Prior to COVID-19, 88 percent of all web searches in the U.S. were being conducted on Google and upwards of 46 percent of those searches had local intent.
Although it is too early to have specific data, it is anticipated that the volume of these searches has risen exponentially as consumers have been hungry to know what is happening with the businesses in their community and are looking for ways to support them.
Google My Business (GMB) listings represent a significant opportunity for local businesses to connect with these local consumers to share vital information about their hours, delivery/pick-up options and safe-commerce policies.
With this surge of interest from local consumers, Google has rolled out several GMB updates to support business owners during this time.
What do these updates entail and how are they helping businesses? Let’s talk about the updates and their importance.
We all know that local businesses are the heart and soul of every community. It was clear that consumers wanted to support their favorite businesses, as the search volume increased exponentially during the time when businesses needed support the most.
To help, Google My Business now provides optional support links that businesses can place on their listings for consumers to make a donation or purchase gift cards.
As Google continues to expand this update to more countries, they will add a feature in the search results section as well as Maps so consumers can locate businesses in the area who need support.
As businesses begin to reopen, hours of operation may not go back to normal immediately. Because of this, GMB listings now have the ability to include secondary hours.
For example, restaurants that close their dining room before their drive-thru can now include separate hours for each. Or if there are special shopping hours in grocery stores, businesses now have the option to differentiate this in their GMB listing.
This new feature will provide more clarity to consumers who are searching online and cause less confusion of when businesses are open or closed.
If you'd like to learn how to add secondary hours to your business listing, click play on the video below!
Food Delivery Options on Listings
While third-party delivery for restaurants has its benefits, Google wants to give businesses more control over which delivery providers are associated with their GMB listing.
As a restaurant, you will be able to choose which third-party delivery is the preferred option as well as have GMB support remove any unauthorized companies from your listing.
While COVID-19 has created a lot of challenges for SMBs, it also presents a significant opportunity for them to connect with their local consumers in truly meaningful ways that rise above the transactional to the relational.
By leveraging some of the existing GMB features and the new ones just added, business owners can share critical updates and information that will benefit their consumers, their community and their brand.
If your business’s online presence isn’t where you want it to be, our team at RevLocal is here to handle your digital marketing needs. Start your journey with us today by requesting a demo!
This post was created in collaboration with Lauren Snyder, RevLocal's Content Marketing Specialist.