Google My Business Local SEO Updates (2019)
In this week’s blog, learn about the latest Google My Business updates for Summer 2019 to help you boost your small business’ local SEO.
Welcome back to another Momentum Monday blog!
If you missed the Google My Business series we created in May, you may want to catch up before reading this blog. During the series, we recapped:
- How to Add a New User to Google My Business
- What is Google My Business?
- How to Create a Google My Business Account
Google My Business is an amazing platform that can help local small businesses gain exposure and new customers.
There have been some recent updates on the Google My Business platform for Summer 2019 that will help you improve your business’ local SEO.
Want to help your business get discovered by more people? Keep reading!
Read more to recap what Google My Business is, to learn about the new Google My Business updates for Summer 2019, and to learn how to get the most out of these updates for your business.
Google My Business: Recap
To recap: Google My Business is a local listing for your business. This listing that appears whenever someone either searches for your business directly or searches for businesses within a specific industry (for example – Movie Theaters).
To put this into perspective, when searching for “Digital Marketing Agencies near me” in Philadelphia, your search results will look something like this. This results page is referred to as the “Map Pack.”
The way that Google prioritizes content is: ads appear up at the top of the search (like the photo above) with the businesses that rank locally below. As you can see, those business’ Google My Business listing appears below the business’ name.
Google My Business is most useful on mobile, because a lot of people are searching for businesses either on-the-go or while traveling (for example – “Italian restaurants near me”).
You can also expand upon the Map Pack by selecting “More Places,” located below the Map Pack results, which will redirect you to Google Maps. On the Google Maps page, other Google My Business listings will appear that fit the criteria.
In order to rank and get to the top of the Map Pack results, it is important to optimize your Google My Business account. In order to optimize properly, you have to know some of the new updates for Google My Business in Summer 2019 and how to best utilize them.
Google My Business 2019 Updates
Recently, there have been a few different updates to the Google My Business platform. With these updates, Google is trying to make the platform more social and user friendly for their users.
The major updates include:
Cover Photo, Logo, and Short Names
Businesses now have the opportunity to brand themselves through their Google My Business listing. They can do this through:
- Cover Photo – When searching on Mobile, your business’ cover photo will be the first thing potential customers will see. This new option allows the business to select their preferred image.
- Logo – This option allows you to set your business’ logo in your Google My Business listing. Businesses that have their core information completed (phone number, hours, emails, etc.) will have their logo displayed on the right-hand side of their profile.
- Short Name – Similar to usernames for other social media websites, like Instagram and Twitter, the short name allows you to brand your business by selecting a “short,” memorable name.
Just like any other social platform, there is now the option to follow a business’ GMB listing. The follow feature allows fans of your business to stay connected with all of the latest things involving your business.
When someone new follows your business, they will receive updates about your business in their “For You” tab.
This is a new add-on for Google My Business accounts. Profile Views are available for your business to view within the Insights tab.
Just like your Google My Business listing on your desktop/mobile browser, you can now view and edit your Google My Business listing through a mobile app. The only thing that is not available through the mobile app is the ability to see your followers.
Thinking about downloading the mobile app? Check out how it works below.
How to Utilize the 2019 GMB Updates
To upload photos, first log in to your Google My Business listing either on the app or on your desktop.
To access your Google My Business account online, visit www.google.com/business/.
For this example, we will be optimizing our listing on the desktop.
Once logged in, navigate to “Photo” in the toolbar on the left-hand side.
Once in the “Photo” page, you will see a lot of different options for photos for your Google My Business account. These options allow you to add photos by different sources such as By Owner, By Customer, 360, etc.
To add a new photo to your Google My Business account, select the blue “+” button in the upper right-hand corner of your screen.
If you already have the desired photo uploaded to your Google My Business account, you will see it populated below any videos that you already have on your profile.
The best size to use for a Cover Photo for your Google My Business account will be a photo that is 1080 x 608 pixels. For the Logo or Profile Image, the photo should be sized 250 x 250 pixels.
If you would like to create a photo of your own instead of taking a physical photo of your store/products/location, you can use a number of free graphic design tools. Our favorite platform for this is Canva.
You will see the words “Cover Photo” or “Logo” with a pencil icon populating over the uploaded images on your Google My Business account. To swap the photos out, simply click on the words to set a new cover or logo photo.
