Google on Thursday began rolling out features in Google My Business to help businesses promote quality services and make their profiles on the site unique and descriptive.
The variety of new features range from the ability to upload photos to earning a badge that designates a business is a “Local Favorite” in a specific category.
As an incentive to keep quality high, Google plans to recognize businesses that consistently deliver a great experience by highlighting the top 5% businesses per category. Those businesses will receive a “Local Favorite” designation to identify them, along with a digital and physical badge of honor.
Poor quality may not be an option for businesses that want to list their sites in Google My Business.
Several companies have complained on Twitter about their page being removed due to quality issues. Sarah Moon, founder of a strategy and design company, tweeted that Google removed a page from one of her law office clients based on “quality issues.”
Quality has always been a priority for Google, but since launching Google My Business in June 2014 to give businesses more control of what consumers see in search results, the search engine has put the responsibility of quality on the business.
Google estimates it has helped more than 150 million local businesses connect with people who search for something online.
Since the platform launched, people have changed the way they search. Today when people search for something their queries are more specific.
Rather than a keyword or two, people searching online query things like “restaurants near Washington Square Park open after 9 p.m.,” for example. They are also looking for options such as booking a reservation or checking product availability in a store.
Starting today, businesses can reward customers with welcome offers for those who follow their business on Google.
Business owners also can claim a short name and URL for their business, which can refer customers back to their profile on Google My Business.
This search feature also will become available in the coming months in Maps.
Other updates include the ability to set preferred profile cover photos, brand their business with logos. Businesses that have completed information in their profile such as phone number, hours and other important core information will have their logo displayed at the top right-hand side of their profile.
Google also said that businesses can upload photos and have them appear instantly on a new dynamic module in the profile. Photo captions, which are coming soon to this module, will enable companies to further tell the stories supported by the images.
A website will offer businesses the ability to download and order custom assets for their place of business such as stickers to help promote bookings on the profile, adding reviews, and customer following.