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      Making the Switch from Universal Analytics to Google Analytics 4 (GA4)


      In 2019, Google introduced Google Analytics 4 as an alternative to Universal Analytics. Users were free to choose between using standard analytics properties or jumping to the new version. Now, Google plans to sunset Universal Analytics in 2023 and transition all users to Google Analytics 4.

      If you use Google Analytics and haven’t made the jump yet, you need to understand what Analytics 4 offers and how it’s different from Universal Analytics. Fortunately, you have plenty of time to acquaint yourself with the service and make the change before Universal Analytics ceases to function.

      In this article, we’re going to talk about what Google Analytics 4 does differently from its predecessors. We’ll also show you how to transition your account to Google Analytics 4 and discuss some tips to help you get the most out of the platform. Let’s get to it!

      What’s Happening With Universal Analytics?

      For almost a decade, Universal Analytics has been the standard for measuring performance and engagement for websites. It has also been a vital tool for determining the success of keyword strategies.

      However, the platform was initially designed for an era where we mostly interacted with sites through desktop computers. Although Universal Analytics can also measure mobile and app metrics, it doesn’t offer a unified experience for properties across multiple channels.

      “People expect to interact with businesses when and how they like, such as browsing a brand’s website to research a product and then purchasing it later using the brand’s app. Getting insight into these cross-platform journeys is critical for businesses to predict customer needs and provide great experiences—but it can be very challenging.”

      – Russell Ketchum, Director of Product Management for Google Analytics

      Google Analytics 4 was designed to help remedy that problem and improve privacy standards in collecting measurements. Since its introduction in 2019, it has existed alongside Universal Analytics so that users could choose between both experiences:

      GA4 Setup Assistant

      Now Google plans to retire Universal Analytics, starting on July 1, 2023. Existing analytics properties will stop collecting data on that date. If you’re using Universal Analytics 360, you get a few extra months of data collection, with the service retiring on October 1, 2023:

      Universal Analytics data collection end date message

      That gives you plenty of time to get acquainted with Google Analytics 4 and make the transition. Before we talk about how to do that, let’s go over the changes to the service.

      An Introduction to Google Analytics 4

      For a long time, analytics focused on helping you measure desktop web metrics, with mobile data being almost an afterthought. Google Analytics 4 changes that approach by helping you unify multiple types of properties into singular user journeys:

      GA4 Setup Assistant tags

      With Google Analytics 4, you can see measurements for your websites and apps. You can also gain insights from machine learning algorithms into how to optimize those properties.

      Another key aspect of Google Analytics 4 is that it doesn’t rely solely on cookies. It offers an increased emphasis on user privacy.

      “Universal Analytics was built for a generation of online measurement that was anchored in the desktop web, independent sessions and more easily observable data from cookies. This measurement methodology is quickly becoming obsolete.”

      – Russell Ketchum, Director of Product Management for Google Analytics

      Arguably, one of the main drivers behind the shift in how Google Analytics collects data comes from the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). The GDPR has had a massive impact on how websites and platforms can legally collect and store user data.

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      Cookies have come under fire in recent years due to increased privacy concerns. That means many companies are looking into alternative data collection streams.

      With Google Analytics 4, measurements no longer rely on sessions. The platform is capable of recognizing and measuring multiple types of human interaction “events”, including:

      • Page views
      • Scrolls
      • Outbound clicks
      • In-site searches
      • Video engagement metrics
      • File downloads

      With previous versions of Google Analytics, measuring several metrics involved manually setting up complex events. Now, the platform can automatically tag the events for you, which gives you access to more data from the get-go.

      Finally, Google Analytics 4 brings better funnel reports to the table, including cross-platform analysis. You can use the platform to identify key steps in the customer journey and see where users enter it and drop out. The service also enables you to understand what users are doing in-between steps in the funnel:

      GA4 funnels report

      If you’re moving from Universal Analytics, Google Analytics 4 can seem very different at first glance. However, setting up and configuring a Google Analytics 4 property is relatively simple. Fortunately, the platform offers an onboarding process.

      How to Move from Universal Analytics to Google Analytics 4

      Although we’re talking about transitioning from Universal Analytics to Google Analytics 4, you can use both services simultaneously for now. That means you can still collect data using cookies until Universal Analytics retires in 2023. At the same time, you can begin collecting data from events with Analytics 4.

