150 million businesses have taken advantage of Google’s My Business, which lets retailers, restaurants, and other local businesses enter information about themselves that shows up in Search results and Google Maps. Google says that consumers interact with businesses in various ways—including using the free booking service—over 9 billion times a month.
Now Google is beefing up the offering with additional features that allow these businesses to communicate in new ways, make it easier for consumers to interact with them, and—of course—help Google’s services compete better with the likes of Yelp and other local-information rivals.
The new stuff includes:
- The ability to pick a unique short name such as @burmacafe (which is also a URL: g.pages/burmacafe), allowing a business to give customers a quick way to find it online.
- “Welcome offers” in the form of discounts and perks that a business can offer to consumers as a thank-you for following them.
- The option to set a cover photo and logo, plus a new module with other photos of a business.
- Recognition through a “Local Favorite” badge for the top 5% of businesses, with additional badges (such as “Worth the Trip” and “Hidden Gem”) to come.
Google doesn’t disclose what percentage of businesses that could create their profile through My Business have done so. Back in 2016, a report said that 56% of local retailers had yet to claim theirs.