Summary: With the recent changes to Google My Business (now Google Business Profile), business owners need to utilize all the available functionality to help their business stand out. Here’s everything you need to know to make your Google Business Profile a success.
Digital marketing offers unlimited opportunities to business owners and marketers. Google has access to more than ninety percent of the global search engine market, with billions of people using their platform. They are now giving you more features to promote your business and opportunities to connect with customers.
In late 2021 Google announced some changes to Google My Business (GMB). The first change is a simple name change. “Google My Business” is now known as “Google Business Profile.” The second change is to provide Google Business Profile users with direct access to their business profiles.
Every business owner and marketer should pro-actively utilize the following features on their Google Business Profile (previously Google My Business) listing:
- Include custom categories with services
- Easier ways to update your Google Business Profile
- Make COVID-19 announcements in your listing
- Include an appointments link under your listing
- Access to Google Guarantee badge certification
In the future, Google will also provide additional tools to your business via your Google Business Profile. But only if you access it via Google Search or Maps. These tools will help you understand how your business is performing and how to enhance your online presence.
Why did Google make the changes? To give you, as a business owner or marketer, significant opportunities to optimize your digital marketing.
Want customers to find you quickly? Then add the following to your Google listing (you can also check out Google’s own article on this):
Include your Services
Include your services on the Google Business Profile of your business. There are standard categories available. But if your business does not fit into conventional categories, you can now add one. And you can add the service/s you provide within that category. A description of up to three hundred words is allowed.
Use all the opportunities offered on your Google Business Profile and choose the best keywords for optimum digital marketing. It increases the chance of your listing appearing on Google’s search engine results pages (SERPs) and customers finding you fast.
Update your Listing with Ease
Google wants you to update your listing easily by using Google Search or Google Maps. Under the old Google My Business, you had to use the website or app to access the business profile. Google will retire the Google My Business app in 2022 and repurpose the website.
There are now three more direct ways to access your Google Business Profile, and you must be signed in to your Google account to access them.
- Search for the name of your business on Google
- If you enjoy using Google Maps, access your business profile in the Google Maps app
- Or you can use the search term “my business” in Google and go directly to your business profile
Make COVID-19 Announcements in your Listing
COVID-19 has been a reality for the last few years and impacts businesses differently. Google embraced this reality by adding a “COVID-19 update” post tab to Google Business Profile.
Other posts can still be published, but the COVID tab stays pinned at the top of the business profile in local search. Announcements under this tab include notifications about:
- New operating hours
- Temporary closures
- Safety precautions being taken by the business
- Stock announcements for COVID-related products
- Changes to the regular service such as moving to takeout/delivery only
COVID-19 posts are active for the same period as regular posts. It is an excellent opportunity to show your customers how committed your business is to your community’s health and safety.
Include an Appointment Link
An easy way to get customers to connect with you is by including an appointment URL in your listings. It makes it easy for customers to take action directly from Google Search or Maps. Without having to navigate through your business website.
Add appointment URLs for actions including:
- Placing an order
- Making a reservation
- Booking an appointment
- Searching for items
- Viewing a menu or list of services
Sometimes an appointment URL appears automatically in a business listing. It means either your business has a partnership with a third-party provider or Google has such a partnership. Changes to the third-party provider link must be done on their platforms.
Google Guarantee Badge Certification
Certify your business for a Google Guarantee badge. The purpose of the badge is to assure customers that a company listed on Google is legitimate and provides quality service. They even go as far as committing to reimburse customers dissatisfied with the service received from a listed business with this badge.
Your business must pass a Google screening and verification process through Local Services Ads or its partners to receive a Google Guarantee badge. The Google Guarantee badge will show on your listing in the search results.
There are terms and conditions before Google will reimburse customers. For example, customers must book the service only through Google Local Services. And there are lifetime reimbursement limits for customers in various countries.
WSI is a digital marketing agency ready to help your business with internet marketing and search engine optimization (SEO). We have offices worldwide, giving us access to the global pulse of digital marketing. Contact WSI World today.
About the Author
Cecilia is a member of the Marketing & Communications team at WSI Home Office. In addition to working closely with our certified agencies, franchisees, and suppliers, Cecilia also heads up WSI’s Google Alliance Group which focuses on paid search trends and best practices.