      Step 1: Create a Google Analytics 4 Property

      Firstly, you’ll want to make sure that you’re not already using Google Analytics 4. If you set up a property after October 14, 2020, it’s likely already using Google Analytics 4. To verify this, access your Google Analytics account and look at your list of properties.

      Properties using Universal Analytics will have a UA prefix in their analytics IDs. Properties using Google Analytics 4 will display G4A designations:

      GA4 properties list

      To get started, select a property using Universal Analytics and access its ADMIN settings. Select the option that says G4A Setup Assistant under the property’s name.

      Now click on the Get Started button under the message that says, I want to create a new Google Analytics 4 property:

      GA4 Setup Assistant not connected message

      After clicking on that button, Google Analytics will show you a brief rundown of the setup steps. The platform will set up a new property for you without deleting your Universal Analytics configurations. It’ll copy data from the Universal Analytics property and enable “enhanced measurements” immediately. That means you can start measuring complex events from the get-go:

      create a new GA4 property

      Click on Create property to get the process started. You’ll return to the GA4 Setup Assistant tab, which will indicate the property is ready.

      Step 2: Configure Your Google Analytics 4 Property

      Now click on See your G4A property to configure its settings:

      successful GA4 connection

      To get started using Google Analytics 4 correctly, you’ll need to configure one or more data streams.

      When you open a new Google Analytics 4 property, the platform will send you to the Setup Assistant page. Here, look for the section that says Collection and select the Tag installation option:

      GA4 Setup Assistant

      The Tag Installation option lets you configure “data streams”. Each Google Analytics property can have streams of information from websites and apps. Typically, you’ll have one stream for the web and one each for iOS and Android devices if you utilize apps:

      GA4 add new data stream

      When you select the Add stream option, the platform will ask you what type of stream you want to set up. If you’re adding a web property, Google Analytics will ask for its URL, the site’s name, and which measurements you want to track:

      set up a new GA4 web stream

      To confirm that you own the website, Google Analytics will ask you to add a tag to it. You can complete this step by adding a JavaScript tag manually or by using Google Tag Manager:

      GA4 add new tag

      Once you verify ownership of the property, Google Analytics will start collecting data from it. Like with Universal Analytics, you’ll be able to track all of that information from the dashboard.

      Once you start setting up custom insights, you’ll get an idea of how big the difference between Universal Analytics and Google Analytics 4 is:

      GA4 User Reports

      If you want to experiment with Google Analytics 4 before setting up a new property, there’s an official demo account that you can use. Additionally, keep in mind that you can switch between Universal Analytics and Google Analytics 4 properties by selecting either option from your list of properties.

      Common Issues With Google Analytics 4

      Although transitioning to Google Analytics 4 is simple, users report some common issues when first using the “new” platform. Let’s talk about some of those issues and how to tackle them!

      Configuring Google Analytics 4 Takes Time

      Google Analytics 4 automatically sets up tracking for several types of events when you configure it for your website. However, the platform really shines when and if you take the time to set up custom events and reports.

      If you don’t configure Google Analytics to track custom events, you’re missing out on what is perhaps the most powerful feature the platform offers. With custom events, you can collect data on the measurements that matter the most to you, all without adding custom code to your site.

      Reports in Google Analytics Are Limited

      Out of the box, reports in Google Analytics 4 are somewhat limited. For the platform to provide you with deeper insights into your customers’ behavior, you need to configure it to track the specific events you want and show that data in the way you need.

      Google Analytics 4 makes this process relatively straightforward, depending on what type of events you want to track. However, even after setting up custom reports, accurate numbers may take a while to show up on your dashboard. This is because Analytics 4 uses machine learning to improve how it reports information.

      There Are Differences in Reports Between Universal Analytics and Google Analytics 4

      One of the most common complaints among new Google Analytics 4 users is that the numbers you see in the dashboard might not match your Universal Analytics property. This difference in data is because both services collect and count data differently. Whereas Universal Analytics relies on cookies and sessions, Analytics 4 tracks events.

      For now, you can rely on metrics from both services to inform your decisions. However, you’ll need to get used to the Analytics 4 approach as we near the retirement date for Universal Analytics.

