Google My Business Product Expert, Steady Demand’s Ben Fisher, explains what Google My Business’ factual attributes are, how to set them, and gives an overview of the latest attributes added to GMB since Covid-19 measures were put in place.
When Covid-19 struck, everyone was surprised by the shutdown. Most people had no clue what to do, where to shop, what was safe, and what was not. To make matters worse, it seemed like every day brought new challenges.
During this time, the Google My Business (GMB) Product Experts met with GMB every week to brainstorm what could help merchants the most. We would make a suggestion and then, by the next week, changes would have been implemented.
It was, and it is still, amazing to see how fast Google reacted to the pandemic. Many other companies reacted, too, but Google had a duty to respond particularly quickly due to its influence on search.
One key area of improvements was in GMB attributes, which are snippets of information that quickly provide details on a business, allowing consumers to make faster decisions.
According to Google My Business, there are two types of attributes that a merchant can have, and they will vary based upon your GMB category. Check out this article for a list of all GMB attributes available.
Above is an example showing supported and unsupported attributes. In the above example, the merchant has selected that they do or do not offer ‘Dine-in’, so it is marked with an ‘X’.
The first type of GMB attribute is a factual attribute. These are set by the merchant and considered to be objective facts (i.e. not subjective) as they can be easily verified and agreed as true.
The second is subjective attributes; these are sourced by locals or those who have an opinion on your business. When browsing Google Maps, for example, you may see “Know this place? Share the latest info” in the business profile. This is so a user can share opinions that may or may not show up in GMB.
According to Google, “Attributes in a Google My Business profile let customers know what a place has to offer so they can make informed decisions about where to visit.”
But, attributes also have very real-life consequences, too…
This is a use case where attributes come in handy. Informing a consumer about merchants’ options helps people to make more informed decisions about what merchant they will do business with.
One day Bob had a moment to break up his day and venture out of the house to get some air and food from his favorite restaurant. He knew that there was limited capacity, so he looked up the business profile for this restaurant on Google and was surprised to see on their GMB profile that, while they did have ‘online ordering’ as an attribute, they didn’t have ‘curbside pickup’
However, the restaurant below did have this attribute. As Bob was very conscious about Covid-19, he decided to go to the other restaurant, considering it the safer alternative. If Bob had preferred, he could have chosen some merchants that offered delivery with no contact, using these attributes.
While subjective attributes are entirely down to your Google Maps-using customers, merchants have control over the factual attributes that display with their business information on Google My Business.
It’s easy to set your factual attributes. If you are on a desktop computer:
On Android: (sorry, Apple smartphone users cannot edit attributes!)
Healthcare did not get a ton of new attributes after Covid-19, but they got a massive number of new features like Virtual Care Covid-19 support links, Covid-19 Google Posts, Covid-19 Testing Sites, Temporary Closures, and Covid-19 Schema.
(It’s worth noting that some other business categories got some of these features as well).
Here are the new attributes healthcare businesses did get:
Due to Covid-19, many merchants have had to adjust how they do business, and GMB has reacted in such a way to allow businesses to not only look at the near-term impact but to adjust for the long term as well. So, if a merchant offered in-home, educational, or professional services they will now have the option to designate the kinds of online services that are available.
NOTE: You still need to have a physical location — be that a storefront or service area business — to be eligible for these attributes. If you offer at least one of these types of online services, fully remotely and in real-time, then you can choose this attribute.
A merchant that does contactless services where you visit a client’s location (such as garage door repair or HVAC) will not qualify for these attributes, even if booked online. (Although, honestly, I do not see how GMB will police this.)
Hotels get a ‘Covid-19 Responder Policy’ – They can use this attribute to show that they are providing special accommodations or discounts for Covid-19 responders.
Attributes are a great way to communicate to consumers what options are available to them within your Google My Business profile and within their searches. This helps them make an informed decision when browsing merchants.
During this pandemic, it is more important than ever to help the consumer decide to do business with you, not only for them but for yourself. Every customer that does not decide to do business with you is revenue lost.
So if you have not already audited your clients’ GMB attributes today, then get to it!
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