Guide to Managing a Listing on Google Search and Maps – Small business information, insight and resources | Mon, 20 Aug 2018 21:34:52 +0000 en-US hourly 1 President’s Day Reminder: How to Set Special Hours on Your Yelp and Google Business Listings Sun, 18 Feb 2018 19:51:08 +0000

One of the handiest features of services like Yelp or Google’s business listings is their display of a company’s hours of operation. Seeing that a shop is “about to close” has stopped me from driving across town on several occasions. But what about those days when a cafe may be closed because of a private party? Or perhaps it may have different hours related to the seasons of the year? There are times when the owner of the business needs to change the time of operation for one day only. Some small restaurants close on the weekend, or perhaps on Mondays. In some countries, shops and cafes close during mid-afternoon hours. On some official U.S. holidays, nearly all American businesses close (Thanksgiving, for example). However, there are certain days that aren’t actually holidays, but on which many businesses close (the day after Thanksgiving, for example).

Here’s how to manage special days and times on Yelp and Google’s listings pages. (Tip: You also should also update your website.)

How to change information related to a special date or time on your company’s Google business listings

Before Starting | If you haven’t already claimed your Google Business listing, start with our tutorial on “How to Start Using Google My Business.” If you’d like to learn a lot about using Google My Business, visit the Guide to Managing a Listing on Google Search and Maps.

Start | Sign in to Google My Business

  1. For a single location:
    1. From card view, choose the listing you’d like to set special hours for and click Manage location. If you’re viewing your locations as a list instead of cards, switch to card view by clicking the cards icon  on the right side above your locations.
    2. Click Info from the menu on the left side of the page.
  2. For multiple locations:
    1. From list view, select the locations you’d like to set special hours for. If you’re viewing your locations as cards instead of a list, switch to list view by clicking the list icon  on the right side above your locations.
    2. Click the pencil icon  in the top-right corner of the page.

Click the  Special hours section | (You’ll only see this section if you’ve already provided regular hours.)

  • Click Confirm hours next to an upcoming holiday. Or click Add new date to choose a different date.
  • Enter the opening and closing times for that day.
  • Slide the circle to “Closed” to indicate that the location is closed all day.
  • If you’re open 24 hours, click Opens at and select 24 hours from the drop-down menu that appears.
  • If you enter closing hours past midnight, make sure to set them properly.
  • When you’ve finished entering all of your special hours, click Apply.

Your special hours will appear to customers on Google only for the designated days.

How to set a special date or time on your Yelp business listing

First things first | If you haven’t done so already, find and claim your Yelp Business Page. (More information about claiming your business.) After you have claimed your Yelp Business Page and have been verified by Yelp, do the following.

Log-in at (You may also want to download the Yelp for Business Owners app for mobile access.)

Log into the Yelp for Business Owners admin page on either the app or your Yelp listings page.

  • On “Business Information” select “Special Hours.”
  • Mark your business as being closed or opened during a specific window of time.
  • Special hours are set on a day-by-day basis, so add each day where your operating hours will be different from the hours regularly listed on Yelp.

Once your hours are set, customers will see a banner highlighting your special hours on your Yelp Business Page as well as call outs in the hours’ section.


How to Manage Your Business Listing Without Leaving Google Search Thu, 07 Sep 2017 21:05:54 +0000

As we’ve been saying since the launch of Google My Business, with more than 80% of people searching the web to find local information (1), it’s important to have a presence on the web that showcases what makes your business unique. Businesses with complete listings on Google are twice as likely to gain customer trust (2), 38% more likely to attract in-store visits, and 29% more likely to see a purchase.(3)

In addition to Google My Business (the administrative dashboard for keeping your business listing up-to-date), Google has announced you can now edit your business information right on the listing page. If this sounds familiar, it’s because we announced it back in January of this year.