      Google Analytics 4 Doesn’t Track Bounce Rate

      There is a lot of discussion about whether the way bounce rate is currently measured makes sense or not. Google Analytics 4 does away with bounce rate entirely, and instead, it measures “engagement”:

      GA4 events report

      Engagement reports use a broad range of metrics to provide a comprehensive overview of how users first perceive your website. If you want to continue measuring bounce rate, you can use Universal Analytics while it’s still active.

      What the Future Holds for Google Analytics

      The transition to Google Analytics 4 hasn’t been entirely smooth. Reception to the new platform has been somewhat lukewarm among users. However, if you use Google Analytics, it’s essential to start getting acquainted with Google Analytics 4, even if you plan on using Universal Analytics for the time being.

      In the coming year, Universal Analytics will cease to collect data. You should have a Google Analytics 4 property set up and configured by the time that happens. If you want to get the most out of Google Analytics 4, we also recommend taking the time to configure custom events and reports for your property.

      Analytics tools can help you measure the effectiveness of your Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and marketing strategies. If you don’t have a plan, we can help you with our Pro SEO Marketing Services.

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      Generate More Leads with a Strong Google Business Profile


      Attracting new customers online is not always an easy task. Finding your audience and ranking higher in search results can be more complicated than you expect. However, with organic search driving 53% of web traffic, maximizing your online presence is crucial if you want to grow your business.

      While there are many steps you can take, creating a strong Google Business Profile is one easy way to boost your digital visibility. A fully-optimized listing can help you reach potential clients, scale your business, and generate more quality leads.

      This post will discuss what a Google Business Profile is and how an optimized business listing can benefit your web presence. Then we’ll describe five of the tool’s newest features and how they can fuel lead generation. Let’s get started!

      What is a Google Business Profile?

      A Google Business Profile is an online tool that allows you to take charge of how your company appears on Google. This platform was formerly known as Google My Business (GMB), but in 2021 Google announced that it was updating GMB and rebranding.

      This change is still in progress. Overall, it aims to simplify profile management and make Google Business listings more accessible for small businesses. However, Google Business Profile still helps all business owners to create an online presence and connect with customers:

      The Google Business Profile website.

      A Google Business Profile allows you to list the name and location of your company on Google Maps and Search. These listings can display further relevant information, such as your hours of operation, phone number, and website. The top Business Profile listings appear when a user types a query into Google Search, Google Maps, or Google Shopping.

      All businesses that have a physical location or come in contact with customers can create a listing. Unfortunately, online-only businesses don’t currently qualify. However, if you meet the minimum requirements, it is completely free to create and maintain a listing. This makes it one of the great tools for small businesses with minimal marketing budgets.

      After you sign up for your Business Profile, you can edit it to provide essential information and media in the knowledge panel. This is an automatically-generated information box that appears on Google when you conduct a search. A fully-optimized Google Business Profile will typically look similar to this:

      Google knowledge panel with Hula Bay Club Business Profile.

      Google Business Profiles’ extensive features help advertise your business and find more customers online. You can also save time and energy by providing important details ahead of time. For instance, if you post your business hours, you’ll likely reduce customer questions about what hours you’ve available.

      When creating your listing, it’s wise to include as much information as possible. That way, you’re answering customer questions before they arise.

      We highly recommend including all the basics, plus anything else that makes your business stand out. You can also provide information for special attributes, such as accessibility, activities, and dining options:

      King of the Coop restaurant’s Google Business Profile.

      Furthermore, you can upload photos and videos of your business’s location, products, and services. There is also a feature that allows you to accept orders, quotes, and bookings directly from your listing.

      Your profile is also a place to interact with potential customers. They can use the Ask a question button or leave reviews about their experiences. The instant messaging feature even lets you chat directly with users to quickly answer questions and assist with any concerns directly from your account. However, you will need to enable this feature before you can use it.

      How a Google Business Profile Works

      Generate More Leads with a Google Business Profile

      A Google Business Profile improves local Search Engine Optimization (SEO) for your business. If your listing is fully-optimized, your business is more likely to appear when customers make a related search using Google Maps, Google Search, or Google Shopping. That alone can generate plenty of new leads.

      Since Google holds most of the search engine market share, it’s extremely likely that potential customers will see your Google Business Profile when they search for products and services. For listed businesses, Google’s search rankings are determined by relevance, distance, and quality. Therefore, ensuring that your listing includes the correct business name, location, and phone number is critical. You might also want to encourage customer testimonials in the review section.

