For years, Google My Business has helped local business owners more readily connect with customers in their area. This free tool can increase your visibility in search engine results pages and provide nearby consumers with the solutions they need.
Since 97% of Google users search online to find local businesses and almost half of all Google searches are seeking local information, it makes sense to leverage the power of GMB for your organization.
But Google recently announced that the way in which you list your business on this platform – as well as how we refer to the platform itself – is changing.
That’s right: Google My Business has now been rebranded to Google Business Profile.
We’ve seen other high-profile rebrands in the news lately (like Facebook’s new identity as Meta), but this one will likely impact small business owners in a more discernible way.
Here’s what you need to know about Google Business Profile moving forward.
What is Google Business Profile?
Simply put, Google Business Profile is the new version of Google My Business. Google My Business, or GMB, is a free tool that allows you to list vital information about your business – ranging from address and contact information to products, services, photos, and customer reviews – in order to connect with customers looking for relevant solutions in your community.
As Search Engine Land points out, this isn’t the first time this tool has changed its identity. Before GMB, the platform was known as Google Places. It’s also been known as Google+ Local and Google Local in the past.
Now, the platform will be referred to as Google Business Profile. But this announcement involves more than just a name change. We’ll get into that a little later.
For now, rest assured that the helpful features provided by Google My Business aren’t going away. GMB will simply be going by a new name from now on – and the way in which you manage your business listings may need to be adjusted a bit.
Why Did Google Rebrand Google My Business?
Companies may rebrand themselves or their products for any number of reasons. (We even went through a rebrand a couple of years ago! Read about the Semify rebrand to learn more.)
If you’ve grown accustomed to GMB, it may be difficult at first to come to terms with new terminology and user interfaces. But the decision to rebrand this tool was actually intended to “keep things simple,” according to Google. It remains to be seen whether current users will agree with that assessment.
We don’t have much else in the way of an official explanation for this change, but we do know that Google likes to keep things fresh. The company is constantly looking for ways to better serve its users, so it sounds like Google is hoping that both customers and small businesses will benefit from this update.
It may also be that Google was seeking a way to differentiate between small businesses and larger franchises. With this rebranding, the two options will be managed differently (which we’ll get into next).
No matter why Google made the decision to rebrand, we’re ultimately going to have to roll with the punches. It may take you a bit of time to adjust, but we have to put our faith in Google developers and hope that these changes will be for the better.
What’s Changed With Google Business Profile?
Now, onto the important stuff: what’s going to change with the Google Business Profile rebrand?
Aside from the name, Google also wants to change the way you use this tool. Your business listings will now be managed directly through Google Search and Google Maps, rather than the Google My Business app.
This is actually a bit easier than using a special app or having to type in a unique URL for listing management. All you need to do is type your business name into a Google search or into Google Maps. From there, you can claim, verify, and manage your individual business listing through a new control panel. Once you claim your business listing, you can simply search for “my business” and your listing will appear.
This feature has been available for a while now, so you may have already discovered that you can manage your business listing this way. However, this single-listing model will soon become the standard, as Google plans to retire its Google My Business app sometime in 2022.
The current GMB web experience you might be familiar with will also transition in terms of its intended use. That interface is actually getting a new name, as well – Business Profile Manager – and will serve larger businesses with multiple locations. Owners of larger businesses like these can also choose to manage single listings individually with Google Business Profile if they so choose.
Not only will the way in which you access these listings change, but you’ll also benefit from additional functionality. For instance, you’ll now be able to message customers directly from Google search (and even control message read receipts). Additionally, North American business owners can access their call history to discover how their Google Business Profile is impacting their inbound customer phone calls.
These changes may help GBP compete with other tools (like Facebook or phone tracking software) while allowing businesses to improve customer service and lead generation management.
More than likely, other features are on the horizon. Since Google never seems to stop improving, it’s a good bet that we’ll see even greater functionality in the not-so-distant future.
How Can Google Business Profile Help With SEO?
With all of this in mind, you may be wondering: why should I care?
Google Business Profile should matter to you for SEO purposes. Claiming and updating your business listing on this free platform will typically have positive effects on your overall brand visibility. You’ll increase your chances of appearing in search results, especially for relevant searches performed by users nearby.
GBP (just like GMB before it) provides a great way for you to connect with customers who are further along in their buyer’s journey. Consumers who search for local information are more likely to make a purchase within a short period of time. With Google Business Profile, you now have even more ways to reach these consumers and provide them with the information they need to make a decision.
Simply put, Google Business Profile can help you stand out in SERPs. If you run a small business and depend largely on customers in your community – or you have clients who fall under this category – GBP will continue to be an important part of your local SEO strategy.
Ready to boost your local SEO or help your clients reach customers nearby? We’re here to help. Learn more about our white label local SEO services or get in touch with us today.