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Nov272018

Google My Business & Maps Reviews Now Support Hashtags and More

Google has quietly rolled out a new feature that allows users to use hashtags in their reviews in Google Maps and Google My Business.

The support of hashtags in reviews aims to make business more discoverable.

Google suggests users add up to five hashtags per review.

The hashtags are also recommended to be placed at the end of the review to make the text easier to read.

Hashtags can be added into old reviews as well as. Google says the hashtags feature can be used by tapping on the ” blue” link in a review, will open a list of other nearby places that have the same tag.

Adding of hashtags to reviews is currently only supported on Android devices. Google did not reveal when it plans to add the feature on iOS and on the web.

Though hashtags feature was rolled out over a week ago, Google didn’t make any official announcement. The new is confirmed by TechCrunch.

Owners of local listings on GMB can now specify the geographic area where they offer service to as Google has made changes to how it manages service-area businesses who visit or deliver to local customers.

There are now two new fields added for service-area businesses, including for “physical address” and for “service area.”

  • If a business doesn’t serve customers at their business address, they can leave the “address field” blank and only enter their “service area.”
  • If a business serves customers at their business address but also have a service area, may enter both of their “address” and “service area.”

There will be no other option to set up a service area as a radius around a business in Google My Business.

A business that has previously added a distance around their business, they will be able to keep that setting, but would not be able to edit.

To edit a previous setting, a business will now need to specify their service area by region, city, or ZIP code.

Businesses can use the following steps to add or edit a service area:

  • Sign in to Google My Business.
  • Open the location to manage.
  • From the menu, click Info.
  • In “Service Area” section, click Edit.
  • Set up service area based on regions, cities, or ZIP codes.
  • Click Apply.

This feature was announced on Google support forum.

Another, new features in Google My Business added recently is the supports for a business to add a local listing even when they haven’t yet opened to the public.

Businesses that would get open in near future can now create a Google My Business listing. So, they can build an online presence and generate customer interest.

The future opening date listing will begin to appear in Google search results 90 days before the opening date of the business.

Businesses also will have an opportunity to engage with customers via Google My Business listing and answer their query as well as announce when and where they’ll be open for business, said Google.

Here are steps to set up a Google My Business listing for a soon-to-open business.

Claim Your Listing, Verify Later

While creating a new business listing for soon-to-open business at google.com/business, Google suggests selecting “Verify later” option when prompted to verify the business.

Next, set a future opening date that will prevent a business from appearing as “open.” Use the following steps to set a future opening date:

  • Sign in to Google My Business.
  • Open the location to manage.
  • From the menu, click Info.
  • Find the “Opening date” section and click the “Pencil” icon.
  • Enter opening date.
  • Business can enter a date up to one year in the future. Only the year and month of a business’s opening date is required.
  • Click Apply.

After the business is verified, the new Google My Business listing will start appearing in Google local search results 90 days before the opening date.

Google has recently rolled out improvements to ensure Insights data for a Google My Business local listing is more up-to-date.

Google My Business Insights, the analytics for Google My Business will now “show insights data up to yesterday.”

“To give you a more accurate idea of how your listing is performing, you’ll now see Insights data up to yesterday in Google My Business,” said Google in the support forum.

Insights within Google My Business console give users information about how their local listing is performing in Google Maps and Google Search results.

It also helps them understand how people find their business listing on Google Search and Maps.

Insights also now allow users to filter their analytics to view how many people find theri business in the Google local search and Maps through branded searches.

A business with enough branded searches for their local listing will now see a new yellow section for “branded” related searches.

Just login to Google My Business, then click on the “insights” section and a graph will appear.

The three categories are:

  • Direct (green) – Customer who directly searched for business’s name or address on Google Maps.
  • Discovery (blue) – Customer who find a listing by searching for a category, product, or service.
  • Branded (yellow) – Customers who searched a listing for a brand related to a business

Google has made widely available its “Agency Account Migration Tool” for Google My Business that was announced in October.

The tool aims to assist Google My Business local listing owners and managers to migrate their listings to an agency account.

Google offers two ways to migrate locations from a personal account to the organization account that include an assisted migration and a self-migration.

Self-migration – Migrate a Single Location

  • Log in to the organization or agency account, and request access to the location owner in a personal account. Specify a location group for the location to be added to.
  • Then from the personal account, accept the invitation. This allows the organization to manage the location in the specified location group.

Migrate Multiple Locations

  • Log in to a personal account, and transfer the locations to a single location group.
  • While in the personal account, add the organization as an owner of the location group. And, specify the right organization by entering its 10-digit organization ID.
  • Then, in the organization account, accept the invitation. This will allows an organization to manage all locations in the location group.

Assisted Migration

To transfer locations from a personal account to an organization account, users can start an assisted bulk transfer request.

  • First login to agency account and head over to the “Overview” tab.
  • Then, click the “Got existing locations to transfer?” card. This walks through the rest of the location transfer process. The transfer will take approximately 48 hours to process after submitting the location transfer request.Once completed, transferred locations will begin to appear in the “Manage locations” tab of the organization account.

    “All locations in an organization account must be in a location group. Any locations in your personal account that aren’t part of a location group will be placed in a Google-created location group in your organization,” Google said.

Google also was spotted testing a new beta feature in Google My Business beta feature called “Products,” that seems to be a replacement for Services menu located in the Info tab.

The feature allows businesses to add collections of products to their listings, rather than services.

For each product, a business is allowed to display the name of the product, a 1,000 character description, the price, and a photo.

Here is a screenshot shared on the Twitter:

Google My Business Adds Products Listings

Google also seems to test new buttons to some of the local search results within its local pack in web search.

The buttons added include “book” or “schedule” button.

Here are the screenshots shared.

Google Local Listing Schedule Button

Google My Bunsiness Local Pack Book Button

Google also seems to be testing a refreshed design for the mobile version of the local pack, the local results that show up in web search.

A screenshot shared on the web shows wider and larger images with scroll and slide through directly in the local pack.

Google Local Pack Refreshed Design

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