Since the outbreak of the pandemic, Google has been steadily making changes and releasing new updates on Google My Business (GMB). For those running local businesses, it’s absolutely important to catch up on these changes, so that you can stay ahead of the competition. Fortunately, this guide describes all the recent updates in GMB that should help improve your local SEO in 2022.
1.COVID-19 Pandemic Attributes for Restaurants:
For restaurants or businesses involved in the foodservice industry, Google has rolled out pandemic-related attributes. These attributes started showing up right after businesses were reopening. The attributes are listed as follows:
- Curbside Pickup
- No-contact Delivery
2.Attributes for Healthy and Safety:
The Health and Safety attributes were rolled out by Google on GMB to give customers the confidence to visit and shop at stores. Web users can make use of these attributes, so that they can determine the current health standards of any store they’d like to visit. The new attributes introduced in 2020 are as follows:
- Appointment required
- Staff get temperature checks
- Staff wear masks
- Temperature check required
- Mask required
If you are running a business, implementing these health precautions in your store is a sure way to attract more customers. According to SEO services, advertising your health and safety guidelines via GMB tells shoppers that you care for others’ safety. This way, you will earn trust of your potential customers as well.
The Messaging functionality has been present on mobile devices for a while, and now it’s being rolled out to the desktop UI as well. You will notice the “Messages” button on the left after logging in to your GMB. A chat screen will pop up when you click on it.
Google has revealed that one can use this feature only if they opt in for the same. Be informed that businesses must respond to the messages within 24 hours of receiving them, else your messaging rights will be revoked. Should this happen, you will have to go through the opt in process again. Even though you can set auto response messages, it still won’t count. The search engine giant explains that this guideline is implemented to ensure a good customer experience.
4.Reduced Video Upload Size:
Google has reduced the maximum video upload size from 100 MB to 75 MB for GMB. So, you will have to be a bit more creative while making videos to get your message through and impress your customers. Perhaps, Google believes that less is more.
5.Search for Black-Owned Businesses:
Finding black-owned businesses has become easier than ever. The shopping search results have been modified by Google recently. The ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement in 2020 resulted in a large number of people searching for “black-owned restaurants”, “black-owned bookstores”, and “black-owned beauty supply”. These popular search terms prompted Google to introduce this attribute.
When you use the black-owned attribute, it will take a while to impact your SEO. For now, this attribute is available only in the United States.
6.Attributes for Virtual Businesses:
We all do know that the pandemic has forced several businesses to go online. Zoom meetings slowly became a norm for offices, educational institutions, and other industries. Google identified this as the perfect opportunity to introduce new attributes that would be helpful for virtual/online businesses.
Several people have been searching for online services to fulfill their everyday needs right from the comfort of their home. Promote your business using the following attributes on GMB, so that you can help customers avoid the exposure to the virus:
- Online Appointment
- Online Classes
- Online Estimates
- Online Care
7.Enhanced GMB Performance Reports:
Google has been slowly adding new metrics to the Google My Business Performance reports, so you will get a better understanding of how online users perceive your business. Metrics such as driving direction requests and website visits (which were present in the old insights report) has been brought to the new version of the performance report.
Simply put, you will be able to know how many people have expressed interest and contacted your business after viewing the GMB profile online. You will also be able to see how many times your GMB profile appeared in the search results. Additionally, Google map searches will be viewable as well. Remember that these data will be accessible up to six months.
8.The New Call Logging Feature:
As the pandemic has impacted the working hours of several businesses, customers have been making more phone calls to businesses than usual. As a result, Google has added its new ‘Call History’ feature, which allows businesses to view both recent and missed calls from customers via search. After signing in to your GMB profile, you can easily track and respond to calls when required.
If you have an existing GMB profile, just turn on the feature and you are good to go. Once you log in, click “Home”, scroll to find the “Preview Call History” box, and click “Try it Out”. Now you can turn on this feature and see how it works.
Keeping track of these features and utilising them with your GMB profile can be immensely helpful in gaining more customers and increasing sales during these trying times. Get in touch with an SEO company if you need assistance and choose one of their best SEO packages that align with your long term goals.