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Wednesday, December 9, 2020

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Google My Business Phone Support is Back

 Google has now re-enabled the ability for businesses to request support from the GMB team. This feature went away when COVID hit, but now it is back.

To use this feature, go to the Get Help section in the GMB help section: https://bit.ly/gmb-help-desk.  Your options are: 

  • Get a call
  • Chat
  • Email


When I clicked on Get a call, I found that the hours are 24/7 - which is good news.

There is a disclaimer at the top of the help page: "As a precautionary health measure for our support specialists in light of COVID-19, we're operating with a limited team. Thanks for your patience, as it may take longer than usual to connect with us."

So, it might take a while to get a response. But it is great to see the valuable resource is back.


Tuesday, December 8, 2020

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Service Areas - For Off-site Services

 

GMB service area designations are designed primarily for local service companies such as plumbers, electricians, landscapers, etc.  However, some gyms provide services such as at-home personal training or nutrition counseling, lectures, and juice bar deliveries in addition to on-site services.

If your gym does not offer any off-site services, then leave this field blank. Do not be tempted to enter areas from which you might draw customers. If you do everything on-site, that section should be left blank, and you can move on to the next chapter.

If your gym does serve customers off-site to specific service areas, you can list those service areas by clicking the pencil icon to the right of Add service area:

The service area feature is designed for businesses who visit or deliver to local customers. Listing your service area helps let customers know where you'll go to visit or deliver to them. 

You can set your service area based on the cities, postal codes, counties, or other areas that you serve. You can add up to 20 service areas. Start entering the desired locations and Google will search for those locations. Below is a search by zipcode:




Friday, October 30, 2020

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Do Products Impact GMB Results?

Do Products Impact GMB Results?

No, at least not directly. However, actions on the page (behavior signals) do have a positive impact on rankings. Check out the two listings below. The listing on the left (with products) gets much more page real estate than the one on the right. It also has two very visual images compared to none for the listing on the right.

Chances are the visuals will attract the attention of the page’s visitors. Every GMB listing offers visitors at least two opportunities to click for more information - the website link and the directions link located at the top of the listing. By adding products to the GMB listing the visitor gets six additional links to possibly engage with the listing. Each of those links gives you a good chance at lead generation. The interactions with your listings will tell Google that visitors like the information you are giving them. 

So, in summary, adding products can indirectly impact rankings by increasing behavioral signals and also offer a bunch of opportunities to receive more leads. Should you add products to your listing? Yes, definitely.

Thursday, October 29, 2020

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Google Review Link Generator


 

Free tool to easily find your business and generate your unique Google Review link. Then share the short URL with your customers and grow your Google reviews.

To generate your review link:

1. Type your business name, city, and zip/postal code in the “Enter a Business” field.
2. Your review link will appear under the map.
3. Copy the URL to your clipboard and shorten it using a tool like bitly.
4. Share the link with customers in emails, text messages, or even on
printouts, and ask them to leave you a review on Google!

https://whitespark.ca/google-review-link-generator/

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

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GMB Website Link - What URL to use?

 A common question that many clients ask is, "What URL should I use for the website link?" Many clients thought that a lead capture page or contact us page would work best. I was inclined to agree until I read a Whitespark article by Darren Shaw that explained why that would be a bad idea in most cases. The full article can be found here https://whitespark.ca/blog/page-link-gmb-listing-whitespark-weekly/)

To summarize what I learned from Darren, within 3 minutes after you change the URL, Googlebot will come and visit your website at the specific URL you added. This is a local specific crawl for gathering data about that page and associating that with your business entity at Google. It shows you how important that page is. There are two primary factors that they’re looking at:
  1. Content of that page.
  2. Link authority (the link equity you have on that page)
For gym owners, it becomes an easy choice. Your GMB website link should be the homepage URL because the homepage will have all the link equity. Also, you probably optimize your homepage content for your keywords and your location.

So to summarize: Use your homepage URL for the website link, and use the appropriate lead capture page URL for the other seven available link options in GMB.

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

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Google My Business Category Analyze Tool

 https://pleper.com/index.php?do=tools&sdo=gmb_categories

What is this 

This tool generates а full list of Google My Business Categories. You can generate the list in different combination between language and country. The default categories in GMB are in English with country USA. The list is not more than three days old! This categories are the same as the one you see in Google Maps.
There are 2 different views on how to see the results :

  • Tab separated - for easy export to Excel/Google Spreadsheet ( just copy and paste )
  • Table - you must check "Show results in table ( with option to search )" which gives the results in table with functionality to search.


In both variants the results are in two columns : first column is the category ID ( GCID ) the second one is the name of the category.

UPDATE: Now the columns are two more - when we first found the category and when was the last time we saw it. Also there is new row with information about the new categories from the last 30 days.

Best practice is to choose the most relevant category as your primary and to add 2-3 more additional categories that also describe your business but no more than 5-6 categories in total. After the name of your business the primary category is the most important factor!

