Google’s local listing platform has rebranded (yes, again). This time, Google My Business (GMB) is now Google Profiles.
But it’s not just a simple name change. Google Profiles is now a much stronger part of the overall local search experience, and it offers new features not available with GMB.
What does that mean for you and your business? This blog post will walk through some of the new features and changes with this update.
What’s In A Name?
Before Google My Business, we had Google Places. Then Google+Local, then back to Google Places. And now, we’re at Google Profiles.
Yes, it’s a little hard to keep track of what’s going on. And yes, Google does seem to have a thing for renaming local search platforms so often.
But the good news is that all of these name changes are only because the product has been getting even better over time with each update.
So let’s take a closer look at what this means for you and your business.
It’s More Than Just A Name Change
Granted that the full transition will still take a while, Google Profiles is now the official home of Google’s local listings, replacing Google My Business.
But as the rollout progresses, GMB will be introducing new features before it completely goes away.
Here are just some of the new features and changes you can expect as this transition continues:
The shift to a full web experience
Fair warning to those of you who are big fans of the GMB app: this one’s probably the biggest change you’ll notice.
While Google My Business did have a mobile-friendly website, it was not designed for full desktop integration. Google Profiles, on the other hand, will be a 100% web experience.
Now, Google has redesigned it to be fully integrated with traditional web browsing—with features like saving searches and adding multiple locations right in your browser window without having to download an app.
Manage all of your online listings in one place.
Another thing you may notice about the new interface is that there are fewer options out of the box, which makes it easier to manage your account without having to dive into every setting available. This is primarily to support businesses with multiple locations, allowing you to manage them all in one place.
Before, you had to use Google My Business for basic listings and Places (the old name of GMB) if your business had more than multiple locations or custom fields.
Now that both are under the same platform, it’s possible to manage every location from a single dashboard without having to switch between different platforms.
New Features For Local Businesses
As a local business owner, you’re probably more interested in the new features that Google Profiles has to offer. Here are just some of them:
Claiming And Verifying Your Google Business Profile
Before, you could only claim a business through the GMB app. Now with Google Profiles, you can claim and verify ownership of a listing through the search query, without having to log in to your Google Profile manager.
As always, though, you’ll have to verify that you’re an authorized representative of the company before being able to claim ownership of its listing.
Messaging Directly Through Google Search
Now that Google Profiles are an integral part of the search experience, customers can now reach out and communicate with local businesses directly—all from within their regular searches on Search or Maps. Read receipts will also be available for messages, so you’ll know if a customer has read your message or not.
Reviewing Call History
Another of the new features is call history, which keeps track of all calls made to your business through Google. You can review and delete these records from your account at any time.
This is great for businesses who want to keep an accurate record of when they’ve contacted clients in order to provide excellent customer service.
Optimizing Your Google Business Profile
Now that your business is listed on Google, it’s crucial to keep your profile updated and accurate. At first glance, these might seem like minor tasks — but Google Profiles gives you a number of new ways to optimize your profile and make it stand out in local search rankings. Here are some ways to do just that:
Add/Update your hours of operation
Did you know that most Google searches are made to find out the hours of a local business? So, don’t forget to update your hours of operation, including holidays and special hours for particular events.
Upload photos and 360-degree views
Adding media to your Google Profile is a great way to engage customers directly from search results and humanize your brand—plus, it’s really easy too!
Thanks to Google’s new updates, you can now upload photos directly to Google Search or Maps.
Update Your Business Information
Another thing you’ll want to keep updated is your business information. Make sure that all of the correct details are up-to-date, including:
- Business Name
- Phone Number(s)
- Website URL
Promote Your Google Profile
Now that you have your profile looking pristine, it’s time to spread the word. You can do this by hitting the “Promote” button on Google Business Profile’s page.
Stay On Top Of Google Updates
With all these new features (and more changes waiting in the wings), it’s important to stay up-to-date with the latest Google updates. Be sure to check in on our blog so you can stay informed about new changes as they happen!
If you need help in further optimizing your Google Business Profile or getting more out of your listings, get in touch with us here at Beanstalk Growth Marketing. We offer a number of services to help local businesses grow and get recognized online.