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Local businesses can now reply to Google Maps reviews via desktop

Local business owners have been waiting for the ability to respond to user-reviews via laptop, per Search Engine Land.

It makes sense for business owners to relish this. As mobile savvy as they are, they may not want to reply to reviews on a phone due to personal perception, or are just used to working on a laptop during the work day. Using a laptop for these are (per Google) now an official option and it takes just seconds.

Right now, I immediately think of Minneapolis/St. Paul area businesses such as restaurants, bars, laws firms, hospitality, and other service-based businesses who may receive Google reviews up over once a day. No matter where, you can most likely view the same or more.

There are many through experience who have enough clout with Google that they take our responses, plus photos and anything else Google My Business (GMB) on the spot. For many others, it does take a few days at least. I do not know how immediately these replies take to go live. My guess is either on the spot or within a day.

If you’re a local business or organization you can reply to business reviews whether you’re signed in to GMB or not. If not, here are the steps.

  • Google your businesses/organization name
  • Click on “Google reviews” on your GMB listing/local box
  • You’ll see a reply button for reviews. Reply

If you’re in your GMB profile.

  • Click “reviews” in the left panel
  • You’ll see a reply button for reviews. Reply

That’s it! You’ve now replied to a local business review, of course we hope in a positive and compelling way. Happy replying!

Replying to Reviews on Desktop

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7 Tips to Enhance 360° and Still Photos for Google My Business (GMB) Profiles

If you’re new to Street View photography to enhance your Local Search (local SEO) chops, there are some good ways to embrace this and learn while enhancing Google My Business (GMB) profiles. Seriously! If you’ve already mastered this, hopefully this will give you some additional insights. Here are 7 tips to improve your Google My Business (GMB) Street-View and virtual tour (VT) photography skills.

  • Practice, practice, practice. If you’re just starting you need 50 Google published 360° Street View photos. Once you’ve done this, it can take a good month or so to be added to their Street View For Hire page. Here’s the app for you to get started.
  • Keep your clients informed from the start. The more knowledge they have benefits everyone. Whether it’s for interior VTs for showcasing navigation inside their location, or external 360° photos to imply directions to them helps them determine their strategy.
  • Remember the sun. This seems obvious, but a bright sun can reduce photo quality no matter what camera you use. I recently had a great exterior view towards the south. It was noon and had to delete the 360° because I couldn’t escape the bright rays.
  • Charge up beforehand. If you’re using a Ricoh Theta V or similar 360° camera, the battery can run low fast if you’re taking a lot of photos… at least in a Minnesota winter. It’s always a good idea to bring a laptop and external charger to charge both your 360° camera and smartphone. This has saved me more than once.
  • For stills, don’t be afraid of Portrait mode. As much as I absolutely despise iStocky type photos, focusing in front while blurring the background can work if it’s obvious that the photos taken are real and of the location. Example:
optometry-gear

Real Optometry Instruments at a Local Clinic

  • Add descriptions to each still photo. The photos themselves can be very compelling, but adding a description can help you tell a story for them, or imply directions and specific entrances to a building.
  • Transfer photo rights! This is a selling point for me. Just like any business or organization should 100% own their website, they should also own their GMB photos. Example:
Partial Screenshot of ODG in Minneapolis

Partial Screenshot of a 360 photo showing ODG as the owner

The photo name still comes up as myself, although the important photo credit belongs to ODG.

Thoughts? Comment here or let us know via Facebook or Twitter!


LocalMN provides Google trusted Street View photography as well as local search consulting and implementation. Contact us to learn more.

spLet customers know your special hours for December

Let Google Show Users Your Special December Hours

It’s that time of year again. You want to showcase the hours you’re open over the holidays while making sure you get the time to celebrate with your own loved ones. Providing special hours in you Google My Business (GMB) profile does this for people using Google to find this info. Also, you can do this on your smartphone on the fly. Go to your favorite local coffee shop, sip and sit for 5 minutes, and your special hours are set up.

There are a few ways to go about this. An easy one is to log into your GMB -> Overview -> Profile -> Clock/Calendar Icon

Google My Business Overview from a smartphone

Google My Business Overview from a smartphone

Edit Special hours (for restaurants and other locations who are open for lunch, then back open for dinner, you can note this in here by clicking the ADD HOURS button)

Edit Special Hours

Edit Special Hours

A nice thing about this is after you set it up, it automatically goes away after your dates of special hours. No follow up needed!

