Understanding Google My Business & Local Search
Google Bulk (GMBL) Adds Holiday Hours Support
Google My Business List (aka GMBL, Bulk) has not seen this many upgrades in a quarter since the financial meltdown in 2008. Google rolled out last night a small but helpful upgrade that allows businesses to set different hours for different days both en masse and on a daily date basis. The feature rolled out in the GMBL via the bulk upload is also available to individual businesses via the List view in the dashboard. Help file instructions are here.
Starting in September Google released a visual upgrade on the search results that alerted searchers to the fact that a business might be closed on a given national holiday.
If a business adds special hours specifically for the dates of the holiday the .ours will clearly indicate that they are open thus avoiding the consumer confusion.
Both the old style and the new style hours are supported in the upload file which is good as it allows large organizations and the software that generates these files a few weeks to adopt before Thanksgiving in the U.S.:
If a single location business or a bulk wants to change the hours directly they are able to do so via the List view interface in the new dashboard by selecting “special hours” in the hour area. Once there a user can select any number of individual days and times to indicate their specific status. If there are multiple locations that you manage in the dashboard, these changes can be applied to all locations for which you have management approval:
There is no real restriction on how far into the future a business could make these changes so they could conceivably add the holiday hours well into the future with one fell swoop:
As I noted above, the GMBL has finally started to get some serious love from Google. It has sat largely untouched and unchanged for a long time and it retains many of the oddities of its pre 2012 existence like 200 character limits and no html in the description field (not that anyone can actually read the description field).
In late September we saw the major update to the GMB interface that integrated the single and list view into a consistent experience. And in mid October we saw the release of the API. Google noted to us in a show and tell of the new product that they were the first local platform to support holiday hours across both single and bulk listings. But the really big change in all of this is the obvious reality that Google understands that agencies are a real and significant part of the ecosystem and their existence needs to not only be recognized but helped.
I met with the new GMBL product manager while at Google several weeks ago and he is a forthright, articulate and forward thinking person. The many and frequent changes we have seen in the GMBL is an optimistic sign that GMBL is not just alive and breathing but that it is finally looking to the future.
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