Google My Business (GMB) has announced some significant changes in their platform recently. These updates are designed to give small business owners more control over the way their businesses appear on GMB. This article describes some of the changes, the reasons behind them, and how you can make sure your business will be affected by them as little as possible. Google My Business: New Rules for Cloud Kitchens

What are cloud kitchens?

A cloud kitchen is a food preparation service that provides meals to consumers without them having to go through a central commissary. Instead, they are provided with all of their ingredients at a local restaurant or office building and can prepare their meal in an on-site kitchen. The meal is then packed into individual containers and delivered to their homes or workplaces within an hour. This saves time and money; it also helps cut down on food waste since customers don’t have leftovers after preparing a single meal. Google offers free business services via its G Suite account to food truck owners who sign up as delivery partners with Google’s new cloud kitchens.

The Benefits of Using a Cloud Kitchen

Starting a new business can be exciting and frightening. There are always things to learn and keep up with, from industry trends to standards in quality and food safety. If you’re looking to expand your company or open a new location, cloud kitchens can provide an affordable option that frees you up to focus on running your business. With these tips, you’ll learn how cloud kitchens work and start planning your own expansion into one—or more—cloud kitchens.

Google My Business: New Rules for Cloud Kitchens
Google My Business: New Rules for Cloud Kitchens

How can I Create One?

Whether you just created your new business or if you already have one going, your first stop should be to Google My Business. This tool is designed to help potential customers find out more about you and check your hours, special offers, and reviews of other customers. First off, open up Google and search my business on it. You’ll see a prompt that asks what can we help you with? Select I want to create my business in Google Search. Choose whether or not you want to verify that you own your business by using a text message or email; after you do so successfully, congratulations! You are now in control of your own online reputation. Now comes an important part—actually creating a listing for yourself!

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The Basics of GMB

To succeed in Google My Business, you’ll need to know how it works. GMB is a free platform that anyone can use to manage their business presence online. Think of it as an online front door for your business that allows you to interact with customers, attract new customers and answer questions about your business. With a smart strategy, your GMB listing could get hundreds—or even thousands—of visits each month from people who are looking to do business with you locally. To have success on GMB, be prepared to keep up with Google’s ever-changing algorithm. Just like any marketing channel, you have to understand how things work before your can make them work for you. The first step? Understanding what Google My Business does and doesn’t do.

Understanding Old Rules

When most people think of Google, they think of a search engine. But Google’s real business is providing online services to companies, including email and productivity software. In some ways, you can think of Google as an online technology company, much like Microsoft or Apple. A significant part of their business involves selling apps for smartphones and computers to companies. For example, Starbucks recently announced that it will stop using Yahoo in its app stores to promote its brand and sell its products—and will switch over exclusively to using Google’s platforms. Starbucks plans on offering personalized deals through apps that run on Android phones and tablets as well as iPhones and iPads.

Google My Business: New Rules for Cloud Kitchens
Google My Business: New Rules for Cloud Kitchens

How to Create & Edit Your Listing

Google makes it easy to create your own business listing. All you need is a Google account. From there, you can start building out your company’s profile, complete with photos and updates from you or other administrators. Keep in mind that an accurate address is key; location services are becoming more important every day and have proven extremely useful. You may be able to add a location pin based on your business name and category (again, Google has made it easy to track down specific information). If you don’t see one listed or would prefer something more professional-looking, just contact them directly to update your profile details.​

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Where Does the Listing Appear?

Many people are likely to see your business listing on their search results, but what many don’t realize is that a number of other apps— including Google Maps, Google+, and even Chrome—display it as well. If you’re going to be using these platforms to market your business, make sure you work with an SEO company to optimize your listing with related keywords and content. Note that most of these companies have their own guidelines for creating listings so make sure you follow those accordingly. You can also optimize social sharing by making sure all relevant information shows up on each platform, like Facebook’s Open Graph tagging capabilities or Twitter’s Cards integration. Those will show up in users’ timelines when they share something from your site or location page.

How Do I Reply?

If you’re looking to build trust, don’t just focus on what your customers say in reviews. Take a look at reviews that are flagged as not helpful. Check them out; they may contain some valuable insights into how to make your business better. If a customer is happy, and their review doesn’t offer any new information, simply reply with a quick thank you! Responding to negative feedback is trickier—but be sure not to ignore it. Keep an eye out for patterns and trends so you can address potential problem areas, too.

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What Else Can We Do?

We don’t have to look far for examples of what can happen when new technological developments change established standards. Over time, technological advances have brought about changes in daily life that once would have seemed unimaginable. For example, before e-readers and tablets, no one dreamed it would be possible to download a novel and read it while lounging at a pool or on a beach (or anywhere else). Today many people do just that. While it is impossible to predict exactly how life will be changed by a new technology such as Cloud Kitchen—it seems clear that there are no limits to how we will use all our tools to accomplish our goals, both work-related and personal. The how is up to us.

Additional Information & Resources

Google updates are a frequent occurrence and they often occur to change or streamline how businesses operate. This is just another example of how tech is reshaping commerce and it’s something that every restaurant owner should be paying attention to. If you want to learn more about Google My Business make sure you check out our complete guide, which has everything a business owner needs to know about Google’s local search platform.

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