The Google My Business team has released a brand-new version of its app designed to increase engagement from business owners. Importantly it mentions the concept of a “business profile” in its release, which is a lot easier to explain to a business owner than “Knowledge Panel!”

Hope you, your friends, and your families all have a terrific Thanksgiving!

Google My Business Looks Increasingly Like ‘CRM Lite’ for SMBs


Google has made a major update to its Google My Business app, with a significant effort to get businesses to engage customers with features like Posts and Messaging.

I remain skeptical that anyone other than (incentivized) Local Guides will utilize Google Maps’ new “follow” feature, but if they do the opportunities for businesses could be substantial.

Google seems to be circling back to the unrealized potential of the old Google+ Circles in a business context.

Google Maps will let you chat with businesses


On the flipside, from a customer perspective, I love this feature of the latest Google My Business release, but I remain skeptical that small businesses are going to adopt real-time messaging in any significant numbers.

Even if Google is able to solve for potential HIPAA violations in medical fields, there’s still the issue of “always-on” availability, which is a hard standard to live up to for businesses that already struggle to keep up with (asynchronous) voicemails and emails.

Google Rolls Out New Local 4-Packs for Hotels


It’s just an experiment and just in the hotel vertical for the moment, but it’s not hard to envision a similar interface coming soon to many more categories — particularly when 35% of all three-packs already have a fourth ad unit, according to Moz’s Dr. Pete Meyers.

Does Google Use BBB ratings as a ranking factor?


Google’s John Mueller unhelpfully stated that Google doesn’t use BBB ratings as a ranking factor. With respect to organic rankings, Marie Haynes’ counterpoint around the BBB’s impact on quality raters is compelling, however.

In making this statement, John has ignored the critical consideration of local pack rankings–which, to be fair, may be beyond his purview.

In this regard, Mike Blumenthal’s empirical research around the impact of Yelp ratings on pack results directly contradicts John’s statement.

Whatever the mechanism (we suspect it may be a higher internal rank of the entity being rated on the third-party site), a strong rating on a high-authority third-party directory DOES have a direct effect on improving local pack rankings, at least in a non-competitive market.

State of Local Retail


A beautifully-executed infographic from the team at Womply highlights the relative transaction volume from 54,000 local merchants around the U.S. at various points during the year.

In a statement Womply suggested that Black Friday actually has a larger impact on retail sales than Small Business Saturday, even for local merchants.


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