Tuesday, May 18Digital Marketing Journals

Local Search

How to Fix Common Service Area Business Issues in Google My Business
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How to Fix Common Service Area Business Issues in Google My Business

When it comes to Google My Business’s rules and guidelines there is a lot of room for improvement.Yes, they have rules written down, but those guidelines are vague in many areas and contradictory in spots.That makes things confusing for even the smartest marketer or business owner. Trying to understand some of GMBs guidelines is almost like trying to solve a Rubik’s Cube in a dark room.And the rules pertaining to Service Area Businesses (SABs) seem to be the most confusing.In this column, you’ll learn about the most common problems SABs experience in Google My Business — and how to solve them.What is Unique About Service Area Businesses in GMB?Service Area Businesses are those lacking a physical storefront location where customers can visit.SABs have employees that go out to their custo...
Top GMB Insights Trends Enterprise Brands Need to Know
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Top GMB Insights Trends Enterprise Brands Need to Know

New research from Rio SEO shows dramatic effects on Local Search and offers insights into how to be more effective in monitoring search habits at the local level and leverage those changes for better economic performance.Rio SEO tracked consumer trends across over 200,000 locations in a range of verticals.The report covers these categories.Business ServicesFinancial servicesSit-down restaurantsQuick Service RestaurantsRetailHealthcareHospitalityMassive ImpactAdvertisementContinue Reading BelowIt’s widely known that the impact on business was massive. But this new research shows how the pandemic affected website clicks, click to call, and driving direction clicks.According to Rio SEO:“Without question, COVID-19 had a massive impact on the local search landscape in 2020. Across the over 2...
Google Adds 3 New Features For People Ready to Travel Again
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Google Adds 3 New Features For People Ready to Travel Again

As search trends show a renewed interest in travel, Google is adding new features to help people plan their next trip.Google reports searches for hotels reached a 10-year high in April 2021, as did searches for “where can I travel” and “travel restrictions by country.”To help answer those questions, and keep people up to date with travel advisories, Google is rolling out three new features in search results.New Travel-Related Features in Google Search ResultsTodays updates to Google Search are designed to help people stay informed about the latest travel guidance and explore potential destinations.Latest Travel GuidanceWhen searchers look for travel information like flights, hotels or things to do, Google currently lets them know if there are COVID-19 related travel advisories or restri...
Best Practices for Getting and Using Your Google Maps API Key
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Best Practices for Getting and Using Your Google Maps API Key

With the rise and prominence of local search marketing, brands have begun to build robust location pages with advanced mapping features to meet the growing needs of searchers.The page types typically include a map to show users where the location is, what are the cross streets, and any major landmarks. This enables the user to easily find the location and increases a brand’s opportunities for conversions.With numerous mapping options available, it’s crucial to familiarize yourself with them and understand how to implement them — especially the top contender: Google Maps.And for that, you’re going to need a Google Maps API Key.In this column, you’ll learn from my colleague/co-author Marshall Nyman and I what a Google Maps API Key is and how to get started.What Is a Google Maps API Key?Go...
A Local SEO Goldmine for Retailers
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A Local SEO Goldmine for Retailers

Check Your Free Local Listings DashboardNow That You Have The Data, Figure Out What It MeansTips for Retailers to Make the Most of Google Merchant Center InfoA lot of data to inform your SEO strategy is hiding in plain sight; you just need to know where to look. For multi-location retailers, Google Merchant Center can be a treasure trove of data to help gain that competitive edge.Last November, just in time for the holidays, Google began showing free local product listings at the bottom of Google My Business pages.They are the free version of Google’s Local Inventory Ads and look like this:This program is open to any brick-and-mortar business with a Google Merchant Center account in Australia, Austria, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Japan, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sw...
10 Quick Restaurant SEO Tips to Boost Your Google Search Visibility
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10 Quick Restaurant SEO Tips to Boost Your Google Search Visibility

Define Your SEO & Content StrategiesDominate in Local SearchEngage With Customers on Social MediaEncourage Reviews & TestimonialsCreate Unique ContentConsider Content LocalizationApply Basic On-Page SEO Best PracticesThink Mobile FirstImplement Schema “Restaurants” MarkupMeasure Your EffortsSummaryA lot of factors have put an increasing amount of pressure on restaurants to improve their online presence.Whether through disruptions due to the pandemic, increased competition, or changes in the importance of having a strong online presence, we know we have to up our game.Right now, improving visibility at the local level is essential for both in-person dining and carry-out options.There are a lot of paid ads, partner services, and referral options for gaining traffic. However, risin...
Yelp Reports Major Growth in Searches For Diverse Businesses
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Yelp Reports Major Growth in Searches For Diverse Businesses

