The annual Google conference is usually an event worth keeping your eyes on. The company keeps some of the most exciting updates and releases for this event. And this year was no different. The tech giant announced no less than 7 Google local search updates.
With these updates, Google tries to bring local businesses and consumers together in a more meaningful way. Clients will be able to search not just for places to go out for lunch or dinner, but also select an area that matches their interests and the level of activity they enjoy – from throbbing to laid back and quiet.
The Most Significant Google Local Search Updates Are for Restaurants
Unsurprisingly, Google focused on updates that help restaurants find more clients. After all, the COVID pandemic hit the hospitality sector worse than any other industry. Many restaurants and bars closed their doors for good. Many others are struggling to stay open.
In this context, Google makes it easier for restaurant owners to make their business stand out among competitors and find the best matched clients through half of the 7 Google local search updates. Let us look at them and explain to you how to use them and why they benefit your business.
Upcoming Google Local Search Updates to Take Advantage Of
These are the announced changes to how local search will work:
1. Searching a Restaurant by Dish
Many people have a favourite dish, be it something as simple as pizza, or sophisticated like beef stroganoff or Tournedos Rossini. Thus, many of them would like to go to a restaurant where they can enjoy their favourite dish, cooked to perfection.
Now they can, thanks to one of the Google local search updates. For restaurants, this is an excellent opportunity to showcase their specialties and the dishes that always get 5 stars from clients. Since Google is not doing anything in halves, clients can also add several filters to the dish name, such as:
- Identifying a dish by uploading a photo.
What does it mean for your restaurant? You should work on making your online menu in Google Business profile as detailed as possible, including key terms people would look for (spicy/ savoury, vegetarian, vegan, etc.) as well as relevant photos for each dish.
2. Discovering Restaurant Specialties
Every restaurant has a unique feature that draws loyal customers. It may be one of your dishes. It may be the cosy atmosphere. Or it may be the live music every weekend. Whatever it is, now Google can pick out your specialty from customer reviews and highlight it in local search results.
This is one of the new AI-powered Google local search updates which does not require any action from you. However, you must pay more attention than ever to what your clients say in reviews. If you want your restaurant to be showcased for the right things, encourage your loyal clients to leave a review stating exactly what makes them come back to you.
3. Enhanced Support for Digital Menus
The last of the specific Google local search updates for restaurants refer to a wider support for displaying digital menus. This will include:
- Rich visuals
- Showcasing the most popular dishes
- Showing specific dietary information: vegetarian or vegan, allergens, sugar content, etc.
In this way, people who are looking for a specific dish that meets their dietary needs and their preferences can narrow down their search and discover restaurants near them where they can safely go to. For you as a business owner, this means that you should strive and be as specific as possible in describing your menus and showcasing allergens, vegan/vegetarian dishes and other dishes for special diets (including kosher and halal).
4. Live View Gets an Upgrade
Live View is a feature o Google Maps launched three years ago. It allows people to follow directions while looking at the real world through the viewfinder.
The enhanced Live View is one of the 7 Google local search updates and it will add the possibility to search for businesses or facilities along the route. Indirectly, this will benefit local businesses a lot. As people drive or walk to a destination, they may stop over for a quick snack and a glass of juice or to fill up the tank at a local gas station.
5. Discover the Vibe of an Area
When choosing a restaurant, bar or pub, people are not only looking for good food, but also for the right atmosphere. Some of us like a busy and lively place where you can always bump into someone you know. Others prefer to relax and unwind in a quiet neighbourhood.
Thanks to one of the upcoming Google local search updates, people will be able to find out whether the area is full of popular landmarks, entertainment and dining places and how likely it is to be crowded. For local businesses, this is a great opportunity to earn foot traffic from tourists and anyone exploring the place for the first time.
6. Aerial Views of Landmarks
Speaking of landmarks, users will be able to see high resolution photorealistic aerial views of 250 global landmarks. Undoubtedly, the list will grow as this feature will definitely prove popular among people, especially tourists. There is no official list of the landmarks available so far. Google simply says that they “span everything from the Tokyo Tower to the Acropolis”.
7. Immersive View
The last on the list of Google local search updates expands the street view on Google maps inside buildings. This is a great opportunity for various local stores and restaurants to showcase their premises. Many people will take advantage of this new feature to get the feel and vibe of a place before booking a table or going shopping.
For this reason, you should start taking detailed and high quality photos of your place of business and uploading them to your Google Business Profile listing. For now, this feature will be launched for Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, London and Tokyo. Undoubtedly, it will reach Australia soon, so you’d better be prepared!