To address the struggles businesses were having to connect with their customers and meet the ever-changing consumer demands during the global pandemic, platforms such as Yelp and Google My Business (GMB) developed a series of features to make life easier for all.
As we move onwards with reopening in some areas and potential temporary store closures looming for others, keeping on top of your online presence is a top priority and likely will be for the foreseeable future. To help your business stay top of mind for consumers who are looking for up-to-date information regarding your operations, we’ve rounded out features and functionality available on GMB and Yelp to continue to support your business during this time of continued uncertainty and transition.
1. Showcase Your Brand Identity and Values with Informative Attributes
At a time when more customers than ever before are reacting and responding to social injustice by opting to support minority-owned companies and their allies, GMB and Yelp are working hard to highlight and support diverse, local businesses by helping customers to find and connect with them more easily.
Courtesy of Google
In response to recent surges in online searches for local LGBTQ+ and black-owned businesses, both GMB and Yelp added free, opt-in attributes that allow companies to self-identify as ‘LGBTQ-Owned’ and ‘Black-Owned’ on their business profile. Similar searchable attributes include ‘LGBTQ-Friendly,’ ‘Transgender Safespace’ (GMB), ‘Latinx-Owned’ and ‘Asian-Owned’ and ‘Open to All’ (Yelp).
See how the LGBTQ attribute would appear on your Yelp listing below:
If your business identifies as any of the aforementioned, we recommend adding this distinguisher to your GMB and Yelp listing to enable searchers to find and support your business more seamlessly.
2. Keep Customers Informed with Relevant Health and Safety Information
Yelp reported seeing an impressive 41% interest increase in businesses that added COVID-19 related updates to their page during the pandemic. This goes to show how highlighting health and safety measures can help with instilling trust in brands.
While confidence is increasing among the general public, many may be reluctant to return to old consumer shopping behaviors just yet. GMB is helping with this by assisting organizations in emphasizing protocols in place, including mask-wearing, social distancing, and temperature checking.
See how to add health and safety attributes to your GMB listing below:
Yelp has gone one step further by adding ‘Proof of vaccination required’ and ‘All staff fully vaccinated’ to their attribute list. Users can filter by these attributes when searching for local businesses, helping them understand exactly what kind of on-site experience to expect before visiting the location.
See how ‘Proof of vaccination would appear on your Yelp listing:
3. Communicate Directly with Customers with Messaging Services
While attributes are great for addressing general concerns, some customers may have more specific questions that they need help with. The quicker companies can address these, the better for the customer and your business alike.
In response to heightened consumer expectations for brand responsiveness, Google rolled out GMB Messaging, a service that account holders can opt into. Here, businesses can converse with their customers in real-time to further enhance their experience and keep them loyal to the brand.
Yelp provides a similar way for companies and customers to connect, detailing in a blog post how “this feature adds one more way to reach out to businesses while giving business owners another opportunity to close the loop and receive even more leads.” Customers can now message business owners directly from their Yelp listing.
4. Provide More Efficient Takeout and Delivery with Food Ordering Features
With the Delta variant dealing hard-hit food businesses another blow, tools that enable more effective delivery and takeout experiences are invaluable. The ‘Order Online’ button and Menu link, available through GMB and Yelp’s Grubhub integration and Waitlist, do just that.
See an example of how to add a Menu link to your GMB listing below:
Both GMB and Yelp let dining establishments accept orders for takeout and delivery directly through their platform profiles rather than needing to navigate through to the company’s website. Yelp’s Waitlist supports a smoother system for getting orders out to customers in a safe, correct, and timely manner.
See how a Yelp user would view your delivery and takeout options on your Yelp listing below:
5. Detail Operational Hours and Additional Services Information
The pandemic saw local searches for business listings increase by a staggering 154.9% as previously stable business information became increasingly changeable and uncertain. In an uncertain post-pandemic world, all evidence points to the importance of an up-to-date online presence being unlikely to diminish any time soon.
As businesses navigate their way back to normality, it’s essential that they keep their customers well informed of any changes. If customers can’t find relevant information from a quick online search, they will lose trust in your business and likely go elsewhere.
GMB now allows businesses to include variable hours in their listings for different services such as delivery, pick up, online, kitchen, and drive-through availability. Options will be available based on the type of business. There’s also a reopening field in GMB for companies that were set as being temporarily closed given the Delta variant.
See how to add Special Hours in GMB below:
Yelp has an option to add ‘special hours‘ alongside the regular ones. These are set on a day-to-day basis and can be changed at any time. Customers are alerted to recent changes via a timestamp on the business’s page and a special hours banner.
6. Attract More Customers with Pointy from Google and Yelp Connect
Google searches for “who has” and “in stock” have grown by more than 8,000% year over year. To match customers searching for specific items with the businesses that have them, Google’s ‘Pointy’ enables eligible retailers to have their in-store product inventory automatically added to their business profile.
Similarly, a recent expansion to Yelp Connect, the ‘Connect Audience Model,’ now enables companies to display posts to people who have interacted with similar businesses or searched for relevant categories rather than just targeting those already familiar with their business.
Agility is Key in Navigating Ongoing Uncertainty
Success despite the pandemic requires that brands have the people, technology, and processes in place to support frequent and often unexpected business information updates.
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