Google has made many changes to their Google My Business (GMB) platform recently. GMB is Google’s local business listing management system. These changes are a transparent attempt by Google to provide as much information about a business as possible within the search results and not have the user leave.
Google Wants To Do It Themselves
Google has increasingly been trying to optimize search results, control the user experience and answer as many questions within the search results as possible. This became clear in 2016 when we started seeing instant answers becoming more and more prevalent. Google has subtly been adding more and more features to the search results page (SERP) that is aimed at answering questions without having to click any links. In early 2018 there were even SERP’s with zero organic links and only an instant answer. Although this is very rare (estimated 0.0001% of SERPs) it is a clear indication that Google is willing to forgo organic links all together if it thinks that it can meet searchers needs all by itself.
Posts on Google My Business
As probably one of the most significant updates Google has made recently, posts have added much needed functionality to the GMB platform. Posts allow the owner of a GMB page to write text, add an image, and a call to action button to their GMB page. Typically these are used for sales, promotions, upcoming events, recent blog posts, new services announcements, or just any type of announcement.
These posts remain active for 7 days on the GMB page and then are archived by Google. You can have multiple posts active at a time and they are displayed in a carousel type display.
The very latest addition to some GMB pages – Google has allowed certain business verticals to list their services as well as a description on their GMB page. These description can be up to 1,000 characters in link and cannot contain any formatting or links.
Note: This format is so new I have yet to find any pages with it properly set up. For clients where we have set it up it takes up to 3 days to be approved. I will update here once it goes live.
Questions & Answers
Released around the same time as Posts, Google Questions and Answers allows customers to ask questions to a business directly through their GMB page. This is a great resource for customers to see your FAQ’s within search. Unfortunately Google has yet to set up a notification system so business owners are not notified when a new question is asked. We expect this to come out in the next few months, however, until then a manual review of your GMB page is necessary to see whether or not a question has been asked.
For our clients we have been populating this with their most common FAQ’s. We recommend adding some of your most common questions yourselves to get the ball rolling as well as give any visitors some information they may be wanting.
Some additional features that Google has added (or improved) recently includes allowing menus or more business pages than just traditional restaurants and cafes, adding booking URL’s to allow customers to go directly to an appointment booking URL on most pages, as well as a slough of others.
Google is constantly testing new formats and features. What is here today may be gone tomorrow. As they add and remove features we will continue to update you with the most current features to help your business stand out on the SERP.
If you would like some help understanding, updating, or keeping up with your GMB listing please Contact Us.