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Check out New Features of Google My Business

Posted on: November 8, 2018
Tags: Digital marketing tactics, Seo, Search marketing
Check out New Features of Google My Business

Google My Business (GMB) is notorious for testing features without fanfare. In 2018 Google improved both the consumer and business experience of Google My Business by encouraging engagement and interaction with Google My Business Q&As and Google My Business Posts. They’ve helped generate subjective ‘attributes’ for local businesses, and abandoned anonymous Google Review profiles, to name a few.

Recently, Google has been testing and rolling out more new features: Products and Services URL, Product Collections and Reserve with Google. Let's review how to use them...

1. 'Products and Services’ URL in Google My Business

The ability to showcase or link to the products you sell and services you offer is now available within Google My Business and appears in the Google Knowledge Panel results for your business.

While not ideal for many businesses who prefer to separate their ‘Products’ and ‘Services’ pages, there’s certainly a great reason to develop a page simply describing every product and service (with costs), and include this as a ‘Menu URL’ under URLs in the GMB back end.

For consistency, the Products and Services page you’re linking to should closely match what you’ve included in your ‘Services’ descriptions in GMB, and both should be updated at the same time when a service or product (or ‘menu item’) changes. Google will be most likely compare the content of your given Menu URL with the offerings you describe in GMB. 

2. Product Collections in GMB

Another new feature is the ability to create ‘Product Collections’ via a Products (Beta) tab in the Google My Business dashboard.

Because you have the ability to add images, be sure to examine how these images are displayed in mobile GMB profiles and create clear and consistent branding for each collection, with similar backgrounds or graphics.

Unlike the Products and Services URL, these collections and product previews cannot include links to the relevant product pages. 

It appears Google's goal is to become an online storefront for your business. Once this feature is fully rolled out, searchers will have tons of information at their fingertips on GMB, significantly reducing the need to visit your website.

3. ‘Reserve with Google’ in GMB

In 2015, Google started to test booking appointments through GMB, which soon became part of ‘Reserve with Google’, an initiative bringing together appointment-booking and reservation apps (not available in all countries) such as Bookatable and SalonRunner, and integrating them into the GMB user interface.

Please note, your choice of browser affects whether this integration appears. Of course, the available applications are currently limited by the number and variety of reservation services that Reserve with Google integrates with (36 at the time of publication, with 33 labeled as ‘Coming Soon’), and the focus seems to be on food and health/beauty, but any business with an appointment calendar should be able to encourage bookings directly through Google Local on mobile.

Reserve with Google links up nicely with content in the GMB Services tab - when you click on a particular service in this tab, you’re taken to a pre-filled appointment-booking calendar. This is the same calendar you’d see after clicking ‘Schedule’ or ‘Book’ but with the appointment type already filled with whatever you clicked on in Services. Pretty nifty if you ask me!

Conclusion

The interlinking between parts of the mobile GMB experience reinforces that Google is developing GMB into a highly sophisticated storefront that aims to keep traffic off your actual website but provides value in many other ways.

Worried that this is the death knell for local business websites? Fear not, there are plenty of reasons why websites are important for local businesses

To stay on top of your game, consider making it a habit of jumping headfirst into every new GMB feature, and filling out your GMB profile with as much information as you can, because the day will undoubtedly come that this information appears on your GMB listing.

Click here to read the full article with GMB's new feature examples by Jamie Pitman 


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