Launched in 2014, Google My Business has changed how physical location businesses are found online and in real life.
Creating a Google My Business listing is usually the first step in any local marketing strategy for anyone with search engine optimization experience. Google owns about 90% of the global search engine market – trusting and relying heavily on their own Google My Business listings to provide the most accurate and useful local search results to its users.
Google has made it easy to play into their system and show up in both Google Maps and Google Local by providing Google My Business as a free tool that helps business owners manage their online presence across Google and its powerful roster of partners.
Google’s top-secret algorithm and somewhat strict guidelines for SEO can make it difficult to know just how and where your business will appear in search results. You can’t control Google, but you can take what we know and optimize your Google My Business listings to rank at the top of local search results faster.
Updates and New Tools – What’s New with GMB
Google My Business is continuously evolving to help local businesses maximize the impact of their GMB listings. Google releases updates, changes, and new tools all the time, but the following are particularly useful for local businesses looking to get the most out of Google My Business.
Add a Logo — businesses can display their logo on the upper right of the profile instead of a profile photo, and the image will appear beside posts or review responses. You’ll find options for adding a logo under the “Overview” tab in your GMB account.
Welcome Offers — these can be sent to thank customers/prospects who follow a business. You can include a description, coupon code, T&C’s, and a website link in your offer.
Look in the “Turn Followers into Customers” area of your profile and click on “Create Welcome Offer” to create, preview, and then publish your offer.
Marketing Kit — The Google My Business Marketing Kit is a new site to create and print promotional assets. You can get free stickers, posters, social posts, and more created from your GMB profile.
Want to make a poster for your storefront window highlight a particularly awesome review posted to your GMB listing? You can create those here for free. Download your in-store kit and receive printable posters, signs, stickers, and table tents for your business.
Visit https://marketingkit.withgoogle.com/ to get new promotional material for your business throughout the year.
Local Favorites —The top 5% of local businesses in a category will be awarded a “Local Favorite” badge. Currently, the Local Favorite program highlights the most popular restaurants in New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles, but look for expansion of the local favorite badges for other popular categories.
Short Names —Businesses can create and register their desired name and search users will be able to search Google Maps for @shortname and bring up the profile. You can share a short URL to ask customers to leave a review or to share your Business Profile. All businesses that have claimed their short name in Google My Business can have a shareable short URL.
Request A Quote — Enable messaging in GMB, and you can create a “Request A Quote” button customers can use to request a quote for any services you choose, then you reply within the GMB app. To turn off the quote button, just turn off messaging in the GMB app.
Book an Appointment — Route search users directly to a landing page for booking an appointment. Managing your bookings through another booking provider simplifies the booking experience. Your customers also benefit from built-in integration with widely used Google products, like Calendar, and automatic reminders, so they don’t miss their booking.
You can use the booking tab in Google My Business to view the booking history of your business listing for bookings that came in through Reserve with Google. If you already use a scheduling provider on this list, you’re automatically eligible to receive bookings.
Keep Up to Date on Google My Business Happenings
If you want to stay on top of new features, Google My Business provides different ways to get updates on the latest product news and announcements.
Join the community discussion by subscribing via RSS to the Google My Business News & Updates board, where you can provide feedback and suggestions for the features you use most.
Most announcements are also made on social media so you can follow the Google My Business Twitter feed or Facebook page to stay in the know: Twitter or Facebook.