Google Launches a New Dashboard for Google My Business
Google Launches a New Dashboard for Google My Business
Google recently reported that local search on mobile devices is growing faster than mobile search overall. To support this traffic, Google has been adding new features to the Knowledge Panel and Google My Business (GMB). This includes a new agency dashboard and partner program. The newly developed API will allow businesses to manage multiple locations and additional categories of content.
Let’s learn more about the new Google My Business API and how you can use this dashboard to manage several locations.
Local Search is Surging
Nearly half of searches on Google are local. People are turning to their mobile devices more and more to find things nearby, whether it’s a local salon, pizza place or car dealership.
To deliver the best possible results to users, Google is offering new ways for businesses to stand out and connect with their customers. Some of these features include sharing posts, activating messaging and adding a booking button to Google listings. The latest development is the new dashboard on GMB.
Google My Business API
Over the last few years, Google has invested into Google My Business API. Some of the latest features include Reviews, Menus, Insights and Posts. With these features, agencies have been able to keep their profiles updated, provide customers with relevant information and maintain their placement in the search listings.
The latest API update gives agencies even more options, as they can now add merchant descriptions, post descriptions and register for a Google My Business account. Registered accounts will have access to a brand new dashboard that includes the following benefits:
- Single organization accounts. Agencies will be able to manage all locations rather than being limited to 100.
- User groups. Businesses can manage internal teams and control access to locations.
- Improved search functionality. Users can efficiently search for locations within a specific account.
- Easier workflows. Agencies can send and receive invitations and manage listings.
Additionally, Google is launching the Google My Business Partners program. Partners will be among the first to check out Google My Business features. They will also have the potential to be featured on the GMB website. This is one of the ways the local search giant plans to support the agencies that have millions of quality listings.
The new dashboard will be available over the next few weeks, so keep an eye out! In the meantime, let’s discuss a few tips for improving local search in 2018.
How to Dominate in Local Search
Optimizing your site for local search requires on-site and off-site SEO. You must pay attention to local SEO, as local search is heating up and the competition is hot. If you aren’t aggressive, it’s likely that your competitors will show up in the local search listings, taking business away from your organization.
Here are a few local SEO tactics that will help you rank higher in the local search results.
Add Your Location to Title and Meta Tags
The title and meta description tags tell users what your content is about. You should look at them as mini advertisements for getting people to click on the URL. Usually, title tags are around 50-60 characters and meta descriptions are around 160-200 characters. Use this space wisely and let users know that you are a local business serving local customers.
Claim Your Business Listings
Most consumers use the search engines to do local searches. The search engines pull information from online directories like Yelp and Merchant Circle. However, if you haven’t claimed your business listings, you’re missing out on big opportunities.
Take the time to claim your business listings and update them with relevant information about your company. Your name, address and phone number should be consistent on all sites. Any inconsistencies will make it hard for Google to know which numbers or locations to show, which means it might show incorrect information or no information at all.
Claim and Optimize Google My Business
Google My Business is a directory, but it’s one that deserves attention of its own. Make sure you claim this page (it’s free!) so that you have a better chance of showing up in Google’s three-pack.
Claiming your page is easy. Simply go to google.com/business and go through the verification process that will send a PIN to verify your business. Only business owners can claim this page – not your marketing agency.
Once you claim your page, you can optimize it with the following information:
- NAP (name, address, phone)
- Business hours
- Types of payment accepted
- Photos and videos
- Logo and tagline
I also recommend optimizing your Bing Places for Business, which is similar to GMB but for Bing instead.
Get Customer Reviews
Online reviews make a difference for local search, as customers trust what others say. Unless you ask, most people won’t leave a review for your business (unless they are highly dissatisfied). Encourage customers to write reviews by posting reminders in your physical store, on the bottom of your receipts or on your business cards. The best places to leave reviews include your GMB page and your Facebook Page.
It’s also a great idea to track what others are saying about your business online. Social media platforms like Hootsuite alert you when your brand is mentioned online. Whether good or bad, you can address customer feedback right away and show others that you are listening.
With so many new changes coming to Google My Business, it makes sense to increase your local SEO strategy. To get your local search strategy into gear, call WSI Net Advantage at 510-687-9737 or fill out our online contact form.