Launched in 2014, Google My Business became a centralised tool for local search. Recently Google My Business announced new tools and features that would enhance business listings further and refine local searches.
To start, Google had an event where they shared some of the momenta behind Google My Business. They included data and the fact that Google currently helps, “three billion direct connections between merchants and users per month.” They also said that there are 95 million people around the world actively participating in Google’s local guide program.
Google’s New Promotional and Branding Tools
First up, Google rolled out new promotional and branding tools for local businesses. Google wants to encourage more businesses to claim their profiles and help increase local search. To do this, they had to offer an incentive for business owners. They rolled out:
- Add a Logo – Businesses can now upload and display their logos in the upper right corner of their profile.
- Cover Photos – Businesses can now upload a unique cover photo that potential customers will see when they pull up the business profile.
- Photo Module – You’ll see a prominent new slide show/carousel module that you can add captions to in the very near future.
- Promotional Items – Google also launched a new website that allows Google My Business users to create and order posters, stickers and other promotional items.
- Welcome Offers – You can send welcome offers to any potential customers or customers who follow your business.
Google announced that it’ll reward the top 5% of local businesses with a “Local Favourite” badge on their profile. Businesses who are responsive and routinely update their profiles will be in the running. These badges could give the business that earns them a significant advantage over their local competition and draw more customers to them.
Google My Business Listings are now eligible for short names. They come in two formats including:
A business can register their chosen short name, but you have to be able to verify it with Google My Business before you can have it to prevent squatting. When a customer inputs your URL or searches for your business, they’ll go directly to your profile on Google My Business. Soon, Google will allow them to use your @shortname in Google Maps and search that way.
These new changes to Google My Business are very exciting, and it’ll be interesting to see them develop further down the road. If you haven’t, it’s a good idea to claim your Google My Business listing and take advantage of all of the local traffic to drive sales.