But to make it official, Ranjith Jayaramyou, product manager of Google Local search, has announced on the Google Small Business blog that a business owner can now complete and enhance their listing in these ways:

  • Add or correct business information, post updated hours, and more.
  • Post on Google and stay engaged with your customers.
  • Share photos that make your business stand out.
  • See how many views your listing gets, and easily access detailed information about your listing’s performance.
  • Know when users upload photos of your business.
  • Quickly take the most important actions to complete and enhance your business listing.

How does it work?

  1. Find your business on Google Search and you will see a new, simple menu right above the search results. If you’re not seeing the menu, make sure you’re logged in with your business account.
  2. Click the edit button, and the fields you can edit will be highlighted. You can update your information and upload photos directly.

1 Consumer Barometer
2 Google/Oxera, The Benefits of Complete Business Listings, Dec 2014
3 Ipsos MORI, Impact of Search Listings for Local Businesses, Aug 2014

VIA | Google | Used with permission

How to Add More Information-Specific URLs to Your Google Listings | 2017 Tue, 15 Aug 2017 12:07:04 +0000

Your business listing on Google (the information displayed on searches and Google maps that you can manage with Google My Business) can now include additional URLs, allowing you to provide links to specific actions such as online orders or reservations. These links make it easier for customers to take actions directly from Google Search or Maps. This means your business listing can include links to actions such as placing online orders or reservations. Once again, thanks to our friend and Google My Business expert Mike Blumenthal for keeping us up-to-date on ways your business can take advantage of the stream of enhancements and features that help potential customers find you and your business. Here is Mike’s explanation of the new features.

Recently, Google started rolling out the ability to add a “make an appointment” URL to physician listings and other professions and industry verticals.

Some of the professions and industry verticals with the additional URL options:

  • Lawyers
  • Doctors
  • Insurance agencies
  • Consulting firms
  • Psychologists
  • Construction
  • Computer repair
  • Flooring
  • Plumbing

According to a new Google My Business help page about “Local Business URLs,” the additional URLs can be used for linking customers or clients to such actions as:

  • Booking an appointment
  • Placing an order
  • Reserving a table
  • Searching for items
  • Viewing the menu

As many restaurants and professionals already have online relationships with other reservation services or software (for example,, Google notes that “In some cases, links to ‘certain third-party booking services’ will appear automatically on business listings.”

How to add additional URLs to your Google listings

  1. Sign in to Google My Business.
  2. Choose the listing you want to edit. (If you’re using card view , you’ll need to click Manage location, then click Info from the menu.)
  3. Click into the  URLs section. Depending on your business category, you may see options to add additional URLs.
  4. Enter your URLs in the appropriate fields.
  5. Click Apply.

VIA | “Google My Business expands optional URLs for appointments, reservations and ordering ahead”

Google’s Mobile App Gets Personal, Local | 2017 Wed, 19 Jul 2017 20:22:27 +0000

Google’s new personalized feed utilizes machine learning algorithms designed to anticipate what’s interesting and important to a specific user. The user will see graphical “cards” with content like sports highlights, top news, engaging videos, new music, stories to read and more. “A feed will not only be based on your interactions with Google, but also factor in what’s trending in your area and around the world,” according to Thakur.

The new feed design allows users to chose to let Google collect preference and location data across all of its products like search and maps. From this information, the Google feed will recommend content choices, including retail shops, restaurants, and other local businesses.

The new feed design is available in the Google app for Android (including the Pixel Launcher) and iOS, (currently in the U.S. and rolling out internationally in the next couple of weeks).

via: Google
Google’s App Can Tap Customers Straight to Your Business | 2017 Fri, 24 Mar 2017 07:00:07 +0000

If you haven’t tried  Google app’s new “tappable shortcuts,” pull out your iPhone or Android and on the Google app (or on a mobile browser,, you’ll discover lots of little icons that you can tap to reach a wide array of tools and answers. While there are far more icons today on the Android app, there’s enough on the iOS version to get the idea. Click on the video below and you’ll see how the tap shortcuts work.

