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Google is introducing a new label to highlight Black-owned businesses in Google Shopping search results. 

This is intended to help shoppers prioritize minority-owned and operated businesses or products when shopping online if they desire. 

The search engine originally launched the label in July 2020 to highlight Black-owned businesses in Google My Business pages and local searches. 

The label is small and unobtrusive, simply reading “Identifies as Black-owned” when viewing a company’s Google My Business or Google Shopping listings. You can see what it looks like in action below:

Who Can Get The Label

Notably, the label doesn’t appear to require any verification, which may explain the “Identifies as” part of the tag. For the moment, though, the label is only launching in the U.S.

As Google says:

“Starting today, we’re extending the Black-owned attribute to Google’s shopping tab, so people can easily identify and but-from Black-owned businesses on Google … [This] feature will become visible to shoppers and available to all U.S. Google Merchants in coming months.”

How To Add The Label 

The process of adding the tag to your own product listings is managed entirely within the Google Merchant Center.

To do so:

  • Sign in to your Merchant Center account
  • Select the “Tools and Settings” menu in the top-right corner of the page.
  • Find the “Business information” page.
  • Go to the “About your business tab” and scroll to the “Business identity attributes” section.
  • Select the “Identifies as Black-owned” attribute and any others relevant to your business.
  • Select “Include my business in promotions for Black-owned businesses” if you would like to be highlighted in pages showcasing Black-owned businesses.

Why Google Is Expanding The Black-Owned Business Label

As the search engine explains in the announcement, over “the past 12 months, Google search interest for ‘Black-owned businesses’ has skyrocketed 600% based on Google Trends data comparing January-December 2019 to January-December 2020. Across the country, people have been looking for ‘Black-owned restaurants,’ ‘Black-owned bookstores,’ ‘Black-owned beauty supply’ and more, which speaks to the diversity within the Black business community.”

Even more, Google says it wants “to make it easier for people to support and spend dollars with the Black businesses they love.”

As Google’s employees shifted to working from home or and limiting staffing, Google temporarily shut down the publication of several key Google My Business components.

Most notably, Google My Business put a pause on the publication of any new reviews or review replies, while also suspending the posting of new photos and Q&A’s.

GMB Starts To Gradually Return

In the last few days, Google has updated the page detailing the steps it is taking in response to COVID-19 to say:

“Review replies are now available. New user reviews, new user photos, new short names, and Q&A will gradually return by country and business category.”

Along with review replies, it appears Google is quickly taking steps to bring new user reviews back online.

New Reviews Are Coming Back

Several respected figures in the SEO community including Mike Blumenthal and Greg Sterling have reported being able to post visible new reviews for businesses in their area.

Sterling was able to independently verify his review was showing publicly for a restaurant in his area, despite a warning that the review might be delayed.

 

However, there are still plenty of reports out there of reviews being submitted but not being published, suggesting the process of bringing reviews back is still underway.

Google is some small changes to Google My Business Posts that could affect visibility.

Google Posts Go to the Bottom

A number of people have observed that Google Posts have been moved within knowledge panels, getting shifted down reviews and other business information.

Barry Schwartz gave an example of just how significantly the change demotes Posts within the knowledge panel on Search Engine Roundtable. The first picture shows his Google My Business listing in 2017, with a Google Post directly below the address information:

In the second screenshot, the latest Post is all the way at the bottom, only placed ahead of other search suggestions:

New Post Length Limits

Additionally, it appears Google My Business is changing how it limits the length of Google Posts.

In the past, Google required a minimum of 100 words per post with a maximum of 300 words per post.

Now, the company is changing to limit posts to 1,500 characters, rather than limiting the length based on words. There appears to be no minimum length for Posts.

If anything, the change will make Posts shorter for most businesses, since 1,500 words roughly equate to 250 words. Given, this depends on the length of the specific words a person uses.

Every small business person knows there is no marketing quite as powerful as word-of-mouth. No matter what you promise in your ads, it won’t pack quite the punch as a positive, well-written review for your business. But, what if you could turn your positive reviews into your ads?

With the help of Google’s #SmallThanks Hub, you can no do just that. The new online resource aims to help small businesses create top-quality digital and printed marketing materials based on your Google reviews.

“Simply search for your business name on the site, and we’ll automatically create posters, social media posts, window clings, stickers and more — based on the reviews and local love from your customers on Google,” writes Google’s vice president of marketing for Ads & Americas, Lisa Gevelber, on The Keyword blog.

The new resource is available to all US businesses with a verified Google listing with an address.

“Reviews from your fans are like digital thank you notes, and they’re one of the first things people notice about your business in search results,” writes Gevelber in the announcement.

In the post, Google also highlighted data indicating that up to 71% of consumers say positive reviews in search results make them more likely to visit that business and that business listings boasting positive reviews receive up to a 360% increase in click-throughs to their website.

As part of the launch of the #SmallThanks Hub, Google also included a few tips for small businesses. These include keeping your Google listings up to date, encouraging customers to share reviews online, and posting “Find us on Google” stickers in their store and across social media.