Google My Business Description Updates (2018)
What’s this new GMB Update?
Previously you would be able to create a business description within the “Info” tab on Google My Business and it would populate during various local search queries. This was extremely helpful for local keyword contextual information and consumer knowledge. Then, nothing! All of a sudden Google thought it wasn’t necessary and helpful. Originally this was a feature rolled out by Google+ to add more information about people, places, things. However, as Google+ faded, so did the GMB description.
Fast forward 18 months and Google is back at it with another GMB update where you can once again fill out that description of your business within the information section of your account. I first heard about this from Barry Schwartz with Search Engine Land, and then confirmed by Google My Biz on Twitter @GoogleMyBiz.
Why did this happen?
Well, nobody knows for sure just yet. My thoughts? Well, Google is probably looking once again for more structured content in the knowledge panel that’s provided by the actual businesses themselves. As search focuses more around local, they want to be able to differentiate businesses, especially if a business name is more esoteric. Let’s not forget to mention the implications of the service in relation to the business.
Google allows the business owners and managers in GMB to input specific categories, which rolled out with new additions as well last year. Yet, they don’t entirely encompass every type of service, product or category imaginable. So Google might want to give business owners a chance to truly explain who they are and what they do.
So what does this mean?
This means Google My Business owners and managers can now control what message they want to display for their business profile. You have 750 characters to explain in detail about your products and services. Suggestion: Use all 750 characters. Don’t just write a description. Write your description with a lot of purpose, strategy and keyword contextual content. I thoroughly believe this keyword context content will play into the structured snippets and local search results. This is essential to optimize GMB for Local SEO.
Example: Momentum Digital
For my agency, Momentum Digital, I wrote 711 characters to quickly explain our agency, location, and core services. I really only needed like 250 characters, so then the rest was relevant filler keywords that are synonyms to our services.
This is now an optimized description after the Google My Business Description Update from 2018.
What to do when optimizing your Google My Business Description?
Simply log into your Google My Business account and go to the “Info” tab and down to the “Business Descriptions” section. Here is where you can explain more about your business. Find relative terms on top of your core business explanation. Make sure to use a lot of core keywords that you can find just from your own website, metadata or Google suggestions. Use up as much space as possible while accurately explaining the business.
Honestly, nobody knows yet. This is still in BETA and there isn’t enough content or information yet about this update. Thoughts around the community can be seen here in the Google advertiser forum for GMB. A lot of people think it was a matter of time but that it won’t have an immediate impact.
Other Google My Business Updates?
Suffice to say ‘Google is making moves’. Seriously. Relatively speaking, they’ve made a lot of changes and updates over the past two years.
Below you can see a list of the core changes I’ve seen within the past 12 months alone.
- Business Description Added (BETA)
- You can now add a 750 character description in GMB.
- Released for Beta last week.
- Services Listed (BETA)
- Service businesses can list their core services within GMB. We think this is dependent upon the business and their categories listed though as many aren’t seeing this yet.
- Article released today by Barry Schwartz on SEO Round Table.
- Opening Date (New – 2018)
- This has been around for months now and isn’t highly relevant or useful in my opinion.
- Dashboard Panel (New – 2018)
- New dashboard launched in 2018 showcases an easier and seamless way to have a high level perspective of your account.
- Posts (Update Mid 2017)
- Mentioned in my last blog. Very important to showcase updates, sales, specials, promotions, and more in the knowledge panel.
- Website (Update Mid 2017)
- You can use Google Website builder and link it to your GMB profile. I don’t see anybody taking advantage of this yet but wonder about the implications for SEO using their platform.
- Appointment Booking (Update Mid 2017)
- Also only available for select service businesses, but also haven’t seen in used or in feature from my own searches.
- Messaging (Update Mid 2017)
- This was mentioned in the blog as well and was released in 2017 to allow mobile customers quickly and easily ask questions and contact a business. I’ve personally used this with a Google Voice number, but you can also used a cell phone or Google Allo. More details to come!
- Google My Business
- Search Engine Land
- SEO Round Table