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The latest updates on Google My Business.

This post is part of a continuing series of monthly updates on the #1 search tool used by ready-to-buy customers. For all the updates, or to see additional information, read Attract More Customers with Google My Business.

Algorithm Updates Impact Local SEO

Google constantly adapts their search algorithm to try to create better results for the user. Your business is not the user – your customer is the user. This is like your Grandma’s favourite recipe ~ if you’re like me, it is constantly adapted based on your tastes, ingredients available, the low-fat, no-fat, keto, paleo diet you or someone is on or even, just for fun. Ahem, back to your Google Listing. Google’s algorithm was updated late last year and the most important update is proximity, or the distance between your business and the potential customer when they search for your business.

The closer a customer is to your business, the more likely your business is to appear within the search results. Think of the customers’ search result as the green and yellow map markers below. After the update, there is less green and yellow.

If your business is the green or yellow, yee-haw! If your business is the red, keep reading – you need to tune up your listing!

Customers Can Add Tags to Their Reviews

Google My Business Add Tags to Reviews

Have you noticed a change in your customer reviews? When a customer leaves a review, they can also add “tags” to their reviews, like “responsive,” “helpful” or “fast service.”  These tags are equally search-able, thus a customer searching for “fast oil change” will receive results for oil change locations within the proximity AND containing the tag “fast service.” 

Do Reviews Really Matter?

OK, seriously, we answer this question so often, I feel like putting it on a shirt. Hell, YES!!!! OK, got that out of my system. Instead of saying it matters, let me show you.

  • 90% of customers used the internet to find a business. 33% use it daily.
  • 82% say they read online reviews. 54% always read online reviews.
  • The average customer reads 10 reviews before they trust a business.
  • Only 54% of customers say they would consider doing business with a company with less than 4 stars.
  • 94% of review readers also read the businesses response.

Stats courtesy Search Engine Land

Reviews Take Centre Stage

Google-My-Business-Review Carousel

Businesses are reporting Reviews appearing on their Listing in a more readable, high profile position. Are your Reviews here yet?

Flag Inappropriate Reviews

Google added a page to their Help section, detailing the process required to remove a review. If you think you have a fake review on your listing, or an inappropriate review, follow the steps listed here.

Auto Posting

This is something we have not seen in Canada BUT there are numerous US based reports. Businesses are reporting Posts on their Listing that were auto-created from Photos on their Listing. Google rrreeeaaalllyyyy wants businesses to Post to their Listing and likely this is their not so subtle way of reminding businesses. Let us know in Comments if you’ve seen any auto-posts.

Request a Quote

Google Listing Request a Quote

A few months back we shared the trials and tribulations of trying to get the “Schedule a Booking” button working correctly. We had much luck and now see that Google has also added a “Request a Quote” button, but, here’s the biggie! The customer can request quotes from up to 3 businesses at a time. 

Requests will appear as “Messages” in the Google My Business app. If you have not installed the app, now is the time. Simply search “Google My Business” in your phone app store.

But I Really Need to Talk to Someone…

Google ended their phone support for Google my Business in November. An indication that GMB doesn’t drive revenue from listings but there are still many other ways to connect. My favourite is Twitter because even if a Google’r isn’t available to help in short order, most often someone else who follows them will be able to help. If you really want to talk to someone, click Support on the left hand side of your listing (when you are logged in) and follow the prompts to request a call back. ‘Fraid that’s the best we can do now. 

Til next month!

Barb McGrath’s been cracking the online code for nearly 20 years. She helps local businesses get to the top of Google with digital marketing training, web design, SEO, online reputation and advertising. Most importantly, she’s earned the trust of Google. Barb runs the only Google-approved agency designed to show you how to turn the online “stuff” into in-store buyers. If you depend on in-person customers, you need Barb’s step-by-step, online marketing plan to generate a steady stream of onsite buyers and make it rain money. She is the host of the Secret Life of Entrepreneurs, a local radio show and iTunes and Google Podcast.

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