Google, as you probably are well aware by now, is constantly changing and updating. Just recently, they made two new changes that you will want to be aware of.
First up, Google has added an option to My Business that allows you to announce when your new business will be opening, directly on Google Maps. They have also made changes to the way they manage businesses within specific service areas. Keep reading for more details.
Opening Dates for New Businesses
Google started testing this new feature back in September. It displays new businesses on Google Maps before they open for business, along with the anticipated opening date. This allows the business to appear in customer searches even though they haven’t opened for business yet.
Having moved out of the testing phase now, this new feature has been confirmed to be rolling out in a post from Google’s Allyson Wright in the company’s forums. Her announcement read simply “Google My Business now supports businesses that haven’t yet opened to the public.”
This feature can prove highly useful to new businesses, giving them the opportunity to build brand awareness and inform potential customers when they will officially be open. It will provide querents with business hours, and also provide information on what they can look forward to from this new business. It is a great opportunity to engage customers and pique their interest ahead of opening day.
Changes to Local Service Business Area
With growing emphasis on local businesses, Google has made a welcome change in how local business service areas are handled. Specifically, businesses who serve or deliver to local customers will now find that there are individual fields in Google My Business that allow you to edit your business address and also your service area. Whenever you update your business information, you will be presented with the option to enter your address, the area that you serve, or both, as you prefer.
What this means for your business is that you have greater options for how your business information is presented. Specifically, you can choose to leave your address blank and only display your service area. This might be useful if you do not actually serve customers at your place of business, but instead deliver, or otherwise approach customers away from your physical address.
You may also choose to list both your address and your service area if you do accept customers at your business address.
This means that you will no longer set your service area as a radius around your business in Google My Business. Note, however, that if you have previously entered a distance around your place of business, you will be unable to edit it. You will thus need to specify your service area by region, city or zip code.
It is pretty much guaranteed that Google will continue to update and refine these features. But keeping informed of these changes and adapting to them offers you the opportunity to reach new customers and keep them properly informed of your business.