Google My Business is a great way for local businesses to take advantage of mobile search and connect with customers. Claiming your Google My Business profile gives you greater control over the data that users will see, as well as avenues to interact directly with customers.
Taking advantage of the tools in your Google My Business profile can vastly increase not only your overall online visibility, but also the foot traffic to your store. Google is also expanding this platform with a host of new features. Below we’ll be going over some of these new features and why they’re important to your local search rankings.
Expanded Product, Services, and Menu editors
Previously, only a restaurant could make use of the Menu Editor in the Google My Business profile. This made a certain degree of sense, but Google has now opened its editors to a wider variety of businesses, recognizing that a wide variety of businesses might benefit from an online menu or product list. Menu Editor and its cousins for products and services are being expanded to work with a wider variety of businesses. This is a move intended to help register business on Google and allow more people to take advantage of Google My Business’ tools.
The Product Editor is designed for small- to medium-sized local businesses, allowing them to better showcase their items. Users will see products you list through the editor on your Google My Business profile on computers and on Google Search results in mobile. The greater reach afforded these items in mobile search reflects My Business’ focus on giving mobile search users relevant local results.
Like many of the new changes to My Business, this one is designed with local business in mind, giving smaller companies more of a chance to attract customers online through Google Search or Maps. And while the product catalog isn’t currently displayed on Google Maps, its presence on Search gives the Product Editor tremendous marketing potential. And as with all things SEO-related, Google will be including your data in their new Editors to determine your SEO ranking, so having organized and informative content is a good idea, as always.
Make Appointments Through Google My Business
That’s right, users can now make reservations on Google My Business, and you can manage reservations directly from the Google My Business profile. This new function is also available for appointment-based businesses, such as a dentist or physical therapist’s office.
After the business owner enables bookings online through Google My Business, users can schedule themselves into an available time by clicking on an appointments URL. You can now set up appointments URLs to allow users to make reservations, schedule appointments, sign up for a class, or even place orders or explore a menu.
We anticipate restaurants and appointment-based businesses making the most of this new feature. Having appointment URLs on your Google My Business profile allows users to set up an appointment directly after finding your profile, expediting the process and doing what My Business is meant to do: get Search users into local businesses. This could provide a huge boon to law offices, mental health practitioners, or specialists like plumbers, while the menu options allow customers to get to know your menu or selection before they even step through the door.
Direct Messaging With Customers
Customers can now message you directly after finding your Google My Business profile, allowing you to field questions directly and, more importantly, build rapport with your customers. With Google My Business’ emphasis on helping local businesses, this gives you one more channel through which to forge a relationship with customers, increasing your likelihood of repeat customers and repeat conversions.
You can set up auto-replies, as well, and turn off chat when nobody is available. You can also connect it to a mobile phone number, allowing you or a team member to field messages from a mobile device.
Many customers have had bad experiences with customer service on the phone. Being responsive to direct messages on Google My Business will not only benefit your reputation among customers, but also likely benefit your SEO rankings as well, as Google likes to give emphasis to responsive and helpful businesses.
Google My Business Q&A
In the same vein as new direct messaging, you can now post Q&As to your Google My Business profile. Customers can ask questions through a button now attached to your listing in search results, and you can post answers to your profile. This can save time for you and your customers if customers are asking the same questions consistently, or allow you to reach out to customers when they run into problems using your services, whether that be reservations online or finding what they need in your store.
This can also be a troubleshooting resource, allowing you to direct your efforts toward improving areas your customers consistently ask (or complain) about. Any user who views your business in Google Maps or your Google My Business profile will be able to see these answers. You can improve your business’ response time by setting up push notifications for when new questions come in. You and your users can also give a thumbs up or thumbs down to questions and answers, allowing you to authenticate good answers and good questions and encourage user trust.
Similar to social media posts, Google Posts allow you to post updates to your followers on your Google My Business profile, letting them know about promotions, special events, sales, and more. These posts can include text, images, event titles, and a call to action button. Since these new posts are more information-rich than regular listings, they also provide greater potential for optimization, so start getting familiar with the format!
Google My Business and SEO
Primarily, the new Google My Business tools allow local business owners to establish their credibility, both online and in their community. Google’s SEO process is meant to put the most reliable and useful businesses in front of the most relevant customers, and your new Google My Business profile represents a prime opportunity to improve your standing both with local customers and in Google’s search rankings.
If you’re interested in seeing how professional SEOs can help you and your business, we invite you to call us at 310-827-3890 or email us at [email protected]. Get in touch today, and see the difference professional SEO makes.