Google recently announced that it’s renaming Google My Business to Google Business Profile to signal changes to the platform most businesses use to manage their information in Google apps. Whenever Google announces changes to any of its products or services, I get a lot of questions about what it all means and how it might impact the way our customers optimize for Search.
I’ll walk you through what we know, what it means for you, and what changes (if any) you’ll want to make to the way you optimize for local search.
What is Google Business Profile?
Google Business Profile is the new name for the Google My Business (GMB) platform. According to Google, the new business profile rebrand is the first step toward retiring the local business app and simplifying its business-focused products.
“Moving forward, we recommend small businesses manage their profiles directly on Search or Maps. To keep things simple, ‘Google My Business’ is being renamed ‘Google Business Profile.’”Matt Madrigal, VP/GM Merchant Shopping
What’s In a Name?
This isn’t the first time Google has attached a new name to its local business management platform. If you’re a history buff, you might recall these changes…
Google My Business (2014) > Google+ (2012)> Google Places (2010) > Google Local Business Center (2007).
All this to say, Google is constantly innovating on existing products to simplify how users interact with them, and will sometimes update the app name to signal those innovations.
Right now, I can point to two high-level changes.
1. The Google My Business App Is Going Away
We’ve seen this change on the horizon since 2017 when Google tested its “mini-dashboard” in search results pages (SERPs). This ongoing experimentation with bringing business profile management directly into SERPs appears to have one single-minded goal:
Google wants businesses to keep their profiles up-to-date because it creates a better user experience for searchers.
For now, all we know is that after the 2021 rollout of the new name, Google My Business will be retired sometime during 2022, which means that how you manage your profile is going to change.
2. Businesses Will Manage Their Profiles Differently
Exactly how you manage your new google business profile will depend on how many locations you have.
Single Location Businesses
Businesses with only one location will manage their Google Business Profile directly in Google Search or Google Maps.
If you’re logged in with your business’s Gmail address, just type your business name, or “my business” into the search bar. The resulting search results page will show your Knowledge Panel and a Google Business Profile edit panel.
Businesses With Multiple Locations
If your business has more than one location, or you’re an agency managing client profiles, you’ll manage those in the Business Profile Manager dashboard.
One More Change for Developers
Developers who have been using the Google My Business API will find that its name has changed to Business Profile API. At the moment, it doesn’t appear there will be any changes to the API functionality.
Google Business Profile: New Features
In addition to changing how most businesses will update their profiles, Google’s introducing some new features along with the Google business rebrand.
Although Google introduced the option to edit Business Profile information from Search before renaming the product, you can now claim and verify your Google My Profile directly from Search.
Now, businesses can see a history of customer phone calls from Search. That means it will be much easier to track which inbound customer calls originated from your Google Business Profile.
If you haven’t already turned on the messaging feature, you can opt-in from your Business Profile in Search. Now, you can manage message read receipts in Google Search and Maps. The increased ease of accessing messaging in Google Search creates a frictionless process for businesses to share a review form and prompt customers to share their reviews of your products and services.
Why It Matters: Our Take
Collectively, the strategists at our SEO agency have seen our customers experience meaningful results by investing time and energy into optimizing and managing their My Business profiles. These latest updates will make it even easier for you to add updates to your hours, events, and business photos.
In 2016, Google solicited a report from Ipsos Research that aggregated the following impressive statistics about maintaining an up-to-date business profile:
- A business with an updated Google Business Profile is 2.7 times more likely to be perceived as reputable.
- A current business profile gets seven times the number of clicks from SERPs as compared to one that hasn’t been kept current.
- A click from a Google profile for business is 50% more likely to lead to a purchase.
Personally, I like those numbers.
What Isn’t Changing? Strategy.
I’ve said it time and again. In the ever-evolving world of search optimization, there’s one thing that doesn’t change:
A carefully devised SEO strategy that aligns with Google’s mission will return compounding results over time.
Google My Business optimization is the best way to outrank your local competition and bring customers directly through your physical and digital front door.