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The latest update to Google My Business’s listings makes product catalogs even more powerful by displaying them in both desktop and mobile search results.

Since October 2018, when they were first introduced, product catalogs on Google My Business would only appear in mobile search results.

To add your products to your own listing, all you have to do is upload a form in the ‘Products’ tab called to the product editor. Once added, all items in your catalog will be eligible to show in results for relevant searches that bring up your Google My Business page.

The catalog appears within the ‘Products’ tab of your GMB listing shortly after uploading it.

As always, the new GMB feature is free to use with your Google My Business account. The only requirement is that you have claimed your business listing.

While the new feature does bring product catalogs to desktop search results, they are still not viewable directly within Google Maps. To view the listing from there, you will have to click to specifically view a business’s local listing.

Google My Business is now letting businesses specify their service area. This is particularly big news for companies that service a wide area or tend to work in an area aside from their physical location.

In the past, the search engine automatically specified a listing’s service area based on their physical location. That could be a major problem if your business was located out of your house or a building in a suburb but largely provided service in the nearby city (or vice-versa).

Starting this week, Google My Business is finally giving listings more control over their service location, with a new separate field. Now, your physical address and service area are entirely separate fields.

This also allows businesses who don’t provide services at their physical location to leave that information blank and just input their service area.

However, Google has created a small restriction on these settings. Businesses can no longer edit the radius of their service areas. In the past, the service area would be a controllable radius. Most businesses opted for a radius of 25 miles from their physical address. This is largely unnecessary now, as you can specify exactly what your service areas are.

If you have previously set a distance around your business as a service area, that setting will continue to stay in effect for now, but you won’t be able to change it in the future. It is likely this data will disappear once the majority of listings have updated their service area information.

Rather than using radius information, the new settings allow you to specify your service area at the region, city, or ZIP level.

To update your own service area information in your Google My Business listing, just follow these steps:

  • Sign in to Google My Business.
  • Select “Info” from the menu.
  • Select “Edit” from within the service area section.
  • Enter your business’s service area information based on region, city, or ZIP code.
  • Click “Apply”.

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.

Google Veterans

Google is releasing a new label for Google My Business listings highlighting when a business is owned or led by a veteran.

Sean O’Keefe, data scientist at Google and a former Staff Sergeant in the US Army announced the new attribute this week while also highlighting the millions of American businesses that are owned by veterans.

“More than 2.5 million businesses in the U.S. are majority-owned by veterans, and one way that I stay connected to the veteran community is by supporting those veteran-owned businesses. It’s something I can do all throughout my day, whether I’m grabbing a coffee or recommending a local restaurant to a friend.”

The tag is easily enabled and will highlight veteran-owned businesses in both Google Search listings and map results.

The label is similar in appearance and function to other attributes like “Has Wifi” or “Outdoor Seating.”

Currently, there is no verification process. All a veteran business owner has to do is follow a couple steps to enable the “Veteran-led” attribute for their own listing:

  • Sign into your Google My Business account
  • Select the location you are managing
  • Select “Info” from the menu
  • Find the “Attributes” section and select the Pencil icon
  • Search or select the “Veteran-led” attribute
  • Select “Apply”.

The new attribute is just one of many steps Google is taking to provide support for veterans, including curating search results for veterans looking for jobs and encouraging IT training. You can find out more about the initiative here.

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.

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-my-business-1

Have you ever given a marketing company control of your Google My Business accounts and listings so they can help manage your local marketing? Have you ever tried to get your account bad after you decided to part ways?

It has been notoriously difficult and time-consuming to regain ownership of your Google My Business listings in the past, but Google has launched a new feature to streamline the process.

If you’ve been unable to reclaim your listings, you can now start the verification process to prove you are the rightful owner or representative for your listings with just a few steps:

  • Go to Google My Business.
  • Log in with the Google account you use to manage your business.
  • Enter the business name or address and select your business from the search results.
    • There is a chance you may see text showing part of the email address that originally verified the listing. If you control this email address, you can sign into that account to access your business listing.
  • Complete and submit the form.
  • Google will contact the current owner of the listing asking them to contact you. In the meantime, you will receive a confirmation email with a link to check the status of your request.
  • Allow seven days for the current owner of the listing to respond to the request. If they do not respond within a week, you will be able to verify your affiliation with the business and regain control of the corresponding listings.

Google is putting the spotlight on local businesses in search results with a new location extension ad format rolled out across AdWords this week.

The new format includes big photos, store location and information, as well as typical ad features like an attention-grabbing headline and ad copy, as you can see in the example below.

Location Ad Format

It is still not exactly clear exactly when the ad format will be shown in Google results, but Google uses an example of a local bakery using ads to target nearby users reading a cooking blog. According to their test results, approximately 60 percent of clicks on the extension info were to get directions or store location information.

Interestingly, you may not have to do anything for some of your ads to start showing in the latest format. Text, responsive, and 300×250 image ads may be dynamically converted to the new location extension format in related searches from nearby users, unless you opt out in the Location Extension section of the Extensions tab in AdWords.

If you’d prefer to take matters into your own hands to optimize for the new format, simply select the option in the ad gallery in AdWords under “general purpose ads.” From there, you can upload up to three pictures, a logo, and your ad headline and copy.