These images will appear primarily on mobile. However, if you are searching for a specific business on desktop, the Google My Business listing will appear on the right-hand side of the screen with the cover image and logo (see below).
Pro Tip: If you are logged into your Google My Business account and search for your business’ name, you will be able to edit your GMB listing right there!
Choosing a Short Name
This short name is just another way for your potential audience to find you. Now, instead of having to type in the full name of your business, your business can be found by searching for its short name.
Not only does this help with building your brand, but it will help you improve your SEO as well. Why? Because Google will begin to connect your business to the Short Name.
Sounds good – but how do you add it to your profile?
While on the homepage of your Google My Business listing, scroll down until you find the “Complete Your Profile” option.
Within this box, you will see an “Add Profile Short Name” option.
Once selected, Google will give you the option to choose your Short Name. This Short Name can be up to 22 characters long. Be careful with your selection – you can only change this up to 3 times per year.
Google will also give you suggestions for your Short Name. A word of advice – it could be helpful for your business to take what Google suggests because they are the ones making the connections for local SEO rankings.
Once you are done, select “Apply” and it will save your Short Name.
When this is completed, you will automatically be redirected to your Google My Business “Info” page. From here, you can add other important information about your business to your pages such as your business’ services, hours of operation, and more.
Accessing Profile Views
Google My Business offers a lot of valuable insight regarding your Google My Business account within the “Insights” tab.
Here, you can view things such as:
- How customers find your business. Google My Business will let you know how your customers are finding your listing. In this section, customers will find you through:
- Direct Searching – they are searching directly for your business
- Discovery Searches – they find your business through searching for a business category, product or service.
- Branded Searches – they find you through your brand or a brand related to yours
- Search Queries. This shows you what people search in order to find your business on Google.
- Where customers find you. This option tells you exactly where the customer was when they found your business. This can either be:
- View on Search or in a Google search
- View on Map or while in Google Maps
This section will also tell you if they found your business on desktop or mobile.
- Customer Actions. This section tells you if the potential customer took any action while on your Google My Business listing. The actions include:
- Visiting your website
- Requesting directions to your business
- Calling your business
Google also segments this audience by desktop and mobile visits.
- Direction Requests. This option will show you where a customer is – by zip code – when they request directions to your business.
- Phone Calls. This section tells when and how often customers call your business through your Google My Business listing.
- Photo Views. This will tell you how many times your photos were viewed.
- Photo Quality. This section is based on how many photos you have uploaded to your Google My Business listing.
- What Your Business is Known For. This section pulls from customer reviews to provide insight into your business.
Google My Business platform is set to revamp a lot of the insight features soon.
Our prediction: one of the things Google will start doing is showing a lot more of the search terms that people are using to find your business. This will be done so that Google can better assist you in creating posts and then advertising those posts through your GMB page.
Other Google My Business Updates
Besides these newest updates, Google My Business has also added a number of other things to their platform recently including:
- Service Details and Prices – In this portion, Google allows you to create custom services, write out service details, and include service prices.
- Messaging – This new feature adds a “Message” button to your Google My Business listing. This allows customers to message your business at any time. As a business owner, these new messages will appear in your GMB account or app. Google allows you to connect this messaging to a 3rd party app or even your cell phone number so that you can quickly respond to inquiries.
- Virtual Tour Integration –Google now allows you to upload a virtual tour, or 360-degree photo, to your Google My Business account. This will allow potential customers to look at your space beforehand.
- Create Posts –Like other social networks, Google My Business now allows you to create posts to add to your business listing.
How Can You Make the Most out of Google My Business?
One way your business can benefit from the Google My Business platform is by utilizing the Google My Business App.
This app has made the GMB platform more comparable to other social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram. It also allows you to update, check on, and add to your Google My Business listing on the go.
Another thing you can do through Google My Business to gain more traction for your business is to create frequent posts.
Posting frequently – as you would on any other social media platform – gives your business more visibility. Posting more often also increases trust with your potential customers. Posts can be anything from events and pricing to showcasing a new product or service.
There you have it! You are now ready to apply the latest Google My Business updates to your Google My Business account.
Thanks for reading – let us know what you’d like us to write about next in the comments below!