As of December of 2015, enterprises have the opportunity to provide data to local searchers more seamlessly through the Google My Business (GMB) API. Mike Blumenthal noted that this release has given brands the ability to manage valuable location information such as special hours, openings, closings and much more with less difficulty.This is a welcome development that will make it faster and more efficient to keep Google listings updated, but it's important to note that manual effort is still needed in some key areas not currently covered by the Google API.
Brandify has supported the API since its initial rollout. In the process of integrating API support into our offerings, we’ve identified three main activities that still must be managed manually.
1. Verification It’s especially important to note that no listings can be managed through the Google My Business API which have not already been verified through Google’s existing process, which means receiving a postcard in the mail at a business location or an automated phone call at a location’s listed phone number. While Google has experimented with exceptions to this rule, most brands will still need manual assistance in making sure their tens, hundreds or even thousands of locations are consistently being verified on this interface.
The Google My Business API is an excellent tool for maintaining verified businesses, but the verification process still needs to be managed outside the automated path provided by the API. Brands will need an end-to-end solution in which the API becomes a critical component but is part of a larger process.
2. Duplicate Suppression & Ownership Conflict
More often than not, multi-location brands like franchises and retailers will find duplicate locations that have been created by anonymous users across the web or inadvertently added to Google’s location database. When the time comes for a brand to create branded local online properties, they face the challenge of suppressing duplicate pages or even taking ownership of those locations, which are both challenges that currently cannot be handled programmatically through the Google API. Removal of duplicates and resolution of listing ownership conflict belong to a short list of important items that must still be managed by manually logging in to the Google My Business console
3. Review Response
Google’s API does not currently include information about customer reviews of a business, nor does it allow brands to respond to reviews. Instead, brands need to be using tools to monitor reviews and develop a response strategy that caters to individual user questions and comments.
Google’s API rollout speaks to the greater question of what it takes to master listings management and the overall customer experience. While having the ability to leverage the GMB API is exciting for brands, marketers will need a Chief Location Officer to deliver both a programmatic offering and manual expertise.In addition, professionals well versed in location optimization will be best able to use the API to its full potential by ensuring that a brand's Google profiles are complete, accurate, and in conformity with Google's standards and industry best practices.
As mentioned, Brandify has been successful in providing support, testing and verification services for clients using Google’s API functionality since the December rollout. To learn more about how our team and technology can help your brand develop a seamless customer journey using Google, Apple, Bing and more, get your real-time Brand Scan and contact us.