Google My Business has cemented its position as the go-to for listing your business online. Having a Google My Business Profile allows you to ensure that your business is presented prominently when users search for you through Google - a standard process for many looking for a business online. As part of the listing, Google allows the business to list information about itself, but also allows consumers to post reviews. To get the most out of this free tool, it is important to keep the information up to date and manage the content on the site. Google is taking steps to help you manage this content and improve your listing using new features such as Q&A, Posts and Chat.
With Google My Business, when customers search for your business they get a custom listing (made by you) about your business. Once you set your listing up, you will appear in Google Search both desktop and mobile as well as Google Maps.
In the past it was normally the case that people would set up their listing and then forget about it. But, with new features that have been added in the last 12 months it has become a great tool for your business in giving your customers a more direct line to you and something you need to keep an active eye on as part of your marketing plan.
The standard features allow you to add your contact details, trading hours, photos of your business and locations as well as letting customers review you. It will also show your analytics to do with searches for you.
So what are some new features?
Google Posts is a relatively new feature that allows you to add a social media style post to your listing. It uses premade call to actions including Learn More, Reserve or Sign Up making it easy for your customers to follow through. When customers search your business, your post will appear
An even bigger bonus of Post's however is that on Mobile, it appears at the top of search results. When you consider more than 50% of searches are completed on Mobile and Google is moving to a mobile-first index, that is a very significant conversion opportunity.
Q&A allows anyone to ask a question about your business and allows anyone to answer …. Including you! Q&A is a fantastic way to improve your UX as customers can find what they need quicker and easier than going to your site first...how? Upload your FAQ's to Q&A so they come up automatically.
Currently it's available on Android, Mobile Search and Desktop. We would expect it to be rolled out to iOS Google Maps soon. Given that anyone can ask and answer, it's important that as it's now available on Desktop you actively monitor it.
Under the Photos tab, there is a brand new feature available to upload videos which will then show up on Google Maps or Local Search Results. The maximum length is 30 seconds but alongside your photos is a powerful way to show off your business.
While currently not available in Australia, GMB is rolling out a live chat feature so customers can message you directly and get an instant answer. The best part of this is they can be delivered directly to a phone so it doesn't have to be done through a separate web portal. It will also show a response time similar to Facebook Business Pages eg 'typically responds with X time'. More information about chat is available here
Google Customer Reviews (e-commerce businesses only)
While not strictly a part of GMB, Google recently retired Trusted Stores and introduced Google Customer Reviews. This earlier blog is discussing Customer Reviews in significantly more detail but the essence of Customer Reviews is the customer must have purchased something from your store in order to make a review in the first place, hence eliminating of any fake damaging review opportunities.
While only a small part of managing your business' presence online, Search is often the first point of contact your customer has with you, so don't waste the opportunity to convert them. These are also some other steps you should take in checking your online presence. Google My Business is available here, but if you need some help to set yours up then let us know and we can assist further.
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