Yelp Search Data Shows Growing Consumer Interest in Diverse BusinessesAdditional Highlights From Yelp’s ReportNew Attribute For Asian-Owned BusinessesYelp’s latest local economic impact report reveals that searches for diverse businesses grew significantly over the past year.The report defines a diverse business as a women-owned, Black-owned, Asian-owned, or Latinx-owned establishment.Businesses that identify as either women-owned, Black-owned, Asian-owned or Latinx-owned can display attributes on their Yelp page to assist people searching for a diverse business.Business owners can opt-in to more than one attribute, if applicable, such as Black-owned and women-owned.Yelp data tracks when business owners opt into those attributes on their business page. Its latest report aims to measure ...
How to Increase Offline Sales for Local Businesses
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How to Increase Offline Sales for Local Businesses

Local Restaurant SearchesYouTube and Local ShoppingGoogle MapsGuide to Offline SalesGoogle is More than Ten Links on a Search ResultCitationsGoogle published a guide on four ways to drive local search traffic to an offline local business and make more sales. It’s a good reminder that Google is more than just the ten blue links on a search page.Understanding all the ways customers are trying to find businesses will help create more sales.For local retail, Google shared that various kinds of searches are growing exponentially.In particular, three kinds of searches are showing dramatic increases:The first kind of search involves consumers searching for businesses that are local to them.The second type of search involves consumers who are searching for businesses local to them that have som...
Google Enhances Business Profiles For Stores With Delivery & Pickup
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Google Enhances Business Profiles For Stores With Delivery & Pickup

Google is adding more information to Search and Maps about businesses that offer options for grocery delivery and pickup.The information is getting added to search automatically, which means there’s no work needed on the part of businesses, but it’s an update worth being aware of.This addition to Google Search and Maps is rolling out as part of a larger update which includes a number of other useful features.We’ll look at the other features at the end of this article – let’s first go over the enhancements to Google My Business profiles.New Information in Google My Business ProfilesGoogle is bringing shopping information to stores’ business profiles to assist people with finding convenient grocery delivery and pickup options.AdvertisementContinue Reading BelowThe information Google is ad...
Wix and Google Announce GMB Integration
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Wix and Google Announce GMB Integration

Wix Business ModelWhat GMB Integration OffersQ & A With WixGoogle Integration ExpertiseWix Making Strides in Local SearchWix and Google announced an expanded partnership that integrates Google My Business (GMB) directly within Wix. Businesses can now access GMB data, customer interactions and manage their  profile directly from Wix.Wix Business ModelThe value proposition in a service like Wix is that they take handle the technical side of an online presence. Things like search engine optimization (SEO) and structured data are taken care of by Wix. Wix also provides marketing tools that help small businesses succeed. This allows businesses to focus on doing what they do best.AdvertisementContinue Reading BelowIntegrating Google My Business fits in with the Wix business model of makin...
New SEO Tool Tracks % Of Google SERPs with Local Packs
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New SEO Tool Tracks % Of Google SERPs with Local Packs

A new, free tool for SEOs provides insights about Google search features from an analysis of 60 million US queries.Developed by Local SEO Guide, the Local-Pack-O-Meter tracks data for ten different types of Google search features such as local packs, knowledge panels, shopping, job postings, ads, and more.What separates the Local-Pack-O-Meter apart from other tools that monitor Google search features is the amount of data it has access to.Traject Data, a client of Local SEO Guide, supplies the SERP stats from roughly 60 million US search queries. The significantly larger sample size, compared to similar tools, may result in data that’s more representative of all US queries.“While tools like MozCast have their own versions of a SERP Feature tracker, these are typically only for a relativ...
Proven Local Marketing Strategies to Drive Customer Experience & ROI [Webinar]
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Proven Local Marketing Strategies to Drive Customer Experience & ROI [Webinar]

Today’s consumer is looking for more personalized, meaningful brand interactions. How can you better connect to maximize your marketing ROI?Join our next sponsored Search Engine Journal webinar on Wednesday, March 24 at 2 p.m. ET.Dan Dillon, VP for Marketing at Reveal Mobile, shares five proven local marketing campaigns you can use right now to reach high-intent audiences.In this presentation, you will learn:Strategies to get customers back into stores.Top-performing CTAs for hyper-personalized ads.How to implement geofencing marketing on Facebook.Targeting tactics to retain customers and win market share.How successful brands use geofencing to create exceptional experiences and drive ROI.Dillon provides a data-rich view into how digital marketers use geofencing and location-based marke...
Google Maps Lets Users Add Photos Without Leaving a Review
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Google Maps Lets Users Add Photos Without Leaving a Review

