Google has introduced a new way for business owners to update any information and photos relating to their business that appears in search results.
Starting this week, when business owners look up their listings on Google Search they will see a dashboard above the results that allows them to edit or update information about their business. The interactive menu will be available to business owners who search for their listing while logged into their business account.
Google product manager Ranjith Jayaram, who announced the change on a company blog, provided several examples of the kind of information that business owners can add or update via the dashboard.
The list includes the ability for owners to add or correct information such as operating hours or to share photos and post details of any promotions or special offers that they might be introducing.
The dashboard will also provide owners with information such as the number of views their listings has received in a specific time period, what people were searching for when they called up their listings or when searchers download photos of the business.
More than 8 in 10 Internet users search the web for local information, Jayaram noted. So, business owners can benefit from having a listing that showcases their strengths and what makes them unique. "When people get to know your business, they are more likely to become customers," he said.
Studies shown that businesses with detailed listings are twice as likely as others to gain customer trust and have a nearly 40 percent higher likelihood of attracting customers to their store, Jayaram said. They are also 30 percent more likely to secure a purchase from people who accessed their listings, he claimed quoting a 2014 study.
The newly introduced ability for business owners to manage their listing directly from Search is part of a broader effort by Google to get businesses—especially local ones—make their products and services more searchable on the Web.
Earlier this year, Google introduced a feature called Posts that is designed to give business owners a way to share more than just listing information via search. The feature gives local businesses that have signed up for a Google 'My Business' account a way to share information on promotions and discounts, upcoming events or product announcements.
One of the options available via Posts gives users the ability to do things like make a reservation, sign up for a newsletter or get more details on an offer through links embedded directly in the search results.
Google has touted the feature as giving business owners a way to attract more customers and to interact directly with the ones they already have.