      Of course, the COVID-19 pandemic changed the way people shop. Many consumers now plan ahead and conduct a Google search to ensure that products are available before leaving their houses. In fact, the number of “Available near me” searches has grown by more than 100% since 2020.

      Google Business Profiles appear in the “3-pack” area of local search results. This is comprised of the three business listings Google displays when a user conducts a “near me” or “near [location]” search:

      Local 3-pack for “restaurants in Tampa” search.

      If your listing is optimized for your Google Business location and you have solid reviews, the 3-pack feature can send leads your way. In fact, customers are 70% more likely to visit a business and 50% more likely to consider purchasing from it if it has a complete Business Profile.

      5 New Google Business Profile Listing Features for 2022

      Along with general improvements, the updated Google Business Profile account offers several new features. Google should continue rolling out more developments over the coming year. In the meantime, let’s take a closer look at some of the latest updates.

      1. Simplified Profile Management

      One of the most prominent characteristics of the new Google Business Profile is the way it is managed. Previously, most Google My Business listings had to be created and maintained through your account or the GMB mobile app.

      The new Google Business Profile is designed with local businesses in mind. Now, you can verify, edit, and manage your business profile directly in Google Search and Google Maps. Simply search for your company’s name, and you will see an option to claim and verify your Business Profile.

      This new feature makes it easier to get your business on Google. Once your profile is verified, you will be able to edit your details by clicking on Edit your business information. From this page, you can list important information, such as your address and business hours. You will also see options for uploading photos and responding to customer reviews.

      This simplified management option can also help you edit your profile faster. Since an updated profile signals to Google that your listing is more relevant, you can more easily improve your SEO and improve your chances of appearing in Google local 3-pack.

      Moving forward, the website for Google My Business will be renamed Business Profile Manager, and its primary use will be for larger businesses with multiple profiles. Google My Business profile management will be available through Search and Maps. Google also plans to retire the Google My Business app in order to streamline account management.

      2. Customer Engagement Options

      The new Google Business Profile includes additional ways to engage with customers. Business owners have always had the ability to message customers and respond to reviews through GMB listings.

      Now, Google has created a call history feature for businesses in the U.S. and Canada. This will allow you to see a list of calls you’ve initiated, answered, or missed, right from your Google account.

      You will also be able to send and receive messages directly from Search (with read receipts). As a result, customers will have a more direct way to reach you. With this tool, you may be able to provide a better customer service experience and convert more prospective visitors into customers.

      3. Opportunities to Display Your Inventory

      If your business sells products, the new in-stock feature is a great way to display your inventory and advertise to potential customers. This filter allows shoppers to see specific items that are in stock at nearby stores. When users see that products are available, they’ll be more likely to visit your store and make a purchase.

      In order to take advantage of this new feature, you’ll need to sign up for Pointy. This is a free tool that connects to your point of sale system and automatically updates your inventory. Pointy uploads a product’s title, image, and description directly to Google, by simply scanning the barcode:

      The Pointy inventory tool.

      To do this, navigate to your Google Business Profile listing, click on Edit Profile, and then select Products from the drop-down menu. You can either add products with Pointy or upload products manually with Pointy’s Product Editor:

      Adding products to Google with Pointy.

      Automatic product uploads work best with items that have standard barcodes. If you sell products with non-standard barcodes, adding them manually is likely the best option.

      4. Promotional Opportunities with Performance Planner

      You can also connect your Business Profile account with Google Ads to take advantage of the new Performance Planner. This tool enables you to create advertising plans and illustrates how campaigns affect your key metrics and performance.

      Performance Planner analyzes billions of queries each day and simulates relevant ad auctions to collect data and create forecasts. You can manage your budget, see campaign forecasts, explore possible outcomes, and gauge seasonal opportunities directly from the Performance Planner:

      The Performance Planner analytics tool.

      Once you connect your Business Profile to your Google Ads account, you can use your inventory to create local search campaigns that display your ads in search results. These ads include images and product descriptions based on your inventory. This can help you easily generate leads by putting your relevant product ads in front of more prospective customers.

      5. Expanded Attributes

      When creating or updating your listing, you’ll want to complete all applicable profile attributes to be sure potential customers understand your business. Attributes are personalized descriptors and identifiers that show what your company offers.

