Google adding business descriptions in Google My Business & local panel

Google looks to be adding a feature in Google My Business that allows business owners to add descriptions that appear in the local panel in search results. Both @deegs20 and @maulikpanchal posted screen shots of this in action. Google removed this feature back in 2016 when they dropped the Google+ support but it seems to be added back via the Google My Business console.
Users of Google My Business can go into their accounts and click on the “info” section, where they may see this business description section that can be edited. Here is a screenshot from Dave DiGregorio:

It then can show up in your local panel, towards the bottom:

This information was also recently added to the official Google help documents, which now say:
Enter a brief description of your business — what you offer, what sets you apart, your history, or anything else that’s helpful for customers to know. Descriptions must be no longer than 750 characters and can’t include URLs

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Google My Business video uploads now available to business owners

Allyson Wright from the Google My Business team announced today that the video upload feature we saw being tested is now available for business owners in the Google My Business dashboard.
Business owners can “view videos added by customers and upload videos about their business for customers to view,” she said. The video maximum length is 30 seconds, and after a video is uploaded, it can take up to 24 hours for it to be visible on the business listing in Google Maps or the local web search results.
Merchants should soon have the ability to flag inappropriate videos through their dashboard, and Google also promises mobile support in the future.
To add video to your business, go to the Google My Business dashboard and click on the “photos,” then select the “video” link at the top. After it loads, select the option to “Post Videos.”

Drag and drop the video to the box.

The video will begin uploading.

After the video is

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5 local search tactics your competitors probably aren’t using

Local SEO is competitive and fierce. With more and more local businesses vying for the Google local three-pack — and ads and online directories occupying a large percentage of the remaining SERP real estate — your local SEO strategy has to be aggressive.
So, what can you do to outrank your local competitors down the street, especially when you’ve all got the basics down? One approach is to use local SEO tactics that your competitors may not know about or aren’t using. Here are five local SEO tactics you can implement to help get ahead of your competitors.
Google Posts
First, every local business should claim their Google My Business (GMB) listing. It’s a must-do. Non-negotiable. If you don’t claim your Google My Business listing, you essentially don’t exist online! (Okay, that’s an exaggeration — but not claiming your GMB listing will significantly diminish your chances of showing up in local search results.)
Of your competitors who claim their Google My Business listing,

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Google’s new #SmallThanks Hub automatically creates digital & printed marketing assets for SMBs

In a move to help SMBs — as well as drive up its verified business listings — Google has launched #SmallThanks Hub, an online resource that creates customized digital marketing content and printed materials based on Google reviews.
“Simply search for your business name on the site, and we’ll automatically create posters, social media posts, window clings, stickers and more — based on the reviews and local love from your customers on Google,” writes Google’s vice president of marketing for Ads & Americas, Lisa Gevelber, on The Keyword blog.
Google says its #SmallThanks Hub, which is rolling out in the US today, is available to any verified Google listing with an address.
“Reviews from your fans are like digital thank you notes, and they’re one of the first things people notice about your business in search results,” writes Gevelber in the announcement. Google shared the following image to highlight how it is repurposing Google reviews into social media posts and

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Google Posts can now be automated with new API support

Google has updated the Google My Business API to add some support for creating and editing Google Posts. Google Posts is a feature that allows people and businesses to create content directly on Google that can appear highly ranked in Google search results for their names.
In version 4.0 of the API, Google noted that “you can now create Posts on Google directly through the API.” The changelog include a bunch of other features, but the Google Posts is the most notable.
Technically, this can enable third-party developers and tool designers to automate a lot of the posting in the Google Posts interface, similar to the way brands manage their social accounts with Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and others.
As Mike Blumenthal said, this is limited to “business[es] with fewer than 10 locations.” Blumenthal says Google appears to be testing support for chains with more than 10 locations.
It will be exciting to see which third-party tools add support for Google Posts

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Locadium: a new ‘point solution’ to monitor GMB listings changes

