Google has announced the release of several new products and features which will help small and local businesses improve their online presence. With limitations to how businesses can operate their brick and mortar stores, we have no doubt these updates will be a welcome addition to the already vast number of tools available to SMEs.
Google launched Grow My Store in Europe in May 2019 but are now upgrading this and expanding it to the US. Retailers can use the tool to score their website and receive bespoke recommendations across 22 different metrics on how to improve their online offering, from improving site navigation to ensuring the returns policy is easily accessible.
The exact details of how version 2 will be improved are not known yet – perhaps an improved AI algorithm, or more metrics to be scored in the reports. Either way, we are interested to find out more about the improvements to an already useful tool.
The Local Opportunity Finder tool is a brand-new Google product which uses AI to help local businesses improve their Business Profiles. More details are to be released, but the tool will function in a similar way to Grow My Store, allowing businesses to analyze and improve their Google My Business profile.
Smart Campaigns is an existing AI powered Google solution designed to help small businesses use Google ads with little PPC experience. Smart Campaigns have been around for a few years but are now being expanded into 150 global markets. Businesses are also now able to set up Smart Campaigns using the Google Ads app.
Promoted Pins are a way for local businesses to target users and stand out from other businesses on Google Maps. From now until the end of September 2020, anyone using Smart Campaigns will be able to use Promoted Pins without being charged for any clicks.
In addition to the above updates, there are a few tools being launched exclusively in the US markets. Google will be launching these across EMEA at some point in the future, but we have little information on when that might be yet.
The Local Service Ads booking feature is a handy sounding tool which will let consumers book appointments with businesses through local service ads, rather than being required to go onto the website and make an appointment through the onsite booking system. The tool integrates with both House Call Pro and Service Titan to ensure there is no mishaps with appointments, which means only businesses using these systems will be able to use the feature right away, however it may be that they work with more systems in the future.
Google are launching a new mobile site which helps users to find and book local service providers easily. As well as being able to use the tool to find new businesses, users can see local services they have used previously, making it easier to book with their favorites. While there are not many direct business benefits from this product, it gives consumers a much better online experience when booking in a service.
Google are increasing the options available that merchants can highlight on their product listings within Google shopping, making it easier to highlight unique benefits and essential information. Examples of the types of information that will be shown include product availability, store locations and pick up/ delivery options. While it’s not available in all countries yet, it is a handy expansion which will allow brands to ensure their listing stands out from their competitors.
Even with the limited information we have available about Google’s latest updates, it is clear these new tools and features will help small and local businesses to improve their online presence and provide a better user experience for their customers. This should help retailers who may not much time money, resource or expertise to invest in their digital marketing to reach customers online.
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