May 2016 Google My Business API update: everything you need to know

Today, Google released a significant update to the Google My Business API, which fuels Yext’s PowerListings integration. With this update, Google is providing businesses more control over their location data and has added automation to a few steps in the process of managing a Google My Business account. Here’s everything you need to know.

  • New Location Attributes: Google understands your business can’t be defined simply by its address or hours of operation. So now it lets you be specific with the details you provide for your Google listings, in order to serve searching customers with more nuanced results. Restaurants can note that they accept reservations, for example, or that they offer gluten-free options. Hotels can specify if they welcome dogs, grocery stores can highlight the organic products they offer — the possibilities go on.

– Right now, you can only select these new keywords via the Google My Business API — so you won’t find these options on the Google My Business dashboard yet, if you are updating your listings manually.

– Google will soon display these new keywords across Search, Maps, Ads, Google+ and more. Select these new keywords via the API now to make sure your business stands out the moment they appear across Google’s properties!

  • Robust reviews: reviews can make or break your business and your customers are talking about you online constantly. With this latest release, you’ll be able to see all of your Google reviews via the API instead of just the five ‘Most Helpful.’ You will also now be able to respond to those reviews via the API.
  • Photo selection in search results: first impressions matter. If you control your Google+ Cover and Profile Photo via the Google My Business API, you’ll now be able to choose which image displays first in Google search results.
  • Automated Location Matching: if any of your locations in Google My Business are unverified, you can now match them to locations on Google Maps via the API. However, this does not automate Google’s full verification process. You will still need to log into the Google My Business UI in order to request verification once you’ve matched your locations.
  • Transfer locations between accounts: if you own a number of locations on Google My Business, you can now organise them into different business accounts via the API — enabling franchisees and local representatives to manage only the appropriate accounts. You must have location ownership in order to leverage this capability.

Additional enhancements to the API include improved search filters, the ability to see whether a location requires re-verification, and looser restrictions on photo URL structure.

This news comes right on the heels of our Publisher Suggestions announcement last week, which helps Yext customers address Google updates and accept or reject suggestions consumers make to their Google listings.

Yext customers, we’ve got you covered: support for these new capabilities will go live on 23 May. Starting then, log in to Yext to choose your preferred Google+ photo order, select the new location attributes that are relevant to your business and view all your Google reviews. Customers with the PowerListings Premium package will also be able to respond to Google reviews directly from Yext.

As Google continues to grant businesses more real-time control over their location data online, you can expect the PowerListings integration to become even more powerful. To learn more about how you can stay ahead of the competition and leverage the latest version of the Google My Business API, join our webinar on Thursday 16 May at 2pm ET.


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