Hint : You can use diffchecker.com/ to compare results in English-USA and results in English-UK. The tool is free to use!

How to use 

Very simple : Select the language and the country you are in ( or use United States for generic results ) and hit the button "Fetch Google My Business Categories", wait few seconds and voila


Thursday, October 8, 2020

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Offers

 

Creating Offers

Gyms can add up to ten Offers at one time. Offers show on both Search and Maps on tablets, mobile, and desktop devices. Google usually displays the two most recent Offer posts, but occasionally only one will appear on some devices. Offers can be the same as some of your Products.

GMB Offer Posts do not expire after seven days as product posts do. Offers extend for as long as 365 days, so you don't need to repost them weekly as you do with Products posts. Adding keywords to GMB Offers does not impact ranking and, therefore, no need to stuff keywords.

Offers are one of the several GMB lead generation opportunities. Since only the two most recent offers can be seen without scrolling through a carousel, we suggest using you these spots for your best free offers – such as a free gym pass or free online classes. Of course, you can add up to ten offers if you want. Remember that the most recent posts will be the most visible. If you decide to add several more offers, these new offers will bump your best offers deeper into the carousel. To get your best offers showing prominently again, recreate them after creating offers that will be less valuable for you. 

If you decide to several offers in your GMB listing, don't be afraid to get creative with them. Do lots of testing. Try different images to find which ones have a more significant impact? You can highlight 

  • Unique selling propositions

  • Testimonials

  • New Group X classes

  • Small group classes

  • Paid online classes

  • $1 off smoothies

Offer Posts Form

Click on the Post tab icon in your dashboard and then select Add Offer:

Application

Description automatically generated

These two will be your best bet for lead generation. You can't go in and reorder the Offers in your dashboard. Create two new product listings, and they will be the two visible on listings. 


Fill in the form:

  1. Add a bright, colorful, engaging image that stands out. Don't put any text near the image's edges to avoid info getting cropped out on some devices.

  2. Offer title – Short title  with discount price or FREE offer

  3. Start & end dates – can  be up to 365 days apart

  4. Offer detail – a couple of sentences describing the offer in more detail than the offer title

  5. Coupon code (optional) use this for lead gen tracking

  6. Link to redeem offer – point to the desired landing page

  7. Terms and conditions – 1st-time users, local residents only, etc.

  8. Preview, then Publish

Graphical user interface, text, application

Description automatically generated


Viewing Offers

How the Offers appear on Pixel phone, iPad, and Desktop:

Website, timeline

Description automatically generated



Wednesday, October 7, 2020

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Chapter 4 - New GMB Features

 

Google My Business is constantly announcing innovative and exciting new features that can help both local and national business owners make the most of their listings. We have put together a list of our top new elements that Google has rolled out from early 2019 through mid-2020. 

COVID-19 UPDATES

Support Links

Google has rolled out a new feature where businesses can ask for the financial support of their customers via gift card purchases or donations. 

Utilizing the COVID-19 Support feature in the posts section of the GMB back end, owners can create a post that includes gift card and/or donation links for customers accompanied by a short message from the business. 

As of June 2020, Google supports the following providers: for gift card purchases, the business website, Square, Toast, Vagaro and Clover; for donations, GoFundMe and PayPal. To be eligible for use of this feature, the business must have a physical storefront and the GMB listing must have been verified by March 1st, 2020.

COVID-19 Scheduling, Hours and Posts

With social distancing requirements changing the way we do business; many businesses have adjusted their business operations and hours. Google has revamped existing features and added new ones to allow business owners to share these changes with their customers. In the back end of Google My Business, listing managers are invited to update their online estimate links and business hours and add a COVID-19 post. 

The Online Estimate feature draws attention to the Appointment Links section of the listing. If your business already makes use of the Appointment Link feature, selecting the Online Estimate button will autofill your existing Appointment Link URL. If your business does not already have an Appointment Link, you are prompted to one to the appropriate page on your website. 

Business hours can be updated in three locations in the GMB back end, normal business hours, special hours (for holidays, etc.) and under the newest feature – More Hours. The More Hours section provides space for a business to describe business operations such as delivery, takeout, and drive-through. For restaurants, the main dining services may be closed, but making use of the More Hours section alerts customers of these socially distant services.

Adding a COVID-19 specific post to your Google My Business profile is another new feature Google has rolled out because of the pandemic. Accessed under the Posts tab in the back end, users can select the “COVID-19 Update” option to highlight business updates related to the virus. These posts are prioritized at the top of your GMB profile, just below the business name and website link.  


Temporary Business Closures

If your business is temporarily closed due to the COVID-19 outbreak, you are now able to disclose this information on Google My Business. Marking your business “temporarily closed” will trigger a red bar below your business name on your GMB listing that alerts customers of your temporary closure. From an SEO standpoint, this change will not affect local search ranking and it will be treated like open businesses. If your business is operating at a modified capacity and still offering services such as pickup or delivery, do not mark the business “temporarily closed” as functionality showing these services will be limited. 

