All the Latest Google Updates That you Need to Know About

Google updates

Google is constantly evolving and changing – that’s what makes it simply so innovative. With so many developments consistently underway, it’s easy for some to pass you by without any notice. However, if you’ve a keen interest in search then there are a few Google updates that you really ought to know about.

New opening date tool

Earlier this month, Google announced that they would be testing a new GMB feature to help new businesses communicate when they will be opening their doors. We’re all but used to the usual opening hours of a business on it’s Google page. But, until now, finding out information on when a new business is planning to open has not been so readily available.

This latest update will allow businesses to specify a new store opening date. This information will be available alongside the usual information which we are accustomed to, such as operating hours and location.

To help you get an idea of what to expect, Damian Rollison from Brandify has given us an exclusive look-in on this latest Google test on his blog. Notice on the first image there’s an update in orange enstating when that store is likely to open. And on the second image, this is replaced with a ‘recently opened’ sticker – which is an existing feature for GMB.

 

GMB recently opened

Image credit: Damian Rollison

This nifty new feature will allow business owners to easily enter future dates in the GMB dashboard manually. Whereas in the past you’d have needed to supply Google with impending opening dates yourselves.

It’s still not been determined how far in the future exactly you’ll be able to list a new location, and as of yet there is no official guarantee that your brand’s listings will be able to qualify for advance publication. However, we’re excited to see how this new feature develops and can only applaud it’s attempt to streamline yet another feature for users – making the GMB page even more of an increasingly useful tool for businesses.

Appointment URL feature

Another great new feature from Google is the expanded option for adding URLs to the GMB page. This allows for the opportunity to include a URL to schedule an appointment.

bookings

Image credit: Bradley Shaw

Appointment URLs can currently be set up for the following:

  • Booking an appointment
  • Placing an order
  • Reserving a table
  • Searching for items
  • Viewing a menu

All of which can be completed with a few simple clicks. Making processes easier for both businesses and consumers alike.

This intelligent new feature allows for the integration of your calendar so you can display open availability. Saving both parties time and effort. For businesses, that’s less time spent on the phone handling appointments. And for consumers, less time picking up the phone to make them in the first place. Now, this can all be done with ease through a few simple clicks on a smartphone or desktop.

This agile new update also saves both yourself, and your consumer’s time by providing a service before they’ve even walked through the door (with the ‘view a menu’ option), and by streamlining the buying process for both parties (with the place an order function).

Ever devote to benefitting all of its users, whether they be commercial or customer orientated – Google has provided yet another update that helps to make their platform easy to use.

Menu editor opened up to everyone

Becoming more and more diverse by the day, the GMB feature now allows for businesses outside of the food & drinks sector to upload a menu to their listing.

 

Blog merch

Image credit: Search Engine Land

After realising that this tool’s usefulness could extend further than local restaurants, Google came to the decision to expand the GMB menu to include non-restaurant services. Now, businesses such as hair salons, garages and beauticians, to name a few, can conveniently list their available services and prices.

This new function can be used by clicking on the info tab in your Google My Business console. According to Google, it will be readily available to all businesses that aren’t currently using a third party app within their GMB listing.

The versatility of this update is certain to benefit a wide breadth of industries, who otherwise wouldn’t have been able to display their services to potential new customers.   

Direct message your customers

Arguably one of the most advantageous updates to GMB for generating sales is the function that allows you to directly converse with your customers. Messaging within the Google My Business console is great for keeping in touch with your audience in an easy and accessible interface.

If a customer has a question for a business, then they will be able to directly message through their device – be it a smartphone, tablet or desktop. This message will reach the business via Google Allo or another native messaging system.

Auto-replies can be set up so that consumers can be satisfied that they will receive a reply in due course. The chat function can also be turned off at any time, meaning if you’re not readily available – the option to contact them will not be there.

This is a very useful account enhancement. The more contact touchpoints your business can offer, the more engaged your customers and prospects are likely to be.

GMB Restaurant

Image credit: Google Support

The key points to take away

With so many ongoing updates and renovations, it’s important to keep track of the innovations. If you haven’t already, utilising a GMB page is crucial for your business as it can help to drive footfall and sales. Alongside increasing consumer satisfaction, strengthening brand reputation and securing repeated purchases.

The key points to take away from Google’s latest updates are as follows:

  • There’s a new opening date tool on it’s way – so if your business is expecting a new store arrival, be sure to be in line to utilise this.
  • The appointment feature is a great diverse function that can help you to secure leads, sales and heighten customer satisfaction – all before any face to face interactions are even made.
  • If you’re using the GMB console, but aren’t the owner of a restaurant chain, then now’s your time to employ the menu feature to help promote your products or services – now that it’s readily available to anybody.
  • Direct messaging with your customers can help to generate sales and build up a strong consumer base. If you aren’t doing this already, then you should definitely be taking a look into the feature and start interacting with your customers.  

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Tecmark Author Jessica Pardoe

About the Author

Jessica Pardoe:

Jessica is Tecmark's Digital PR & Outreach executive. She joined us as a full time member of staff after a successful year of interning in her final year of university. She loves all things to do with reading, writing and PR and is often found with brew in hand.

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    Google is constantly evolving and changing – that’s what makes it simply so innovative. With so many developments consistently underway, it’s easy for some to pass you by without any notice. However, if you’ve a keen interest in search then there are a few Google updates that you really ought to know about.