Consumers are searching in more ways than ever before — through smartphones and mobile devices, digital assistants like Alexa, Siri, and Cortana, and AI services. Although consumers are searching in more ways, they're still using Google. There were at least 2trillion searches per year on Google in 2016, making it the preeminent search engine across the world. As of 2015 Google maintains a 69% share of search in the U.S. and 90%+ across Europe. Google isn't just making it easier for consumers to find what they're looking for — it's also makes it easier for businesses to list and manage their information. Google Business Profile, Google's free tool for businesses to manage their online presence, enables business owners to verify and update their business information on Google so they can stand out and help consumers discover them.
Digital knowledge is at the core of Google's ecosystem. The Google My Business API creates a new way for businesses to supply information about their locations for Google Search, Google Maps, Waze, and Google Ads. Google more simply defines the GMB API as "a programming interface that allows developers to write applications to manage Google My Business account and location data."
Prior to the GMB API, business data was determined via a combination of search engine crawlers, third-party data, user-generated content, and manual submissions. This combination was not always accurate because third parties often contained — and still contain — conflicting information.
The GMB API is a way for businesses to input their information directly into Google Search, Google Maps, Waze, and Google Ads. A GMB account owner can create and edit business locations, meaning that the business itself can input data, as well as control how business will appear in search results. The locations entered into GMB can be used in Google Ads, but they cannot appear in Google Search,Google Maps, or Waze unless they have first been verified. Verification is NOT supported through the API.
Google is always improving its API and as the use of intelligent services and devices increases, it'll be increasingly important for businesses to keep track of updates so they can be the first to take advantage.
GMB API V3.1
In September 2016, Google launched the V3.1 update. The V3.1 update included the addition of numerous location attributes that businesses can add to their Google listings to better describe what they have to offer. For example, a restaurant can denote whether or not it takes reservations, a supermarket can indicate whether it carries organic products, so on and so forth. The update also enabled GMB account owners to set up real-time notifications for when listings were updated and a new review was written about one of their locations.
GMB API V3.2
Google released the V3.2 GMB API in February 2017. This API update made GMB Analytics available via the GMB API. Insights — from Phone Calls and Driving Directions to Search and Map Views — help businesses track and analyze where and how consumers find and interact with them on Google. Knowing these kinds of metrics can help businesses make educated operational, planning, and marketing decisions.
Yext customers can access their GMB account analytics directly from the Yext dashboard. As customers, you can see your GMB performance across all your locations, all at once, and all in one place. GMB Analytics provides businesses with information on consumer searches, map views, and actions (calling, requesting directions, going to sites).
New insights into how customers are engaging with your Google listings create unprecedented opportunities for you to make more informed decisions about where you buy local ads, how you staff and schedule certain locations, in which markets you expand, and more — all without leaving the Yext dashboard.
The Google My Business API can be difficult to manage due to the wealth of information available, so many businesses work with a digital knowledge management partner, such as Yext. See the Yext blog post to learn more about the update and how to integrate it into your business strategies. Learn more about how Yext's integration with GMB allows businesses to make listing updates in their platform and then publish to Google.