Ninety percent of online searches take place on Google. Almost half of the search queries focus on local businesses. Google my Business Features for Local SEO is a convenient and efficient tool to list your business in the eyes of your local customers and potential customers.
Google My Business (GMB) has features that highlight your services, location, hours of operation, amongst other factors that make it easy for your customers to find you. However, it updates the features once in a while to ensure that businesses that list and keep up with the features stand out and remain successful.
To improve the user experience and success of the businesses on the Google my Business platform, Google updates existing features and often comes up with new ones. Here are some of the latest changes in Google My Business features for local SEO.
1. Features for the Food industry
When the pandemic hit, it seriously hit the food industry. The introduction of social distance made it almost impossible for the industry to run smoothly. However, restaurants embraced new ways of delivering food to their customers. To keep up with the changes, Google my Business introduced features that highlighted any new strategy that businesses have acquired due to the pandemic. Some of the attributes include; no contact delivery, curbside pickup, and dine in among others. The attribute appears on the business’ page.
2. Video upload size
Google has reduced the size of video that businesspeople can upload on their Google My Business for Local SEO Page. Initially, you could upload 100mbs of video, but the changes allow only 75Mbs upload.
Since video is an important aspect of marketing, you need to concentrate on short quality videos vis a vis a long video.
3. Additional insight
Insights help you to understand the drivers behind your businesses. Data explains which attributes contribute to the poor or good performance of your business.
The call logging feature enables you to know the customers who called you after a search. GMB also keeps track of all the calls received together with the missed calls. This makes it easy for you to keep in touch with your customers that reach out to your via google maps and search. However, if you use the call logging feature, GMB uses a forwarding number. It hides your number.
Google my business is working on ways to inform businesspeople how many customers and potential customers reached out to them after visiting their profile pages. They will also provide data on the number of times the business appears on search results. The data is available on the app for six months.
4. Online service features
Online meetings, classes, and appointments are common where service providers do not have to meet clients face-to-face to deliver a service. However, the service mode requires software such as Zoom, Webex, Skype, Google Meet, among others. Since most businesses move to the ‘virtual arena,’ Google my business added a new feature showing the mode of service delivery.
Some of the terms synonymous with online service delivery include online estimates, online classes, online care, and online appointments. Adding the attributes on your Google My Business Page appeals to people who want to avoid exposure to COVID-19 through direct contact.
Google my Business features provides a chance to connect in ‘real-time with the video tools. Also, businesses can integrate the tool they use for the video meeting on their Google my Business page.
5. Coronavirus related changes
As a result of the pandemic, many businesses have changed their hours of operation and service delivery, especially due to social distancing. So, your customers need to know that you value their health. ?They also need to know the strategies you have put in place to safeguard their health.
For instance, you may only be open to customers who book appointments (applicable in private clinics. Law firms, etc.). It is also good to inform your customers that they will undergo a temperature check before serving. Other requirements include wearing a mask at all times for the staff and customers. The Covid-19 related announcements help to attract health-conscious customers.
The pandemic has hurt some businesses, which have had to close temporarily. During the ‘closure,’ the new Google My Business features allow you to turn off reviews. Businesses can also take advantage of the special hour's section to highlight upcoming events that they want their customers to note.
6. Messaging capability
Business owners have used the messaging interface only on their Google my Business mobile app for some time. However, the feature is now available on the desktop interface.
The messaging feature works the same as on other platforms. You can access back and forth messages with your customers.
Google is keen on improving customer relations so, if you do not respond to a message from a customer within 24 hours, Google bans you from using the messaging tool. Fortunately, the ban is temporary, but you must go through the opt-in process again to resume its use.
Although businesses create an autoresponder message, Google does not consider that as a ‘real response.’ You can block spammy messages by marking them as spam messages.
7. Black-owned business
After the 2020 Black Lives Matter protests, there was an increase in search for ‘black-owned business. As a response, Google added a feature that identifies black-owned businesses.
The search giant introduced a sign of a black heart embedded on an orange three-stripped background. The icon appears on Google my Business page for registered businesses. The business owners must verify via email or phone call if it is a black-owned business.
Google is always listening to what the online searchers want to see and know about the products or businesses they reach out to. To keep up with the changes resulting from the pandemic, Google has introduced features that highlight changes that guarantee online users of safety and health when interacting with various businesses. The features improve customer interaction and increase customer satisfaction.