Google is probably one of the most dynamic companies on the market. They are constantly working to improve their products and services, both for individual users and for businesses. The latest change announced by the internet giant is a major transformation of Google My Business. The local search directory becomes Google Business Profile, integrates with Google Maps and Google Search and will offer new features to business owners.
What the Announcement of Google Business Profile Means
By merging the local search directory with the Search and Maps services, Google is trying to give business owners a simpler, more centralised way of managing their listing. Google Business Profile will allow each business to manage every pertinent element of their Google presence:
- Customer reviews
- Google posts
- Edits to their business profile
- Multiple locations
- Google Map pins.
As things stand now, you need to access three different services to manage all these elements. As a busy marketer or business owner, it is time consuming and not at all convenient. With Google Business Profile, all your company data will be in one place, and you can manage your profile either from Google Maps or from Google Search.
How Google Advises Business Owners to Prepare for the Transition
Google’s Vice President, GM Merchants, Matt Madrigal, published a blog post announcing the transition to Google Business Profile. First of all, businesses that try to claim and verify their listing can do so directly from Google Maps or Google Search starting with the first week of November 2021.
As for companies that already have a GMB listing, Matt Madrigal’s recommendation is to start getting used to managing their listing from Search or Maps. The reason for this is that the transition from Google My Business to Google Business Profile is more than just a name change.
Google Business Profile Will Lead to the Termination of the GMB App
For some time now, business owners have used the Google My Business app to manage their listing on the go. Unfortunately, this app will be discontinued in 2022. However, the new and improved Google Maps and Google Search apps will more than make up for it.
As you may have noticed, you were prompted for several updates to these apps on your phones. This is due to the fact that Google is scaling them up to handle the new functions, which are now available through the GMB app.
Google Business Profile Will Have Additional Helpful Features
The changes to the local search directory do not stop here. As expected, Google is not doing things in halves. Apart from the simplicity in accessing and managing a business listing, Google Business Profile will also have new features.
The most exciting one is a chat function, which will allow business owners to talk in real time to customers. Thus, a person who finds your restaurant on Google Maps can ask you directly if you have free tables and book one directly through the chat window.
This means that Google Business Profiles tends to incorporate all the features that make it not just a business directory, but a new social media platform. As the cost of promoting your business on big platforms like Facebook, Instagram or LinkedIn soar from year to year, Google is not offering an alternative – which, for now, is free.
Another useful feature, currently available only in US and Canada, refers to the ability to use call history to identify inbound calls originating from Google Business Profile. Undoubtedly, this feature will become available to other territories, including Australia.
How Exactly Will You Manage Your Listing from Now On?
So far, you have read about what will go away – the platform and app you are familiar with. So, what are you supposed to do from now to manage your Google Business Profile? This will be simplicity in itself.
Once you log into your Google account, you can go either to the Google Search page or to Google Maps. Type in your business name, and you will see all the relevant tabs:
- Edit business profile
- Customers (here you will find the Reviews, Calls, Messages and Q&As).
You will also see a special tab indicating that you have message to reply to, as well as the option to share your Google Business Profile. For businesses that offer booking through their Google profile, a special tab indicating booking request will also be displayed on the Google Search results page.
As a business owner, you are already alert to adapting to changes. The latest announcement from Google may take you by surprise. You may even feel a little frustrated that GMB is going away, after you’ve managed to learn how to use it.
However, the new Google Business Profile is meant to provide you with simpler access to your listing. Instead of going to various apps or tools, each business owner can manage their profile simply by typing their company name in Google Search. This means that you will actually have more time to work on you business instead of spending it to manage your local search listing.