile to promote your business offline. You can share this with customers to encourage reviews and bookings and gain new followers.
The new website prompts you for your business name and then creates posters, table tents and social media posts with information from your reviews. It even creates a neat video with information from your Google My Business profile that you can share online.
7. Local Favorites Badges Awarded By Google
Google announced Local Favorites Badges to recognize businesses that are in the top 5% of their particular category. They say that they will have both physical and digital badges to recognize these top performers. More details on these badges are expected later this year.
8. A Prominent Request A Quote Button on Your Google My Business Profile
In July, Google started adding a large “Request a Quote” button to eligible business listings in the search results both on mobile and desktop. It seems to be restricted right now to businesses that have opted into the “messaging” feature.
Customers can now request a quote directly from your Google My Business profile. You do need to have messaging turned on in your Google My Business app to use this feature.
9. Messaging To Help Customers Message You From Your Google My Business Listing
You can now turn on messaging in your Google My Business profile so that customers can send you messages when they view your business listings on Google search results.
To turn on messaging in Google My Business,
- Go to the Google My Business App
- Select Customers in the bottom menu
- Select Messages in the top menu
- Select Turn On
You can respond to customer messages using the Google My Business app.
10. A Questions & Answers Feature in Google My Business
The Questions and Answers feature was introduced in 2017 but I wanted to mention it in this list since very few businesses are even aware that this feature exists. Customers can now use the Q and A feature to ask you questions directly from your Google My Business profile.
As a business owner, you can also add your own frequently asked questions to your business listing. You will have to regularly check your business profiles and screen for new questions and answer them.
Customers are also able to answer each other’s questions on FAQ. You can ”like” helpful answers to bump them up in the listings.
When answering questions, try and use your important search keywords. These Q and A questions have shown up in search results so keywords are important for SEO.
An optimized Google My Business profile is important to improve your local search or SEO rankings and to help customers find your business when they search online on Google.
These new features in Google My Business will help you strengthen your Google My Business profile even further so that your business can stand out with photos, logos and branding opportunities, reward customers with special offers, answer questions and provide quotes. In addition, your business could earn the coveted Local Favorite badge on Google.
You should be using all of these new features to optimize your Google My Business profile and help your business stand out and reach more customers on Google Search and Maps.
Need Help With Digital Marketing?
Gold Mango Design LLC. helps small and medium businesses build a strong online brand and reach more customers with digital marketing services. Our digital marketing services include Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Google Ads PPC (Pay per Click) Marketing & Management, Mobile Friendly Web Design, Web Development, Digital Marketing consulting and more. We are located in Plano, TX right outside Dallas. Contact us at https://goldmangodesign.com
1. Google, Helping businesses capture their identity with Google My Business
2. Google, May 2014, Understanding Consumers Local Search Behavior
3. Google, Answer customer questions on Google
4. Search Engine Journal, Google Adds Request a Quote Button to Business Listings in Search Results
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