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Local search is growing by leaps and bounds day after day. One of the biggest components within local search includes Google listings that are managed in Google My Business. Over the last two years Google My Business is averaging one major change each month. I’m not surprised when things change from day to day every time I open the application to monitor and make changes to listings.
Because of this growth and the constant changes one of the sessions I was most excited to attend at the recent MNSearch Summit in St. Paul was focused on local search. Two well-known local search experts, Joy Hawkins and Darren Shaw, presented on the changes in local search and what they see happening in the near future.
Recent Google My Business Changes
While I’m familiar with Google My Business and many of the topics they shared, it provided reassurance that we are moving in the right direction, and inspired ideas. Here is a recap of the biggest changes within Google My Business over the last two years:
If you aren’t using Google Posts yet, start now. Google keeps moving these up higher on listings, they make your information stand-out, it is another free way to share information, and from my perspective this is one more big step that Google has taken to move away from Google Plus.
They removed the description field in 2016 and brought it back in 2018, but did not remember old descriptions. Make sure your business has this filled out.
Q & A
The Q & A feature was added in late 2017. People can ask questions on your Google listing and answers are crowd-sourced, so anyone can answer. Pay attention to this and answer questions with correct answers. The presenters shared an idea to use this as a way to present frequently asked questions – I hadn’t thought of this before, but I like the idea!
Review Gating Guideline Change
If you were using software that only allows good reviews to go through, this is now against Google’s guidelines. If Google catches this happening they may remove listings or reviews.
Some business will see this option based on your business category. If you have it available, add information. There are fields for price and descriptions, but those are optional – which is another recent change.
Google does regular algorithm updates, but one of their larger updates that impacted Google My Business happened in March 2018. It makes the categories more important. Your primary category still has the biggest impact, but secondary categories will now show up when it matches someone’s search query. Plus, the SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages) are more localized – often showing results more specific, such as results in Hutchinson versus across Minnesota.
Google My Business Single Page Websites
Google added an option to create a basic one page website with minimal information such as business name and contact information within Google My Business.
An option to add a video to your listing now exists — if you have a good representative video of your business add it!
That’s a breakdown of some of the bigger additions and Google My Business changes. There will most likely be more coming soon. I’ll probably find something new later today! Staying on top of all the changes within local search and Google can be a challenge, but also exciting. I’ll keep watch and make sure to share big news.