Have you ever noticed Google prompting you to answer a couple of questions after visiting a local business? For example, after checking in at a restaurant, Google will want to know whether or not there was free parking and what the ambiance was like. The search engine giant is not just trying to get to know you for fun, it is mining information from customers about the places they visit to help them create attributes.
Consumers will drop your business off of their consideration set if your business is failing to manage your Google My Business listing attributes. What’s worse, Google knows consumers are not interested in an unoptimized business and has stated before that if your business listing is not complete with attributes, you will fall in the local SEO rankings.
Google My Business attributes are not a new concept, but they have become increasingly more important as consumers are constantly searching for intelligent and accurate answers to their daily questions. Google gives business owners of brick and mortar stores the power to take control of their listings (this doesn’t happen often, see here) and optimize their listings with keywords that consumers are already searching for.
What Are Google My Business Attributes?
Google My Business attributes are factors or characteristics about a business that are more specific than the standard categories. Attributes are utilized by Google to understand the true customer experience and help to illustrate unique characteristics about businesses.
Attributes are currently only available to certain industries: restaurants and retail brick and mortar stores, leaving out professional services such as lawyers and doctors.
- A large restaurant such as The Cheesecake Factory, would add attributes such as Healthy options, Takeout, and Accepts reservations
- A small boutique would want to include Payment options, Parking information, and Vintage clothing
- While a hotel could add Free Wi-Fi, Outdoor Pool, and Fitness Center to their list of amenities
Why Is Google so Adamant about Attributes?
Google removed the old Descriptions because it was just a way for companies to scam the system and fill it with keywords. Google is trying to become less dependent on business owners for information about their locations because they can work the system. By turning to consumers for information about the business, there is greater trust in the information.
Another reason Google has replaced descriptions with attributes is because it is preparing for the voice search take over. These attributes will play a large role in the long-tail keywords that voice search will utilize. Consumers are going to be asking “Where’s the best place to get a soy milk vanilla latte next to the train station?” and attributes will help search engines give the most accurate answer.
Why Businesses Should Start Adding Them to Their Business Listings
Attributes are a way for consumers to tell Google exactly what the business is like and gives you the opportunity to further optimize your business listings. What better way to improve your search rankings than by filling up your business attributes with keywords that potential customers are already searching for!
Consumers now have increasingly specific searches such as “Family friendly mexican restaurant near me”. The business locations with the richest data and highest reviews will win the customers, time and time again.
Adding context-rich information on your Google My Business listings could be the difference in increasing your in-store traffic to not. Google states that businesses with complete and accurate information are easier to match with the right searches and will rank higher in local search results. Google attributes influence someone’s decision to visit your business.
Having your foundational location data - Name, Address, Phone Number - accurate and up to date solves for only one half of the local search challenge. You need accurate NAP to even be considered on people’s local search queries. Foundational data ensures visibility but in order to be competitive and turn those searches into paying customers for your business, Google attributes are needed.
How You Can Optimize for Business Attributes
To take advantage of the Google My Business attributes, start by logging into your GMB account and click Manage Listing. Select Info from the menu bar on the left and you’ll then see the section to add attributes to your listings.
Google recently released a comprehensive list of all attributes available called the Attributes Reference sheet. This is a great place for business owners to begin choosing which categories are applicable to their locations.
If you do not see the option to add attributes to your locations, don’t worry, Google always rolls out updates in waves and by industry, yours will be coming shortly.
Adding attributes to your listings only expands the number of search queries your businesses will become relevant for and helps your business to stand out amongst the intense competition on local search results.
For businesses with multiple locations trying to manage all of their business listings with accurate information, optimize with unique content, and monitor reviews, trying to keep up is quite difficult. Instead of taking this on as a full time job, there are software tools, such as Chatmeter, that can report inaccurate and duplicate listing information, optimize your listings with unique content and help manage reviews/reputation for each store location.