The shortcuts appear on the home screen and provide “taps” to small businesses like nearby restaurants, shops, and bars. You can tap for entertainment suggestions and weather. If you’re staying home tonight, there’s a shortcut for what’s on TV tonight.

Android users have an even more robust selection of tap shortcuts. Translation help, nearby attractions, flights, hotels, internet speed test, currency converter, and more. It also has shortcuts to games like tic-tac-toe and solitaire. Even tapping fun for the younger set: farm animal sounds. Google says it will add more taps with updates to the apps.

Observation: Tappable shortcuts are a little like voice commands (Siri, Amazon’s Alexa, OK Google) as the tapping interface is yet another way to interact with web-enabled technology that has no keyboards.

Recommendation: If you own a shop or restaurant, try out the shortcuts to see how a customer will be tapping to find you.


How to Get a ‘Temporarily Closed’ Message on Your Google Business Listing | February 2017 Thu, 02 Feb 2017 17:53:44 +0000

Thanks once again to local search expert Mike Blumenthal for allowing us to share his insight into the ever-evolving features that appear on a Google business listing. In the following item, Mike explains that Google is now responding to requests for businesses to indicate they are temporarily closed (e.g., seasonal, renovation, etc.) in their Google business listing. Previously, Google would only indicate a company was closed permanently.  As you can see from Mike’s explanation, the process to get the temporarily closed message posted is still clunky and requires a bit of advocacy — but it is possible.

Google is apparently partially supporting temporary business closures with a process and an appropriate messaging on the business Knowledge Panel (the information box about a business one sees on the results page following a Google search).
Currently, there is no public facing interface for this and the only way to get this done is to create a post in the Google My Business Forum with full business details and then get a top contributor to escalate the problem.

To get the temporarily closed message requires that the business close for than two weeks and that the company’s’ website also clearly reflect the closure.  Note that the change is only currently visible in the Knowledge Panel but that in Maps the business will still be shown as permanently closed.  Here is a location

Note that the change is only currently visible in the Knowledge Panel but that in Maps the business will still be shown as permanently closed.  Here is a location showing that status. (Click to view the listing in the context of a desktop search.)


Google Rolls Out Anti-Interstitial Penalty | 2017 Thu, 12 Jan 2017 21:31:18 +0000

Last August, we shared that Google would start penalizing mobile sites that contain certain types of interstitial messages or ads this month. So there’s no surprise that Google has now announced the”interstitial penalty” has begun.

Google’s interstitial ban is meant to improve the mobile user experience. When accessing a site the penalty targets sites that:

  • Show a popup that covers the main content, either immediately after the user navigates to a page from the search results, or while they are looking through the page.
  • Displays a standalone interstitial that the user has to dismiss before accessing the main content.
  • Uses a layout where the above-the-fold portion of the page appears similar to a standalone interstitial, but the original content has been inlined underneath the fold.

VIA | Mike Blumenthal


Also on

Google Will Start Penalizing Your Website on Mobile if You Don’t Stop Doing This | 2016

Google+ Data Exits Google My Business Dashboard, Replaced With Data from Search, Maps Listings | 2016 Tue, 09 Aug 2016 18:57:57 +0000

In another nail to the coffin of Google+, the search engine company has removed metrics related to a business Google+ listing found on its business listing dashboard, Google My Business. The search engine is replacing Google+ statistics with data related to the performance of a Google business listing that appears on Google Maps and Google Search.

The new feature is “designed to let users see where and how people are finding a business via Google,” according to Tom Pritchard, Google My Business product manager.

The new feature is another tool that emphasizes the importance Google is placing on helping businesses keep their information up to date — a service that is valuable both to small businesses and Google. By encouraging businesses to update their information, the search engine giant can provide more accurate and timely information in Google searches.

