One doesn't have to be an expert digital marketer to know the significant role that Google plays in every day life. No matter the update or algorithm change, the search engine giant's goal has always been to deliver the best, most relevant results that they believe people want to see. With that in mind, it is understandable why they would start adding new integrations to their search results (such as their quick search tool and local events display, for example). These upgrades make sense, as they provide helpful information to a user faster and more efficiently. It isn't surprising either, as such a move keeps people on Google instead of clicking elsewhere. (You sly dogs, you.)If you've read my previous posts on the matter (linked above), you know I am typically very skeptical of Google and its intentions -- what is to prevent them from making any other website obsolete and completely taking over the Internet as we know it? The previous rollouts only seemed to benefit the individual user and search engines, leaving brands and companies out of the equation.Luckily their latest SERP addition is incredibly valuable to businesses, particularly those in the hospitality and lifestyle industries. Despite quietly brewing for some time, its expanded Reserve With Google (RwG) service now makes sourcing and purchasing products or services easier than ever. (For a quick overview of RwG, check out the video below which explains the concept in greater detail.)
For the first time, small businesses such as spas, salons, gyms, restaurants and hotels can get in on the action by offering booking, reservation or waitlist options directly within the search engine results. Not only does this provide greater exposure and brand positioning, it encourages visitors to become customers before ever clicking on a company's website. It also makes the purchasing process more convenient, which prompts people to stay engaged and spend more. Reserve With Google accounts are free to setup, but must be powered by a third-party scheduling software, such as Timely, Peek or Tiquets to work properly. When customers make a purchase, they are automatically added to whatever booking software the company uses to make managing and tracking leads a breeze. Below is an example of what Reserve With Google looks like to the human searcher:
what is google thinking?
Sure, Google is obviously continuing on their mission to become the Internet's one-stop shop for all online purchases and booking needs. By combining Search with Maps, they can more directly target specific users who are browsing the Internet with the intent of making a purchase decision. Because important information and calls to action are neatly presented together, the conversion process is more fluid and a visitor has less time to change their mind before clicking "buy." Although it makes it likelier that users will stay on the search results pages, Reserve With Google is impactful because it makes the conversion process easier for businesses marketing online. In addition to eliminating several barriers that may otherwise hinder or delay the transaction, its integration with Google Assistant indicates that it is a helpful platform for those integrating voice search elements into their marketing strategy.
why should i care & what does it have to with seo, anyway?
There is no doubt that Reserve With Google will open up sales funnels that were once almost impossible to access without a lot of work or enormous budget. However, this still doesn't mean that everyone will reap the benefits of it. Integrating the platform into one's Google Business account alone won't be enough to make a noticeable difference in terms of revenue obtained online. Those who will actually profit from and find value in RwG will be the ones who have links featured at the top of search results. As this is the overall point of implementing SEO techniques in general, brands with strong search engine optimization will continue to dominate Google but now with a considerable advantage. Reserve with Google inherently quickens up the conversion process, while also speeding up the purchasing process too as well. This means that users are doing less research and looking at fewer options before making a purchase decision, significantly decreasing the visibility and potential profitability of poorly optimized brands. No longer will visitors be scrolling past the first page of Google results, and no longer can small businesses ignore the power of SEO. As RwG continues to grow and subtly integrate itself into our every day virtual lives, it is more important than ever to have a strategic website design that features content created with SEO in mind. After all, a brand can't be profitable if they are invisible.
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