Google has been very busy in 2017 with the latest Google My Business updates! While some updates are well widely advertised, many go unannounced even though they feature major changes and added features Google My Business users should know.
If you feel you are not up to speed on the Google My Business Updates, you can check the Google My Business Updates leading up to 2017 in case you missed any.
Latest Google My Business Updates for Summer 2017
1. Create A Free Mobile Website with Google My Business
June 2017 – You can create a free mobile-optimized website to represent your business from your Google My Business listing. You can customize themes, photos, and text of the site Google creates from the information and photos on your Google My Business Listing.
The free website you create updates automatically whenever you change your business information or add photos. It is also optimized for display on desktop, laptop, and mobile devices. You can find this option by signing into your Google My Business Listing and clicking on the “Website” menu option.
This free website is meant to be a super simple free website for small businesses that don’t have a website, so absolutely nothing fancy or complicated is going on here.
2. Google Posts Now Live for GMB Users
June 2017 – Publish events, products and services directly to Google Search and Maps with Google Posts from your Google My Business listing. These posts appear to customers in search results and on maps in a few moments. REMEMBER these posts are supposed to be timely, so they are automatically removed after 7 days or after the event has passed.
Create a Google Post on Your Desktop
Create a Google Post on Your Mobile Device
Here you’ll find Google’s instructions to Edit or Delete a post.
3. Google Rolling Out Messaging Feature within GMB
July 2017 – With the new Messaging feature in Google My Business you can message customers from your Google Local Panel in mobile search. This chat feature is currently available on desktop and mobile browsers, as well as the search app on Android.
The biggest of the latest Google My Business updates, chatting with potential customers can be a game changer for small businesses able to offer the personal touch researching customers crave. There is an in-depth question and answer post on Bluementhals.com that will answer a lot of your questions on what you can and cannot do with this new feature: Google My Business Messaging FAQ
On your Google My Business home page you should see a new section for “Messaging” in the menu and a big box option for “Message with Customers” to get set up by verifying your phone number to receive messages and setting an autoreply to customers who use the chat feature. Once set up, when your business shows up in the local panel in mobile search people will see a message icon next to the call icon where they can send a text message to the number you selected.
4. GMB Updates Insights Email Sent to Businesses
July 2017 – Google My Business Insights gives you an inside look at how people find your business listing on the web. Insights focus on how customers use Search and Maps to find your listing, and what they do once they find it.
Each column in the bulk download serves to provide insights in the following sections:
• How customers find your listing
• Where customers find you on Google
• Customer actions
• Driving directions requests
• Phone calls
With concrete performance data, it is now much easier to justify investing in local SEO as it is a huge advantage to be able to tie this type of activity to direct changes in search performance. If you can pair this up with an effective local keyword tracking tool and URL tracking parameters, then you’ll be able to clearly demonstrate the value Local SEO activity has had to a business.
The new bulk download option provides data broken down into the following columns:
- Total searches
- Direct searches
- Discovery searches
- Total views
- Search views
- Maps views
- Total actions
- Website actions
- Directions actions
- Phone call actions
Visit Google’s guidelines for descriptions of what each of these columns means.
There’s still only one line per location, so you don’t get a daily breakdown. This means if you want to make any comparisons then you’ll need to download the data in 7 days, 30 days,90 day or custom bursts. Which isn’t ideal but this is still a major improvement.
5. Add Customer Action Links to GMB Listings
Aug 2017 – Include specific action links people viewing your profile can click to do things like make online orders or reservations directly from Google Search or Maps. I consider this the most impactful of the latest Google My Business updates when looking at increasing sales. Getting customers exactly what they want with just a click moves them through the sales funnel faster.
These actions include:
- Booking an appointment
- Placing an order
- Reserving a table
- Searching for items
- Viewing the menu
If your business already uses a third-party appointment booking service, links to those may appear automatically and cannot be edited in Google My Business.
Add Customer Action URL to Your GMB Listing:
6. GMB Lets Businesses Edit their Listings Directly in Search Results
September 2017 – Businesses can quickly edit their Google My Business local listing directly in Google Search results. Google has created a business dashboard visible to you right in Google Search. To see your editing options, first make sure you logged into your GMB account, find your business on Google Search, and click on the “EDIT” button that appears above your listing.
On this search dashboard you can:
- Add or correct business information, post updated hours, and more.
- Post on Google and stay engaged with your customers.
- Share photos that make your business stand out.
- See how many views your listing gets, and easily access detailed information about your listing’s performance.
- Know when users upload photos of your business.
- Quickly take the most important actions to complete and enhance your business listing.
Latest Google My Business Updates You May Have Missed from Early 2017
- Google Removed “Permanently Closed” Listings from the Local Finder
- Google Removed Access to Classic Version of Google Plus
- Google Launched Desktop Platform for Reviewing Edits to Business Listings on Google Maps
- Google Rolled Out Snack Pack to More US Industries
- Business Can Now Access 18 Months of Data from Insights on Google My Business Dashboard
- Google Started Actively Showing Local Pack Ads on Mobile
Learn How to Optimize Your Google My Business Listing for Local Search
Knowing that Google is Master of the Universe when it comes to search engine use and new customers finding your business, it is VITAL you understand the importance of optimizing your Google My Business listing. Give Google the information they want so you can rank higher search and make your business more visible to new customers using local search.
CLICK & LEARN: How to Optimize Your Google My Business Listing
Complete listings also influence search engine user behavior as one study shows that users who view more complete listings are about 30% more likely to report an intention to visit a store or purchase from it (Gybo 2014). Don’t miss out on new business when these seven easy Google My Business optimization tips.
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