New features bring greater optimisation to Google My Business
Late last year, we looked at how to optimise your Google My Business (GMB) listing for a stronger identity and greater exposure. From including keywords and accurate opening hours to adding photos and managing customer reviews, it covered the basics of getting your GMB listing up and running.
But since then, Google has added even more features to help local business owners stand out and get noticed. Although easily forgotten about, GMB remains a crucial part of publicising your business online and requires continual consideration in order to reap its rich rewards.
Here’s a look at some of GMB’s latest offerings and how you can increase your reach in a few simple steps.
Beneath your address, hours, and phone number, GMB listings give you the opportunity to share ‘Posts’, which are similar to social media updates. Log-in to your GMB dashboard, clicks Posts on the left-hand side, and publish content your audience would be interested in or find valuable.
For example, you could use Posts to:
- Attract visitors to an upcoming event
- Publicise a discount code or sales promotion
- Highlight a recent blog post (don’t forget to add a link)
- Showcase a new product or feature
- Send a friendly message to customers
Posts are particularly prominent in mobile searches, so if this is where the majority of your traffic comes from, get sharing now.
Did you know GMB has a feature that allows customers to send you text messages rather than calling up? It might not be as quick or direct as speaking on the phone, but some people prefer to communicate with their fingers and thumbs, so why not give them the opportunity?
Once you verify your phone number, you can set up an automated message in response. Alternatively, download Google’s Allow App to keep your personal and business text messages separate.
Currently, Messaging is only available through mobile web searches on Chrome, but this could change in the near future.
Questions & Answers
Seeing as Google is always monitoring engagement between individual searchers and business owners, the Questions & Answers feature demands your attention. What’s more, a study by Get Five Stars found that 25 per cent of locations on Google Maps have questions, with many going unanswered.
So, go to your GMB listing straightaway to find out whether you need to respond to a user-generated question. Even if there aren’t any, be proactive and create a Frequently Asked Questions list to pre-empt possible queries.
GMB’s Booking button feature won’t be applicable for all businesses, but its bound to help those that rely on customers making appointments.
An integrated form allows prospective customers to request the date, time, service, and staff for their appointment, making it even easier to acquire new clientele.
And if you have an account with a supported scheduling provider (nearly 30 are already supported, with 15 more on the way), the Booking button will automatically be added to your GMB listing and seamlessly appear in your calendar.