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Google My Business is bringing a new way to highlight your business with an attribute noting your establishment is “good for watching sports.”

The new tag comes just as the World Cup is heating up and many are flocking to bars or restaurants to watch the latest games with friends and fellow fans.

Because the World Cup is such a big event for gathering with friends to watch the competition, Google is spotlighting the new attribute directly in the “highlights” section on the overview tab of Google My Business listings.

Once the World Cup ends, the “good for watching sports” tag will be moved to the “About this business section” of local listings. However, it may also appear in the overview tab of listings depending on the situation and query.

According to Google, the only requirement for being a business that is “good for watching sports” is that you offer a TV that airs sports. That means you don’t have to be a dedicated sports grill or bar to turn yourself into a hub for the biggest sporting events.

The new attribute is one of just a few tags you can manually add to your listing, along with other options like whether you have Wi-Fi available to the public, if you are wheelchair accessible, or if you offer outdoor seating.

In some cases, Google may also apply other attributes based on customer reviews, such as noting that you are “popular with locals.” Unfortunately, these types of attributes can’t be added manually.

Menus aren’t just for restaurants on Google anymore. Google My Business has finally expanded their menu feature to allow businesses to create and share a service menu describing the various services you offer and their prices.

The process is very simple. You just select the “Info” tab in the Google My Business dashboard and get started adding your services. The menus can be organized by name, description, and price for each item. You can also group specific items into different sections.

Google’s Allyson Wright announced the news yesterday in the Google My Business Help forums, saying:

“Back in January we launched a new Menu editor for the food service industry. This month, we are excited to announce that we have expanded our menu editor to now include additional services.

“Businesses in health & beauty, and service businesses, such as plumbers and florists, now have the ability to add their menu of services directly to their listing through their Google My Business account. Same as the food establishment menu editor, this feature will only be available if the listing is not currently connected to a third party provider and for listings in English speaking locals. If your listing is currently displaying an incorrect menu, please see this help center link for more information on how to correct or remove the link.”

The expanded menu feature is only available to those who do not currently have their listing connected to a third-party menu provider and businesses in English speaking locations.

Business owners may be able to upload videos to their Google My Business accounts in the near future, based on a new feature popping up for some account owners.

Colan Nielsen from SterlingSky noticed that some of his clients now had access to a new panel for uploading videos showcasing their stores or products.

Several others have since reported seeing the option appearing in their own accounts, however, not everyone says they can use the feature quite yet.

For now, it is unclear whether the feature is just one of the many tests Google runs on a regular basis or a slow rollout of a widely anticipated feature. Google has yet to release a statement on the issue.

It’s worth noting that this isn’t the first time videos have started showing up in GMB accounts. During the earlier years of Google My Business, Google included a similar video upload option. The tool disappeared long ago.

Since then, Google has allowed “Local Guides” – volunteers who help Google gain in-person information about businesses – have been able to upload videos to local listings. Actual business owners or account operators have not been able to until now, though.

While many can already upload videos, few have reported actually seeing their videos show up on their listings yet. When they do appear, videos are likely to be shown under the photos tab, as they do in the listing for Voodoo Doughnut in Portland:

Business owners using GMB have been asking for the ability show videos for years because they can provide a more complete view of both their stores and their products. Hopefully, the appearance of this feature for some is a sign of a much wider roll-out coming soon.

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.

As Google has continuously demoted their organic listings for search results, local SEO has risen in prominence. Instead of aiming for the top search spot, more and more businesses are prioritizing claiming the top place in Google’s local search results – which typically appear before any organic listings.

Of course, getting the top spot in the local results isn’t much easier than typical SEO work. However, it is a bit different. Google prioritizes different search signals to make sure they are delivering the most valuable businesses for your searches.

To figure out exactly what search signals matter to Google the most when sorting local results, LocalSEO Guide recently completed an in-depth review of over 200 ranking factors and 100,000 local businesses across 150 cities.

What they found shows that while organic ranking factors like links, keywords, and anchor text are important, rankings reign supreme in local search.

Specifically, “having a keyword you are trying to rank for, and a mention of the city you are working to rank in, in reviews, has a high correlation with high ranking in Google My Business results.”

The findings also indicate that engagement, such as adding photos and hours to your listing, serves as a significant ranking factor. Additionally, “responding to reviews and claiming your profiles are ways to engage with your potential customers and Google’s platform to show then you are invested.”

Elsewhere, the report suggests that traditional SEO factors such as links and on-site optimization still play a significant role in rankings. However, some off-page signals like citations and reviews on third-party sites, are declining in relevance compared to past research.

The full report details more findings and statistics to indicate exactly how those who are crushing local search are doing it. However, it is important to note that these types of studies are based entirely on correlation. We can’t say for sure exactly how Google’s systems rank local results – partially because they won’t tell and partially because they are always changing.

Your Google My Business listing is one of the best ways to make sure potential customers in your area find your business. The listings provide the information about where your business is, your hours, and what types of products or services you offer, and the listings often appear above any other regular search results.

Now, Google is making it easier than ever to maintain and edit your GMB listings by letting you manage them straight from the search results pages.

When you search for your business while logged into the Google account associated with your GMB listing, you will now be shown a new dashboard where you can edit your business information, add new stylish photos, share posts about your business, and even see how many views your listing is receiving.

