Last November, Google announced upcoming changes to the Google My Business (GMB) platform. This especially impacts businesses who service local customers, meaning it may very well affect your marketing efforts. Keep in mind, Google receives 86% of search traffic worldwide according to these 2021 statistics.
Now, let’s review what is changing this year (and what isn’t). Consider this your guide to evolving digital marketing!
Name Change: “Google Business Profile”
Google My Business is undergoing a name change. It will now be called “Google Business Profile.” Those who are especially versed in GMB know that this change was coming, as GMB Help documents started moving away from “listings” in favor of the term “profile.”
New Accessibility Options
One of the most important changes includes Google’s decision to eliminate the Google My Business app. Instead, Google is encouraging business owners and customers to access their profiles via Google searches or Google Maps. To test this out, search your business name or “my business” if logged in, and click on the profile that appears.
Changes to Business Support
Google’s announcement post also included that the current GMB web portal would “transition to primarily support larger businesses with multiple locations.” Some speculate that Google is moving away from supporting small and medium-sized businesses, while others suggest that the impact on most small businesses will be minimal. Since Google has offered only “more details on these changes in the months ahead,” we’ll all have to wait a bit longer to see the result.
What is NOT Changing?
Regardless of these changes, the purpose of your Google Business Profile remains the same. Be sure to include the most accurate and comprehensive information in your profile, and create posts to enhance your presence and authority.
The categorization of your business is still of the utmost importance. Always be sure to choose a specific category (or two) rather than just labeling your business as a “store.” Customers appreciate knowing exactly how you can serve them. Check out this updated category list to see what describes your services/products best.
A Google Business Profile remains free of charge (for now), although you will still have the opportunity to use and learn about Google Ads. When targeted correctly, these ads can give your business a major boost in leads.
Going Forward: What can you expect from Google?
While it’s usually difficult to predict what Google will do next, one thing is certain. You should expect more changes. Google is known for changing things up each year in effort to better support the businesses who use it.
Consider all that has changed in the last two years! The pandemic has massively changed the way many people interact with businesses, and these changes may be long-lasting. Digital marketing has become increasingly essential, which makes all of this information that much more relevant.
The takeaway? All businesses, regardless of size, should continue paying attention to the evolution of Google services, adapting along with the platform when needed. Utilizing Google Business Profile will be crucial to optimize your local search results and connect your business with the community.
To learn more about these changes, check out this guide to Google Business Profile.