NOTE: this article was updated on 21st March 2021
Have you heard about the new features and attributes that Google has rolled out with on the Google My Business platform?
Attributes in a business profile are designed to grab searchers’ attention by emphasising important service offerings.
If you’re running a small business, you need to know about these updates so you can get the most out of the platform in your local area.
We’ll check out the 10 recent updates that you can use to give your business better results on Google search.
But first, if you haven’t already started using the platform, here’s a quick summary of what is it and how it can greatly impact your business’s digital presence.
How does Google My Business work?
If you’ve been using Google My Business, you would know all the great benefits that come with this platform.
With a Google Business profile, your consumers could immediately find you when they search for your business – and even businesses like yours, on Google Search and Google Maps.
So how can anyone complain about this when you can attract new customers to your business all thanks to a free-to-use channel that is easy to create and update on your Google profile.
Click here to learn how to claim your business on Google.
- The New Attributes and Updates
- Health & Safety Attributes
- Pandemic-Related Restaurant Attributes
- Online Services Attributes
- Call Logging
- Additional GMB Insights Data
- The Benefits of using Google Posts
- How to Make a Google Post
The New Attributes and Updates
1. Health & Safety Attributes
GMB rolled out new attributes in late 2020, so that service, food or retail businesses can add attributes to inform customers about the health and safety measures that have been implemented at their business.
- Appointment or reservation required
- Mask required by staff and customers
- Temperature check for staff or customers
- Surfaces disinfected frequently
In a post-pandemic environment, customers have become more health-conscious and are especially keen to know whether the businesses they purchase from are practicing strict heath guidelines.
By promoting your business’s best-practices on GMB, you can position your business as a health-conscious brand and capture additional business from new customers.
2. Pandemic-Related Restaurant Attributes
These COVID-related attributes for restaurants and other businesses in the foodservice industry appeared soon after businesses started re-opening post-lockdown.
Here’s a list of those attributes:
- Curbside pickup
- No-contact delivery
3. Online Services Attributes
During the first pandemic lockdown, businesses that were still running on a traditional business model were required to pivot business and transition online to continue running. As a result, Google created several more attributes in GMB for businesses to indicate that they have virtual services as an option:
- Online Care
- Online Appointment
- Online Estimates
- Online Classes
If you have a business that offers anyone of these services, adding these attributes to GMB will create more visibility to promote your business to people who’d prefer to stay at home and attend to their needs online.
4. Call Logging
Google is developing a new feature that will allow you to review calls received via search.
The new up-coming feature means businesses will soon be able to track call history from customers on Google Search and Maps. The call history will be logged through your GMB, will start with a quick message to inform you it’s from Google.
The new feature will only be available on the mobile version, and not the browser version.
5. Direct Messaging
Previously only available through the mobile app, GMB messaging is now on desktop.
To use the feature, log in to GMB and click on the left-hand sidebar to open the Messages interface. Go to settings and opt into the service. Once verified, messaging follows the standard “chat box” pattern.
Warning: In order to ensure customers get the best experience, businesses are required to respond to messages within a 24-hours timeframe or Google may revoke messaging rights.
If you do find you’ve lost access, you will need to go through that opt-in process again.
The option to set up auto-response messages is available, but these won’t count as a “real” response, so you will need to take action within 24-hours. You also have the option to mark messages as mark them as spam and block abusive content.
6. Additional GMB Insights Data
Google recently enriched its insights data for GMB reports. The platform will now track how many people have contacted you after viewing your profile page.
Additionally, GMB will provide reports about your business profile’s search performance and Google Maps searches. The data will be available for up to six months on your profile.
Google My Business plays a key role in positioning your business’s digital presence and contributes to improving SEO results. That’s why you need to stay on top of all the latest updates to optimise your business profile for search, and increase your business’s visibility online.
The Benefits of using Google Posts
Google My Business Posts lets you create short updates on your Google My Business Dashboard which becomes visible immediately on Google Search and Google Maps under your Google Listing. This is very similar to Facebook, or Twitter, or LinkedIn. By creating these posts, everyone who searches your business will receive timely updates about your business’ daily specials, current offers, new products, company news and upcoming events.
Honestly, there are so many benefits to using this feature, I can’t see any reason why businesses shouldn’t use this feature.
- The obvious one. It’s Free, Super Easy and QUICK to Create!
Let’s just say not all good things come free in this world. So this is surely one of a rare few that is awesome, easy and free. Creating Google Posts, you have up to 300 words to captivate your audience about your offer, product, service, event or announcement.
