GMB's New Feature Extravaganza Fuses Social & Search
Google has sparked off another digital landgrab for marketers as it releases a slew of updates for Google My Business (GMB).
Google’s latest move puts Google My Business in closer competition with Facebook, Instagram and other social players.
In some ways, perhaps, even ahead.
Launched in 2014, Google My Business started life providing basic listing data, however, within the past twenty-four months, Google has rapidly expanded the offering.
Amir Fish, Group Product Manager, Google My Business:
Since launching Google My Business five years ago, we’ve helped more than 150 million local businesses connect with people who are looking for them online. Today, when people search for businesses, they’re on the hunt for something more specific.
We’ve evolved Google My Business to better meet these needs; from redesigned, easier-to-use mobile apps to making restaurant reservations directly from Google. Today, we’re rolling out more features to help businesses make their Profiles as unique as they are and as descriptive as the queries that get customers there.
Google Short Names, URLs & Maps
Business owners can now claim a short name and URL for their business. With this URL, businesses can easily refer customers back to their Profile.
Short names are similar to social media handles and likely to be important for search engine optimisation (SEO) proposes moving forward. Hence the landgrab.
In the coming months, users will also be able to search short names in Maps.
If you’re a verified business, you can create a short name, or a custom name, for your Business Profile to make it easier for customers to find you.
When you share your short name, customers can enter the short name URL in the browser’s address bar, to go directly to your Business Profile.
Note: For bulk users, short names have to be claimed individually per listing.
This feature is available for most merchants and business categories.
Your selected short name should be associated with your business name or the name by which people commonly refer to your business.
Google advises including your location to make the short name more distinct. For example, you can use your business name with your location, like your city or neighbourhood.
Keep your short name simple, so you can easily promote it, and customers can remember it. If you have a short name, you’ll get a short URL to request reviews from your customers
Brand Profiles For Search, Maps & Beyond
Google My Business already provides a host of ways for organisations to interact with users, akin to social channels.
However, within social channels users generally interact within their personal feeds, consuming brand content woven between posts from friends, family and others.
While the likes of Facebook have business profiles, users seldom visit and functionality is minimal. Whereas, restaurants can now take orders directly from their Google My Business profiles.
Not only does Google’s latest update see a host of new branding features, but Google will be highlighting the top 5% of businesses in a particular category with the “Local Favorite” designation. Creating digital and physical badges of honour which online and offline businesses can feature.
Not, probably, dissimilar to how TripAdvisor has done successfully for some time.
In effect, this would turn customer service and quality delivery into Google ranking signals… imagine that.