Google My Business Adds Years in Business, New Result Carousel
Google has been making big moves in the local business space in year-end of 2020: from the announcement of Paid Google My Business options coming, to Google Guaranteed badges showing for businesses on the Local Search Ads program, it's clear that local is on Google's mind.
In December, Google made two subtle but important updates to how Google My Business listings are shown to users that could significantly influence how they interact with the platform.
Years in Business Now In Maps Pack Results
Google My Business featured a year opened field for many years, but this info was not displayed to users in any conspicuous way; it was mostly buried deep within the Business information section.
In December, examples of Google displaying years in business in actual search results has been sighted more often, leading HLM to believe that this is a feature that will become more commonplace in 2021.
The reasoning is clear: longstanding businesses are more compelling to users. While we could infer from high review count / high star-rating businesses that they have existed for many years, this new GMB feature explicitly shows that information. High ratings can be compelling, though high ratings + long history is the one-two punch Google seems to be pushing for users to make their decisions on.
Similar Businesses Carousel on Desktop GMB Pages
When a user clicks on a desktop Google My Business listing, a new overlay appears in the maps section to highlight competitors who might be related to this search.
Similar to the years in business update, this update takes information already shown to users and moves it to an area that would increase engagement. This section matches 1:1 the "People Also Search For" section that still appears at the bottom of a Google My Business and makes it more prominent.
As a business owner, this may look like a scary update: competitors will now be displayed alongside your business and comparisons are easier than ever before in GMB. This actually is a good thing.
The carousel may affect less than half of your userbase since it's Desktop Only: the carousel is not featured on mobile devices in search or the Google Maps app.
The heaviest GMB engagement comes from mobile devices worldwide, with desktop GMB searches being performed by different kinds of users; desktop users are more likely to be in "research mode" and thus more likely to be comparing businesses.
HLM has recommended consistent engagement with your customers to leave reviews, provide feedback, and generally engage with your GMB. By doing so, this carousel actually could increase visibility for businesses with great reputations.
You can rest assured, I checked out the skating rink with the 4.4 star rating after looking at Skate World of Troy.
As always, High Level Marketing will continue to monitor Google My Business updates and provide strategy and insights. If you have concerns about your GMB visibility or have comments on the above, be sure to send us a message!