Google Maps Photo UpdatesDraw Roads on Google MapsGoogle Maps Community ChallengeGoogle Maps is introducing three new ways for users to add helpful content for others, including the ability to share photos without leaving a review.The Google Maps features announced today aim to make sharing and finding local recommendations easier, and a new community challenge may add some fun to the process.Google Maps Photo UpdatesA new content type will soon be rolled out to Google Maps called photo updates.Photo updates allow users to share experiences and highlights with recent photos without being required to leave a review.A photo update consists of a recent picture of a place with a short text description.To add a photo update, start by selecting a place in Google Maps and going to the “Updates...
12 Proven Local SEO Tips to Dominate the SERPs and Map Pack
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12 Proven Local SEO Tips to Dominate the SERPs and Map Pack

Get on a Local Search PlatformUse Structured DataTap Into Google My Business & Optimize for ItUpdate Event StatusAudit Your ListingsManage Your ReputationUse Hyper-Local ContentConnect With Customers via Always-on MessagingMonitor TrendsOptimize for Voice Search & MobileTrack Rankings & Build Out Local Landing PagesDon’t Forget Links Are Still Very ImportantBeing visible on search engine results pages (SERPs) is more important than ever, especially for businesses that have physical brick-and-mortar locations.Restaurants, retail stores, and other types of local businesses have many potential customers looking for your products and services.COVID-19 has changed the way we do business and consumers’ informational needs have grown. Optimizing your local presence is critical for ...
How to Delete or Merge Duplicate Google My Business Listings
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How to Delete or Merge Duplicate Google My Business Listings

A Quick Recap: Why Google My Business Is Essential for SuccessWhy It Is Important to Delete or Merge Duplicate Google My Business ListingsHow to Merge Two Google My Business ListingsHow to Delete a Duplicate Google My Business ListingLet’s say you just moved to the city of Chicago, specifically Lincoln Park, and you want to try their famous pizza.You Google [best pizza in lincoln park] and the search results pop up.You see many businesses representing the best pizza in Chicago. How do you choose?You look at the reviews; a recent study shows that 88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation.Not only that, but you consider the convenience factor.Is the pizza joint close?What is the address? Hours of operation?You ultimately decide to get the pizza delivered a...
8 New & Updated Google My Business Features for Local SEO
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8 New & Updated Google My Business Features for Local SEO

Google has rolled out several new features and attributes in Google My Business (GMB) since the Coronavirus began.If you’re running a local business, you need to know about those updates so you can get the most out of the platform.In this article, we’ll check out 10 recent changes to Google My Business that you need to check out.1. Health & Safety AttributesLate in 2020, GMB rolled out new attributes so searchers can make informed decisions about the health standards at businesses they may visit.These new GMB attributes are:Appointment required.Mask required.Staff wear masks.Staff get temperature checks.Temperature check required.Keep in mind that f you follow stricter health-related guidelines than your competitors and you advertise those guidelines on GMB, you could very well capt...
7 Local Marketing Measurement Best Practices for Times of Crisis
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7 Local Marketing Measurement Best Practices for Times of Crisis

It’s hard for local marketers to believe that it was just last March our goals were completely upended and we were forced to drastically change how we view local marketing measurement and success for both channels and campaigns.Soft skills such as flexibility and the ability to pivot at the drop of a hat became a non-negotiable requirement.Hard KPIs, as a result, have had to shift as what customers expect from brands requires a heavy lift of development to execute.Curbside pickup, once a service targeted to busy individuals, is no longer a unique value add a brand offers but an expected health & safety protocol for all consumers.The same is true for contactless delivery.What does this mean specifically for local marketing—and particularly, how you measure success?In this post, my co...
Wix vs WordPress? Mueller Says Solve Content Issues
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Wix vs WordPress? Mueller Says Solve Content Issues

Someone tweeted their intention to build a Wix site to test how well it ranks for local search compared to WordPress. John Mueller responded with a series of helpful suggestions, emphasizing that platforms that take care of the technical are ideal for small business owners.Wix Versus WordPressThe initial tweet was about creating a test between Wix and WordPress.Rob May (@robinlmay) tweeted:“Going to get and build a @Wix site and see if I can get it ranking in some local city (here) for #SEO related services (as a test against WordPress) – just to see if it will work. Will take all appropriate steps/measures for best practices. Huh. Wonder how that will go?”Tests Can Be MisleadingOne of the things about SEO tests is that they are subject to interpretation. In other words, the meaning of ...
How to Write Meta Descriptions for Store Locations
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How to Write Meta Descriptions for Store Locations

