When it was introduced in 2014, the free service known as Google My Business (GMB) stood poised to revolutionize the local search landscape. This tool gives companies of every size and type the ability to claim business listings in order to connect with customers in their geographic areas. Nearly overnight, GMB gave businesses the tools they needed to succeed, allowing potential new customers to locate them in search easily and efficiently.
Google has continually updated the GMB platform, adding tools and features that give businesses incredible control over their profiles and the information those profiles contain. One new feature stands out, and it provides new levels of customer engagement.
The GMB Service Menu
Google My Business has a Knowledge Panel, where companies claiming a listing on the GMB platform can add their own information and contact details. This gives consumers “at a glance” information on the company, its location, and a quick look at its product and service offerings.
In April 2018, Google rolled out a new feature in the local Knowledge Panel of GMB. This new feature is a Service Menu, built upon a feature originally designed to allow restaurants to update their online menus. The Service Menu gives any business, particularly those in health and beauty, service delivery firms, automotive repair operations, and many others to create lists of the company’s services, then add them to the GMB profile of the company.
When customers conduct online searches, they are looking for specific information about a given company. This obviously includes where a company is located and its operating hours, but can entail far more information – information that is often lacking in existing profiles. The new Service Menu feature improves customer engagement by adding critical details about the services and products a company offers right at its customers’ fingertips. For example, an automotive repair shop can now list specific details about the range of services it provides, such as air conditioning repairs, engine upgrades, collision damage repair, or painting services. Before the release of the GMB Service Menu feature, companies on the GMB platform had a much more difficult time sharing those details with searchers. The companies that use this new feature – and GMB in general – have a significant advantage over those companies that do not. Because GMB is a Google product, profiles on that platform tend to rank more highly in organic search and appear on Google Maps, a crucial component of local search engine optimization (local SEO).
Potential Challenges to Use of the GMB Service Menu
GMB’s new Service Menu feature is not without its challenges, however. When Google rolled out the original service menu for restaurants and food service providers, it stated that the tool would only be available in the English language. The same still applies, although Google has indicated it would incorporate other language options in the near future. The GMB Service Menu is also restricted to listings that are not attached to third-party information providers, such as those used by airlines and hospitality businesses that list prices on travel-booking services. For hotels and airlines, this effectively eliminates the local SEO advantages GMB’s Service Menu offers to others. Again, as with language options, Google’s stance on third-party listings may change, opening new opportunities to businesses that use such listing services.
Leveraging the Power of Google My Business Service Menus
Local companies that wish to gain advantages over competitors are wise to seek out the help of a professional digital marketing service. Internetzone I has helped hundreds of clients optimize their websites for local search, increasing market penetration and gaining new customers in the process. The SEO experts at Internetzone I have a range of strategies and tools to provide customers with cutting-edge search optimization services. With these services, new customers and a more visible online presence are within reach.