      Attributes can vary depending on your Google Business categories. The most common attributes include Accessibility, Amenities, Payments, and Service Options. For example, if your business location is wheelchair-accessible, you can update your Accessibility attribute so customers will be aware.

      The Health & Safety attribute is a relatively new option that was added due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This allows you to share important details, such as your mask guidelines and whether you have a temperature check policy in place.

      There is also a category titled From The Business, which allows you to share more about your leadership. In this section, you can highlight additional unique details about your company. For instance, if your business is women-led, veteran-led, or black-owned, you might want to include that information here.

      Customers can then conduct a Google Search for a specific attribute. For example, when a potential customer searches “black-owned restaurant near me,” they will only see results with this attribute:

      A search for businesses with a specific attribute.

      Adding all applicable attributes to your Google Business Profile can optimize your listing and influence your local SEO. It can also help potential customers narrow down their search results, making it easier for them to choose your business.

      How to Get Started with a Google Business Profile

      Getting started with Google Business is straightforward. However, Google has several guidelines you must follow to avoid getting suspended.

      First, you’ll want to sign in to the Google Business Profile Manager and search for your business on Google or in the Google Maps app. If you do not immediately see your company, you can select “Add Your Business” to Google.

      You will then be prompted to verify your business using your real physical address. Physical businesses will receive a postcard by mail, while service-area businesses can verify their details through email. Once your business is approved, you can edit the listing to add your details and important information.

      Like building a website, setting up a Google Business Profile can be somewhat challenging for beginners. Fortunately, you can hire industry experts to create and optimize your listing. Doing this will ensure that your profile is properly managed, so you can focus on running your business.

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      An Important Marketing Tool

      Attracting leads to your brick-and-mortar location can be difficult. Therefore, maximizing your online presence should be critical to your overall marketing strategy.

      The new Google Business Profile can organically promote your products or services. Let’s recap the five newest features that can help you generate leads:

      1. Streamlined profile management: A new, simplified way to create and modify your profile directly in Google Search and Maps
      2. Customer engagement: Enhanced user interaction with direct messaging through Search, read receipts, and a call history feature
      3. Real-time inventory: An in-stock feature to display your local inventory
      4. Performance Planner: To help you use Google Ads for enhanced ad campaigns
      5. Expanded attributes: Further tell your business’s story, and share its health and safety standards

      Are you looking for additional ways to grow your online business? Learn more about DreamHost’s SEO Pro Services and explore our extensive marketing and local business support solutions. If you need help setting up your Google Business Profile, you can always chat with an expert or schedule a free consultation for advice and guidance!

      Now get out there, and get your business on Google!



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      Generate More Leads With a Strong Google Business profile


      Attracting new customers online is not always an easy task. Finding your audience and ranking higher in search results can be more complicated than you expect. However, with organic search driving 53% of web traffic, maximizing your online presence is crucial if you want to grow your business.

      While there are many steps you can take, creating a strong Google Business Profile is one easy way to boost your digital visibility. A fully-optimized listing can help you reach potential clients, scale your business, and generate more quality leads.

      This post will discuss what a Google Business Profile is and how an optimized business listing can benefit your web presence. Then we’ll describe five of the tool’s newest features and how they can fuel lead generation. Let’s get started!

      What is a Google Business Profile?

      A Google Business Profile is an online tool that allows you to take charge of how your company appears on Google. This platform was formerly known as Google My Business (GMB), but in 2021 Google announced that it was updating GMB and rebranding.

      This change is still in progress. Overall, it aims to simplify profile management and make Google Business listings more accessible for small businesses. However, Google Business Profile still helps all business owners to create an online presence and connect with customers:

      The Google Business Profile website.

      A Google Business Profile allows you to list the name and location of your company on Google Maps and Search. These listings can display further relevant information, such as your hours of operation, phone number, and website. The top Business Profile listings appear when a user types a query into Google Search, Google Maps, or Google Shopping.

      All businesses that have a physical location or come in contact with customers can create a listing. Unfortunately, online-only businesses don’t currently qualify. However, if you meet the minimum requirements, it is completely free to create and maintain a listing. This makes it one of the great tools for small businesses with minimal marketing budgets.

      After you sign up for your Business Profile, you can edit it to provide essential information and media in the knowledge panel. This is an automatically-generated information box that appears on Google when you conduct a search. A fully-optimized Google Business Profile will typically look similar to this:

      Google knowledge panel with Hula Bay Club Business Profile.