LocalSEOGuide is releasing a new Google My Business monitoring tool called “Locadium.” It’s conceptually similar to other local listings monitoring services; however it’s exclusively focused on Google My Business (GMB).
Yext, Moz, Brandify, Vendasta, BrightLocal, SIMPartners, Chatmeter, among others, also provide local listings scans and monitoring. However, according to LocalSEOGuide founder Andrew Shotland, Locadium is the only tool that will monitor both the “front end” (consumer fields) and “back end” (API) of GMB. It sends alerts when there’s any change on to a company’s listing in any of the data fields.
It will be marketed to agencies, multi-location brands and SMBs. Pricing is variable for agencies and brands but for SMBs it costs $5 per month.

Similar tools on the market monitor local listings across the internet. However Shotland doesn’t see Locadium evolving into a broad-based listings monitoring service outside GMB. “We have no desire to compete with Yext,” he says. The appeal of Locadium is its focus and simplicity.

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12 things to know to succeed with Google Posts

Google has been cranking out the updates this year for Local Search, and the latest thing to hit the SMB market is Google Posts. This new feature allows you to publish your events, products and services directly to Google Search (in the Knowledge Panel) and Maps. Here’s an example of what a Google Post looks like on mobile:

I’ve been testing this feature for a while (one of the perks of being a Top Contributor) and have made several observations that I wanted to share. I collaborated with local search expert Mike Blumenthal and came up with the top things you need to know to get the most out of Google Posts for your SMB.

Make sure you track click activity with UTM codes. Since Google posts don’t integrate naturally with Google Analytics, it’s hard to get any insights beyond the standard number of views and clicks Google provides inside the Google My Business dashboard. By creating a custom URL to use

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Google adds booking for spa and salon appointments from Search & Maps

Consumers across the US can now book appointments with salons and spas through Google.
Beauty is the second category of appointment bookings available through Google in the US. In December 2016, consumers in select cities could book fitness classes through the Reserve with Google site, as well as Google Search and Maps. That functionality rolled out to the entire US in March.
Users can select their appointment time, see pricing and submit their information to reserve a time. Those with Google Wallet enabled can also pay for services if supported.
Google first started testing booking appointments right from a business listing in Search in 2015. Merchants must have a Google My Business account and be working with one of the booking partners to be eligible for Reserve with Google. Google already partners with MINDBODY, Full Slate, Front Desk, Appointy, zingFit, Genbook, SalonRunner, Rosy, Yocale and Wellness Living and will be adding many more partners, including Booksy, Envision, MyTime, Schedulicity, Setmore, Shore, SimpleSpa, SuperSalon and TimeTrade.
Fitness

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Google Posts are removed after 7 days, with one exception

Google has confirmed that most Google Posts are removed seven days after they are first published. The exception to this rule is Google Posts that are based on upcoming events. Event-based Google Posts are removed after the event date.
A Google spokesperson told us, “Posts enable merchants to share timely, relevant updates on Google Search and Maps. To ensure that posts are timely, they’re removed from the default view after seven days (or when the event date the post referenced has passed). However, a historical view of posts is shown under the Posts tab on mobile.”
Google Posts recently went live to most Google My Business customers. It enables these businesses to share timely messages to their customers, which show up in the local panel on web search and Google Maps.
Brodie Clark from optimising.com.au shared a screen shot of a notification Google sends to notify businesses that the Google Post will expire:

This information about when Google Posts expire is

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Google My Business website builder SEO review

Google officially launched its Website Builder within Google My Business in an effort to help small businesses easily and affordably create websites. This is a great initiative, as there are many small businesses that do not have a website.
Google’s Marissa Nordahl made the announcement it in a Google My Business Help thread on Tuesday, June 13. Here is what she wrote:
One of the most common actions people take when exploring a Google listing is to go to the website, but we know that getting a website can still be a challenge for a lot of small business owners around the world: too complex, too expensive, too time consuming. Millions of small businesses (60% of small businesses globally) don’t yet have a website.
Website is a free tool that allows small business owners to create a simple, striking website in just a few minutes. It’s easy, and you can create and edit your new website from your computer or your

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