Google Adding New Features to Maps & Google My Business

Google has been busy this year adding new features to their Google Maps and Google My Business (GMB) products. Recently they added another three new features that we are excited about. These new features were featured in an article by @MattSouthern on Search Engine Journal.

Messaging from Maps and Search

If you have a verified GMB listing (if not, why not?!), you can now send customers text messages directly from the Google Maps app. And they can message you also. You can find them in the business messages section in the updates tab.

Though this feature is only available on the app now, Google says they will add this feature on the desktop dashboard soon. Can’t be soon enough IMO.

Too few businesses take advantage of GMB Posts. It’s free advertising for crying out loud! As a possible incentive consider this: Create a post for a sale or new item. When users see your post they now have a chance to message you directly with any questions.

Why are we excited? This gets people engaged with your business. And the more engaged the more likely they are to become longtime loyal customers.

Google Adds More Info to Insights

Google Insights report on the number of times your business appeared in search results, views of your listing and actions taken on those views e.g. website visits, requests for directions and direct calls. You can see activity for the past month, quarter or six months.

Soon you will be able to track which search queries were used over time and compared to the previous year. And you’ll be able to see if users saw your business on Search or Maps and whether they saw it on a desktop or mobile device.

Why are we excited? Because information is power. Knowing what people are searching for and how they search for it will help you create a better website, more meaningful posts and help you focus your marketing efforts better. And that means more business.

Community Feed

In the Explore tab on Google Maps a new “Community Feed” is being added. Right on your listing, users can find photos, posts and reviews added by “local experts”, people you follow and bars/restaurants.

Want another reason to post regularly on your GMB listing? The more often you publish a post or add new content to your profile, the more likely you will appear in people’s Community Feed

Why are we excited? Any way that you can get in front of your customer, the better. And the Community Feed could get you in front of a lot more of them.

Excited About These New Features in Google My Business?

You should be! These new features promise to put your business listing in local Google Search and Maps in front of more and more customers and prospective customers.

Too much? We get it. You’re busy running a business and don’t have enough time to fully leverage the power of Google My Business.

We can help! (949) Local Internet Marketing has been helping local businesses optimize their GMB listings before there was GMB (remember Google Places?). We offer flexible programs that promise great ROI. Learn more by visiting Contact (949) Local today for a free GMB Audit of your listing.

10 Side Benefits of the Coronavirus Lockdown

Coronavirus Lock Down and a Sign of our Times.

The effects of the Coronavirus and Covid-19 have brought challenges and concerns that are unprecedented. These are no small things to be sure. Our jobs, businesses, financial security and indeed, our very lives have been compromised. And, for the most part, we in California at least have been “locked down”. “Self quarantined”. “Socially distanced”. Did these words even exist in our lexicon just weeks ago?

Yet, here we are. Locked up. For the common good. To “flatten the curve” of the coronavirus. To (hopefully) prevent a wide-scale outbreak that would overrun hospitals and healthcare providers. Still, it is frustrating, maddening and a general pain in the butt!

But cheer up! It ain’t all bad. It recently occurred to me that I have benefited from a number of unexpected things that have been really good. Among them:

  • Fewer Spam calls. Before the lock down, it wasn’t unusual for me to get a half dozen “robocalls” a day. I still get some, but just one or two at most. So that’s a happy thing!
  • Less laundry to do. I can wear the same set of sweatpants and t-shirts for days. And thanks to social distancing, those around me are not offended if my clothing “ripens” a bit.
  • More “quality time” with family. We always valued our time together with those we love. But everyone under one roof 24×7? That’s extreme. Yet we’re doing it, and without bloodshed…yet.
  • Lower gasoline expense. I understand that prices at the pump are the lowest in years. I can’t confirm this as I haven’t had to buy any gas for my car in weeks. Because I can’t go anywhere.
  • No traffic. The few times I have had to venture out, the first thing that strikes me is there’s no traffic. Very few cars. I’ve seen photos of the 405 freeway at “rush hour” wide open. For anyone with any time in southern California, this is a Big WOW!
  • Parking available. I get off the freeway in record time and pull into a shopping center. Usually I drive around and around looking and waiting for parking space to open up. Not now. They’re all over the place and right in front of the store resulting in a LOT LESS aggravation. Lower stress, blood pressure, less headaches. More health benefits!
  • Uncrowded stores. I get in. I get out. Nobody gets hurt. Because nobody’s there. No lines at checkout. I walk up, complete my transaction in seconds and I’m on my way. As someone who has always hated shopping and lines in general, this has been a very welcome benefit. I even have a small concept now why some people enjoy shopping.
  • Time for webinars to learn new things. What I’ve learned in the past few weeks is great. Things that will help my business and my client’s business when life returns to normal again.
  • Finally, time for social media and blogging. I encourage our clients to blog and post regularly. However, a quick inspection of dates of my posts and you’ll see I am no “social media maven” myself. Like most of my clients, I didn’t have the time before. I’m busy taking care of them. Optimizing websites, Google Ads campaigns, cleaning citations, and reporting on all of our awesome work and our client’s improved strength in local search results. Now, here I am with my third blog post in three consecutive days. Wow. And here you are. You probably followed a link I put up on Google or Facebook or LinkedIn. And I attracted traffic to my website which will improve my site’s rankings. Just how it’s supposed to work. The doctor has healed himself!

Take some joy from your “silver lining”

Find your silver lining

Granted, the past few weeks have been very inconvenient. I have concerns about life after lock down, whenever that occurs. In the meantime, I can at least take some small comfort in the “silver lining”, thin as it may be.

But at least it’s something.

The Benefits from the CoronaVirus and Covid 19

Here in California we face yet another week of “self quarantine” or isolation. #MissionViejo ChamberofCommerce events shut down. Tasty RBN luncheons and networking. Oh, how we miss you, our friends and associates!

We have however, been very busy.

Google Ads campaigns had to be completely overhauled to reflect the current conditions. New ads, keywords, demographics…etc. This takes a ton of time, believe me!

Client’s Google My Business listings needed to be updated with updated Hours, Services, Posts, etc.

Link and citation building though an ongoing process, these past few weeks have provided an opportunity to delve more into this cloudy realm.

“The Silver Lining”:

Now, midway through this process (we hope), we reflect upon

  • We’ve been able to uber-optimize client’s online marketing campaigns;
  • We have monitored our government’s plans to help small businesses which (still awaiting formal approval), apply and receive money to retain employees, pay the rent and live to fight another day;
  • We have had time to engage in online webinars to improve our clients rankings and business, today and for when this storm passes;
  • Work on revision after revision of each client’s local online marketing opportunities now and after Covid-19 is in our rearview mirror;
  • Written blog posts in two consecutive days. Woo-Hoo!
  • Updated our social media feeds.

Best of All…

  • We appreciate further how precious each day of life is;
  • We have acquired a sensitivity to other people’s struggles during these times;
  • We are blessed by the people that love us. And am blessed to love them in return;
  • We have become aware of other’s issues, despair and plight. Humbled, though I battle those myself, I stay steadfast to help them first.
  • My desk is a little less cluttered. I’m confident that I’ll have this space in tip-top shape soon!;
  • And more to come…