If you've ever looked up a business on Google's main search engine or on Google Maps, you may have encountered this problem: the business's actual operating hours don't correspond to what you found online. Anyone who's been frustrated by this shortcoming in Google's information may be able to rest easy soon. As Mitchell Clark of The Verge reports, Google hopes to use AI to correct inaccurate or out-of-date operating hours on its platform:
In a blog post, Google outlines the various factors its AI analyzes to determine whether it should do these updates. First, it looks at when the business profile was last updated, other similar shops’ hours, and Popular Times data to decide how likely it is that the hours are incorrect. For example: if Google sees that a lot of people visit the shop when it’s supposedly closed, that may be a red flag.
Google has used similar AI to make other sorts of updates for Google Maps. The Verge's reporting admits that businesses may not be explicitly informed that their Google profile's hours have changed, although Google plans to post disclaimers if it's not 100% confident in its AI's predictions.
Firms that don't have their own Google Business profile--or who have one but never update it--will be most affected by this change. Firms that make regular use of their Google Business profile aren't as likely to be affected, as the AI will make note of the users' activity.
Issues like these shed light on important question for businesses operating in today's market: is it worthwhile to curate a Google Business profile? And, what does one stand to gain from marketing with Google? Let's explore these questions in today's post.
The Basics of Google Business
According to Statista, Google generated 61.4% of all U.S. search engine queries in January of 2022. That's over half the market share, so any firm that has yet to make their presence known on Google is missing out.
Google Business allows any firm to create a free profile to display on the tech company's search engine. Such a profile allows business to control how they present themselves in search queries. This includes their operating hours, location, website and contact information. It also sports other helpful tools, like enabling customer reviews and order processing. Once updated, all of this information appears seamlessly on Google's main site as well as Google Maps.
Business who do not have their own profile may still appear in a Google search query, but the information displayed is the result of predictive AI trying to use incomplete information to fill in the blanks. Though predictive AI has improved over the years, it's never going to be as accurate as a business directly providing its own information. And transparency isn't the only thing that a well-maintained profile can provide to a business.
Marketing on Google
Google Business also helps firms market their services. Using a Google Business marketing kit, a storefront can create in-person marketing materials, like stickers, posters and signs, to advertise their products and services.
Lastly, a business can build their presence online through the use of Google Ads. Unlike a Business profile, Google Ads cost money. But don't let that turn you off. Google claims that the average return on investment is $2 for every $1 invested in ads. Granted, given the variety of budgetary constraints and other circumstances among businesses, it's difficult to make broad assumptions about ROI. Still, Google is a household name, so the odds of making money by advertising on Google are much higher than other online venues.
Ready to get started with a Google marketing strategy? Titan Tech can help you understand the ins and outs of Google Ads, Google Business and other methods for increasing your presence online. Don't wait; give them a call today to set up your free consultation.
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