Today’s Ask An SEO question comes from Sussana in Guatemala. Sussana asks:“What is the best way to write a proper meta description for store locations? Should they contain the store’s phone number?”Thanks for the great question, Sussana!There is no one right way to write a meta description for a store location, but there are plenty of wrong ways.Below, you’ll find what we do when creating meta descriptions for locations for our clients.  These same principles apply to some product, service, and category pages, too.One thing that’s important to note is that meta descriptions likely will not help you rank in Google at this point.They do help you to get more traffic to your website from your rankings, though.AdvertisementContinue Reading BelowThink of the meta title as the advertisement th...
Google Maps Search Trends For January 2021
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Google Maps Search Trends For January 2021

Google is sharing insights about trending searches in Google Maps, a rare set of search data which may assist local marketers.Local search data for the month of January traditionally offers a look into peoples’ New Year’s resolution plans, with searches for gyms, healthy restaurants, winter vacations, and various forms of self improvement spiking during this month.Unique to January 2021, this set of Google Maps search data offers a look into what people are doing when they leave the home during a time when travel is discouraged.The data reveals people are doing a lot of the same things they do every January, with a different approach to it this year.Instead of searching for international travel destinations, people are searching for local travel. Instead of searching for the nearest gym...
Why Was My Google My Business Listing Suspended?
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Why Was My Google My Business Listing Suspended?

Many local businesses rely on their Google My Business (GMB) listing as a major online marketing tool.In fact, for a large group of small businesses, a GMB profile is their only form of internet marketing.Foolish?Yes.Risky?Yes.But for small local businesses that operate on a tiny marketing budget (or even no budget at all), a free GMB profile is often the only online marketing strategy they have.When they run into issues with Google My Business, those issues can literally put them out of business.One of the biggest stressors to a small business owner in this situation is when their Google My Business listing gets suspended.With a Google My Business suspension, your GMB listing is no longer visible on Google Search or Maps, or you have lost control of your listing (your business listing ...
Google My Business to Log Recent Customer Calls
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Google My Business to Log Recent Customer Calls

Google My Business is working on a new feature that will allow businesses to see recent customer calls triggered from search results.Google is notifying business owners about this upcoming feature via the GMB. The notification can be seen below:Call history notification in Google My BusinessClicking on Try it out prompts a message saying “You’ll be notified when this feature is available.”AdvertisementContinue Reading BelowCall history in Google My Business is clearly in the early stages of development. But there’s a help page already published where users can learn more about the feature before it launches.Clicking on Learn more links to a help page that reads:“You can use call history to keep track of phone calls from your customers on Google Search and Maps. Your calls are all in one...
How to Completely Optimize Your Google My Business Listing
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How to Completely Optimize Your Google My Business Listing

Google My Business (GMB) is a free tool from Google that helps business owners manage their online presence across the search engine and its growing portfolio of utilities.Seasoned SEO professionals use GMB listings to leverage a location-based strategyCreating a GMB listing is the first step to local search success.And for good reason.GMB offers the greatest impact for brands seeking local exposure.A feature like Google’s Local Search emphasizes the need for a GMB listing for both new and established businesses.It gives a list of businesses nearby and a lot of information needed to find a specific business like:Business address.Business hours.Category.Reviews.Google’s Knowledge Graph also utilizes verified Google My Business information.AdvertisementContinue Reading BelowIt helps gener...
A Complete Local SEO Checklist
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A Complete Local SEO Checklist

A local search strategy is incredibly important.For community businesses and businesses looking to take advantage of mobile, as well as new and changing consumer behaviors, having a local SEO plan is now a necessity more than an option.Customers across all industry types are searching for the best products and services near them – and this does not just mean retail and ecommerce.They want local answers and services fast.One of the significant differences between local SEO and “regular” SEO is how you target customers.However, the differences don’t stop there.As local consumers look for better and more relevant experiences, “near me” searches continue to rise.About 46% of all Google searches have local intent.Consumers with smartphones are increasingly using GPS-based apps to search for ...
Google Expands Live Busyness Information to More Places
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Google Expands Live Busyness Information to More Places

Google’s live busyness information is expanding to cover more types of places, and becoming a prominent fixture in Google Maps.Live busyness information is a feature Google launched back in 2016 which informs searchers of how busy a place is expected to be at a given time.The data is typically surfaced when people look for a specific place in Google Search or Maps.Going forward, live busyness information will be displayed in Google Maps even when people aren’t looking for anywhere specific.In addition, Google is expanding its coverage of live busyness information to millions of places around the world.Here’s more about each of these updates which are sure to change how people interact with local search.Live Busyness in MapsThe pandemic has transformed live busyness into an essential too...
How to Target Multiple Cities Without Hurting Your SEO
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How to Target Multiple Cities Without Hurting Your SEO

