Google has recently made some exciting updates to the Google My Business Knowledge card and Maps search results that you want to know about. These updates can directly influence your business listing in Google Maps and search results, adding additional information about your practice and new ways to interact with users.
You can now put a link to book an appointment right on the local search results page. This means that wherever your Google Knowledge Card shows up in the local results, along with your name, address, phone number, hours and website url, there can be a link to your online appointment page (or any other page you set such as your contact us page).
A quick note: The knowledge card is not generated in every search. It’s triggered by branded searches (such as a search for the practice name or doctor) or those close to a branded search (such as the address). As opposed to a standard organic search result listing, the knowledge card appears as a box on the top of the first page of the search results, that includes all of the major details of the business.
So, what do you need to do to activate this appointment link? If your link has not appeared automatically, you can add it by signing into Google My Business. Select your listing and click the URLs section and enter the URL for the page you want to appear. Click “Apply”. The link should go live almost instantly. While right now this feature seems to only be available for US businesses, we assume it will reach Canada in the near future.
If your link does appear there already it was likely automatically updated by a third party such as an online scheduling software. You cannot change or edit the information that was automatically entered through GMB, you need to contact the third-party directly.
Google has now enabled Google Posts which allows you to post live updates such as sales, events, news or promotions directly on your Google knowledge card in the search results. Similar to what you would include in a Facebook post, these posts can also include images, videos, gifs and inline links so that your audience can take a direct action like booking an appointment, viewing a page on your website or contacting the office. And it all appears in your Google knowledge card listing when someone searches directly for your practice on desktop or mobile devices.
The posts show up instantly or you can schedule a time to publish as well as the duration of time you want the post to remain. You will also get user insight updates from Google on the number of people that see and interact with the post. To begin posting you need to apply to verify access to your page by filling in a form via Google and they will reply to you within a week.
Google is currently in the process of rolling this out according to location and category (it doesn’t appear that optometry practices are on the list yet) so if they have not yet gotten to you, they will put you on the waitlist.
Google has also enabled a beta version of a Questions & Answers section which allows viewers and business owners to ask and answer questions about your practice directly on your Google knowledge card in the Google Maps and search results.
This feature is currently only available on Android mobile devices. Business users that can access Google Maps on Android will receive a notification when a question has been posted and can post a reply. The user that posted the question will be notified when the reply is posted as well. If the question and answer are something the business owner feels is relevant to many users he can pin it to be pushed to the top of the list of Q&As for all users to view at a quick glance. You can sign on to be a beta tester by downloading the newest version of Google Maps at APK Mirror or Play (which also included a couple of other beta tests being done right now).
These features can be great ways to enhance your Google knowledge card, providing more information and means of engagement with your audience, directly in the search results. Need some help implementing these features? We are here for you? Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or (412) 532-6542.