When it comes to local searches over at Google, things are on a roll. If you are having trouble keeping up, you’re not alone, but there are some basics to keep in mind as we barrel into the new year. Local search is important to your business, which makes having your finger on the pulse – to the degree that it’s possible to do so – an excellent idea.
Goodbye Old Google Business Profile Manager Dashboard
If you’re used to doing your editing in Google Business Profile Manager Dashboard, it’s time to let go. There is a new in-SERP interface in town called the New Merchant Experience (NMX) that you’re going to need to familiarize yourself with. While Google gave us some warning on this one, word on the street was that it would only affect businesses with single locations. Imagine their surprise when managers of multi-location enterprises were also affected.
The good news is that – by getting your hands dirty in the new NMX interface – you’ll find your bearings again. One change in the lineup, however, is that the Q&A portion is no longer a separate entity but is, instead, contained within NMX. Those in the know believe this shift will encourage business owners – especially those with multiple listings – who are looking for the reliable organization of Google’s dedicated listings management dashboard of old to shell out for listings management software.
If you have any experience with Google at all, you know that, in its constant push forward, it’s not afraid of a few bugs. A recent glitch, however, is making things a lot harder for the little guy.
We’re talking here about Google’s recent spree related to suspending listings, which were predicated on listing edits – often quite minor – that listing managers made themselves. It was enough to stop a bunch of business owners in their tracks – putting all edits on hiatus in the process. It’s recently come to our attention, however, that this particular hiccup has been resolved.
On November 8, 2022, a concerned party tweeted Google about a bug related to its Suggested Edits creating new CID numbers and disappearing valuable reviews in the process, and he circled back around on the 15th, calling the problem serious. For its part, Google apologized for the SNAFU, let the people know they were on it, relayed that many of the reviews had been restored, and assured us all that their due diligence would continue apace.
Things Not to Lament
While change is hard and technological glitches are more so, Google has some good stuff in the works.
Talk to Me
For example, Google is showcasing a new speaker icon feature test that’s been seen out and about in the land of Google searches. Just a click of the button leads to the business’s name and category being read aloud. While the significance of this feature test is unclear at present, it’s a step in the right direction, which is away from evermore screen time and toward enhanced audio guidance.
Food and Drinks
If you’re a purveyor of food and drinks, Google’s got a New Business Profile feature for you. At any given time, your restaurant, coffee shop, bistro, or deli is likely to have any number of menus floating around online – many of which may be utterly outdated. Never fear, Google is here to help, and if it rounds up more than one menu with your name attached, it now allows you the option of selecting the one you want mirrored on your Business Profile. Simply head on over to Google’s About the menu editor to take matters into your own hands.
Looking for Something Nearby
There is also some scuttlebutt about a U.S. rollout of Nearby Dishes that can hook you up with a suite of local options when you are on the prowl for gyros near me – or for any other dish that catches your fancy. While there is no hard and fast proof that we will all have access to this boon anytime soon, there are verified screenshots out there of Nearby Dishes doing its thing in its natural habitat.
Location, Location, Location
Now, when you see a reviewer reviewing something you are interested in – or have questions about – in your area, Google lets you know how many reviews the reviewer profile has published in the specific city in question. The idea is to add an additional layer of veracity to reviews. While some with expertise in the matter believe location hoaxing is far too easy to add much in the way of authentication, this move demonstrates Google’s commitment to review-space recon.
What Are Your Percentages?
If you head to the review tab of a Google Business Profile for a hospitality enterprise, you’ll now see a breakdown – in terms of percentages – of positive and negative reviews for the place topic within the review that you’re considering – such as if you’re checking out a hotel restaurant. This added bit of info affords readers with a big-picture view that can inspire action.
A range of recent studies have analyzed millions of Google reviews for factors such as the following:
- The recency of the reviews
- The number of reviews
- The text used
- The diversity of the reviews
- The habits of review readers and writers
- Successful owner responses
Each was considered in relation to rank and conversions, and the bottom line is that, if you choose to ignore the review component of your online presence, you do so at your own peril.
All of this leads us to believe that Google is interested in taking a deeper dive into sentiment analysis – now if they could just stop losing those reviews.
Google Got You Shaking Your Head? Digital Marketing Pros Can Help
The digital marketing professionals at The Web Guys are standing by to help you ring in the new year in style – without getting lost in the maze of Google rollouts and mishaps. We’re over here and ready to help, so please don’t wait to contact or call us at (317) 805-4933 today.