In this digital age, local consumers are much more frequently going online to search for businesses in their area. According to a Google study, four out of five consumers use search engines to find local information such as addresses, phone numbers, business hours, and reviews. For business owners, this is a strong indication that now more than ever it is important to have a robust online presence.
To aid business owners, Google offers Google My Business. Google My Business (GMB) is a free tool for businesses and organizations through which they are able to manage their presence on Google, including both Google Search and Google Maps. GMB serves a similar function to business listings, much like Yelp or Yellow Pages, but has the added benefit of being tied directly to Google’s search engine. Google My Business listings regularly appear in Google search results along with a map when users look for local information. To further GMB’s capabilities, Google has added a series of enhancements and services in recent months, which we’d like to share with you.
Google Posts is a feature that allows verified GMB users to draft content directly on Google. Google Posts will appear in search results when searching for a business or organization by name. To access this feature, go to the GMB account and click on “Posts” on the left-side menu. There are several options available such as drafting a text (300 words maximum), uploading an image, or adding a title for an event. You can publish your business’s events, products, and services. The post’s content will appear in both Google Search and Maps results. It is important to take into account that posts will be removed seven days after they are published, or when the event date that is referenced has passed.
Google My Business now also provides businesses the opportunity to chat directly with clients who found their listing through search results on your mobile device. To enable this feature go to the “Chat” card in the “Home” menu and enter a phone number that can receive SMS messages. When using this feature, make sure to respond as quickly as possible to messages from customers since your average response time will be displayed. Keep in mind that businesses can receive messages outside of their open hours. You can also toggle the feature on and off. You should not request or provide sensitive information via the GMB messaging feature.
Google My Business listings allow business owners to include a link so people can make an appointment. This link helps clients to contact a business directly from Google Search or Maps. To add an appointment URL to a GMB listing just go to the URLs section and enter the URL in the appropriate fields. We suggest placing a link to your website’s “Contact Us” page. Once you have added the link, be sure to click on it to make sure it works.
This feature allows business owners to answer questions directly from potential clients through their GMB listings. Business owners are also able to add commonly asked questions and their answers. Please note that this feature is currently only available on Android and business owners require access to Google Maps on Android in order to receive notifications when someone posts a question or answers another person’s question. You can also stop seeing messages about questions you answered and messages about your business.
This new product enables businesses to turn positive reviews into free posters that can be printed or shared online. Small Thanks with Google uses your existing Google reviews and highlights the best ones. To create a poster go to smallthanks.withgoogle.com, enter the business name and select it when it appears. The business must have some 5-star reviews on Google for them to appear. The platform will show some poster examples that can be selected as they are or can be customized.
Google likes to see that users interact with its products. Remember that Google My Business helps business owners increase their online visibility and helps potential clients find, engage with, and review businesses in their local area. At Justia, we can help you with GMB and let you know how the tools, products, and services we outlined above are useful to your business.
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