Google My Business is slowly but surely becoming the platform that Google (and consumers) always hoped it could be in terms of functionality and usefulness.
In the Covid-19 era, Googly My Business has been hugely beneficial in keeping up with the constantly-changing hours of operation, safety guidelines, and much more. Now, as they look to increase the platform’s utility in the future, additional features have been rolling out.
In this article, I’ll explain what businesses and marketers should know about the latest updates.
1. The Google Guarantee Badge
Businesses can include just about anything they want on their GMB listings. While the vast majority of businesses don’t intentionally mislead potential customers, there are occasionally some discrepancies between what shows on the listing, and what the business actually offers.
The Google Guarantee Badge lets users know that a business has passed a screening process in which their information has been independently verified. It also allows customers to request a refund (up to $2,000), paid by Google if the services provided by the businesses with a badge are less than satisfactory.
These badges will show both on the Local Services Ads you seen when performing a search on Google and are also expected to show on the listings themselves.
2. Support and Donation Links
As many businesses still find themselves treading water in the wake of shutdowns and quarantine measures, Google is doing their part to help by providing an easily-accessible donation or gift card purchase feature.
The new addition can be placed on a business’s listing, complete with links to a GoFundMe account or gift certificate page, and also includes a space for owners to write a short message. It’s too early to say if this will have a major impact, but it certainly has the potential to help out struggling local businesses.
3. Secondary Hours
Google My Business is the go-to spot to find a business’s hours of operation. It has also come under significant scrutiny over the years (and especially in 2020) for not providing a more flexible way to include specialty hours.
GMB is now allowing businesses to inform their customers of “secondary hours” by including a button that reads “See more hours” right on the listing. One example that we’ve seen thus far deals with special hours for senior citizen shoppers who are looking to avoid crowds that could be carrying the coronavirus.
It’s too early to say if this feature will have any relevance once the pandemic has passed (…it is going to pass, right?), but it still seems like a long-overdue addition to the platform that will only help in special circumstances moving forward.
4. Attributes for Online Services
One aspect of the pandemic that might carry over in the future is the use of online services in place of physical store and office visits. As it turns out, much of the business typically conducted in-person can be don’t just as effectively in a remote fashion.
Google is aiding in the shift to digital services by allowing business owners to place the links to their remote offerings right on the listing, saving users the trouble of finding it on a company’s website.
Services like online appointments, telehealth, estimates, and much more can now be accessed with ease.
5. Health and Safety Updates
It’s safe to assume that just about every business has some forms of safety measures in place to help prevent the spread of the virus. Now, Google is encouraging business owners to let users know what exactly they should expect when they stop in.
Things like mask requirements, socially distant tables, and contactless to-go options are all able to be noted with GMB’s most recent round of updates.
This should help ease some of the confusion that has become commonplace during this unusual time.
6. Quicker Replies and Listing Edits
One of the complaints Google has frequently heard over the years revolves around business owners making edits to their GMB listing. Finally, they have listened and made corrections accordingly.
Previously, in order to make changes to your Google My Business listing, you had to log in through the back end of the dashboard to do so. Listing owners can now make changes directly from Google Maps or by bringing up their listing via Google’s search engine.
In addition to the ability to make edits by using “front-end” features, listing owners can now view their ‘Performance Page’ without having to use the Google My Business dashboard.
These upgrades were built with the goal of giving listing owners more control over their content and allowing them to make updates on-the-go.
And to answer the question many users are sure to have: Yes, it functions on iOS just as well as it does on Google’s Android platform. iPhone users can rest assured they won’t be sacrificing any benefits of the updates due to their choice in device.
Google My Business is growing in popularity among both business owners and consumers. By taking suggestions seriously and adapting quickly to the new business climate, Google is solidifying its GMB platform as a necessity for all businesses, and especially local businesses.
If your company needs help setting up a listing that takes advantage of all the options provided, get in touch today and we’ll find a solution that works for you.