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Google has started automatically adding a large “Request a Quote” button to eligible business listings in its local search results.

The button appears to be limited to just businesses who have opted into the Google My Business messaging feature, which would allow customers to directly message a company representative. However, it is unclear what specific industries the button is being added to.

With the new feature, users can now immediately request a quote from your company directly from the local search results – without ever visiting your website. 

While that means less traffic to your website – and potentially less informed leads – it also makes it more convenient than ever for potential customers to initiate the sales process.

While we can’t guarantee your listing will be given the “Request a Quote” button, we do know that being signed up for GMB’s messaging feature is a requirement for the new feature. 

To turn on messaging for your own listing, just follow these steps:

  • Download and open the Google My Business app
  • Log in with the credentials for the account associated with the listing
  • Open the location you’d like to manage
  • Tap Customers
  • Tap Messages
  • Tap Turn on

Once this is done, you will be able to receive messages from customers within the app. Users will receive their responses through their Google Maps app.

Google My Business is updating Google Posts to allow brands to highlight glowing reviews from customers.

With the new update, you can feature 4 to 5 star reviews that have been left on your listing.

As Google said in the announcement on Twitter:

“In some countries, Google My Business now provides suggested posts to help you showcase positive reviews. These posts are automatically suggested based on 4 or 5-star reviews recently left for your business”

“You may get suggestions for new testimonials to post when you sign in to Google My Business, or via email notifications. These posts are automatically suggested based on 4 or 5-star reviews recently left for your business. You’ll be able to review and edit the post before publishing it.”

You can see a few examples of what the new post format looks like from Twitter user Andy Simpson below:

While it is unclear exactly which countries aside from the US have access to the feature, the update brings yet another way to make your local search listing more visible and engaging for users.

As always, Google Posts showcasing your reviews remain visible for one week unless you manually remove or edit the post.

Google is testing making Posts from Google My Business listings more prominent in search engines, with a unique tab that can appear directly within local search results.

The tab will appear when you either search for a specific business or keyword that includes businesses that have created Google Posts.

As many smaller businesses with Google My Business have yet to take advantage of Google Posts, the new tab gives those who are sharing Posts a spotlight to shine with engaging content and high-quality images.

Likewise, I expect Google is hoping for the inclusion of Posts within the search results will boost the number of listings who are creating and sharing posts through GMB.

The feature is obviously in early testing as some have noticed changes to how the Posts can appear within the tab.

While Matt Southern from Search Engine Journal was able to view two separate carousels (one horizontal and one vertical) of images when viewing the Post tab, others (including myself) are only being shown a single vertical feed of Posts.

The tab is also currently limited to mobile searches and does not show up on desktop versions of Google.

After a few weeks of testing, Google My Business has officially announced that all business owners can now upload videos to their Google My Business listings.

Business owners can “view videos added by customers and upload videos about their business for customers to view,” said Google’s Allyson Wright.

Videos can be up to 30 seconds in length and may take up to 24 hours to become visible on the business listing in Google Maps and local search results.

Because others like Google’s “Local Guides” can also upload videos to business listings, GMB will also soon give businesses the ability to mark offensive or inappropriate videos on their listings.

To get started adding videos to your own listings, open your Google My Business Dashboard and click “photos,” followed by the “video” tab at the top of the page. From there, select the option to “Post Videos.”

Just drag and drop your video to the box.

Let it upload.

And wait for it to appear. Within about a day, the video should become visible for you and anyone who sees your listing.

Wright also provided these notes about the new feature:

  • Videos will appear in the overview tab of the Google My Business Dashboard.
  • Customer uploaded videos can be found in the “customer” tab.
  • Merchant uploaded videos can be found in the “by owner” tab.
  • All videos can be viewed together in the “videos” tab.
  • After upload, it could take up to 24 hours for the videos to appear. Once live, they will display where local photos do.

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.

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.

Facebook has been slowly but steadily making strides into the domain of local search, and their latest app in testing called “Hello” makes this clearer than ever.

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Hello claims to allow mobile users to search for other people or businesses on Facebook using either specific names or business categories, making Hello Facebook’s answer to the phone book. Once you’ve found the person or business you’re searching for, it just takes a single tap to get directions or make a phone call.

“So if a friend tells you about a new restaurant in your neighborhood, you can use Hello to find their hours, make a reservation, and get directions, all without leaving the app,” explains Facebook in a blog post.

Facebook also says the app will use Facebook profiles information to display relevant info about callers onscreen with incoming calls, including a profile picture, name, and number of contacts in common.

The app will also include a privacy feature which allows users to block commonly blocked numbers or specific numbers. Blocked calls will be automatically directed to voicemail, but still appear in the call log.

The test version of the app is available for Android users in the Play Store.

Every year, Moz details the local ranking factors they can identify in Google’s algorithm to help small businesses get a foot up in the listings. Earlier this week they announced the release of this year’s findings and everything seems… surprisingly the same.

Analysts have only found a few notable changes, but the findings are largely the same as last year’s. However, David Mihm did highlight a few important things to notice in the findings, including:

  1.  Behavioral signals such as click through rate, are more of a factor this year that others.
  2. With Pigeon‘s release, experts are saying Domain authority is more of a signal today.
  3. Google may have tuned up the proximity to searcher factor as well.

You can see the charts from the study below, or you can get more details from the results over at Moz.

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It has been a few weeks since Google caught the search world by surprise with the release of its local search algorithm which has been nicknamed “Pigeon.” Out of all of Google’s search algorithms, Pigeon was likely the most well-received at its initial roll-out, but is that still the same now that some time has passed?

PigeonWhile we at TMO still feel that Pigeon has the potential to help local businesses and searchers improve their local results, it is always good to get the opinions from other experts in the search marketing community. Thankfully, Search Engine Land did just that. They compiled the opinions of several authority figures in search marketing, and needless to say the consensus is mixed.

Much of the criticism is related to buggy issues likely to be resolved in the near future, but there is also plenty worthy of discussing and lots of room for improvement. You can find out exactly what the experts had to say here.

Local businesses are often the most hesitant about investing time and money into getting their business online, but recent studies are overwhelmingly showing that businesses without an online presence are missing out on huge opportunities, especially with the growing-number of smartphone-savvy consumers.

First, comScore found that 78 percent of local-mobile searches resulted in an online purchase. Now, new consumer data from Ipsos MediaCT, a research firm sponsored by Google, confirms many of comScore’s data and also finds that local search may be important in more phases of the buying cycle than previously thought.

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Ipsos collected the data through an online survey of 4,500 consumers from nine vertical segments including Auto, CPG, Finance, Local Services, Media & Entertainment, Restaurant, Retail, and Tech and Travel. The firm also reviewed and incorporated data from a smartphone shopper diary study involving 653 respondents.

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Perhaps the most eye-raising finding of the survey is the news that 88 percent of smartphone users and 84 percent of tablet users conduct local searches, specifically focusing on hours, directions, address, and product availability queries.

The survey also refutes the common belief that local search tends to only occur in the last phase of the buying cycle. Instead, like comScore, Ipsos found that local search was used at all phases of the buying cycle, even at home.

Local businesses will also be particularly interested in finding that the majority (56 percent) of “on the go” searches carried local intent. However, this does not mean that more than half of all mobile searches are local.