We all know Google, and how it has an incredibly far reach of every part of the online stratosphere, but what exactly is Google My Business? Commonly known as GMB, Google My Business is a specific business listing on Google, bearing similarity to directories like Yelp. It’s also a very valuable component of ranking on local SEO.
One key difference between Google My Business profiles and other directories is that the Google business listing can be incredibly detailed, and there is access to tools such as the Google Knowledge Graph. There’s also the “Google Local Pack”: wherein 3 predominant Google listings that appear beneath the map when someone searches for businesses could help boost traffic.
In addition to 4 major updates to Google algorithms, there was at least one major local algorithm update related to neural matching, and BERT wil affect local results to boot. Here are some of the most important landmark events that happened with the GMB application in 2019, and the effects they have on the overall marketplace.
Virtual Office Rules and SAB Flow:
- Within the GMB profile, Google began to emphasize messaging, done through the Google My Business app. This permanently left SMS-based messaging behind.
- There has now been an introduction of a new sign-up flow for service-areas businesses. Starting with a question about whether the business has an office or storefront, it decides which SAB-specific path to route the user to.
- There has also now been provided guidance surrounding who exactly is eligible to create a GMB page for a virtual office. On-site staffing is one needed requirement.
Map Reviews and AR Directions:
- Last February, it was announced that hotel operators can now enter their check-in and check-out times directly in Google My Business.
- Maps now have begun testing augmented reality walking directions. During August, they were rolled out widely in the LiveView format.
- One function provided by DineTime was a “join waitlist” feature. You can simply input the size of your party, and then receive updates via text on the wait status.
- There was also new a local spam reporting form for GMB and Google Maps introduced.
SAB Addresses Disappearance and Duplex Rollout:
- in March, Google saw the rollout of Duplex restaurant reservations over the phone in 43 U.S. States for Pixel phones. The month after, capability was expanded to more Android phones and iPhones. Over time, Duplex will see expansion to other verticals.
- Google removed business addresses from the GMB Profile for service-area businesses in March and also began testing auto-generated posts highlighting reviews.
- During April, business listings that were appearing in Google Assistant or Google Home search results began being drawn from Google Guaranteed listings, but they are technically not advertisements.
- Google also completed a very important survey among small business owners about their desire to pay monthly subscription fees to access enhanced features and services for GMB. The reaction was mixed, with some entities not expressing much interest.
CallJoy and the Food Ordering Task
- During early spring, Google saw the introduction of CallJoy automatic customer service and capability to provide call intelligence for $39 per month. These capabilities saw a necessary upgrade in November.
- End to end food ordering was brought swiftly to Google Assistant, Google search and Maps through Postmates, Delivery.com, Doordash, and a few more.
- The fascinating science of machine learning was used in May to start displaying a selection of popular dishes on local restaurant web pages.
Shortnames and Mapspam
- During the summer, the Wall Street Journal published a widely-read article about fake listings in Google results and on Maps. Google quickly reacted with a post on how it fights local spam, and always has their eye out looking for fraud.
- Google saw the addition of an assortment of new GMB features and tools that were designed to encourage more local businesses to claim profiles, and also offered new branding and promotional possibilities. Many were surprised when during the @shortname rollout, some listings and reviews vanished.
Google Screened, bulk reviews, and Carousel Pack
- During August, Google tested a horizontal carousel to replace the local pack existent in mobile results. The top result was made into an advertisement.
- The Late summer months also saw GMB adding support for hotels to easier update services and amenities details, that appear quickly in Search and Maps.
- Google also tested competitor ads in local business profiles as part of Local Campaigns, and in the fall went through another Core Algorithm Update which also had a great impact on local marketers out there eager for foot traffic and new business.
Google My Business is one of those applications that is still seeing growth and experiencing drastic change. Facebook advertising, pay per click options, and blogging can expand your business’s reach drastically, as well as tried-and-true knowledge regarding best SEO practices. Farfetched Studios is a shining star in the ad world, where when success is concerned, “There can be only one”. Contact us to find out just how fantastic 2020 can be for your burgeoning entity or online store today!