With 2020 behind us and the new year just beginning, Google My Business has a lot of new features and updates coming to its free tool this year. If you use Google My Business to bolster your website and online profile via Google Search and Maps, you’re going to want to keep reading to see how these features and updates impact you. Let’s dive in and see what Google is planning on implementing in the near future (if it isn’t already out!).
This is a new program from Google that is designed to assist small businesses with online marketing. You get live guidance from an advisor about all of Google’s products that can directly support your business, including Google Ads, Google Analytics, and Google My Business. They provide step-by-step guidance on how to set up and use Google products via a scheduled 50-minute video call. While the session is not free, coming in at $39.99 per session, it can help you if you’ve either never used Google products or have advanced questions.
You can now get an upgraded Google My Business profile for $50 a month that will provide you with a Google Guaranteed badge on Google Maps. While it was previously being tested in the Local Services Ads, it looks like Google is going ahead with this new pay-to-play option. Why get it? It adds another layer of legitimacy to your business profile.
Another test feature that was reported in September 2020 by Search Engine Roundtable, is coming to Google My Business. Your Google My Business profile now has a chance of showing the “opening date” that you set when creating a Google My Business account. This opening date shows as an “X years in business” label, which is fantastic for small businesses looking to bolster consumer trust and reputation. By showing that you are a longstanding business, you may find yourself with higher amounts of traffic. Unfortunately, for those new to the block, may find themselves in a spot of trouble.
One of the bigger announcements at the end of 2020 was that Google was going to launch a “community feed” as part of Google Maps. The idea here is to socialize the entire experience of using Google Maps and interacting with businesses. This feed, only available in Google Maps Application, will contain reviews and updates from both users and businesses that you follow. This will apply to live venues, community centres, food and drink businesses, and more. Google Posts are being used to update those following these businesses. Why is this good? It can really help in boosting local SEO.
Expanded messaging features are coming to Google Maps & Google Search, where businesses will be able to respond to customer messages. The reason for this expansion feature is directly due to the pandemic, which has seen more individuals reaching out to businesses before heading to the shop. Why is this important? Businesses can now respond to customers with a Google My Business account on Google Maps & Search, bringing more visibility to customer service performance and increasing positive customer engagement. This feature used to only be available to businesses using Google My Business Application.
If you’ve been following Google My Business profiles for a while now, you’ve probably seen the “suggest an edit” placement move a few times. A new update has come out for this feature that makes it easier to select your reasoning for editing and tells editors that any edits made will be posted publicly under their own name. Google has also made an explanation on how to use this tool much more clear. This is great news for those who manage spam on Google My Business profiles.
Google is currently testing the placement position for the “New” label that is slapped onto new reviews in the Google My Business profile. The cut-off for a review being new is about 4-weeks and is a good move as most consumers don’t look past the 2-week mark when skimming through business reviews.
The popular phone support option was switched off in the beginning months of the pandemic, and businesses were left to use email and social support. Now, the phone support has returned.
Now available via your Google My Business dashboard, you can view data of calls received through your GMB profile page. This is fantastic for Google My Businesses looking for another avenue to leverage analytics around local SEO.
If there is something we missed with regards to the latest features, rumours, and news out of Google My Business, then please get in touch and let us know!