By Poulami Roy
Google My Business (GMB) is the most important tool to manage your local business’s online presence across Google Search and Google Map. Over 80 percent of online users are seeking information about local companies on their mobile devices. So, optimizing your small business for this type of local search will help your customers see what you offer before they look at your competitors.
Google My Business helps you attract new customers with a free business listing. Hence, an updated GMB profile should be an integral part of your local search optimization strategy.
Considering the significance of Google My Business tool, Google has recently introduced a few updated features that give more power to the local businesses. These new releases help owners grow their business as well as maintain a healthy relationship with the customers.
In this article, we will cover five major Google My Business updates and their implications that will help you boost your local SEO rankings, Google Map visibility, and overall GMB performance.
1. Google Posts
Google Posts is one of the newest features introduced by Google My Business (GMB). This allows businesses to write posts by including images and various call-to-action (CTA) buttons. Google Posts are more visually appealing to people than a regular listing and they encourage increased interaction. This gives you the much-needed control to share daily special offers, current promotions, showcase products, promote events and connect with your customers directly.
Here are new ways to engage with your customers using GMB Posts:
- Share daily special offers and discounts that encourage new and existing customers.
- Promote local events and tell customers about upcoming happenings.
- Showcase your top products or services and highlight new arrivals.
- Connect with your customers directly from your GMB listing by adding relevant CTA buttons like “Sign up”, “Learn more”, “Call Now”, “Get offer”, “Visit Website”, “Get Directions” etc.
Any business with a physical store should use this. You need to have a business location and a Google My Business verified account in order to utilize Google Posts. This feature is brand new and you should take advantage of this to provide additional information to your potential customers.
2. Google My Business Website Builder
Website Builder is one of the free Google My Business tools launched by Google in 2018 to help small businesses easily and affordably create websites. This is really a great initiative by Google for those millions of small businesses that do not have a website yet.
When people surf the internet they usually explore Google listings and thereafter visit the official website of the brand. But getting a website is still a challenge for a lot of small business owners. Because it seems complex, expensive, and time consuming for them. Many surveys show that 60% of small businesses globally don’t yet own a website.
So, this free tool allows small business owners to create a simple, attractive website in just a few minutes. It’s easy, and you can create and edit your new website from your computer or smartphone.
Some notable features of the GMB Website builder:
- Easy to create a website
- It is free to use
- It is mobile-friendly
- Use a custom domain (with additional charges)
- It automatically updates
- It will be highlighted as your website on your GMB profile
If you’re not in a competitive local market and you want a simple one-page website that you can manage from your Google My Business dashboard, then this simple website-builder is designed for you.
3. Direct Messaging with Your Customers
The direct messaging in GMB tool allows you to engage with your customers using their preferred method of communication. It is a useful GMB account enhancement, as many customers find instant messaging much more comfortable than talking over the phone.
In this tool messaging icon appears next to all of your other contact information and gives customers multiple ways to contact you. So, when your customers have any queries, they can message you directly from their device. And the message will come to you via Google Allo or your native messaging system.
How to install Google Allo on your phone:
- Go to Android Play Store or iOS App Store and download Google Allo from there.
- Register in Allo with the same phone number you used to sign up for messaging on Google My Business.
- After successful registration, messages will start to appear on Google Allo instead of SMS.
You can set up auto-replies or turn the chat off anytime you are unavailable. It directly connects to your mobile phone via the number you provide and makes it easy for you to manage. So, now small businesses can set up a simple, seamless chat implementation without any hassles or extra costs.
4. Full Access to Your GMB Profile
After you have signed in with your Google My Business account details, you can access and manage your GMB profile directly from Google search. You just need to search for your business on Google and next, you can edit and optimize your profile, share posts and photos related to your business, reply to reviews from customers and more.
Here is how to manage your business profile from Google search:
- At first, you have to make sure that you are logged in with your GMB account’s username and password.
- Search for your business name on Google. A simple menu will appear just above the search results.
- To edit your business information, click “Edit info”.
- To post on Google click on “Create post”.
- To share photos click “Add photo”.
- To view and respond to customer reviews, click on “Reviews”.
5. In-Depth GMB Insights
GMB Insights is one of the best tools that comes with Google My Business. GMB Insights gives you a detailed analysis of how your customers interact with your GMB listing. According to Google – Insights mainly focuses on how consumers use SERP and Google Maps to find your business listing and what they do once they find it.
The GMB Insights section found within your GMB dashboard provides you customer engagement data derived from the My Business listing. And the data include information like:
- How customers search for your business
- Where customers find your business on Google
- Customers’ actions
- Direction requests
- Phone calls
- Messaging actions
- Popular times
- Search queries
- What your business is about
GMB Insights is a great way to understand the behaviors of your customers and make improvements based on your findings. Keep your listing accurate and recent, respond to reviews, and build a strong social media presence.
When GMB Insights provides a lot of helpful data for business owners, it comes with a few limitations as well. The first limitation is – it provides data only for the last 90 days and some insights are restricted to just one month. Another issue is if you have a multiple-location business you have to download individual data to see how each location is performing. Certainly, this is a time-consuming process.
Watching and using these 5 latest features of GMB will assist your business to become visible on search results and Google Map more frequently than ever. Apart from that, they will help you connect better with people and drive new potential leads to grow your business in the local market.