You’ve seen it a ton of times.Keywords targeting a specific city.“Plumber in Austin.”“Flower shop in Newark.”“Best pizza in Rockford.”Which gets you thinking: If you can rank for a keyword that targets multiple cities, will that help your SEO?Enter, local SEO.We’ll explore here how it can actually hurt you and learn how to do it right so it helps you instead.Let’s dive in!Why Is Local SEO Important?If local SEO can potentially “hurt” you, why do it at all?Here are two good reasons.Local SEO Attracts Foot TrafficImagine traveling out of town for a distant cousin’s wedding.On the night before the big day, you’re in your hotel room, craving a giant cheese pizza.You pick up your phone and Google…what?“Pizza?”I don’t think so.I bet you Google a location-specific keyword, like “best pizza in ...
10 Local SEO Tips to Improve Your Real Estate Websites
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10 Local SEO Tips to Improve Your Real Estate Websites

The real estate industry is highly competitive, especially in major cities.From the solopreneur trying to make ends meet to the massive national conglomerates, everyone is out to do whatever they can to increase their visibility and get those listings.Luckily for you, online, you don’t have to compete with hundreds of thousands of other real estate agents.Since the area you serve is hyperlocal, you’re only competing with others in that same hyperlocal area.Of course, depending on location, the competition may be more fierce, even among small businesses.But, using local SEO gives you a fighting chance. As long as you know what you’re doing.What follows are 10 tips to improve your real estate website so that it can dominate local search.1. Start with an SEO AuditBefore you can figure out ...
How to Create a Dynamic Travel Sector Reviews Strategy
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How to Create a Dynamic Travel Sector Reviews Strategy

Without going over the impacts that the Coronavirus has had on the travel sector, one thing for certain is that it has highlighted the importance of both dynamism and agility within SEO strategies for the travel sector.At the heart of any good SEO strategy is a base level content strategy.From this base level, you can design and develop an agile reviews strategy that not only helps achieve your SEO objectives but also your wider business objectives:Greater brand awareness.More leads.Greater return custom.When working with travel companies, a common rabbit hole they fall into is the notion that to rank for specific keywords you need exceptional lengths of prose.For a lot of informational queries, this is true, but in travel, there’s only so many times you can phrase “golden sandy beach.”...
Local SEO Workflows to Better Manage Your Google My Business Listing
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Local SEO Workflows to Better Manage Your Google My Business Listing

Want to learn how to keep returning customers engaged and convert new customers through your Google My Business listing?On October 28, I moderated a Search Engine Journal webinar sponsored by SEMrush and presented by Ross Tavendale, Managing Director at Type A Media.He walked through some simple workflows that small business owners can start doing today in order to work smarter with their Google My Business (GMB) listing.Here’s a recap of the presentation.Running a small business is hard.Often, as the owner of a small business, you are in charge of HR, finance, operations, sales, marketing and a million other things.In today’s fast-paced environment, if you’re just standing still and maintaining the status quo, that actually means that over time your business will experience attrition a...
How to Create Google My Business Posts That Get Results
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How to Create Google My Business Posts That Get Results

Having a Google My Business (GMB) profile is one of the best ways to get attention for your local business and boost your rankings.With so many features, working with GMB can get overwhelming.One feature worth using: Google My Business Posts.Posts give you the ability to promote your brand, services, products, events, and offers.GMB posts are displayed at the bottom of your Google My Business Knowledge Panel and are a great way to show off what your business has to offer.Get Familiar with the GMB Posts PolicyCreating posts are fairly easy to do, but before you make posts, it’s important that you are familiar with Google My Business Posts content policy.You want to make sure that you know what is and what isn’t cool when it comes to posts.If you violate GMB posts policies, your post will...
Google Maps Rolls Out 4 New Features
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Google Maps Rolls Out 4 New Features

Google Maps has four new features to improve the experience for users as well as businesses who use the platform to reach customers.Here’s a look at everything new in Google Maps and how it can be useful to you.Messaging From Maps & SearchTo facilitate easier communication between businesses and customers, Google is bringing messaging capabilities to Maps and Search.Businesses with a verified profile can now message with customers directly from the Google Maps app. Messages from customers will appear in the business messages section in the updates tab.Messaging can be turned on or off from the settings panel of the Google Maps and Google My Business apps.Google will soon be adding the ability for businesses to see and respond to customers on desktop by adding messages directly in Se...