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Recently I have been replying to messages through GMB by calling the phone number that the customer puts in the message. Then all of a sudden the other day I get an email from Google saying that they turned messaging off because I haven’t replied to multiple recent messages. It will allow me to turn it back on but it says that if I continue not to reply they are going to shut it down.

To be honest, I really don’t care for the messaging feature at all. I only turned it on because I thought having it on and replying quickly might help me rank slightly higher. Is there any truth to that? Is messaging one of the hundreds of ranking factors?

For what it’s worth, my response time is still listed as five minutes.
 

shripadd

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Hi,
Messaging is not the ranking factory, BUT a quick response to customer queries is definitely a conversion factor.
Although it is true that the GMB Messaging feature is not fully useful because of some limitations like a business owner needs to respond in 24 hours, I have not tested if this limitation is applicable on weekend/holidays or not, but because such reasons people are not using these features expected.

Thanks
 

Eoghan_MFeed

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Not a rank factor but a view > action conversion rate factor. You'll convert more viewers of your listings into leads if you have the feature active and offer messaging as a way to ask a quick question to further qualify you into the user's decision making process.

Not sure why you'd outright call someone who messaged you on GMB, I'd respond in text first and then offer a call if the thread warrants it. It's highly likely many folks will ask same questions e.g. you open on the holidays, do you have X popular product in stock, how can i get a quote etc. etc.
 

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I called them because they put their phone number in the message and want me to call them. I could spend a couple minutes on the phone and get their full information, the type of work they want done, and schedule it- Done.

When I message them back thru GMB it’s always a game of back-and-forth a few times which extends it out and wastes my time. If they want me to call, why not call?

Google always talks about the best customer experience and all that. But sometimes I think following what they say is not ultimately the best for the customer.
 

Eoghan_MFeed

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Yeah, agree there's definitely scenarios like what you're describing above that warrant a call.

Something to perhaps post on the GMB Messaging forum below as an enhancement suggestion to their response SLA logic. They should be to track if the business called the number who messaged you either through number matching or by enabling you to tag the thread as 'I called this person' or something so Google knows you handled it.

 

bdaniel

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@DontBiteUrNails Sounds like you need to simply augment your process. I would first reply to the message and let the user know that you will be reaching out shortly via the provided phone number.

This will allow you to fulfill Google's messaging response as well as eliminating the back and forth you speak of by setting up a phone call.

🤙
 

Tony Wang

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@Eoghan_MomentFeed That's true, Google should be able to figure it out, but I doubt they'll invest in doing that.

I would do what bdaniel suggests even though it's a pain. At least Yelp has a feature where you can mark a message as "replied" if you called them.
 

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Yes! I was going to mention how Yelp gives you the option to mark the message as replied via email or phone. Google should give that same option.

With that said, ultimately I would prefer if the customers called me instead of sending me a GMB message. The only reason why I ever turned messaging on was because I thought it might help my Google listing a little.
 

Tony Wang

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As mentioned, it won't help your ranking but it may help conversions. Consumer are strange sometimes, they like to message/chat/email "please call me".

@DontBiteUrNails just curious, do you have any trick for getting people to include their # on a message? I haven't seen anyone do that.
 

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As mentioned, it won't help your ranking but it may help conversions. Consumer are strange sometimes, they like to message/chat/email "please call me".

@DontBiteUrNails just curious, do you have any trick for getting people to include their # on a message? I haven't seen anyone do that.
No trick, I didn't do anything to make them leave their number, they just chose to. I guess it was just a coincidence that the last 5 or so people who messaged me chose to explain their issue or the service they wanted and leave their number for me to reply to.
 

Eoghan_MFeed

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@Eoghan_MomentFeed That's true, Google should be able to figure it out, but I doubt they'll invest in doing that.

I would do what bdaniel suggests even though it's a pain. At least Yelp has a feature where you can mark a message as "replied" if you called them.
Haha I forwarded to the Google PM on Messaging - they're taking a look (but yes, who knows when/if they'll take action)
 

Jon Hall

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Interesting topic! The consensus seems to be that turning on/off messaging does not affect ranking. Still, do you think that once Google has assessed the "responsiveness" of enough businesses *responsiveness* will become a ranking factor?

If Google ostensibly wants to surface the "best" options for consumers, might they use this metric eventually, flawed as it is? I mean, reviews are flawed, the "Google Guarantee" is flawed, rankings themselves are flawed, but all give the perception of trustworthiness and get people to to open their wallets. And so they become part of SEO, haha.
 

Jon Hall

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@DontBiteUrNails I'm really interested in the consumer behavior you describe. Do you mind sharing what industry you're in or what type of services those inbound leads were for?

Here's the reason I ask: The behavior seems surprising, but I also think it may be quite reasonable. We see customers with even semi-urgent problems--pests, mold, DUIs--who would rather put their problem in a text than pickup the phone, haha. Is it generational? Is it avoidance? Or is it plain efficient? For example, I can message a provider or multiple providers with a problem I'm trying to solve, give them all a chance to digest it, price it, and qualify themselves before they get back to me.

Still, I'm 100% with you on Google Messaging. And I'm *very* leery of Google owning mine or my clients' messages. It would be far better if GMB offered a "Text Us" call-to-action and kept their claws out of the conversation. Because it's just a matter of time before they mine and ultimately monetize that activity.

Google even went so far as to remove "message extensions" on Google ads earlier this year which were popular and effective--they used to allow you to run Google ads with a "Text Us" call-to-action. No doubt the big G wants to own business messaging before Facebook/Whatsapp does.

Personally, I want businesses themselves to own their messaging, which is why I'm all in on text 💪
 

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Plumbing and electrical.

Many times people will explain their issue or what they want done and ask for an estimate, they are generally not good leads because they are doing the same thing with 10 other contractors. That's the reason I never liked Yelp messaging, it's just making it easier for people to shop around based on price alone (which I will always lose).

But customers who see my company's profile and reviews and are contacting only me will often messaging me with a brief description and their phone number.
 

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Then again, you might be missing out on leads who are smart enough to know that the cheapest is not always the best - not often the best.
This is true, but at this point I am busy enough with repeat customers and referrals that I don't have to fight for lots of new customers. To be honest, once I get the hint that a potential new customer is getting prices from multiple contractors, I shut down and try to move on. I have enough new customers who aren't shopping around and want me to do the work just from what they see on Google, etc.
 

Jon Hall

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Awesome @DontBiteUrNails you're in the best position possible. Hopefully you can just turn off Google Messaging and avoid the hassle--and to my mind, the *overreach* ;) Thanks for sharing the details!
 
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