      Google Business Profiles’ extensive features help advertise your business and find more customers online. You can also save time and energy by providing important details ahead of time. For instance, if you post your business hours, you’ll likely reduce customer questions about what hours you’ve available.

      When creating your listing, it’s wise to include as much information as possible. That way, you’re answering customer questions before they arise.

      We highly recommend including all the basics, plus anything else that makes your business stand out. You can also provide information for special attributes, such as accessibility, activities, and dining options:

      King of the Coop restaurant’s Google Business Profile.

      Furthermore, you can upload photos and videos of your business’s location, products, and services. There is also a feature that allows you to accept orders, quotes, and bookings directly from your listing.

      Your profile is also a place to interact with potential customers. They can use the Ask a question button or leave reviews about their experiences. The instant messaging feature even lets you chat directly with users to quickly answer questions and assist with any concerns directly from your account. However, you will need to enable this feature before you can use it.

      How a Google Business Profile Works

      Generate More Leads with a Google Business Profile

      A Google Business Profile improves local Search Engine Optimization (SEO) for your business. If your listing is fully-optimized, your business is more likely to appear when customers make a related search using Google Maps, Google Search, or Google Shopping. That alone can generate plenty of new leads.

      Since Google holds most of the search engine market share, it’s extremely likely that potential customers will see your Google Business Profile when they search for products and services. For listed businesses, Google’s search rankings are determined by relevance, distance, and quality. Therefore, ensuring that your listing includes the correct business name, location, and phone number is critical. You might also want to encourage customer testimonials in the review section.

      Of course, the COVID-19 pandemic changed the way people shop. Many consumers now plan ahead and conduct a Google search to ensure that products are available before leaving their houses. In fact, the number of “Available near me” searches has grown by more than 100% since 2020.

      Google Business Profiles appear in the “3-pack” area of local search results. This is comprised of the three business listings Google displays when a user conducts a “near me” or “near [location]” search:

      Local 3-pack for “restaurants in Tampa” search.

      If your listing is optimized for your Google Business location and you have solid reviews, the 3-pack feature can send leads your way. In fact, customers are 70% more likely to visit a business and 50% more likely to consider purchasing from it if it has a complete Business Profile.

      5 New Google Business Profile Listing Features for 2022

      Along with general improvements, the updated Google Business Profile account offers several new features. Google should continue rolling out more developments over the coming year. In the meantime, let’s take a closer look at some of the latest updates.

      1. Simplified Profile Management

      One of the most prominent characteristics of the new Google Business Profile is the way it is managed. Previously, most Google My Business listings had to be created and maintained through your account or the GMB mobile app.

      The new Google Business Profile is designed with local businesses in mind. Now, you can verify, edit, and manage your business profile directly in Google Search and Google Maps. Simply search for your company’s name, and you will see an option to claim and verify your Business Profile.

      This new feature makes it easier to get your business on Google. Once your profile is verified, you will be able to edit your details by clicking on Edit your business information. From this page, you can list important information, such as your address and business hours. You will also see options for uploading photos and responding to customer reviews.

      This simplified management option can also help you edit your profile faster. Since an updated profile signals to Google that your listing is more relevant, you can more easily improve your SEO and improve your chances of appearing in Google local 3-pack.

      Moving forward, the website for Google My Business will be renamed Business Profile Manager, and its primary use will be for larger businesses with multiple profiles. Google My Business profile management will be available through Search and Maps. Google also plans to retire the Google My Business app in order to streamline account management.

      2. Customer Engagement Options

      The new Google Business Profile includes additional ways to engage with customers. Business owners have always had the ability to message customers and respond to reviews through GMB listings.

      Now, Google has created a call history feature for businesses in the U.S. and Canada. This will allow you to see a list of calls you’ve initiated, answered, or missed, right from your Google account.

      You will also be able to send and receive messages directly from Search (with read receipts). As a result, customers will have a more direct way to reach you. With this tool, you may be able to provide a better customer service experience and convert more prospective visitors into customers.

      3. Opportunities to Display Your Inventory

      If your business sells products, the new in-stock feature is a great way to display your inventory and advertise to potential customers. This filter allows shoppers to see specific items that are in stock at nearby stores. When users see that products are available, they’ll be more likely to visit your store and make a purchase.