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LocalMN 101: Creating a Google My Business (GMB) Presence with Maps Photography

Creating Your GMB

Creating a Google My Business profile has long been well-known as a local search must, even before your own website and for good reasons. Do a branded search for your local business, and chances are there’s a big knowledge box result for you whether you claimed, or verified it or not. You can create or edit your own. It’s easy and awesome.

Partial Localmn Knowledge box. These are awesome. A home page of your business, if you will.

Your Google My Business (GMB) profile is now often considered the home page for your local business. It makes sense. It’s highly visible, includes a link to your website, appointments or bookings, your own customized photos, including 360° photos, managing ratings and reviews, POSTS, and a lot more, actually.

Google Photos and Maps Photography

Organizing photos in Google Photos is a great starting point after claiming your business. They make it easy for you to edit your photos to your preference, and place them on your GMB profile.

Organized Google Albums to Minneapolis

Organized Google Albums Minneapolis for GMB or other uses

You can title each album for your own organization, describe each picture, and automatically have your deets stored in exact location taken, camera used, date and time, and even exact size. Photo proof of your own!

Eventually, when you need photos for your GMB presence, you can be comforted at looking at your photos account like a switchboard. Look at an album, select a photo, use them as your profile, cover, logo, and POSTS.

We consider Maps Photography as quality photos with the intent to drive customers to your door. Include photos of your address, cross street signs and exterior 360° photos can imply and provide customers visual directions to you. Directions is arguably what the majority of customers are seeking.

360° Photo: Sign of the Mayo Clinic Gonda Building, reflection of downtown Rochester, move to view Methodist Hospital, the Kahler Grand and 2nd Ave SW.

After awhile, you’ll see that you’ll have enough real digital photos to use, without having to pay for fake stock photos. You know the ones. They’re attractive, with a smiling person pointing to a graph that goes up. Seriously, they’re horrible! An exception goes to Vince Vaughn and Dave Franco courtesy of @Buzz60 a few years ago, but I digress.

These photos can easily be done with a few photo and editing tactics. You could include your own staff, being serious, or being cleverly comedic like above by including a local celebrity. I’ve never met The Fancy Ray, but I’m a fan and love his local commercials and outdoor billboards. I’d love to see him in local stock photos like this. Again, I digress.

With a Street View app, (preferably along with a compatible 360° camera), you can create these photos publicly as long as Google accepts them to Maps. These are stored within your Street View app. Plus they can appear on your Google My Business profile, as well as providing an short, embedded code for you to include to media, social profiles, and content marketing strategies such as your blog.

Back to your Google Photos and albums. You can easily edit any photo on mobile or desktop. Often, it can just be by selecting Auto to bring the photo to life a bit like this one at On-Demand Group. There are plenty of other edits that make your photos pop, and auto is just one of the more popular ones.

ODG Rooftop

On Demand Group Rooftop in Minneapolis

We hope this helps your local business or organization. Happy Maps Photography to you all. Skål!


Localmn Interactive provides Maps Photography services including Google Trusted Street View Photography, Google Trusted Verifier and Local Search in general Contact us to learn more!

We’re Now Google Trusted Verified!

In addition and to compliment our Google Street View Trusted Photography status, we’re also now a Google Trusted Verifier.

Google My Business (GMB)

This makes your time more valuable by having someone come out to immediately verify your business to GMB, take photos and 360° virtual tours, consult you with Google Posts, GMB Insights. So often, people will set up their GMB correctly and adequately, although don’t take full advantage of this free tool for you DIYers. For agencies, we’re looking to add this to your mix for local search services.

When we come out to visit your Twin Cities location, we come with these ready-to-use icons, literally right on the Google Pixel 2:

Google Maps Icons

We forté in being flexible. If you just need GMB verification, we do this. If you need verification plus setup, photos, 360° Virtual Tours, Google Posts insights, and overall GMB consulting, we also do this, and we do it well.

4-hour consultations for you and your business (at your location) are available for this and is definitely time well spent. From there, you can decide to hire us on a more permanent level or go your own way with the confidence to DIY.

Side note: This is proudly available for physical businesses and organizations in Minnesota. Transportation expenses outside of the Minneapolis-St. Paul area TBD. We are Minnesota. 

Contact us Minnesota, and lets get verified! Skål!