All About the New Services Feature in GMB – Whitespark Local Insider

By Darren Shaw
on April 13, 2018

Google is continuing to roll-out even more features to the Google My Business dashboard. The latest addition is the Services section, which allows businesses to create custom service categories, and write full detailed descriptions of their offerings complete with prices. In this episode of the Whitespark Local Insider (formerly Whitespark Weekly), Darren jumps into which businesses can access this feature, how it looks live, the potential impact of this update, and more!=

Video Transcript

Hello, again. Darren here with another Whitespark Weekly video, bringing you the latest tips and topics in local search to help you increase your Google rankings and drive more customers from local search. In this series, I do short videos that focus on one specific tip or strategy for local SEO; if you’re new here, consider subscribing to our YouTube channel and sign up for email updates in the blog post below.

Today, I want to talk to you about that new services feature that has been added to Google My Business. This allows all kinds of service-based businesses to add a whole menu of different services that they provide right in Google My Business. Let me show you what I’m talking about.

Here, for example, here is a pest control company and in Google My Business they can add services here. If you see right here, this is the new section that’s been added.There’s a Services menu. If I click on that I have the ability to add different section names and items, the price of that item and a description. For example, if I was filling this up for this company (Western Exterminator Company), if you look at their services, each of these three columns would be a section.Like, under Specialist Services, I would have Inspections. Over here, specialist services, that’s the section name. Drain Line Services would be one of their items. Put it in there, give it a price, give it a description.Basically, you can fill this out, you can add multiple sections and multiple items. You can end up with a whole bunch of different content right in Google My Business. It’s a pretty interesting place to add content.

Where Do You See the New Services Features in Search Results?

Where does this show up in the front-end, you might be wondering? On Google Maps for desktop, it doesn’t show up. It’s not in the Knowledge Panel yet. I assume eventually, they will be adding it. This business here, Elk Springs Resort, they did fill out their services section, and it’s not in the Knowledge Panel. It also doesn’t show up in desktop in Google Maps. If I look at this listing in Google Maps, there’s no way to see the different services.Where it does show up is on mobile (in the Google Maps app). I took some screenshots and I put them in here. You can see this is from my mobile device, there’s this little link that says Menu. It’s because they sort of built this services feature from the same code base that they built the menu feature for restaurants. Right now, it’s called Menu on the front-end of the Google Maps app. Then this is what it looks like. If I click Menu, I can see that these are the two categories: Vacation Rentals and Pool Cabin Rental, and these are the different items. That’s how it appears in the app.There’s been a few other posts about this. Of course, I’m not the first to announce this. I just thought I would bring it to my viewership, my readership. Phil Rozek was one of the first to talk about it. Kevin Getch also wrote a great post about it, and Mike Blumenthal covers this new feature too. You should check those out too, see some other opinions on this feature.

I wanted to show you their official announcement too. This is how it came out by Google. It says yesterday. I think she updated, but it was April 5th or April 6th. She talks about how they launched in January, the new Menu editor for the food services industry, and now, they’re launching a new service for businesses, health & beauty, and service businesses, such as plumbers and florists. These are the categories that it should show up in.

I was wondering about which specific category, so I kind of went through all of the locations that I had access to.

YES, you can add services:

  • lawyers
  • dentists,
  • hotels,
  • pest control,
  • jewelry stores,
  • marketing agencies,
  • construction equipment suppliers,
  • insurance agencies.

They all had it. That was interesting.

No, you cannot add services:

I looked at some listings that we had of

  • auto dealers,
  • clothing stores,
  • educational supplies stores.

None of those listings had the ability to add services.

If you look at this official announcement, she says,

“Businesses in health & beauty and service businesses, such as plumbers and florists.”

It is service-specific businesses.

Service Feature Not Showing Up? Here’s A Trick.

Funny enough, Whitespark doesn’t have it. We did at first, for a second, and then I ruined it.

