In case you’ve been living under a rock and don’t know what Google My Business is, it’s a free service provided by Google for local businesses to update their information—exposing them to people who search them up online. Unfortunately, what has once been a completely free to use SEO tool for small-to-medium enterprises everywhere may soon no longer be the same.
Towards the end of April, Google had begun sending out surveys to various businesses to suggest new (and old) Google My Business features which could possibly be implemented as the search engine’s premium offerings.
Clearly, this was an attempt to gauge whether current users would be willing to pay for access to new features—and also how much they would be willing to fork out on a monthly basis. Here are some of the more significant features listed in the survey—and what it could mean for your business.
Promoted Map Pin
Your business location will show up prominently on Google Maps when a customer is looking up something specific to your business, or happens to be within the area. This can be extremely beneficial for driving foot traffic into brick-and-mortar stores.
Google verifies your reviews to indicate to consumers that they are left by real people who have recently purchased your products or services. This prevents abuse of online reviews, especially by competitors or disgruntled ex-employees. For businesses that frequently face trouble with fake defamatory reviews, this feature could just be the lifesaver worth paying for.
We can already imagine the results of pairing this with a stellar marketing campaign done by a creative Digital Marketing Agency.
Attain Leads From Your Competitor’s Profiles
One of the more controversial features on the list, Google shows your business to a customer that has recently messaged a similar business to provide you with more leads. Much like Yelp, such a trick that’s employed to steal customers away from your competitors is likely to leave a bitter taste in the mouth — especially if you end up experiencing this yourself.
Remove Ads From Your Business Profile
Worrying about how to prevent your competitors from placing their ads on your profile? Google has heard your pleas – the proposed premium version will allow you to prevent those pesky competitor ads from appearing on your business profile by paying for it.
Request Quote and Instant quote
Choose between two features: request quote allows customers to ask for quotations—appearing as messages that you can instantly reply to in your Google My Business app. Otherwise, instant quote will present automatic replies to your customers that spare you the time and effort otherwise required.
Automated Responses to Messages and Reviews
This feature creates automated responses to frequently asked questions when customers message your business. It can do the same for those who’ve taken the time to leave your business a review. Feel free to customize your messages, and save yourself some precious time and resources.
Google Search Results Placement
Yet another proposed feature that’s been met with mixed reactions, this allows your business to show up near the top of Google’s SERP—possibly without being labelled as an ad. This could mean that focusing on organic traffic alone might not be enough in the near future —businesses would have to pay up in order to stay competitive.
Google Customer Support
The customer support team at Google aids you in troubleshooting and getting the most out of your business profile and ads.
While all the proposed features have their pros and cons, appointing a team dedicated to SEO Services will still act as a vital piece of the puzzle in any long-term solution.
How do you feel about these new features which may be offered? Would you willingly allocate more of your company’s budget to this end? Only time will tell whether or not Google My Business will take the premium route – but till then, we can only wait and see.