Last Thursday, our Local Listings Department noticed something interesting with a few of our clients’ Google My Business profiles in the form of the ability to add services from the Google My Business dashboard that then showed up in mobile searches under the “menu” tab.
The new menu feature is now available specifically for service businesses
On Monday however, Local Listings Specialist Manager, Danni Petersen noticed the feature was available for more of our clients who own service businesses. And Barry Schwartz wrote about the fact that more local SEO’s were noticing the services tab in this article on Search Engine Roundtable. According to his article, Mike Blumenthal wrote about the feature about a year ago.
Other Local SEO’s have started noticing the new feature as well.
Although similar to the feature Mike noticed, what we found in our research was actually different. Instead of links to services showing up in the knowledge panel, a businesses’ services showed up under the menu tab within mobile searches on the Google Maps app. As I reported in last week’s post on the topic here on the IQ News Blog, it appeared to both Danni and I that Google was testing an expansion of the menu feature it had rolled out for restaurants in February to other types of businesses.
Google has made it official by updating their menu feature guidelines.
As it turns out, we were right. Google has updated the Google My Business support page on their guidelines for representing your business on Google. On the menu section of the guidelines, instead of just talking about restaurant menus, Google states that “there are two kinds of menus.” It then lists the two types as “eating and drinking establishments,” and “service businesses, like a barber, spa, or car repair shop.”
As you can see when you click on “Learn more,” you can see a list of specific guidelines for both restaurants and service businesses as far as listing menu items whether those items are food and drink, or services. If you ask me, the guidelines are still very food service business specific and I suspect that Google will continue to edit the copy so it reflects both the restaurant industry and service businesses alike.
Calling the feature menu for service business might confuse customers.
In my opinion, I also think Google should rename the feature “services” for service businesses instead of continuing to call it “menu,” because people looking for services won’t click on something that reads “menu” when they’re looking for a mechanic to repair their car or a printer who makes custom t-shirts. I almost couldn’t find where the services I entered for our client could be found by customers when I experimented with the feature last week because of it not being called menu and not services. The icon was even an image of a knife and fork.
Why the change is important for your small business
However, no matter what Google does, including whether they rename the feature for specific business types and edit their guidelines again, it’s still a powerful addition to any small business’ online marketing strategy. The results show up in the knowledge panel and your customers can access your menu or your services directly within the Google search results. Plus it’s free. It’s my hope that Google will expand the feature beyond restaurant and service businesses to other types of businesses, perhaps even letting some businesses list types of products they sell.
What do you think? Have you noticed a service option in your Google My Business dashboard?