The folks at Google are at it again. They recently announced the latest version of Google My Business which includes some interesting upgrades that businesses will want to take advantage of. Let’s take a look at some of these changes and discuss how they might benefit your business.
If you have been using Google My Business for some time, you will be happy to know that descriptions are now back. You now have 750 characters worth of space to personalize your description to tell your story and attract customers. It is worth noting, however, that Google has imposed several rules about what you can and cannot say in your description, so you might want to write a few different versions just in case your first one gets rejected.
Google My Business Websites
Google My Business has been offering basic websites for a while now, but they have just become more interactive by including calls to action. These sites should not be considered a replacement for your current company website but still, they can be quite useful for newer companies that may not yet have their own site or simply as an alternative method for prospective customers to get in touch with you.
The new version of Google My Business allows users to create posts that will appear in your knowledge panel. Posts are a great way to share what’s happening with your business, specials you may have, or your latest blog post. You can also post events that can last longer than the usual 7-day period. This can be especially useful for businesses in retail or in the service industry that wish to announce sales or monthly specials.
Many online users prefer chatting and texting to making phone calls. Google has recognized this and now includes a messaging/SMS feature that potential customers can use to contact you. This feature works quite well for sole proprietors who spend much of their time outside of the office or on the road, allowing you to check and respond to messages at your convenience.
Another useful feature of Google My Business is the option to include an appointment URL. This can be used by restaurants to allow people to make reservations or by medical/professional services, contractors or any other business that takes client appointments.
Even if you don’t want an official booking page, you can still use the URL of your contact page as an additional way for people to get in touch with you. Be sure to test your URL to make sure it is correct.
Some types of businesses have the ability to add a menu. But just because it is called a menu, don’t make the mistake of thinking that this is only for restaurants. Most service-based businesses will be able to add a menu as well. A chiropractor, for example, would be able to create a menu of the different services provided at his clinic, or an autobody shop could let visitors know what services they offer via a menu URL.
Depending on the type of business you have, you may be able to let your web visitors know a bit more about your company by listing some of the amenities that you offer. A hotel, for example, will be able to list whether, or not, they offer free wi-fi or if they have a swimming pool.
By listing your amenities, you offer visitors a quick reference to compare various businesses.
If you’ve got a 30-second video that can help promote your business, you can now add it to the photos section of your Google My Business account. This is a great option for businesses that need to show how their product or service works.
Potential clients can now post questions to businesses, which means that even more information about your business can be easily accessible online.
3rd Party Reviews
While Google Reviews are still very important, Google has recognized that many customers choose to leave their reviews on other sites such as Facebook Pages, TripAdvisor, Yelp, etc. Google My Business will now display 3rd Party Reviews from many of these sites.
To make sure your Google My Business Account can find these reviews, make sure the business name and info matches and add a link to your business page.
Direction Requests in Insights
If you are keeping an eye on your Insights page, you will have also noticed that Google has added a new Directions Heatmap. This feature makes it easier for you to understand where your customers are coming from (where they are when they are requesting directions) and you can use this information to better target your marketing and serve your customers.
If you are not yet using Google My Business to promote your company, there is no time like the present to start. And if you are using, you’ll want to review these new features and see how you can best use them to your benefit.