 

ATTRIBUTES

Under the Info section in GMB, owners can now list attributes of their business as another way to stand out to customers and highlight specific services, features, and other business qualities. Attributes provide customers with helpful information about your business, featuring amenities such as online-scheduling and Wi-Fi, or wheelchair accessibility, if the business is women- or veteran-led. The availability of these attributes depends on the type of business you operate, ensuring different types of businesses provide information that is relevant to their industry.

Below is a list of some of the Attributes Google My Business currently offers, but keep in mind your business category determines the attributes available for your Business Profile, so you will not see all of these.

  • Accessibility

    • Wheelchair accessible elevator

    • Wheelchair accessible entrance

    • Wheelchair accessible parking lot

    • Wheelchair accessible restroom

    • Mobility scooter rental

  • Amenities

    • Gift wrapping

    • Online scheduling

    • Wifi (Free or Paid)

    • Restroom

    • Unisex restroom

    • Bar onsite

    • Good for kids

    • Restaurant

    • Baggage storage

  • Highlights

    • Veteran-Led

    • Women-Led

    • Active military discounts

    • Live performances

    • Play area

  • Offerings

    • Same-day delivery

    • Assembly service

    • Installation service

    • Repair services

    • Coat check

    • Help desk

  • Payments

    • Cash only

    • Checks

    • Credit Cards (American Express, China Union Pay, Diners Club, Discover, JCB, MasterCard, VISA)

    • Debit Cards

    • NFC mobile payments

  • Planning

    • LGBTQ friendly

    • Transgender safe space

SHORTNAME

Sharing your GMB profile is now easier than ever. The short names feature has cleaned up long, messy URLs. Located in the Info tab on GMB, you can add a short name for your business by clicking on the @ symbol. Once completed, you are ready to share your new, clean listing URL.

SERVICE AREAS

Struggling with local SEO because your business doesn’t have a physical location? The new Service Areas feature on GMB addresses that problem. Service Area Businesses can now define their service areas by region, city, or ZIP code without having a physical business address.

PRODUCTS

Google recently rolled out their new Products feature, which allows businesses to catalogue their products right on their GMB profile. This feature is a great way to stimulate consumer interaction, all without leaving your GMB profile. Users can scroll through a carousel of product images, each opening into their own page with more details, pricing, and related products from your business. 

Each individual product page is an opportunity for a link to its relative page on your business’ website. Products can be grouped into Collections, allowing businesses to organize the listing as you see fit. 

 



SOCIAL ICONS

Google My Business has been hot and cold about linking social profiles to local business listings, but it looks like they are here to stay! Located at the very bottom of the knowledge panel, icons for Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, Myspace, Pinterest, SoundCloud, and Tumblr can be displayed. The process of adding these social links deviates from the norm, requiring some quick coding that will alert Google which social profiles are associated with your business website. With the help of Google’s Structured Data Markup Helper, generating this code is as easy as copying and pasting after your site’s <header> code.


GOOGLE MARKETING KIT

The Google Marketing Kit gives businesses the ability to showcase outstanding customer reviews from Google My Business on other platforms and in real life! Users can now create custom posters, social posts, and videos that highlight 5-star reviews, and other business details. The Google Marketing Kit even offers free stickers to businesses that promote interaction with their GMB profile, inviting customers to review, follow, or book with the business on Google.

PHOTOS & VIDEOS

GMB now offers businesses more control over photos displayed on their profile. Businesses can choose the logo and cover photo that will be highlighted at the top of the GMB listing, as well as a variety of additional photos throughout. Logos were previously only displayed at the top of the listing but are now featured on Google Maps and search results.

APPOINTMENT URLs & ONLINE RESERVATIONS

Google My Business now features the ability to provide a second link to your site, known as the Appointment URL. This link is meant to direct search users directly to the place on your site where they can schedule an appointment, place an order, or contact you for more information. User experience is prioritized with this feature, as they are sent exactly where they want to go – minimizing the time users spend clicking around on your site in search of your contact page or form. For businesses that offer Online Reservations, GMB partners with your site to allow users to book without ever leaving your listing!

 

GMB APP EXCLUSIVE FEATURES

Welcome Offers

Welcome Offers are a new feature that are, as of now, available exclusively to business owners who utilize the Google My Business app. Owners can now create special Welcome Offers as a way to incentivize search users, on any platform, to become new followers of their business by offering a unique promotion.

Request a Quote Communications

Google has rolled out a new messaging feature that allows search users to directly contact businesses without ever leaving the Google My Business listing. Business owners now can communicate with their customers directly from their GMB app. Once this feature is turned on, a “Request a Quote” or “Get a Quote” button will appear on the GMB listing. When clicked on, the button prompts users to select a Service Type, Date and Time (When), input their Zip Code and provide optional project details. Service Types are determined based on the Services that the business listing has already provided.

 








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