      In order to take advantage of this new feature, you’ll need to sign up for Pointy. This is a free tool that connects to your point of sale system and automatically updates your inventory. Pointy uploads a product’s title, image, and description directly to Google, by simply scanning the barcode:

      The Pointy inventory tool.

      To do this, navigate to your Google Business Profile listing, click on Edit Profile, and then select Products from the drop-down menu. You can either add products with Pointy or upload products manually with Pointy’s Product Editor:

      Adding products to Google with Pointy.

      Automatic product uploads work best with items that have standard barcodes. If you sell products with non-standard barcodes, adding them manually is likely the best option.

      4. Promotional Opportunities with Performance Planner

      You can also connect your Business Profile account with Google Ads to take advantage of the new Performance Planner. This tool enables you to create advertising plans and illustrates how campaigns affect your key metrics and performance.

      Performance Planner analyzes billions of queries each day and simulates relevant ad auctions to collect data and create forecasts. You can manage your budget, see campaign forecasts, explore possible outcomes, and gauge seasonal opportunities directly from the Performance Planner:

      The Performance Planner analytics tool.

      Once you connect your Business Profile to your Google Ads account, you can use your inventory to create local search campaigns that display your ads in search results. These ads include images and product descriptions based on your inventory. This can help you easily generate leads by putting your relevant product ads in front of more prospective customers.

      5. Expanded Attributes

      When creating or updating your listing, you’ll want to complete all applicable profile attributes to be sure potential customers understand your business. Attributes are personalized descriptors and identifiers that show what your company offers.

      Attributes can vary depending on your Google Business categories. The most common attributes include Accessibility, Amenities, Payments, and Service Options. For example, if your business location is wheelchair-accessible, you can update your Accessibility attribute so customers will be aware.

      The Health & Safety attribute is a relatively new option that was added due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This allows you to share important details, such as your mask guidelines and whether you have a temperature check policy in place.

      There is also a category titled From The Business, which allows you to share more about your leadership. In this section, you can highlight additional unique details about your company. For instance, if your business is women-led, veteran-led, or black-owned, you might want to include that information here.

      Customers can then conduct a Google Search for a specific attribute. For example, when a potential customer searches “black-owned restaurant near me,” they will only see results with this attribute:

      A search for businesses with a specific attribute.

      Adding all applicable attributes to your Google Business Profile can optimize your listing and influence your local SEO. It can also help potential customers narrow down their search results, making it easier for them to choose your business.

      How to Get Started with a Google Business Profile

      Getting started with Google Business is straightforward. However, Google has several guidelines you must follow to avoid getting suspended.

      First, you’ll want to sign in to the Google Business Profile Manager and search for your business on Google or in the Google Maps app. If you do not immediately see your company, you can select “Add Your Business” to Google.

      You will then be prompted to verify your business using your real physical address. Physical businesses will receive a postcard by mail, while service-area businesses can verify their details through email. Once your business is approved, you can edit the listing to add your details and important information.

      Like building a website, setting up a Google Business Profile can be somewhat challenging for beginners. Fortunately, you can hire industry experts to create and optimize your listing. Doing this will ensure that your profile is properly managed, so you can focus on running your business.

      SEO Made (Really) Easy with Pro Services

      We take the guesswork (and actual work) out of growing your website traffic with SEO.

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      An Important Marketing Tool

      Attracting leads to your brick-and-mortar location can be difficult. Therefore, maximizing your online presence should be critical to your overall marketing strategy.

      The new Google Business Profile can organically promote your products or services. Let’s recap the five newest features that can help you generate leads:

      1. Streamlined profile management: A new, simplified way to create and modify your profile directly in Google Search and Maps
      2. Customer engagement: Enhanced user interaction with direct messaging through Search, read receipts, and a call history feature
      3. Real-time inventory: An in-stock feature to display your local inventory
      4. Performance Planner: To help you use Google Ads for enhanced ad campaigns
      5. Expanded attributes: Further tell your business’s story, and share its health and safety standards

      Are you looking for additional ways to grow your online business? Learn more about DreamHost’s SEO Pro Services and explore our extensive marketing and local business support solutions. If you need help setting up your Google Business Profile, you can always chat with an expert or schedule a free consultation for advice and guidance!

      Now get out there, and get your business on Google!



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