Google My Business, over the last few years, has become an entity that we must cohabit with as business owners, users of the internet, and humans. And by cohabit, we more so mean we are often at their beck and call, quickly springing to our computers to respond to updates to the Google algorithm or GMB features.
Now, let's talk about what they actually updated this time. These updates provide businesses, mainly service-based businesses (that’s you!), with a whole new pallet of features, service descriptions, and capabilities designed to provide users with even more comprehensive information about your business before making a decision.
First, let’s talk about the new business description feature. Now GMB is providing businesses with a field where they can write a 750 character business description about themselves. This description is designed to describe your business, the services you offer, and anything that makes you unique or special. It’s not necessarily for temporary promos/specials, as Google Posts are much better designed for that (we’ll discuss Google Posts later.) While it seems like a great idea to use tons of keywords in your description and whatnot to rank better, we don’t foresee Google putting much weight rankings-wise into what keywords you do and don’t use in your description. We more so see this as another opportunity for Google to feature more information about your business, thus making it easier for the user to find the information they seek.
Google Posts are great for showcasing what’s going on with your practice at this particular moment in time. Users will see your Google Posts when searching for your business. Since these Posts expire after seven days, they are perfect for discussing current specials, promos, deals or an upcoming event. You can specify that your post is for an upcoming event and the post will expire after the time you set. The best way to do these is to post often and make sure the small amount of copy users can view from the search results is concise yet inviting. Be personal and welcoming, but also use a call to action. Offer a free download, blog post, special, or something that the user wants in order to draw them in. Google Posts are great for giving your GMB listing a more dynamic feel.
Much like the business description, Google also included service descriptions to listings, allowing you to display and describe all of your services directly from GMB. Being a dentist, if a user can see that you offer emergency dental services straight from Google but your competitor doesn’t, that makes you look good! The same goes for any service that you offer that might not be offered by others in your area. This is just another way for users to see more about your business without venturing away from Google.
Another new feature Google has recently rolled out is notifying a user when a business owner responds to their review. This is designed to foster more communication between businesses and their patrons in order to create a more interactive experience on Google. You can use this new feature to your advantage as a business owner by being proactive in responding to users that have left either good or bad reviews. If someone sees a 2-star review on your listing that you responded to and thus reached an understanding about with that patron, but also sees a 2-star review on a competitor’s website that was left unanswered, that’s going to make you look better.
The idea behind all of these new features is to provide users with more and more information regarding your business so they have as little reason as possible to stray away from your listing. As a business and website owner, it may seem counterintuitive to give users even less of a reason to view your site but the truth is if you receive a conversion via the internet, does it really matter if it happened because of your website or your GMB listing? If a user can find information regarding your services right there on your GMB listing but has to click into and dig around your competitor’s website to find that same information, they’re going to like that about you. The more things a user likes about your presence and how you portray yourself on the internet, the more likely they are to choose you as their dentist.