In a June 20th blog post, Google My Business Group Product Manager Amir Fish wrote

“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.” 

There are now over 150 million businesses with GMB listings and, according to Search Engine Land, three billion direct connections between merchants and users per month Three million bookings are processed through Google each month and there are now 95 million people worldwide participating in the local guides program. For enterprises competing at the local, differentiation is more important than ever before.  

People are on the hunt for local restaurants, banks, retail stores and more to meet their specific needs. They’re asking questions of their mobile devices, voice assistants, and maps systems. It’s up to brands to make sure that when consumers are asking questions, Google can clearly see how your locations are the best, most relevant answer.

Here are the latest Google My Business features you can use to give your locations a visibility boost in local search results.

Welcome Offers

According to Google, “more than half of online customers are looking for an offer or discount.” 

Now when a customer follows your location on Google Maps, you can thank them with a Welcome Offer. The offer triggers automatically when the searcher clicks +Follow on your profile.

Short Names & URLs

Businesses with a verified profile can now claim a short name (@shortname) and URL (g.page/shortname) for each location. Because this is a globally available feature, it’s important that brands claim these identifiers as quickly as possible. Google said they have a process to deal with conflicts over URLs and short names, although it’s unclear at this point what that might look like. 

Brands with hundreds or thousands of locations can claim a short name and URL for each location. It is important to communicate to your local managers and franchisees if you have a preferred naming structure (eg.: g.page/brandnamecityname, @brandnamecityname). This feature is not supported by bulk upload or API.

Dynamic Photo Module

Google has increasingly prioritized imagery in search results, so it’s no surprise that they have plans to make photos more prominent on your business listing. Soon, a new carousel with optional captions will display when you add new photos, enabling your locations to tell searchers a more visually compelling story.

Free Marketing Collateral to Promote Your GMB

The new MarketingKit.WithGoogle.com website provides businesses free marketing collateral to encourage customers to leave Google Reviews, make a booking through Google, and more. Materials on offer include print posters, social media content, table tents, and window stickers. 

Free promotional items to help people find your business online and leave a review? Why not! Reviews are a heavily weighted local ranking factor and provide important social proof to those considering one of your locations as an option. It can’t hurt to include this free collateral in your local marketing mix.

Local Favorites

“We want to recognize those businesses that consistently deliver a great experience for people. We’ll be highlighting the top five percent of businesses in a particular category with the ‘Local Favorite’ designation,” Fish wrote.

We have yet to see this in the wild, but Google promises digital and physical badges of honor these top-performing locations. We should learn more about this opportunity for enhanced local visibility later in the summer.

Logo on Mobile GMB Profiles; Product Editor Open for Business

Once your basic business information is completed, the corporate logo can now be displayed on your locations’ GMB profiles to mobile users.

On June 27, Google also announced, “We’ve opened the Product Editor to all categories of businesses, except a few disabled verticals. With the Product Editor, you can more accurately showcase your products to current and potential customers.

In addition, businesses using structured menus or service lists provided by third-party sources will see empty menu or service editors in their Google My Business dashboard. If there are third-party sources, any changes to the editor will delete them.”

What do you think of this latest round of GMB features? What else would you like to see? Share your feedback with us and get in touch with the Rio SEO team if you have questions about implementing any of these features at scale.