Google My Business News October 2019
No one can guarantee your company will always or even consistently show up first, second or third in search results or the local map listings. With over 20 years of web experience at BxB Media, we are very suspicious of anyone who make these kind of guarantees. Of course, most of our clients do amazingly well in search results, but to promise Google is going to do something is like saying you can control the weather!
In the last 18 months, Google has made Google My Business (GMB) even more important and more significant than it has been in the past, particularly for local businesses. Who shows up first in the maps is LARGELY to do with where the searcher is literally standing. And who shows up will change depending on WHAT the searcher is searching for such as “best,” “near me,” or long general search questions that might be asked by speaking into a phone or a smart speaker, such as Alexa.
Google has started becoming a service that is helping people solve their problems, instead of simply providing the best answers, and this has huge implications for small businesses. This means Google is now trying to provide as much information to its users as possible, within its environment, and your GMB profile must be as complete as possible and continuously updated.
Updating Google My Business
There are some areas of GMB where you must continuously update:
Photos. You must keep uploading pictures of the experience customers might have working with your company. This means pictures of your team, pictures of your trucks, pictures of your building, and pictures before and after pictures of jobs, just to name a few.
Reviews. Of course Google (and website) reviews are extremely important. In order to be relevant, your company must continue to get reviews on your website and in GMB.
Questions and Answers. There is a newer feature in your GMB listing for questions and answers. It is strongly recommended you fill out and answer at least five to ten questions inside of your Google Listing. Ask and answer any simple question that will tell your users more about your company and the services you provide.
Keep in mind that even if you do a search and don’t find your company, it does not mean you are not showing up. There are hundreds of reasons that you might not see your company listing. Talk to one of our BxB coaches about your GMB listing, and ask for details on where and how you are showing up.
Where Did my Google Star Rating Go?
At BxB, we utilize what is called “review schema” to support our website search listings with “review snippets,” sometimes referred to as a “rich snippet.”
A rich snippet, according to Google, is a “short excerpt of a review or a rating from a review website, usually an average of the combined rating scores from many reviewers.” This means you may see star ratings connected to your listing inside of search results.
On Monday, September 16, 2019, Google announced it would be restricting review stars in search engine results pages (SERP) to specific schemas and would stop displaying reviews it deemed to be “self-serving.”
What does that mean for my website? Am I going to be penalized for using review schema?
Not at all. Using review schema will not have a negative impact or penalize your search results. The main thing is that you may not see the review stars as often as before. Based on a study by Moz, a leader in the SEO industry, of 20 industries after this change was announced, the home services industry had less than an 8 percent change in SERPs with snippets.
Why did Google Remove Some of my Reviews?
Google has an active algorithmic filter in place to remove reviews that violate its policies. This filter does not run in real time, which means you might have a review for months that suddenly disappears, along with a number of other ones, all at the same time.
What causes a review to be flagged for removal?
- If your customers are on a shared IP address with someone who has already left a review
- If the review has a URL in it
- If the review has a profanity in it
- If the person who left the review works for your company
- If you have a company that posts reviews for you
- If you collect reviews at a station inside your office ( for example, at an iPad or computer)
- If you offer incentives for reviews to customers
What should I do if I suspect Google has filtered my reviews?
DON’T PANIC! Talk to one of our our BxB coaches, and we will investigate. We may be able to find out if there is a specific reason your reviews were filtered and find a solution. That is why we are here.
Google Posts in the 3 Pack Local Finder
In early 2019, Google started to display post highlights in the 3-pack Local Finder. Meaning, when your site comes up in the 3-pack map on the first page of Google, you may see a snippet from one of your Google posts.
There are a few things the industry knows for sure about these post highlights as of now. The first is that it usually pulls snippets from posts over a week old. The second is if, for example, your post covers a single topic versus a list of services for example the snippet pulled will view a lot better inside the results. The third is all kinds of posts can get highlighted.
So far research doesn’t show these post snippets have any impact on search ranking; however, they do show a boost in click through rate(CTR).