Since its introduction in 2014, Google My Business (GMB) has revolutionized the world of online marketing. With the tool, businesses can concentrate on connecting with local customers, the foundation of so-called “local search”. Businesses claiming listings on GMB can add physical location and contact details, making it as simple as possible for potential customers in their area to both find and to do business with these companies.
Ever since it was first launched, Google has updated the Google My Business platform, giving business owners and users more control than ever before. In this article, we will look at a new feature announced by the search engine giant that will once again transform how business owners can make connections with existing and potential new customers.
In April 2018, Google announced that it would be adding a new feature to the local Knowledge Panel of Google My Business. This follows on to the company’s release of a menu editor on GMB that targeted food service industries on the platform. Now, businesses like health and beauty companies, service providers, and others can create service lists and add them to their GMB listings.
This opens the door to an entirely new level of customer engagement. At a glance, visitors to the listing can clearly discern what types of services a given company provides, helping them to make purchasing decisions on the fly. These service listings also help differentiate between competitors in given market. For example, a plumber using the service menu on GMB can now add details about the specific types of services the company provides to its customers, such as emergency repairs, new construction, or remodeling. Prior to the release of the service menu feature, that same plumber could not easily share details about services with potential clients. It goes without saying that failure to leverage the power of GMB in local search can negatively impact the business prospects of a given company. Companies not taking advantage of this new feature or the platform, in general, may not create the same level of consumer knowledge, potentially missing out on new business opportunities.
Just as in the food industry’s use of the menu editor, Google pointed out that the new feature will only be available in English and only if the listing is not connected to a third-party information provider. This has implications for the hospitality industry, as many hotel and inn companies list their service details on travel-booking platforms. This effectively locks them out of the new GMB feature, for better or for worse. Industry analysts suggest the service menu feature will be updated in the future, giving more functionality to business owners and more knowledge for use by consumers.
Today’s consumer researches products or services before making purchases. Local search is critical, especially for smaller business operations that rely on local customers. Consumers have shifted away from desktop search and are more and more likely to use mobile computing devices on the go. Google’s entire search operation has been tailored to mobile-friendly search, and Google My Business is no exception.
In fact, Google intends for its search tools to be the default presence for consumers in making purchasing decisions. The intention is to supplant information on a company’s website; in other words, the search engine giant wants customers to make decisions about a given company based on its GMB listing and details rather than the company’s own website. These changes should undoubtedly impact Local SEO.
Industry analysts are watching this aspect of search carefully, and digital marketers are taking steps to ensure that client information is readily available, regardless of search tool or computing platform used to access it. Contact our team today to discuss how we can help your local map rankings.