Happy Friday, everyone. Here’s what happened this week in local marketing.
What’s Happening with Google My Business?
The entire COVID-19 situation continues to impact local businesses. I hope that all of you are safe and that your business will start to recover here soon as things begin to calm down. In case you haven’t already done so, let’s go over some of the major things that you should be doing with your GMB listing for your customers:
- Update your listing to indicate if your hours are changed or if you’re temporarily closed. There’s no longer any worry about your business losing its search visibility.
- Add a COVID-19 update post to notify customers of closures, reduced hours, safety protocols, gift card availability, etc. These posts will appear prominently on your listing.
- If applicable, update your listing with new attributes such as “Dine In”, “Takeout”, “Delivery”, “No contact delivery” and “Curbside pickup”. These attributes appear prominently in search results.
- There are new, special options for healthcare providers as well.
- Keep in mind that new listing verifications and reviews of updated listings are still delayed, however, there are reports of changes and verifications starting to go through again.
- New reviews, reviews responses and Q&A are starting to be opened up again in certain industries and countries, but there is no fixed date for when these will return for everyone.
- If you use Google Local Search Ads (LSAs), make sure you’re using the new safety-related attributes if they apply to your business.
- You can check out Google’s COVID-19 Resource Page for more details.
Other Listings Are Also Providing COVID-19 Options
Google isn’t the only place people look for your business, so make sure you’ve updated your other key business listings as well.
- Apple Maps – Apple appears to have finally added temporary hours and the ability to make a business as temporarily closed. We haven’t been able to confirm that this has been rolled out through Apple Maps Connect yet or to all company categories.
- Bing – Make sure you’ve also updated your hours or mark the business as temporarily closed in Bing.
- TripAdvisor – You can add special hours, and indicate if your business is temporarily closed or offers delivery or pickup.
- Yelp – Mark your business as temporarily closed and use a special banner to indicate if you have online, takeout or delivery service.
- Facebook – Doesn’t really have great options, but you can adjust your business hours as needed and update people via posts.
Facebook Promoting Gift Cards for Local Businesses
We told you last week that Nextdoor was promoting gift card sales for local businesses on its platform. Facebook is also promoting local businesses who have gift cards. You’ll need to use one of their four partners (Square, Kabbage, Yiftee or Raise). But once you’ve got the gift cards setup, Facebook then promotes your gift card availability on your page.
Local Search Update
Courtesy of our friends at Sterling Sky
If you look at the BrightLocal Rank Flux tool, you can see there are some bumpy local search ranking changes that started last Thursday.
The volatility seems to correct itself within 48-hours. There’s no rhyme or reason yet, but it seems to be limited to a few categories: Bars & Pubs, Car Dealerships, Locksmiths, and Restaurants and Cafes.
If this is happening to you, don’t freak out. Just use what we like to call Mike Blumenthal Advice – “Take two beers and check back in 48 hours.”
Speaking of Mike, he also reports in the blog over at GatherUp that Q&A is starting to return on GMB listings. It’s back at about 50% right now and is limited to the shopping and restaurant categories in the U.S.
Adam Dorfman from Reputation.com put together a report on the impact of COVID-19 on your GMB listing that has some helpful insights. It’s behind a registration wall, so you have to give your email address to read it. But it’s worth having in your arsenal as clients or your boss ask you questions about COVID-19 and Google My Business.
Joy Hawkins put together a handy glossary of “jargon” that the Google My Business team uses. As usual, their terminology doesn’t match the words we use in the real world. Ever heard of a “Place Topic?” Me either. The rest of us call these review summaries and they’re the little word bubbles that appear at the top of reviews for terms that appear frequently across multiple reviews.
And over on the LocalU blog, Claire Carlile wrote a great historical look at Google Products and Google Product Posts. She shares tips on how she’s using them to generate revenue for her clients. There are some “tricks” to make sure your posts are accepted, look great and stay visible. And there are definitely some best practices when it comes to Products in GMB as well. Check it out!
What’s Happening at Local Marketing Institute
Finally, I want to let you know what’s happening here at Local Marketing Institute.
First, Greg Gifford has a fantastic, 2-minute video tip on How to Add a Call Tracking Number to Your Google My Business Listing. We’ve also posted the video from last week’s Office Hours session with Craig Mount on Facebook Remarketing Strategies for Local Businesses.
You can get both of these at the Local Marketing Institute website and don’t forget to sign up for our next Office Hours session, Ask Ben Anything About Google My Business with GMB platinum product expert, Ben Fisher.