Also on | How to start using Google My Business

As we’ve suggested for months, it’s important to update your business information on Google Search and Google Maps. Using the “Google My Business” dashboard, you can update both Search and Maps simultaneously.

According to Google, the average well-maintained Google My Business listing gets five times more views than listings which haven’t been claimed by their owners.

What the new feature will report


Though some people search for your business on Google by name, others search more generally for what you have to offer. (For example, “pizza restaurants in [your town].”) The new feature will allow a user to see the number of people who visited their listing after searching for it directly, and how many discovered your business while looking for a broader category (like pizza restaurants).

VIA | Google Small Business


Google Maps Tweaks Design, Adds Business Photo Carousel | 2016 Tue, 26 Jul 2016 22:30:21 +0000

Google Maps is making some visual changes and additions to its desktop, Android and iOS versions, including enhancements to how it displays business information. The new design also includes a business photo carousel display.

As part of an update, Google Maps said in a blog post that it removed elements “that aren’t absolutely required” (like road outlines) and improved the typography of street names, points of interest, transit stations to make them more distinguishable from other things on the map.

Areas of interest


According to Google Maps’ UX designer Zhou Bailian and Google Local software engineer Mark Li, “as you explore the new map, you’ll notice areas shaded in orange representing ‘areas of interest’—places where there’s a lot of activities and things to do.


“To find an ‘area of interest’ just open Google Maps and look around you. When you’ve found an orange-shaded area, zoom in to see more details about each venue and tap one for more info. Whether you’re looking for a hotel in a hot spot or just trying to determine which way to go after exiting the subway in a new place, ‘areas of interest’ will help you find what you’re looking for with just a couple swipes and a zoom.”

Google Maps will highlight the areas with the highest concentration of restaurants, bars and shops. “In high-density areas like NYC, we use a human touch to make sure we’re showing the most active areas,” said Balian and Li. (See video below, supplied by Google Maps)

Google Maps already integrates information about local businesses, including location, ratings and reviews for more than 100+ million distinct places.

It’s not a wheel, it’s a photo carousel

Google has also updated the design for how business photos and Inside Street images are displayed. According to Barry Schwartz, Sergey Alakov spotted the new design and posted it on Twitter. Schwartz observes the new design seems cleaner and fresher, with quicker carousel like interface to zoom through the various images. The images include static photos and 3D walkthrough Inside Street view images. Here are two examples, shared by Alakov and Schwartz.



VIA | Search Engine Land

The Eight Top Customer Complaints About Local Merchants | 2016 Mon, 13 Jun 2016 17:19:19 +0000

Mike Blumenthal, our favorite expert on anything related to Google My Business and local search, recently published the findings of a survey on what causes complaints among U.S. consumers. “Handling customer complaints is one of those areas where most local businesses drop the ball,” writes Mike, “Yet it’s an area that has disastrous downsides and such an incredible upside for the business when handled properly.” Mike’s complete post appears on

When dealing with a local merchant, what will cause you to complain?

In this survey question, a representative sample of U.S. consumers (n=499) gave the following answers to the open-ended question, “When dealing with a local merchant, what will cause you to complain?”

.,2% | Dirtiness
..2% | Lack of Knowledge
..3% | Lack of Selection/Out of Stock
..5% | High Prices
..8% | Too Slow & Long Lines
..8% | Low Quality Products
23% | Rudeness & Bad Attitude
34% | Lack of or Poor Customer Service

15% | Other

The silence of the dis-satisfied customer

According to Mike, most consumers don’t express their complaints and will often just stop frequenting a business when dissatisfied.


This in itself is all the more reason to proactively engage your customers in a feedback process. And yet repeat customers are really the life blood of any business generating significantly more lifetime value and at a lower cost. Understanding the pain points of your business is needed to outline a path to correction. If a local business can understand the most common areas of consumer pain, they can then work to minimize them.




(via: Get Five Stars)

 Photos: ThinkStock