Most restaurateurs know that Google My Business is an increasingly important marketing and promotion feature of the Google search results page. However, few often realize that Google regularly adds new features to the service making it crucial for restaurant managers to stay up to date about the latest developments in order to remain competitive. This post highlights the new features and provides tips for optimizing a restaurant Google My Business profile.
What is Google My Business?
Google My Business is a free service provided by Google that allows businesses to manage their presence across the search engine (Google Search and Google Maps). Essentially, Google My Business gives restaurant owners their own Google profile which can appear in search results when someone either searches their name or cuisine type in a local area.
Google My Business is fast becoming an extremely important part of restaurant marketing for the following reasons.
- The GMB profile appears at the very top of organic search results. This means your GMB profile will always be above your website in the results page unless you pay for Google Adwords.
- But GMB also drives a huge amount of traffic to your website. In one case study (https://pos.toasttab.com/blog/the-huge-guide-to-google-my-business-and-local-search-for-restaurants) GMB was responsible for 51 percent of traffic from Google and 31 percent of total traffic to a restaurant website.
- As Google My Business adds new features it takes up more and more space in Google Search results. Google a popular restaurant, especially on mobile and you’ll often have to scroll for many pages before you get to the actual search results.
Restaurant owners know how important it is for diners to be able to easily get location, opening hours and any events you have happening. Google My Business for restaurants is a great product for delivering this information and as a result many people will never click on a website as everything they need already in the search results page through GMB.
How to Optimize Your Google My Business Page
There are two must-use features for restaurants: Google Posts and Book a Table Links.
Google posts are an easy way to share time sensitive content directly in your GMB profile. Google allows you to use pictures, short videos, and GIFS in posts that automatically expire after 1 week. Think of them as status updates about your restaurant.
Use them to promote events or special offerings. Use Google posts to show off new menu items or one-off or recurring events. Google allows posts to be added up to a week before special events after which they will automatically disappear.
Google Posts takes up a large amount of space in your profile and you can post 10 updates at a single time so make sure to keep feeding new content into your Google profile on a weekly basis.
Book a Table Links
Another new feature of GMB is the ability to add a booking link to your profile. Booking links allow guests to quickly make reservations by loading your booking widgets or booking enabled website. To get the most out of this feature you’ll need a digital reservation system (https://restaurant.eatapp.co) that enables to take bookings online.
In addition to booking links, restaurant operators can add a number of other links. You can now add unique links for:
- Reserving a table
- Placing a delivery order
- Viewing the menu
Other Features of Google My Business
Questions and Answers (Q&A)
Google recently rolled out a new feature available on Google Maps for Android and across the web on mobile allowing users to leave questions on Google My Business profiles. Use this feature to your advantage by giving in depth answers to questions you receive, like “Do you have vegan options?” or “Is Wi-Fi free?” These questions and answers will remain on your Google Profile to help visitors in the future understand your restaurant better in a matter of seconds.
Google is also allowing you to have live conversations with your guests through a new messaging feature built inside your GMB profile. By making an Allo account, you can begin live chat with potential guests and answer their questions in real time. If this feature takes off it adds another important communication channel to a restaurant’s front-of-house.
Additional Ways to Optimize Your Google My Business Profile
Make Sure Your Information is Correct
Google My Business relies on having rich content directly in the search results, making it important to maintain complete and up-to-date information about your restaurant. This includes name, website, images, category and address. For a full list of all the information see here.
Google My Business is now an important traffic source for restaurants and as they continue to roll out new features, savvy restaurant owners are using these more advanced features to their advantage. How are you using Google My Business to bring more guests into your restaurant?