Otherwise, you can also upload images, videos and add call-to-actions (like Learn More, Sign Up or Reserve) to encourage product purchases, service reservations and even if you have newsletter signups. Creating a post literally takes 2 mins. It’s so easy and so quick. Keep reading to find out how I created a google post in 2 mins.
- Unlimited Reach to all People Around the World
The perks of using another Google product is its reach. Do you remember the last time you went to Google to make a search on a local business? Nowadays, researching on a local business and finding them couldn’t be more easier and faster, thanks to the Google search engine. In fact, according to Hubspot.com, 82% of people find information about local businesses which shows that posting relevant information about your business on Google is one of the best ways to promote your band, which in turn helps drive traffic directly to your website.
- Desktop and Mobile Optimised
Google can appear anywhere right? Your laptop, desktop, mobile phone, Ipad, XBOX, Playstation, you name it. So really, Google Posts are also desktop and mobile optimised/ friendly. So your customers, who can access it anywhere at any time, can find you anywhere at any time.
- Drive Organic Traffic to Your Website
Google Posts are one of the best ways to drive organic traffic to your website. Imagine every post, you get a click through. Your website traffic would be going through the roof. Although it may not particularly improve your Google Search Rankings, it should improve your position on the search engine results page, because the more clicks you get, the more relevant your brand is, the better your position on search engines.
- Everything Google comes with Tracking so…
The great thing about Google is that they measure all the performance for you. With Google Posts, it will show you how many times people have seen your posts, and how many times customers have clicked onto your CTA button. If you want more detailed analytics, you can create a tracking URL for your CTA button. This will help you track your click-throughs and conversions made on your website from the Google Posts. You can build your own tracking URL here: https://ga-dev-tools.appspot.com/campaign-url-builder/
- Not many Small Businesses are Taking Advantage of this
Although this feature rolled out in 2017, not many small businesses are aware of this great feature. The benefit of being an early adopter is that if your SEO competitors aren’t taking advantage of Google Posts, naturally you’ll be in the advantage until they catch up and use Google Post too. Like mentioned previously, Google Posts help with your search engine positioning. The more customers click on your website, the higher your position on the search engine results page. So don’t sleep on this chance. Start your Google Posts ASAP.
Only 1 Miss…
The only miss I can possibly think of is that the Google Post updates will only remain visible for 7 days (and events after it ends). Once they expire, they will be removed off Google Search and Google Map. Although this is a miss, I believe this is an advantage in disguise. With a 7 day expiry, this will encourage consistent postings which will help you boost your search engine positioning.
How to Make a Google Post on your Desktop
So hopefully, I’ve convinced you that Google Post is a must-have for any business. To help you set up (which will honestly take you 2 mins), here are 8 quick and easy steps to get your Google Posts out and away!
- Go to the Google My Business website and login into your Google Account
- At the top of the side menu, click “Posts”, or at the top of the page, click “Create Post.
- Choose whether you want to post about “What’s New”, “Event”, “Offer” or “Product.
- Write a detailed description of your event or promotion update.
- Choose a call to action button
- Link your website with a trackable link (using https://ga-dev-tools.appspot.com/campaign-url-builder/)
- Preferably upload a picture or video
- Click Publish
How to Make a Google Post on your Mobile
- Download the Google My Business App and login into your Google Account
- Click the (+ sign) at the Bottom right corner and select “Create a Post”
- Choose whether you want to post about “What’s New”, “Event”, “Offer” or “Product”
- Write a detailed description for your event or promotion update
- Choose a call to action button
- Link your website with a trackable link
- Preferably upload a picture or video
- Click Publish
Your Google Post will now appear on the right-hand side of Google Search on your consumer’s desktop, and bottom of Google search on mobile. How great is that!
Final thoughts: Would I Recommend Google Post?
We understand small businesses already have so much on their plate, but Google Post is just so simple and quick to use, I’d be lying if I told you not bother with it.
With Google Posts, it’s another method of capturing attention from potential users by posting timely updates about your business’ new offers, products, services, events and last minute announcements.
With just 6 easy steps, either via your desktop or your mobile app, you can provide your customers with an easy and direct way to book reservations, purchase your products or sign up to your events.
And honestly, who’d say no to free right? Just 300 words, 2 mins, $0 costs and 6 awesome benefits, Google Post will definitely help you drive the traffic and make those conversions for your business.
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