If you look at the Whitespark listing, we are set as marketing agency, but we don’t have the services thing. It should show up right here.I heard this trick, Dana DiTomaso told me that if you want to add a menu but you’re not a restaurant, you could do it by changing your primary category to be a restaurant, then you’re going to get the feature to add all the menu stuff. You change your category back and then you have the menu section on your listing. So that was very interesting. I was just playing around and testing that. I used the Whitespark listing as a guinea pig. But after doing that, and then switching it back, I don’t seem to have either. I’ve ruined the ability.

There is a trick. You could probably do the same thing with changing to a category that has services, adding the services, and then changing the category back, but do that at your own risk. I don’t know. I’m worried about that now, that I don’t have the services thing. I feel like my listing might be problematic now. Anyways, so that’s a little thing to keep in mind there.

Is This New Feature Editable?

Another question I was wondering is okay, well, let’s say we have all these services, will people be able to edit those services on our own listings. For example, if I go on to this listing, I can suggest an edit. This is a popular restaurant in Edmonton called Corso32. This is their Knowledge Panel here. I can make suggested changes on their Knowledge Panel. I can go suggest an edit and often, if you’re a local guy, those edits go straight through.If I go suggest an edit, there’s a bunch of stuff I can change in here. I can change their phone number, I can change their website, I can make all these suggestions. It’s interesting, I can even make a suggestion for the business description that they provided. You think you can but this is interesting. If I click on it, it just says what’s wrong with this? I have to describe that it’s inappropriate or whatever. It doesn’t give you just the ability to edit the description. It just lets you complain about it, it seems to me. I suspect that with the services, it would be the same kind of thing, where you can say there’s something wrong with it, but you won’t be able to directly suggest edits for that. I think that’s a good approach by Google on how to do that.

How Will This Service Feature Affect Rankings?

The big, huge question you’re probably wondering is will this affect rankings? If you fill in all those services, and you add all that content in Google My Business, will you potentially rank better for that content? I think maybe, that it might be the case. It’s a tough one for me, because I look at this and I think, “This is a massive opportunity for keyword stuffing and spamming and if you’re just going to fill out as much information as possible and basically spam the heck out of it so that you might rank better for it.”

In my mind, I’m thinking, well, Google…it probably wouldn’t be a good idea for them to leverage this too much for rankings.

But case in point here, you know, you might think the same thing about the business name field in Google My Business, but it does get used for rankings and people have no problems spamming the heck out of it. Mike Blumenthal has a whole section on his website dedicated to the Hall of Shame, people that are just spamming the heck out of us and they do this in order to get better rankings.It’s tough to say. I have some tests going, so I want to test it out. I want to take an obscure term that is not really related to the business at all, add it to the business in the services section, and see if it can have any impact on rankings. I’m testing that out. I’ll let you know how it goes.

Why Is Google Continuing to Push So Many Features into GMB?

You have to think about why is Google adding all of this information and why are they continuing to push out so many features into Google My Business. I believe that they’re doing it because they’ve always said, and Cindy Krum likes to quote how

“Google is trying to be the presentation layer of the internet.”

They don’t want you to have to click onto the website and get the services. They want to present that immediately. They want to provide it immediately because that allows them to deliver better one result, results, where it’s just like you’re looking for something, here it is. Does this business offer this service? They can answer that now on their Google Home voice-command devices, because you now have given that data to them in Google My Business. It makes a lot of sense that they’re adding this.

You have to think about how Google is shifting to just be that answer. They want to be able to answer every question and how in the future, your website might not play as big a role as it does now in converting people. You’ve got to make sure that your Google My Business listing is fully enhanced and optimized. It has all the information it can because so many people are going to convert right off that.

It’s like if I’m looking for a pest control company and I can get that information right while browsing through Google, then I might not skip through some other ones that don’t have the information. I feel this is an important field that everyone that has the opportunity to fill it out should fill it out and complete it with as much detail as possible. There may be a ranking benefit, but more importantly, I do think there’s going to be a conversion benefit. The more information you can provide the customers, the more likely they are to convert.

That’s all I have for this week. I hope you have a great week and we will see you next time. Thank you. Bye.

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