If you are like the many businesses who have incomplete listings or haven’t updated your business info in years, now is the time to take action. Google highlights a number of reasons that having a thorough and informational listing is important for local businesses in their announcement, including:

  • More than 80% of online searchers use the web to find local information.
  • Businesses with complete listings on Google are twice as likely to gain customer trust, and
    • 38% more likely to attract in-store visits
    • 29% more likely to see a purchase

When it comes to mobile users and the internet, there is nothing more important than speed. Every step between the first click and the final conversion gives users the opportunity to set their phone down, get a call, or just get bored.

That’s why Google is doing everything it can to help businesses streamline the process, including this week’s launch of new “action buttons” that allow people to take action with your business straight from your Google My Business listing.

The new buttons allow you to add links to specific actions, including a variety of options for businesses from a number of industries – most notably service industries like restaurants and retailers. These links will then appear on your GMB listings anytime users see them in the search results.

Possible action URLs can include:

  • Booking an appointment
  • Placing an order
  • Reserving a table
  • Searching for items
  • Viewing the menu

Adding an action button to your own GMB listing is easy and just takes a few steps:

  • Sign in to Google My Business.
  • Choose the listing you want to edit.
  • Click into the URLs section.
  • Enter your URLs in the appropriate fields.
  • Click Apply.

There is only one minor catch to these buttons. Google says in some cases it will add non-editable, third-party links into these listings when the link relies on a third-party system. The search engine says these links are added because “Google works with select third-party providers that provide booking and ordering services for local businesses.”

In most cases, these links are completely unable to be edited or removed. Google says you can reach out directly to the third-party provider and request the link be changed or removed, but I’d imagine they will be unlikely to comply.

Google has made it easy for businesses to tell users what accessibility features they provide before they ever visit the store with their latest addition to Google My Business listings.

Now, you can add accessibility information about your business or search for places which provide accessibility features like wheelchair ramps and wheelchair-accessible parking.

You can update your listing by simply going to the main menu of Google Maps for Android, pulling up the main menu, and tapping on “Your contributions.” From there, go to “Uncover missing info” and sort by “Accessibility.”

This pulls up locations near you that are missing accessibility information, including your business. Then, you can begin adding accessibility attributes as needed, including:

  • Wheelchair-accessible entrances
  • Wheelchair-accessible elevators
  • Wheelchair-accessible seating, and
  • Wheelchair-accessible parking

The set-up of the new feature allows any users to add accessibility information about any business they visit, but business owners can take the initiative to update their own listings to alert shoppers about what they offer before they make the trip themselves.

Since the release of the new listing information, Google says users have added accessibility information to almost 7 million places worldwide.

Wish you could put personalized messages into search results? Until now, the only way for you to get a specific message out to people finding your business was to send out tweets popular enough to get included or to publish paid search ads.

That’s all changing now, though. Google released a new feature this week called Google Posts for all businesses with a Google My Business Listing. With Google Posts, you can finally share your message on search results without the costs of ads or hit-and-miss nature of social media.

Any time you share a Post, it will appear in search results and Google Maps pages that include your business listing. The message will initially be just a small snippet, but searchers can expand it with a single tap to read more.

There are potentially limitless ways businesses can take advantage of the new feature. Specifically, Google suggests getting started by updating customers with information about new sales, upcoming events, and new product launches to build excitement.

In addition to your customized message, you can also include photos and custom calls-to-action to encourage making a reservation, signing-up for your newsletter, or linking to your latest special offer.

Google Posts are already available to any business with a verified Google My Business account. You can get started sharing your messages and customizing your listings now from any desktop, iOS, or Android device.

Do you have a website for your business? If you’re like 60% of small business owners around the world, the answer is no. Whether it is because you lack the expertise or can’t afford it, Google wants to help.

This week, Google officially released a simple one-page website builder designed to make getting your brand online quick, easy, and (most importantly) free.

The new feature, called “Website”, allows you to create and edit a basic website for your business in just a few minutes. You can even make your site on a smartphone, as well as from a desktop device or tablet.

Website is being touted as a new part of Google My Business, meaning you will have to sign-up and fill out business information before you can use the tool. However, this also makes the process of making a site easier, since Google automatically uses this information to fill out your website. From there, you can customize it with a selection of themes, pictures, and customizable text.

If you don’t already have a GMB listing for your business, Google will automatically ask if you’d like to create a site when you sign-up. Those with existing listings on GMB can click the “Manage location” tab and select Website from the menu to get started. You can also skip right to making your website by clicking here.

The process is extremely simplified. Google will walk you through the steps and you can spend as much or as little time as you want tweaking your page before publishing it onto the web. You don’t even have to worry about hosting.

Any sites made with Website will have a URL following the structure “yourcompanyname.business.site” by default, but you can also purchase a custom domain through Google My Business within the Settings menu.

Once your website is online, any changes you make to your GMB listing will automatically be applied to your website as well.

Of course, the tool is designed to be used for very basic websites and lacks many of the features you would expect from a more comprehensive website management system. You won’t be able to create additional pages to highlight specific products or services, let alone operate a blog or robust sales page. On the upside, having a simple website for free is still better than nothing at all.