Thursday, January 19, 2017

From New Google My Business Features for 2017

Review these new Google My Business Features to ensure your Google My Business listing are complete and accurate.

Complete and accurate Google My Business listings bring customers to the storefronts and websites of your business and there are new Google My Business listings to explore. By optimizing your Google My Business listing, you can expect higher ranking in local search, an increased click-through-rate to your business website, and a better search (and find) experience for the user. A search user, if you can rank high, is likely to become your next customer.

optimize google my business local seoALSO READ: How to Optimize Your Google My Business Listing

Looking at the new Google My Business features, you’ll find opportunities to build more complete listings for your business and more insight into how customers are engaging with your listings.

Here are new Google My Business Features for 2017:

Insights Now Available for Your Google My Business Photos

New Google My Business Features InsightsThe “Photos” section of your My Google Business insights now shows the number of photos associated with your listing.  You’ll also see how often your photos were viewed compared to photos of businesses similar to yours.

The lines on the graphs compare your photo data with photo data for businesses like yours.  If you manage a restaurant, your business would be compared to other restaurants in your area. If there aren’t enough businesses like yours nearby, you might not see any comparisons on the graph.

A “Photo views” graph shows the number of times your photos have been viewed by Google users. The “Photo quantity” graph shows the number of photos uploaded by you.

The drop-down menu in the top left corner lets you adjust the timeframe and see data from the last 7, 30, or 90 days. To see data for a specific day only, hover over that day on the graph.

Edit Attributes for Your Business All at Once

The Google My Business platform has expanded its attributes for your business.  Next time you log in you may be asked to update options such as “Has Wi-Fi” to show customers more about your business.

You can review and edit all these attributes at once from your dashboard by accepting all Google attribute updates.  Once you complete your initial review, you will have fewer attributes to review when you log in for routine maintenance.

You can accept, discard or edit Google updates for multiple locations by following these instructions from Google:

  1. Sign in to Google My Business.
  2. Click Google updates at the top of the page. You won’t see this option if you don’t have Google updates to review. 
  3. Select an option from the drop-down menu to filter your updates by individual fields like Hours or Address, or select All to manage all updated locations.
  4. Click the box next to “Store code” to select all of your locations, or click the boxes next to individual locations you’d like to manage. 
  5. A toolbar will appear at the top of the page. Click an icon in the toolbar to manage your Google updates:
    •  Edit updates individually. Your original business information is listed on the left, and the updated information on the right. Click Submit when you’re done editing.
    •  Accept updates for the selected locations. The updated information will continue to appear live on Google. 
      • In the window that appears, you’ll see a list of updates that you’re about to accept. You can uncheck the boxes next to updates you don’t want to accept.
      • Click Accept when you’re done.
    •  Discard updates for the selected locations. The information will revert to the last values you entered, and will overwrite the Google-updated information. 
      • In the window that appears, you’ll see a list of updates that you’re about to discard. You can uncheck the boxes next to updates you don’t want to discard.
      • Click Discard when you’re done.

You may not be able to accept or discard Google updates in bulk if:

Using Bulk Upload

If you’re updating locations using your bulk upload spreadsheet, you can import your locations without resolving Google updates. Keep in mind that:

  • If you import a spreadsheet and you haven’t changed a particular field since your last upload, Google My Business will ignore that field. Your data won’t be changed, and Google updates for that field won’t be accepted or discarded. 
  • If you import a spreadsheet and you have changed a field, the new field value will be accepted and will overwrite both your old value and any Google update associated with it.

Add a Menu or List of Services to Your Google My Business Listing

There are two kinds of menus you can add to your Google My Business listing.

  1. A menu for eating or drinking establishments.
  2. A list of services for a business like a spa or repair shop that lists a complete set of services.

New Google My Business Features MenusMenus must follow these guidelines from Google:

  • The menu should be representative of the items and services that are available for customers at the business. Full menus can be meal-specific (like breakfast, lunch, or dinner) and have links to other menu pages. For example, you may choose to link to your business’s dinner menu, which in turn may include links to the breakfast and lunch menus.
  • Sample menus that only list “popular items” (or similar excerpts) should not be submitted.
  • Menu URLs can’t be direct links to third-party ordering or delivery services.
  • Third parties that manage listings on behalf of clients must notify and have the consent of the business owner to submit a menu URL for a business.

New Google My Business API Gives You Location Insights

Developers who write applications to manage Google My Business data sign up for the Google My Business API.  With the API they build applications that interact with your business location information on the Google My Business server. If you are a small business owner, this won’t mean anything to you.  If you are a small piece of a larger, tech-savvy company you may want to ask about using the Google My Business API to automate actions such as:

  • Editing location information
  • Reading and responding to customer reviews
  • Viewing insights for locations
  • Subscribing to push notifications for new customer reviews
  • Adding photos
  • Providing additional attributes for locations (like a restaurant’s menu URL, and whether it serves brunch)
  • Inviting and removing managers
  • Managing service-area businesses

Complete and Accurate Google My Business Listings Are Key to Ranking in Google Search Results

Complete Google My Business listings influence search engine user behavior so it is important to maintain, review and update your listings as Google rolls out new features and updates.  These new Google My Business features give you an opportunity to build a more user friendly and informative listing that draws more customers.

ALSO READ: Google Local SEO Ranking Factors for Small Business

Google likes to keep things in-house as much as possible, so it favors its own accurate and current business listings when giving local search results to its users. More importantly, if you want any chance of showing up in the Local 3-Pack which prominently displays the top three most relevant results for local search, you have to verify and optimize your Google My Business listing (preferably with dozens of five-star reviews).

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Zach_Color_Trans_small_CroppedAbout The Author

Zach Anderson is the co-founder of Reputation Loop (helping small businesses grow by generating customer feedback and online reviews) who loves online marketing and golf.

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