Google released a host of updates to its Google My Business application for small and midsized businesses.
Over 150 million local businesses have used the app and its tools since their debut five years ago, and Google My Business senior product manager Amir Fish said in a blog post detailing the updates, “Today, when people search for businesses, they’re on the hunt for something more specific—like ‘late-night restaurants near Washington Square Park’ or ‘rooftop happy hour with great cocktails.’ And they’re looking to get more things done—whether that’s booking, a reservation or asking what products a store offers. We’ve evolved Google My Business to better meet these needs—from redesigned, easier-to-use mobile apps to making restaurant reservations directly from Google. 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.”
Google said it found that more than one-half of online customers are looking for offers or discounts, so it enabled businesses to reward people who follow them on Google with welcome offers, “turning happy first-time customers into loyal, repeat ones.”
Businesses can also claim short names and URLs for their businesses, in order to enable them to easily refer customers to their profiles. Google said that in the coming months, short names will be searchable via Google Maps.
Google My Business profiles can now be spruced up with cover photos and logos. Google said businesses that have completed entering core information such as phone number and hours will have their logos displayed on the right-hand side of their profiles.
A new dynamic module on profiles will display photos uploaded by businesses, and the ability to add captions will be added soon, as well.
Google unveiled a Google My Business Marketing Kit website where businesses can download and order custom assets such as stickers for their profiles.
Finally, in an effort to recognize businesses that consistently deliver great experiences for their customers, Google My Business will highlight the top 5% of businesses in particular categories with a “Local Favorite” designation, and it is creating digital and physical badges of honor for those businesses.
Google wrote in its blog post, “We hope that these more descriptive profiles not only help consumers quickly find the business that best suits their needs, but also help businesses stand out and express what unique about them. We’re committed to helping businesses succeed on Google and are excited to keep improving the experience for all people on Maps and Search.”